Amid ongoing concerns about X’s new “free speech” approach, and how that’s impacted brand safety on the platform (or not), the company has announced an expansion of its partnership with Integral Ad Science (IAS) , which will provide more assurance for ad partners through improved ad placement control tools, as vetted by third-party analysis.
First off, X will now offer “premium, vetted inventory”, as confirmed by IAS, which will ensure safe ad placement, in alignment with GARM guidelines.
The new offering will ensure that ads are not displayed alongside potentially offensive posts in the app, with IAS providing confirmation of such, adding extra assurance.
In addition to this, X is also rolling out new sensitivity settings for brands, which will enable advertisers to control their ad placement based on their own selection criteria.
As you can see in this example, brand partners will now have three levels to choose from:
- Conservative – Brands will be able to choose this option to avoid having their promotions appear alongside any content that includes potential hate speech, sexualized material, gore, etc.
- Standard – This will enable brands to have their content shown in more places in the app, while still limiting exposure based on the posts themselves
- Relaxed – And this is the “free for all” option, which will potentially see your ads displayed alongside any content in the app. That is, of course, relative to X’s existing content rules.
The balance here will be between limiting reach and limiting exposure, with each option restricting or expanding the pool for where your ads can be shown. And again, the new qualifiers will be backed by IAS, providing more assurance in such placement.
Finally, X is also testing pre-made blocklists, which will provide more assistance for brands that want to avoid their promotions appearing alongside posts that include unsafe keywords.
So rather than having to come up with blocklists for yourself, X and IAS will create standardized lists to help, which could be another way to avoid negative association.
And again, with much speculation about the rise, or not, of hate speech in the app, many advertisers are indeed wary of X ad placement, which has led to a significant downturn in ad spend at the Elon Musk owned app.
Elon himself hasn’t helped X’s case, as he regularly amplifies conspiracy theories and offensive content from his own account, which is the most followed profile in the app, though Musk himself maintains that he will not be curtailing his posting habits, which adds another level of complexity for the app, as it seeks to win back advertiser trust.
Also, its hyperbole is probably not helping:
“On X, people are free to be their true selves, and over the past 9 months, X has delivered a decade’s worth of innovation focused on creating an engaging and healthy environment where everyone, including advertisers, can connect safely.”
X CEO Linda Yaccarino has also jumped on this, claiming that “X has built all its advertiser controls and third-party partnerships in just the last 9 months”. But that’s not true, with previous Twitter management offering similar advertiser controls and third-party verification for years before Elon bought the app.
Twitter has been working with DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science since at least 2020, while it’s also provided brand safety control tools along similar lines over that same period. So it’s incorrect to claim that all of the platform’s brand safety options have been created in the last nine months, and nobody believes that X has delivered “a decade’s worth of innovation” since the Musk takeover last year.
Statements like this, designed to provide reassurance, only raise more questions over the integrity of platform management, and the claims that they make, which could lessen the value of these enhanced brand safety tools.
But overall, this is a good update, which should help X get back in the good books with more brands, as Yaccarino looks to win back critical ad spend.