Twitter, now rebranded as X under Elon Musk’s ownership, is making bold moves to regain the trust and patronage of advertisers who have distanced themselves from the platform in recent months. The company announced a one-year partnership with Integral Ad Science (IAS), a leading ad-verification technology provider. The collaboration aims to offer enhanced safety tools and pre-bid technology to ensure ads are not displayed near controversial or offensive content, ultimately making the environment more brand-safe for advertisers. This strategic move comes in response to concerns raised by nonprofit organizations and third-party researchers regarding the increasing proliferation of hate speech and offensive content on the platform.
IAS CEO Lisa Utzschneider explained that the pre-bid tools offered by her company help marketers classify content to ensure brand suitability and safety even before running their ads. By leveraging machine learning technology, these brand safety tools help determine optimal ad placement that aligns with a company’s specific concerns. Although the technology is not flawless and may occasionally result in missed ad opportunities, it represents a significant step towards mitigating the risks associated with ad placement.
Acknowledging the Competition
IAS is no stranger to the ad-tech industry and has been providing brand safety technology to prominent platforms such as TikTok and Google’s YouTube. X’s exclusive partnership with IAS for the duration of the contract demonstrates the company’s commitment to safeguarding the interests of its advertisers. By leveraging IAS’ expertise and cutting-edge tools, X hopes to restore advertisers’ confidence and foster a brand-safe environment on the platform.
While IAS technology has been utilized by Twitter for several years, the introduction of pre-bid technology is a recent development that will undergo a trial period on X, scheduled for the latter half of this year. Utzschneider confirmed that the technology will be widely available across the platform before the end of the year. This timeline suggests a proactive approach by X in promptly addressing advertisers’ concerns and providing them with effective brand safety measures.
In addition to the ad-tech partnership, X announced in a blog post that it will be testing the use of “sensitivity settings” to allow companies greater control over the distribution of their ads, aligning them more closely with their tolerance levels for controversial and racy content. The platform also revealed the implementation of an “automated industry-standard blocklist” designed to prevent ads from appearing adjacent to unsafe keywords on the app’s timeline. These measures aim to empower advertisers to tailor their campaigns in alignment with their brand values and at the same time ensure a safer ad placement experience.
While X’s focus on ensuring brand safety and attracting advertisers is evident, the company faces significant financial challenges. Musk previously highlighted the negative cash flow due to a substantial decrease in advertising revenue combined with the burden of heavy debt. As X actively works towards rebuilding its advertiser base, it will need not only to assure brand safety but also navigate the financial landscape effectively to secure long-term sustainability.
As the rebranded Twitter, X, forges ahead in its bid to regain advertisers’ trust and confronts the issue of offensive content head-on, the company’s partnership with IAS and the introduction of pre-bid technology signal a commitment to creating a more secure advertising environment. By empowering advertisers with sensitivity settings and automated blocklists, X is empowering them to tailor their campaigns in ways that reflect their brand values. Although challenges remain, this strategic pivot demonstrates X’s determination to navigate the complex digital advertising landscape and reclaim its position as a reliable and brand-safe platform.