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Elon Musk's X signs new brand safety tech deal to draw advertisers back

Elon Musk's X signs new brand safety tech deal to draw advertisers back

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Social media platform X, which was formally known as Twitter, has signed a new deal with global media measurement and optimisation platform Integral Ad Science (IAS) to provide brands with enhanced safety tools as it looks to bring advertisers back onboard. 

The exclusive partnership was revealed by IAS in a statement and will provide advertisers with its pre-bid brand safety and suitability product across the social media platform.

This product will provide marketers with greater control and optimisation of their quality media investments. IAS will now also provide third-party affirmation that brands running ads on X are appearing in brand safe and suitable environments as defined by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) framework.

Don't miss: Elon Musk rebrands Twitter to 'X': Will it bring advertisers back?

“At X, balancing free expression and platform safety is our number one priority – and we are proving these two things are not at odds,” said Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X. “Growing our partnership with IAS offers brands a new level of protection and transparency as they continue to grow on X.”

“By activating IAS’s pre-bid optimisation solutions, marketers can ensure their campaigns prioritise only quality inventory that is brand safe and suitable,” added Lisa Utzschneider, the CEO of IAS. “We’re proud to be the first and only pre-bid brand safety and suitability partner with X and look forward to furthering the company’s commitment to transparency by giving marketers greater control through solutions that safeguard a brand’s interests and drive brand equity.”

The partnership comes as X sees a 50% drop in advertising revenue along with a heavy debt load resulting in a negative cash flow, according to a tweet by the billionaire. 

"Need to reach [a] positive cash flow before we have the luxury of anything else," Musk added in his tweet recently. He was responding to a tweet by a user suggesting that he gets a consortium together who understands his vision for the platform. The user suggested that Musk get the consortium to buy the debt and to then do a tender or exchange offer for convertible notes with more favorable terms.

Musk added that while it did not see the increase in advertising revenue that was expected in June, that "July is a bit more promising".

In tandem with the company attempting to lure advertisers back, it is also undergoing a major rebrand from Twitter to X and incorporating multiple new features as it looks to compete against Meta's new text-based app, Threads. 

The significant redirection of Twitter is certainly one to watch especially as Musk looks to lure advertisers and consumers back to the platform. But could the rebrand really make a difference? 

It would appear that adland players are still skeptical. Don Anderson, CEO of Kaddadle noted that he does not believe that the name and logo change is going to make that much of a difference to users, who are most likely more interested in increased stability of the platform in terms of how features are introduced and maintained.

"For example, the Twitter Blue subscription option, which has endured various iterations and changes since Musk took over, has left many users, key influencers and creators, and brand marketers confused about its value and continuity," said Anderson. 

He added that usually, with a name and logo change, there is a bit of a buildup and proper communications plan around it. "That seems to be absent here – like all things Musk, it just came out of the blue from his Twitter account over the weekend," he said. 

He added that a clearly communicated short and long-term strategy is most critical, and at this point, it seems like that simply doesn’t exist.

"All eyes are on the leadership change of Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO, and what that will mean to the stability of the platform, and just how much Musk will continue to be involved. Until that is sorted, I believe users and advertisers will continue to remain skeptical," he said when Twitter officially changed its name and logo to X last month. 

True enough, integrated intelligence platform Truescope found that the announcement of the rebrand was met with a predominant proportion of neutral sentiments at 90%. 

"This can be attributed to a certain level of skepticism among individuals when it comes to adopting an all-encompassing application, as well as the potential impact of this announcement on a significant Federal Reserve policy decision," said a spokesperson at Truescope in a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE last month. 

Media intelligence company CARMA added on by noting that the rebrand has been criticised by many users, with some calling it "the single worst rebrand in the history of rebrands". A spokesperson added that it only saw 12.7% positive reactions online regarding news of the rebrand. 

"Advertisers are typically most sensitive to brand safety and user and creator feedback and engagement on social media platforms. They look for continuity and a clearly communicated strategy, which seems to be absent at this point," said Anderson, adding:

Until Musk and Yaccarino fully stabilise the business and its positioning, advertiser trust will continue to wane.

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