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X Partners with Integral Ad Science: Aiming to Restore Brand Trust Amidst Controversies

X responds to brand safety concerns by strengthening its partnership with IAS, offering improved ad placement controls. Can these changes help regain advertiser trust?

X Enhances Brand Safety with Integral Ad Science

In light of recent controversies, especially concerning its “free speech” stance, X has taken proactive steps to enhance brand safety on its platform. Collaborating with Integral Ad Science (IAS), X introduces advanced tools that promise better ad placement controls backed by third-party validation.

Key Updates Include:

Vetted Ad Inventory: In line with GARM guidelines, X now features a "premium, vetted inventory", audited by IAS, ensuring that ads are placed safely, away from controversial content.

Sensitivity Settings: Brands can now fine-tune their ad placements. Options include:

  • Conservative: Restricts ads from appearing near potentially offensive content.
  • Standard: Offers wider ad placement with some restrictions based on the content.
  • Relaxed: A broader reach, though still subject to X's content guidelines.

Pre-made Blocklists: To aid brands in avoiding unsafe keywords, X, in collaboration with IAS, will roll out standardized blocklists.

The renewed emphasis on brand safety is a reaction to concerns raised by advertisers regarding the content on X, primarily since its acquisition by Elon Musk. Musk’s own controversial posts, coupled with an apparent rise in hate speech, have further amplified these worries, resulting in a drop in ad spending on the app.

Questionable Claims and Historical Perspective

Although X's CEO, Linda Yaccarino, asserts that the platform has experienced unprecedented innovation since Musk's takeover, some of these claims have been debunked. Notably, Twitter (often hinted as 'X') has been affiliated with IAS and DoubleVerify since 2020, offering similar brand safety mechanisms. Such misleading statements might raise eyebrows about the credibility of platform management.

The Road Ahead

Missteps in communication aside, X's latest move, backed by IAS, is commendable. It showcases the platform's earnest efforts to mend its relationship with brands. If executed well, these new measures could potentially usher in a new era of advertiser trust, critical for X's revenue streams.