Amid declining ad revenue and advertiser leavesTwitter announced today that it is partnering with ad-tech companies Double Verify and Integral Advertising Science (IAS) to let advertisers know if their ad is placed around inappropriate content. Available first for ad campaigns in the US, the program allows brands to analyze the content alongside — primarily tweets above and below the ad — all types of ads, including promoted tweets.
Now, Twitter says brands running their ad campaigns have an understanding of what kind of tweets appear around their ads and why. Businesses can also use Twitter’s monitoring tools to fine-tune their campaign to filter out keywords.
DoubleVerify and IAS said their tweet scanning solution will first cover Twitter’s home timeline and then expand to profile and search positions.
In addition to addressing brand safety concerns, the new system aims to provide eligibility scores to help brands find out if their ads are showing next to tweets that may not be a good fit for the brand’s image. For example, an electronic brand may not want its ad to appear next to a tweet about e-waste.
Speaking to TechCrunch, Nayef Hijazi, VP of product marketing at DoubleVerify, said the company can review the tweets before and after the ad and classify them according to the company’s own safety and eligibility settings. This gives them insight into how their ads appear on Twitter.
The company said Twitter will promote this partnership in its own way to let advertisers know about this service. But it is not clear how the social media platform will package this.
We understand that both DoubleVerify and IAS have access to real-time data from Twitter to measure ad performance. This follows Twitter’s recent crackdown on third-party apps, which indicates that Twitter is focusing on developer initiatives that could generate revenue – and perhaps much-needed revenue at the same time. Twitter’s various monetization plans around subscriptions or payments are ideas that can only be realized in the long run, if at all. In the short term, however, Musk faces the first interest payment on the debt he took on to buy Twitter. The only real solution to Twitter’s financial crisis is to keep advertisers coming back.
“Twitter is committed to promoting a safe advertising experience for people and brands, and this commitment has never been stronger.” AJ Brown, Twitter’s Head of Brand Safety, said in a statement. “Validating the context in which ads are displayed against the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) industry standards is incredibly important to us and our customers.”
Twitter was the first teased this ad initiative in a December blog postpublished shortly after the acquisition of the social network by Elon Musk October. The post also details the launch of adjacent territory checking tools to help brands pop their ads around content with certain keywords.
The announcement came at a time when Tesla and SpaceX executives had already made a number of missteps that worried advertisers enough to see a lot of pause spending on the network. Brands were particularly concerned about changes to moderation policies and layoffs that would impact trust and safety teams, which could lead to their ads appearing next to toxic content. More than 40 civil rights groups also wrote an open letter pressuring advertisers to pause spending, and many brands seemed to agree that a reassessment was in order as Twitter made its transition in leadership.
The social network also lost its trusted top ad exec Sarah Personette in November. Reports from the time noted that companies like it General Mills, Audi and Pfizer had already paused spending on Twitter, and others soon followed. Data from analytics firm Pathmatics provided to TechCrunch showed that several companies, including Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Best Buy, spent no advertising money on the platform in December.
However, Musk downplayed the concerns, blaming “activist groups” for the drop in advertising revenue from social media companies.
But his attitude was not representative of reality. Days later, Musk hosted a Twitter Spaces call to reassure advertisers that the company is committed to stopping fake accounts and reducing hateful content. The conversation stemmed from the fact that some users were able to take advantage of the ill-conceived Twitter Blue subscription that offered everyone a verification token, which some used to impersonate brands.
According to Pathmatics, the Twitter spend of the top 30 advertisers will fall 29% year-over-year in 2022. The data suggested that the top 30 brands spent $11.3 million on Twitter in the first week of September. Those expenses fell to $6.5 million in the last week of the year. Pathmatics estimates do not include data on incentives offered by Twitter.
Last month, Twitter tried to lure advertisers back with multiple incentives, including additional impressions and matching spend, according to a report from the Financial Times. The company has also launched a keyword search module under beta today to enable marketers to show ads when people search for specific terms.
Musk has been trying to boost the company’s monetization ability by pushing the paid Twitter Blue plan across multiple platforms, along with a discounted annual subscription. He has also proposed a more expensive plan to get rid of ads.
Earlier this month, The information reported that Twitter’s fourth-quarter revenue was down 35% year over year according to internal documents seen by the publication.
While Twitter’s latest partnership with DoubleVerify and IAS focuses on increasing brand safety insights, its content moderation decisions don’t reflect that. The company recovered today the account of white nationalist Nick Fuentes which Hitler had praised in the past. Twitter had to ban him hours later in response to the outrage. The social media company is facing a lawsuit in Germany for failing to filter anti-Semitic statements.