September 30, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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X turns to Google for programmatic ads in timeline

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The announcement makes it clear that the only X ad inventory available for brands through Google is within X’s main timeline. That distinction could be because, since Musk bought the company, X created more ad inventory outside the main timeline—with ads in comment sections under popular posts, in search results and within account pages of highly followed X users. The timeline inventory is the area inside X that has the most brand safety reporting from third-party measurement providers, including Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify, which give advertisers details about the types of posts that surround their ads.

More: programmatic buying questions marketers should be asking

Brand safety has become a bigger issue on X as Musk’s policies have allowed greater leeway to post material that some brands could find offensive. In fact, since Musk took over, some brands have run away from the site over concerns about moderation policies. X’s ad revenue has plummeted under Musk, and the company took an unprecedented step earlier this year to start trading in programmatic ads rather than selling all its inventory directly through its proprietary online ad manager.

Risky move for Google

In May, InMobi, the mobile programmatic marketing platform, became the first partner to offer advertisers the ability to buy inventory on X, Insider reported. The move into programmatic advertising was seen as a sign that X couldn’t lift ad sales on its own. Open web inventory is widely considered less valuable than ads sold through direct relationships that publishers and apps build with committed ad partners.

The inclusion of Google’s ad supply is a significant development in X’s programmatic shift. Google is the largest seller of online ads and has millions of publishers plugged into its ad manager, and other tools such as Adsense and AdMob, accepting programmatic ads and monetizing their sites, and Google serves millions of advertisers.

Still, it is a risky move for Google because it has to hold X accountable to its publisher standards, which are the policies it has in place to ensure advertisers aren’t exposed to dangerous websites. Google frequently reminds publishers of their obligations under its ad policies, a Google spokesperson said. The spokesperson also said that any ads that show up on X through Google will be labeled as “promoted,” following its transparency in reporting guidelines.

Google’s ad platform also allows marketers to turn off sites they don’t want in their campaigns, so X can also be avoided.

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