X Rejoins GARM To Win Back Advertisers

After drifting from the World Federation of Advertisers’ (WFA) Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) when Elon Musk took over Twitter, the social platform now known as X has decided to rejoin the coalition of online providers and brand partners, working to uphold the group’s brand-safety requirements and potentially win back advertisers.

“We’re excited to announce that X has reinstated our relationship with the @wfamarketers Global Alliance for Responsible Media,” the social media company posted on its platform Monday, adding that “X is committed to the safety of our global town square and proud to be part of the GARM community.”

X's fallout with GARM occurred during a tumultuous transition period in late 2022.

During this time, Musk slashed the majority of the platform's content-moderation team, which eventually led to an onslaught of harmful content appearing alongside advertisers' promotions.



When Musk bought Twitter, a GARM official addressed him directly, outlining the group's expectations moving forward and stating that it plans to work with Musk to help “address the threat of harmful content, and how it can undermine ad-supported digital media platforms – for users, creators, and advertisers alike.”

However, Musk minimized the platform’s built-in safety oversight and drove away major ad partners, causing them to either suspend their ad spend on X or relocate it to other competing social media platforms. By the start of 2024, X lost over 71% of its value since Musk took over in April 2022, according to an estimate provided by mutual fund Fidelity.

Since the acquisition, X's ad revenue has declined by about 50%, according to a recent report by Bloomberg.

During this year's Cannes Lion advertising festival, X executives said that over 60% of brands that have paused advertising have resumed minimum spend in the past few months, over which X has been making clear attempts to reinstate itself as a brand-safe environment.

In February, X expanded access to its inventory pilot with global media measurement and optimization platform Integral Ad Science (IAS), promising all U.S. vertical video advertisers “maximum control over where their ads appear,” per the announcement.

The company also had a run-in with ad measurement platform DoubleVerify, which assured X ad partners in April that it misrepresented the platform's brand-safety measurements, resulting in scores as low as 70% in some cases when X actually deserved a score of 99.9% across all campaigns.

Despite X's attempt to realign itself with brand-safe methods and organizations like GARM, the platform faces other issues that are likely keeping advertisers at a distance -- such as the platform's static user base.

The user base has remained at 250 million daily active users (DAU) for the past year-and-a-half -- grossly undercutting Musk's original goal of growing the platform to 600 million DAUs by 2025 and 931 million DAUs by 2028.

Without steady growth, brand safety may only go so far in any efforts to win back major advertising partners.

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