X (aka Twitter) is joining the Google Display Network
“Google combining data with X potentially makes it the most powerful marketing database out there” – Tom Ruff, Head of Social
Last week, it was announced that X (aka Twitter) would be joining the Google ads display network.
Previously, X brought in 92% of its total revenue from advertising; however, since its acquisition by Elon Musk last year (which brought a name change from Twitter to X, a change in rules around free speech and a new paid offering), the platform has seen a 60% drop in ad revenue.
This is where Google comes in – given their struggles with continuing to drive advertising revenue, X are outsourcing the sale of inventory on-site to the advertising giants.
“Like a number of social apps and websites, X has signed up to monetize its home feed with Google Ad Manager. This is an opportunity for our advertisers to reach a broader audience, but as always they can choose what sites and apps their ads run on.” – Google
Advantages for advertisers
With over 200 million active daily users, this presents a massive new opportunity for advertisers to get in front of users engaged with a different platform.
It brings the campaign set-up and targeting options that we’re all used to within Google Ads to an untapped new platform (let’s face it – how many of us are really getting the most out of X’s Ad Manager!).
The dangers of a new platform
Google have traditionally been very strict with their advertising guidelines and practices, ensuring advertisers don’t have their ads shown in dangerous or questionable placements through a series of very strict policies. Stepping into the minefield that is the free speech-laden X could be a risky move, with advertisers susceptible to being shown alongside unrestricted and potentially offensive tweets.
Positively, only ad placements on the main timeline in X will be available to purchase through Google, which should provide slightly more reassurance for brands looking to leverage the new platform.
*example of what an X ad in the main timeline could look like.
Breaking down the walls
Our Heads of Programmatic and Social, Tom Bottomley and Tom Ruff, gave their thoughts on this shift in the marketplace.
Historically, buying placements on specific social platforms wasn’t just available through the platforms themselves as it is now; there were plenty of opportunities to buy your ad placements through different platforms and re-sellers.
“It feels a bit like a return to the old days where you could buy social inventory through other media buying platforms. While this could potentially be a sign of the walls coming down, I don’t think this will be a trend that catches on”. – Tom Bottomley, Head of Programmatic.
If this was a trend that caught on, we could easily see a return to murky inventory selling practices and inflated costs, but as Tom says, this is unlikely to catch on.
However, this change could be enough to change the landscape regardless;
“Google combining data with X potentially makes it the most powerful marketing database out there, so I will be interested to see how that evolves – If you’re able to use the X audiences across search and display campaigns, it could link up the user Journey in ways we haven’t seen before, but, if the campaigns and data aren’t joined up then it will just be another placement and overall performance will suffer”. – Tom Ruff, Head of Social.
Let’s get practical – immediate actions
- Set up effective reporting for GDN / X campaigns.
- Set up alerts / scripts to monitor fluctuations.
- Understand the actions you can take.
Ahead of this change, ensure your account health (particularly your GDN and Performance Max campaigns) are set up as well as possible and meet best practices. Ensuring that you have any alerts and checks in place is key to highlighting any fluctuations in performance.
You need to ensure that you have visibility of where your ads are being seen and the performance driven. The introduction of a new set of placements as large and divisive as this could have a huge impact on performance (albeit potentially temporary), so it is vital to have reporting set up to keep an eye on this.
You should be able to view this performance through the placement report within your Google Ads account (under web and app placements) – but at Journey Further, we’ve also been ensuring this is being built into our external reports to ensure we have complete visibility of these placements.
Remember to keep a close eye on the placements that you’re seeing across both your individual Display campaigns and your Performance Max campaigns, as there is a GDN element to PMax so this could also drive change.
Once you understand what’s going on, and how your placements on X (if any) are working, you will then need to take action; the key step for most advertisers will be deciding whether to remain opted in or exclude these placements through account settings.
If you have any questions on this or need some help defining your strategy when it comes to advertising on X (or the wider Google Display Network) – please reach out to the Journey Further team or our Head of PPC Scott Carruthers.