After recently announcing that it would be bringing back its “client council” to provide input into key ad policy decisions in the app, X has now scheduled the first meeting of the new group, which will provide some of X’s biggest ad partners with the opportunity to raise any questions or concerns that they may have about the re-named platform, and its future direction under CEO Linda Yaccarino and owner Elon Musk.
New: First X client council meeting for big brands and advertisers to take place in NYC Sept 20. In the invite, @lindayaX says she’ll share progress and safety initiatives and most of all “we’ll listen to what you need” https://t.co/F3sqYd2Qy2
— Sara Eisen (@SaraEisen) August 18, 2023
X’s Client Council will provide direct linkage between key decision-makers, enabling X to offer more insight into its work to improve the platform, and for partners to ask questions about its progress and development on various fronts.
From there, they’ll be able to make more informed decisions about their ad spend. And with X’s ad revenue still down by around 50% since Elon Musk purchased the app, it has some work ahead of it to reassure ad partners about the safety of its new “Freedom of Speech, Not Freedom of Reach” approach.
Many advertisers paused their spend after Musk purchased the platform, amid his various vows to allow more free and open speech in the app, even if some people would find such to be offensive. Since then, Musk has reduced X’s moderation capacity by getting rid of 80% of the company’s staff, softened its policy stances on misinformation and hate speech, and allowed many previously banned users back on the app under what he’s called an ‘amnesty’.
Musk’s original plan was to reduce X’s reliance on ad revenue by making a bigger push on subscriptions, which would then enable him to reshape the platform’s rules however he liked, as he would no longer be beholden to ad partners’ concerns. But that hasn’t worked out, with less than 0.5% of X users signing on to X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue), despite X continually trying to push users towards its verification offering.
That means that X is indeed still reliant on ad spend, which is why it’s now looking to enhance its appeal to brand partners, and ensure they remain on board with its plan.
Because if they don’t, X won’t survive. And as such, you can expect this forum to have at least some sway in future platform decisions.
Then again, such risks haven’t changed Elon’s own approach, who continues to propose changes that are unpopular with both users and brands alike. Musk’s most recent announcement was that X will be removing the option to block users, which is both in violation of app hosting rules, and would be a significant risk for brand safety.
That forced Yaccarino into damage control, in order to reassure users that the team does have a plan.
Our users’ safety on X is our number one priority. And we’re building something better than the current state of block and mute. Please keep the feedback coming. https://t.co/ekIvyOhRqQ
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) August 19, 2023
But they likely don’t, and it’ll be interesting to see how Yaccarino will be able to maintain the ongoing balance of managing ad partner expectations, while also appeasing Elon’s various whims.
It seems like an unenviable position, but thus far, Yaccarino has been towing the company line, as she continues to re-state her support for Musk’s “provocative” leadership style.
The Client Council could end up being a wake-up call for Yaccarino in this respect, especially if the participants don’t buy what X is selling, in terms of its stated brand safety benchmarks and achievements.
Essentially, nobody believes the claim that 99.99% of all Tweet impressions are now going to content that doesn’t violate the platform’s rules.
I suspect this, and various other dubious stats, will come under more scrutiny at next month’s meeting.
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