Why X's Decision Today Might Be the End of the Platform

X opts out of on brand safety auditing. Is this the nail in the coffin?

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In Today’s Issue:

📉 X bails out of brand safety certification as major companies pause ad spending

📊 TikTok introduces "Engaged View-Through Attribution" metric to link ad views of six seconds or more

🎄 Brands increase spending on TikTok for holiday marketing, as revealed by Digiday+ Research survey

🚗 Hyundai partners with Amazon to sell cars online starting in 2024, reflecting a growing trend in online vehicle purchases.

😊 Google’s Performance Max campaigns get better tagging

Today's Big Reveal: NewsBreak's Ad Manager Launches Max Conversion Bidding!

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X Cancels Brand Safety Audits as Major Advertisers Flee

Even the most fervent Elon Musk fanboys must worry this is the final nail in the coffin: X, formerly known as Twitter, has decided to opt out of brand safety auditing.

Digiday reported today the company will no longer comply with independent auditing for its Media Rating Council credentials. The MRC is the industry gold-standard for brand safety.

This comes after Elon Musk’s praise last week of an anti-Semitic post caused IBM and a few small brands to withdraw from advertising on the platform.

We reported on that Friday, then just after our deadline, that trickle of advertiser withdrawals became a flood of big spenders bailing out:

  • Apple

  • Sony

  • CBS/Paramount Global

  • Warner Brothers

  • Lionsgate

  • Disney

  • Comcast

  • Even NBCUniversal, the company where X’s current CEO came from…

…all cancelling their ad campaigns on X. Some even said they’d stop posting organically as well.

Even before this widespread boycott, X was already experiencing a decline in ad revenue. Insider Intelligence forecasts that X’s worldwide ad revenue will plummet by more than 54% by the end of the year.

After withdrawing from a recognized audit of brand safety, you have to wonder what advertisers will be left.

Over the weekend, Musk tried to smooth things over with advertisers — his company’s most important partners — by [checks notes] attacking them, calling them “the greatest oppressors of your right to free speech.”

Elon Musk paid $44 billion for the company a year ago. Stock grants given to employees last week valued the company now at about $19 billion.

TikTok Tries to Catch Up With New “Engaged View-Through” Attribution

One of the obsessions of the digital marketing industry — and rightly so — is campaign measurement. You know the old adage: “Half of your ad dollars are wasted. The trouble is knowing which half.”

Historically, marketers have relied on click-based attribution methods — specifically “last-click”, attributing 100% of a campaign’s results to whatever was the last touchpoint in the consumer’s journey to a conversion.

To that end, TikTok launched what it calls a Self-Attributing Network (SAN) which tries to give you better visibility into the impact of your TikTok ads by understanding which clicks and video views led to conversions within your attribution window.

And they’re adding another touchpoint to the mix — Engaged View-Through Attribution.

TikTok allows users to easily swipe up to skip videos, including ads, so when someone watches a video ad for more than six seconds, we consider this an engaged view.

To help advertisers measure the conversions driven by these views, we've introduced a new attribution method called Engaged View-through Attribution (EVTA).

EVTA measures the conversions that take place after a user views an ad for six seconds or more but doesn't click, then goes on to convert within the attribution window (maximum seven days).


Of course, these will have benefits in the back-end as well — the company’s Ads Manager will get more signals to optimize your campaigns over time by showing your ads to users who are more likely to take action.

In its announcement last week, TikTok admitted it’s playing a bit of catch-up here.

Other platforms have already introduced engaged view conversions for video campaigns.

Bringing our attribution methods to parity with other platforms provides you with a clearer comparison of performance across different platforms, ensuring fairer result measurement.


You should also be aware that they have somewhat dramatically changed what their "[All] Clicks" metric means. Now, in addition to clicks (or, I guess “taps,” to be accurate), the metric now covers likes, shares, comments, follows, exploring related hashtags, and checking the music accompanying TikTok videos.

If you want to distinguish all these taps from the taps directed toward your campaign’s specified destination, you’ll now need to refer to the "Clicks (Destination)" metric.

More Brands Invest in TikTok Ads

It’s no surprise that TikTok is racing to play catch-up — new research from Digiday shows that brands have been spending more on TikTok leading up to the holiday season this year than previous years.

The percentage of retailer and brand pros who said TikTok is extremely valuable to driving their revenues (as opposed to somewhat valuable or valuable) was already trending up slightly as of last year — 8% of respondents to Digiday’s survey said the platform was extremely valuable to their revenues in 2022, compared with 5% in 2021. However, this year, that percentage saw a very significant spike. Nearly a third of brands and retailers (32%) said this year that TikTok is extremely valuable to driving their revenues — a lot more than last year’s 8%.


It’s when you look at spending that the numbers seem especially impressive.

Throughout 2022 and even into the first quarter of 2023, about half of brands said they didn’t put any marketing spend toward TikTok. But in Q3 of this year, 78% of brand pros told Digiday that at least a very small portion of their marketing budgets go toward TikTok. That’s a big jump from the 54% who said the same in Q1.

All that said, they’re still really nowhere near Meta.

  • This year, 72% of brand and retailers pros said that they purchased ads on Instagram this year.

  • That number was 35% on TikTok.

How has your ad spend on TikTok changed in the last year?

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Amazon Will Start Selling Cars Online Next Year

When online shopping first became a thing, naysayers said it would never take off because people wanted to see a product first and hold it. That’s where the phrase “kick the tires” came from — from a car expert quoted back in the day saying nobody would want to buy a car online because they wouldn’t be able to kick the tires.

That may be true, but it’s not holding the largest ecommerce platform in the world from selling cars starting next year.

Hyundai this week announced it will work with Amazon to sell some of its vehicles.

And yes, you can have your newly purchased car delivered — though we can only assume not in a box. Or you can pick it up at a nearby dealership.

This technically isn’t a new thing — online car sales picked up during the pandemic — but Amazon’s entry into the market may very well catapult the practice into the mainstream.

Which means that while faster car delivery is in, haggling is almost certainly out.

Easy Organization for Performance Max Campaigns

And finally, Google has added brand and custom labels to Performance Max product campaigns.

This lets you quickly tag your products for easier organization.

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