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  • Writer's pictureKarl Oppenheimer

X Introduces Unreportable and Unblockable New Ad Format

X, previously known as Twitter and owned by Elon Musk, has introduced a perplexing new ad format, raising questions about the platform's transparency and its ability to attract advertisers. Several X users have recently reported encountering a novel type of ad in their For You feed, distinct from previous offerings on the platform. These new X ads do not allow users to like or retweet them, and they provide no information about the advertiser or the fact that they are advertisements.

These ads typically consist of written text, an image, and a fabricated avatar designed to resemble a naturally posted tweet. The content being promoted in these ads appears reminiscent of the spammy and low-quality native ads run on low quality websites.

Users who have encountered these X ads report that clicking on any part of the ad, including the fake avatar, opens a new window leading to a third-party website. There is no corresponding X post to view, nor is there a user profile linked to the ad.

The presence of these unconventional ads sheds light on the state of advertising on Elon Musk's social media platform, raising concerns about transparency and advertiser engagement.

Following Elon Musk's acquisition of the company, X has grappled with the challenge of attracting advertisers to its platform. In the aftermath of Musk's takeover, half of the platform's major advertisers ceased running ads.

Moreover, as indicated in a recent report from Media Matters For America, those advertisers who did return are now allocating up to 90 percent less of their advertising budgets to X compared to the pre-Musk era. A separate report by Reuters has highlighted a consistent trend of declining revenue for Musk's X, with each month since his ownership marked by diminishing returns.

In response to the declining ad revenue, X has sought solutions through strategic partnerships with third-party entities in the adtech industry to market their available advertising space. In a recent development, Google disclosed its collaboration with X for the sale of programmatic advertising. Earlier in the year, X also forged a partnership with InMobi, a company specializing in mobile-focused programmatic ad sales.

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