X (formerly known as Twitter) has started rolling out a new ad product that cannot be blocked or reported.
The new format doesn’t include an ad label so users are not informed that what they’re seeing is an advert. There also isn’t an account associated with the promoted posts, so users also can’t tell who the advertiser is either.
Users reported the new ad format to Mashable, claiming these posts cannot be liked or shared.
Why we care. A surge in spam ads on X could impact user perception and engagement with ads across the platform, potentially resulting in a decline in conversion rates. This new ad type could also be an indication that X is experiencing a shortage of advertisers investing in targeted advertising. It’s essential for advertisers to monitor these developments closely and adapt their strategies accordingly to maintain effective and meaningful user interactions.
What it looks like. The new ad format looks like a regular post, consisting of text and a photo. However, in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to make these ads appear like organic posts, they also feature a fake avatar resembling a profile picture.
So far, these new ads have only been seen on the X mobile app. It’s not yet clear if they are being served on desktop as well.
Who’s using them. The type of ads using this new format are reportedly consistent with those found in spammy, low-quality or click-bait ad campaigns. No major brands appear to have opted for this campaign type.
Third-party links. People who have clicked on the new ad format have reported being taken to third-party websites in a new window. Clicking anywhere on these ads, including the avatar profile, will take you to a third-party website.
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Why now? X has been partnering with third-party companies to address its declining ad revenue issue. In fact, the platform recently announced it had partnered with Google after deciding to outsource the sale of some of its ad space. This new ad type cannot be found in the X ad campaign manager platform, according to Mashable, suggesting these posts are being served via a third party provider.
Deep dive. Visit the X Ads Help Center for more information.