Social media platforms have long had an aversion to third-party verification and measurement tools, often filing the issue under user privacy concerns.
But brand safety is a bigger issue on marketers minds than ever. So Twitter has decided to up its game around brand safety through a first of its kind preferred partnership with verification vendors DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science (IAS), announced on Monday.
The pact will expand Twitter’s current partnership with both vendors beyond viewability measurement to provide “independent reporting on the context in which ads appear on Twitter,” wrote Jonathan Lewis, senior director of product management at Twitter, in a blog post.
“There has never been a third-party brand safety solution built to measure for adjacency to brand unsafe content in an environment such as Twitter, which is both real-time and dynamic,” Lewis added.
The partnership will involve building custom solutions to measure brand safety and content adjacency in Twitter’s real-time feed, which the platform will begin testing in early 2021. Twitter will also double down on internal research regarding content adjacency on the platform and use the findings to help IAS and DoubleVerify create bespoke solutions.
“Twitter’s personalized feed-based environment makes content adjacency inherently unique when considering brand safety questions,” Lewis wrote. “It is critical to understand where associations occur, where they don't and how those associations affect brands as we continue to invest in this area.”
Twitter underwent a “rigorous process” to identify IAS and DoubleVerify as preferred partners, Lewis wrote, which involved a monthslong selection process that included due diligence meetings, proof of concepts on how the tools are able to assess brand safety on Twitter specifically and a formal RFP process.
Twitter settled on IAS and DoubleVerify because of their “robust technology, proposed custom solutions, alignment with GARM and the overall strength of our existing partnerships,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
“IAS is excited to partner with Twitter to pioneer in-feed brand safety and suitability solutions that will help advertisers navigate this dynamic social environment,” said Lisa Utzschneider, CEO at Integral Ad Science. “Measurement is more critical than ever as marketers seek even greater transparency for their social media spend, and together with Twitter we can offer advertisers the trusted solutions they need.”
Mark Zagorski, CEO of DoubleVerify, added in a statement: “Measuring brand safety and suitability across in-feed environments is critically important for brands. DoubleVerify is ready to tackle this challenge by leveraging our technology and expertise to evaluate the context of real-time, user-generated content. We are pleased to partner with Twitter to ensure a brand safe and suitable advertising environment on their platform.”
In addition to the partnerships, Twitter will also seek MRC accreditation across four categories: viewability, sophisticated invalid traffic filtration, audience measurement and brand safety. Twitter will prioritize brand safety accreditation and has already begun the proposal process.
“We believe that all four accreditations are critical in demonstrating our enduring commitment to transparency and are pleased to be in a position to expand on and sustain this collaborative process,” Twitter’s Lewis wrote in the blog post.
Twitter is also doubling down on its commitments to the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, of which it is a founding member, by “better align[ing] our brand safety solutions with GARM’s principles” and by supporting IAS and DoubleVerify to adapt their content categorization tools to better fit within GARM’s framework.
“We will continue to partner with industry leaders to define and refine the work that is needed to keep platforms safe for advertisers,” Lewis wrote.