Earlier this week, Twitter announced key enhancements for all native videos, GIFs and Vines within the platform. Following aggressive moves on the video content front earlier this year, Twitter’s rich media units will now autoplay in user timelines, across mobile and desktop. This means video units, including Vines and GIFs, will automatically play (while muted) as a user scrolls down the feed. When users click on a video, they will be able to turn on the sound, if applicable, and will be driven to a full-screen view where the video content will continue to play. The new functionality is currently being rolled out across desktop and mobile iOS, and will officially launch on Android July 1.
With 82% of Twitter users watching video content and 90% of those users watching video on hand-held devices, it’s no surprise that Twitter created a video offering that would stand out among competing platforms. After testing both autoplay and full-screen video content in alpha mode, Twitter found that users were engaging and viewing videos in those formats at a much higher rate. Users were nearly three times more likely to prefer autoplay videos, there was a 14 percent lift in video recall over other formats, and Twitter saw a seven times increase in completions for Promoted Videos via autoplay brand tests. Twitter’s goal: provide marketers with 100 percent viewability when it comes to video content.
The launch of Twitter’s autoplay in the native video player has opened up several opportunities for marketers. With the video watching audience already established on Twitter, it is now up to marketers to better understand how autoplay can help them increase engagement and interest in their content. It’s important for marketers to consider what the expectation is of current Twitter users, how they will engage with the new features, and the steps creative teams will need to take to ensure ‘thumb stopping videos’.
With these updates affecting both creative and measurement strategies on the platform, we’ve broken down how they may affect marketer approaches to content creation and paid support, as well provided user experience and engagement implications below.
- Design videos that are engaging without sound as autoplay will not feature sound until a user clicks on the video, similar to how Vine functions
- The first three seconds of a video will be crucial in capturing viewer interest, and getting them to commit to view the full video and click media
- Consider branding on videos to increase brand recall and awareness (i.e. logo in corner or a banner with branding)
- Including text in the beginning of a video can increase engagement and video completion
- The storytelling experience has even more opportunities to be expanded on now, giving users more of a reason to continue engaging beyond the tweet
Paid Support Implications:
- Twitter is still recommending brands use cost-per-view (CPV) as the main ad product for video
- Twitter will only consider a view chargeable when a video is 100 percent in-view on a user’s device, and has been consumed for at least three seconds
- Given that videos will automatically play in users’ feeds, we can anticipate an increase in view-through-rates (VTRs)
- With this new functionality, Twitter’s Amplify product will have even more awareness within the feeds, and brands will be able to guarantee views on sponsor programs within the videos
User Experience and Engagement Implications:
- As animated media becomes part of the norm on user feeds, static imagery will not have the same ‘thumb stopping power’
- Users will become more inclined to engage with videos, as this specific type of media often offers more information than a photo or a link
- Video content on Twitter gives brands the opportunity to extend TV and other brand and product campaigns to users, with highly effective targeting
Twitter’s recent enhancements will allow it to strengthen viewability and awareness of video content on the platform, and ensure that marketers are paying for only qualified views. Twitter is furthermore looking to enhance its analytics offering, actively discussing measurement tools with third-party vendors to provide confidence to advertisers that their content is being served to and engaged with by the right audiences.
With these enhanced metrics for video content on the horizon, it’s important for marketers to continue to evolve their video content strategies on the platform. Most importantly, with 2015 being the ‘year of the video,’ it will be up to marketers to ultimately determine if their video content is working best on Twitter versus other social platforms with similar capabilities, to hone and develop their most successful social strategies.
Cover photo via AdWeek.