360i News: Twitter’s New Video Ads Impress Marketers

August 20, 2014

As reported by The Wall Street Journal here:

Early grades on Twitter’s new video ad product are in — and they’re positive.

Twitter’s new “promoted video” ad product, which it recently began testing across its platform, allows marketers to insert video clips into users’ feeds and only pay when users tap or click to watch them.

So far the new format has performed extremely well, according to agencies involved in the early tests. Users have shown a high propensity to watch the ads, and in some instances they’ve proved considerably cheaper than buying video views on video-centric sites such as YouTube, agencies say.

“We’re seeing very good engagement rates; the preliminary results are very strong,” explained Amy Peterman, Paid Social Practice Lead at digital agency 360i, which has already tested video ads for some of its CPG and entertainment clients.

“We’re really shocked at how well it’s performed,” added Jeremy Leon, Senior Social Strategist at social media agency Laundry Service.

Prior to “promoted video”, marketers that wanted to include video in their Twitter ads had no choice but to embed content from third-party sites such as YouTube, which required users to tap multiple times to actually view the content.

The new “native” video functionality means users need only tap once to set video in motion, however, which Mr. Leon said is already boosting view rates considerably. According to one test he conducted, promoted tweets that made use of native video were viewed more than twice as often as those that used a YouTube embed, for example.

“The harder you make a consumer work to get to content, probably the bigger drop-off you’ll get,” explained Ms. Peterman, adding, “Any time your end objective is for a user to click to do something, the closer you can start to that click, the better,” she added.

So far Twitter’s video ads have also proved extremely cost effective, agencies report, although that’s partly due to the fact they’re currently only available to a select number of clients, which means competition for ad space is minimal.

Nonetheless, Mr. Leon conducted a second test in which he compared the performance of promoted video tweets with YouTube pre-roll video ads. The average cost per view on Twitter netted out at $0.01 per view, he said, compared with $0.10 on YouTube. He attributed the difference in cost to the fact that on Twitter, users began sharing it with their own followers — boosting its exposure.

As Ms. Peterman points out, however, it’s becoming increasingly important to tailor ad content to the specific platforms through which it’s being published. A piece of content that performs well on Twitter might not perform as well on YouTube simply because of the context and environment in which users are viewing it, for example.

“When it comes to content you need to think about who your target is, and the platform it’s on,” she said, adding, “So far on Twitter we’ve found short-form content in the 45 second range works best, but you have to make content that’s extremely engaging for users to stop and watch it.”