Social Media

No Surprise: Twitter’s First Update for Q1 is New Video Features

January 13, 2015

Video will be paramount for how marketers will engage consumers in 2015 if social networks have their way.  Reports from CES last week unveiled new information about Twitter’s proposed video capabilities that could have significant implications for marketers and how they leverage the platform this year.  While Twitter hasn’t yet confirmed many of the reports publicly, 360i has pulled together a full summary of the proposed updates and implications to help marketers prepare for the upcoming year.

Twitter’s Video Feature is Coming Soon
Since last summer, Twitter has worked diligently to update how video is being shared within the platform. Recent press coverage has reported Twitter will be rolling out new video enhancements in the coming weeks that will allow users to capture, edit and post video directly within the platform and app. The new features are expected to be similar to how you can currently capture, edit, post and tag images on Twitter.

In addition to changing the way people share and use video on Twitter, many in the industry are anticipating the new product will offer brands long-form content capabilities and metrics that are more competitive with Facebook and YouTube.  With the six-second Vine format being the only current video option on Twitter, this introduction will be a substantial product update and a significant shift for brands using the platform – which will reposition Twitter by allowing for long-form content and storytelling.  According to Digiday, the select group of advertisers and users currently testing the early native video unit are allowed to upload videos up to 10 minutes long.

Industry Speculates about Autoplay Ad Previews
While it’s not yet confirmed, the industry is buzzing about the possibility of Twitter creating demographic targeted video advertising, including an auto preview option for video content on the platform.  According to Advertising Age, Twitter is looking to merge autoplay functionality and a user-initiated pay structure for its promoted video products. The auto-preview is reported to be a six-second loop video that would preview longer-form video content.  The goal would be to help brands with viewability – an issue marketers have run into on the mobile platform – by changing the current user-initiated view-and-charge structure where publishers pay for only qualified views.  However, it’s yet to be seen how Twitter users might respond.

Marketer Implications
The following are specific ways marketers and publishers can consider taking advantage of these Twitter video updates:

  • Extend Brand Stories:  Six- and fifteen-second video content can be challenging formats for communicating brand messages, but valuable as a teaser to draw the viewer into the experience. With long-form content, brands can tell more full and continuous stories, while taking advantage of Twitter’s reach.  The introduction of more social video options beyond just Vine or Instagram will give brands and publishers deeper storytelling capabilities that reflect the 30- and 60-second formats that have been successful for YouTube, Facebook and TV.  This means video content will no longer have to be sliced and diced to fit into a slim six-second format, and if autoplay becomes a reality, the best moments can be showcased within the autoplay functionality to draw in viewers.

    Twitter video could be a game changer for tent-pole campaigns and events, such as the Super Bowl. If a brand has a spot within the big game, this new update can help the brand build a storyline natively on Twitter for an extended time. From game coverage to the top ad spots, it will be interesting to see how native video content could change the real-time story for Super Bowl 2015.  Beyond large-scale events, new video formats will allow brands to test and experiment with rich content experiences on Twitter.
  • Enhance Consumer Connections:  User-generated content campaigns will be much easier to administer and run, as consumers will now be given the opportunity to easily create longer videos within the platform. This has specific implications for live events, such as award shows, where content can be captured and posted on the fly and connected by a centralized hashtag. Imagine if during large scale awards program, like the Golden Globes or the CMAs, consumers were able to share video congrats, questions or celebrations with celebrities or presenters directly through Twitter video content? The native update and extended time allowance could enhance how Q&As are conducted within the platform, making the connection from consumer to brands and celebrities even greater– with the ability to create and post video content on the fly.  In addition, brands can build a presence and drive engagement from trade shows and events through content experiences that can be viewed directly in the Twitter feed. Tacking on Twitter’s additional voting capabilities, consumers can provide instant feedback on content and products within the videos.
  • Test Video Creative:  Twitter’s new video functionality will allow publishers and brands to test out concepts and content without blowing a budget, in addition to coupling different kinds of Twitter activations.  For example, potential autoplay loop opportunities can help brands gauge the strongest visual cues and moments to pull viewers in by allowing them to A/B test content related to larger campaigns or new products.  For example, if a brand is tinkering with a few new campaigns, it can create videos to test and then use the polling mechanism within Twitter to get real-time feedback about the video content to see if it’s resonating.
  • Differentiate Between Twitter and Vine:  This new update further differentiates Twitter and its sister platform Vine according to the user bases’ intentions.  Vine has found its primary success from engaging Millennials and tweens looking for funny videos and magic tricks, but many brands have had difficulty developing an authentic voice on the platform. The availability of longer-form video content will give brands more storytelling opportunities, while potential autoplay functionality could create opportunities for brands to cross-promote content across both Twitter and Vine by leveraging the six-second format.

While Twitter’s full plans for video are still not public, 2015 is sure to be a big year for new and significant enhancements.  Brands can and should take advantage of Twitter’s new video capabilities, and marketers will want to keep a close eye on new ways consumers are engaging with the platform.

Cover photo via The Video Ink