Twitter tests videos that play automatically

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Twitter Is Now Testing Autoplay Videos.

Twitter has started to let videos play automatically in some people’s feeds, in a test that could allow it to make more money from video advertising. One of the hotter topics of discussion among media and ad executives last week at the South by South West Interactive conference (besides of course, have you Meerkated yet?) was the mystery around Facebook ‘s video advertising plans.It seems like everyone wants to shove autoplaying videos in your face and now Twitter wants to join the ranks of Facebook and Instagram in the fight for your eyeballs.

The videos will play automatically for a small percentage of people who use Twitter’s iOS app in the U.S. “We’re running a small test on a few variations on the video playback experience,” a Twitter spokesman said. There has been speculation on the subject for months, as Facebook continues to emerge as a video content distribution powerhouse that some believe will seriously challenge YouTube. This goes for videos ads and users uploaded videos alike, as the company tests whether people are more likely to sit through a video if the action’s already started. The test, first reported by Advertising Age, applies both to videos uploaded by users and to those posted by advertisers, but it doesn’t apply to looped videos from Twitter’s Vine service.

Over the past year, Facebook has started attracting content from Web video stars, advertisers and content companies creating original series specifically for the platform. Reported first by AdAge, the experiment aims to test the reaction of users to autoplay video by dividing subjects into two groups, one that will see entire videos play in a loop and the other that will see looping six-second previews of videos. According to TheNextWeb, Twitter might be getting autoplay advertisements that will force you to mute your computer or risk hearing something about Burger King’s new “chicken fries” yelled into your office. It’s fairly obvious that the answer will be an overwhelming ‘yup’ to that question, since a moving thing in your timeline is going to attract your attention fairly easily.

Take HBO, which saw a trailer for the upcoming season of “Game of Thrones” get viewed 22 million times in 48 hours after it was posted to Facebook in late January. Videos with autoplay can originate from Twitter’s promoted video ads, mobile users uploads, and clips from its Amplify program that gives companies the option to post pre-roll ads. Aside from a handful of partnerships with the National Football League and others featuring “post roll” video ads, most Facebook video content doesn’t yet carry ads.

Negative attention is a thing … You’ve previously experienced the autoplay ads on Facebook and YouTube, so apparently the advertising hunger has finally reached the Twitter bird. In Ad Age’s reporting of the obnoxiousness, they claim that “videos that originate in Vine, Twitter’s company’s 6-second-video app, will not play automatically on Twitter as part of this test.” So that’s good, but it isn’t going to spare us in the long run.

And there seemed to be two camps emerging over what form it will take: one group is betting that pre-roll ads are inevitable, while another group believes that Facebook is preparing to push a unique, proprietary Web video ad unit around six seconds in length. While Twitter video is still new to users, the company introduced Promoted Video for advertisers back in August after months of testing a Twitter video card with one-tap viewing. Those 15-second ads were meant to be Facebook’s answer to TV buys, as they played automatically to large swaths of the site’s audience, with one advertiser running the ads each day. It has also acquired two video focused startups this year, Niche, which links video “creators” with brands, and Periscope, the creator of a yet-to-be launched live streaming app. As recently as December, there were reports that Twitter was torn on whether or not to offer autoplay videos, but since then, we’ve seen Facebook tout its video numbers.

Attend MarTech and hear first-hand how brands like Coca-Cola, Aetna, Dell, EMC and Netflix are harnessing the power of technology to produce exceptional customer experiences that deliver business results. According to SocialBakers data, as reported by AdWeek, 82% of brands posting videos on Twitter share YouTube clips compared to 16% who share videos from Twitter or Twitter-owned Vine, while Twitter and Vine videos account for about 70% of retweets and favorites generated by all video on Twitter. As for how Facebook will attach ads to video content, one Web video executive said he’d heard the six-second ad theory floated a number of times, and thought it made sense, particularly in light of the popularity of Vine, the Twitter-owned video platform that features six-second videos.

Many point to Facebook’s professed devotion to user experience–and the fact that videos on Facebook now play automatically–as reasons it is unlikely the company will add pre-roll ads. “When we all heard that Facebook was going to do auto-play video, we we’re saying, ‘they’re nuts,’”said Joanna Kennedy, supervisor of digital content strategy at the agency RPA. “But they did such a great job seeding [auto-play] with people’s own videos, things like their ‘Year in Review.’ When I try to think of what would be the angle for getting people used to pre-roll in their news feeds, I don’t see it.” However, there’s a compelling reason that most digital media companies offer pre-roll ads: it’s easy for advertisers to use the same ads they run on TV.

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