Twitter is considering changing videos posted with in the news stream from click to play to autoplay in a move aimed to compete for video ad revenue and expand their ad offerings to advertisers, especially big brands.
Many brands, especially those that tend to you have viral videos, with love to see the autoplay feature. They get more views of their videos and potentially more shares. And it results in many people seeing their video who otherwise would not have hit play.
Another reason that brands are excited about Twitter potentially switching to autoplay is that if they are paying for video ads, the cost of video ads on Twitter is significantly cheaper than it is on Facebook or other platforms. According to Adweek, video views on Twitter can run two cents per view, the same video can cost up to a dollar on other platforms. So the affordability could be a huge draw for brands.
Of course, Facebook has been using autoplay since earlier this year, and as a result they have been catching up with YouTube for overall video views. While not everyone is actually watching these videos on Facebook, there still being counted as views. And Facebook is also aggressively pursuing YouTube stars to encourage them to post on Facebook.
However Twitter has always been primarily a text-based platform, even though users can share images and videos. And there’s concerned that Twitter could end up alienating their viewers that they make the change, especially if many advertisers are drawn to the platform due to its low cost for video ads. There will definitely be users extremely upset if they make the autoplay change, however, while there was a lot of pushback against Facebook initially when they switched to autoplay, you seldom hear complaints about it anymore.
Earlier this year Twitter purchased SnappyTV, the service for clipping, editing and sharing video clips from various live broadcast in almost real time. The real-time aspect is key because it allows Twitter to Post video content very quickly. Twitter’s advantage has always been that they are the first to report breaking news, and if they expand the program of offering these non-paid video clips in near real-time it might make the transition to video ads less painful or obvious to Twitter users.
Twitter is still debating internally whether to change their video model from click to play to a Facebook style autoplay. But with Twitter still struggling with revenue, chances are pretty good they will decide to go the autoplay route, even if it’s just a limited test start in order to test the waters of Twitter users. Twitter also needs to be conscious of their users however, especially as other platforms – such as Instagram – are beating them with overall user numbers and Twitter suffers from problems encouraging new users to figure out the platform and become regulars.
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