Twitter, following its arch-rival Facebook, introduced an auto play feature for video sharing on Tuesday. With the new feature, native videos, Vines, and GIFs will begin to play automatically on a user’s timeline, and then unmute once a user taps on them.
Addressing advertisers concern
In a blog post, Twitter noted that using the new auto-pay feature is totally up to users. Users, if they wish, can opt for the old click-to-play experience. A user can choose their own setting. For instance, setting videos to auto play only when connected to Wi-Fi, or have click-to-play videos when bandwidth is low. The sound will turn on, and the video will expand to fit the screen once a user turns the video to landscape mode.
Adam Bain, Twitter’s president of revenue and partnerships, said that the company has learned that “showing a thumbnail with a play button isn’t enough to entice consumers,” adding “Consumers preferred this video viewing experience on Twitter more than any other experience.”
To make it more attractive for advertisers, Twitter is trying to address the concerns of marketers that video ads are not seen as they appear on parts of the pages that users never visit. Moreover, in some views, only half of the video are actually viewable. To address this concern, Twitter said advertisers will only be charged, when 100% of the video is in view for at least three seconds.
Will Twitter be able to monetize new feature
Amid the management shakeup and the unimpressive numbers in the last quarter, it will be interesting to see how much financial benefit the micro-blogging firm gets from auto play video feature. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Auto play feature could help Twitter increase its revenue as Facebook has already set a successful example in monetizing the feature.
In 2013, a similar feature was introduced by Facebook, which enabled a video to play on mute on a users’ News Feed, and unmute only when a user wants it. Debra Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer, notes advertisers prefer Facebook and YouTube for video ads primarily due to the massive number of people using these platforms. Twitter struggles on this front as its reach is comparatively limited.
As of now, the new feature from Twitter is currently available for iOS and the web, while the Android version is expected to be released soon.