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Twitter release promoted video to improve its video advertising

Written by Heena | 10-Sep-2014 16:31:00

Twitter has launched a beta version of promoted video content using their player (video) card. This is an exciting addition to their advertising deck to help push video content out on the platform. The video format has made a huge impact in digital advertising, driving higher engagement through creating a deeper experience, and has now become one of the most popular formats for brands to embrace.  

Twitter has been rigorously testing the player (video) card format in the last few months, particularly noticeable during the World Cup, through sharing promoted videos where brands have been able to share videos through #hashtags for one tap play back. The platform had great success with visual content, with verified accounts seeing a 35% boost in retweets of content with photos embedded, and 28% increase when a video URL was included.


Twitter already offers a wide array of display advertising tools, and this year has seen the launched of several new advertising formats to create more appealing promoted tweets. An example of a new format is their app card where users can install apps from twitter on their mobile devices.


The launch of promoted video tweets is an extension of the current Twitter Amplify programme which enables brands to distribute content they broadcast in real-time (including photos, videos and other sponsored content) charged for based on engagement/actions achieved. Some of the partners who have joined the programme are BBC, NFL and The Weather Channel. A good example of the programme in action was at the Brit Awards where VO5 used the video tweets to display an ad in pre-roll before the tweet content started.

There are also new video tools within the platform for creating video content and measuring the reach and effectiveness of each promoted tweet. The new format within the timeline looks seamless and the promoted video will be identifiable by the yellow promoted symbol, as other promoted tweets are displayed.


Brands are now starting to invest more in video ads for broadcast online as they recognise the importance of the channel for reaching their audiences. The format gives greater flexibility than standard TV ads ever did with the opportunity to tell a story which customers can react to; an exquisite and expensive example of this is Johnnie Walker and Mr Porter joining forces to create the mini movie ‘The Gentleman’s Wager’ starring Jude Law: which has currently enjoyed over 8 million views and is one of a series of video content pieces designed to engage the 2 brands audiences.

The popularity of user generated content was capitalised on by Go Pro who used You Tube to share content and found their customers sharing their own video experiences too. Within the IAB’s guide to video marketing they state “video is fast becoming the medium that underpins the power of social networks”, highlighting the importance and relevance of the video promoted tweet launch to broadcast awareness of such high value content and maximise its impact.

Twitter’s overall goal for the video format “… is to bring more video into our users’ timelines to create a richer and more engaging Twitter”. To be able to support the new format twitter has launched a new buying model for video of Cost Per View (CPV) this is similar to the buying model which already exists for YouTube true view. Whilst video is not completely new to Twitter, as the ability to embed videos in tweets for advertisers has been around for a while, the new CPV buying structure allows advertisers to pay when a user manually starts the ad displayed. Even if a tweet generated several new followers, favourites or retweets, the commercial model only comes into play if the video is played.

Testing this new opportunity need not be expensive as brands could choose to capitalise on the impact of Vine videos on Twitter, using a similar video length as a good engagement length. As the format has just been released we are still awaiting more information on spend requirements for the format along with initial stats from successful campaigns.

(this is a GIF attached in the email which I have sent shows the video tweet in action)
Gif Source
Tweet Source

Facebook earlier this year announced its Premium Video ads which auto start as the user scrolls through their news feed – but Twitter does seem to more accessible from a commercial perspective at the moment. It will be interesting to compare the engagements achieved by both platforms to see if user initiated or auto playing drives a better ROI. Facebook may also be forced into lowering the barrier of entry to their video ads which currently makes them only viable for advertisers with stratospheric marketing budgets.

With Christmas fast approaching Twitter will be a platform to watch as this new format gets taken up. With whispers about a native shopping service it will be interesting to watch the trends and see how new capabilities change user experience and campaign effectiveness.