Twitter finally introduces video autoplay

Nicola Riches
By Nicola Riches | 17 June 2015

After much speculation, Twitter has confirmed that it will roll out autoplay for video across its platform.

It is believed that there was much internal debate over the decision, with some senior figures arguing that the move towards video takes Twitter further away from its original USP – that of a text-based information and entertainment provider – and pits it directly against competitors.

Only five days ago its CEO Dick Costolo announced he would be stepping down, as co-founder Jack Dorsey revealed he would take over as interim chief executive.

Twitter's internal wrangling over video is far from trivial – the company's struggles are clearly rooted in its inability to find the right formula to tap into a mass market.

In rolling out autoplay, Twitter now goes head-to-head with YouTube and Facebook, which back in January told Adnews that it had “shifted everything about the platform to be about video.”

When a user scrolls through the Twitter timeline and sees a video, that content will begin to automatically play while muted. Clicking on the video will bring the user into the full-screen viewer with sound and continue playing.

Videos, say the firm, will appear in a larger, more media-centric format in timelines and it will only charge advertisers when a video is 100% in view on the user's device and has been watched for at least three seconds, much like Google's TrueView commitment.

“If a video is not 100% in-view, we don’t think an advertiser should be charged.” it confirmed in a blog post.

Twitter is also in active discussions with both Nielsen and Moat to provide third-party verification of the metrics of video campaigns to ensure partners have complete transparency around the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Twitter first entered the video fray at the start of this year, initially with a function that allowed users to upload 30-second videos.

According to Google-published data, when people watch videos on a mobile device, 64% claim they are fully immersed. Just 2% say it's a background activity.

Australian smartphone penetration is still sitting higher than the UK (71%) and the US (57%) at 77% - although falls behind the UAE at 91%.

Email Nicola at nicolariches@yaffa.com.au.

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