Twitter Is Now Testing Autoplay Videos

Chris CrumMarketing & Advertising

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We recently heard that Twitter was meeting with top ad execs about potentially running autoplay videos. The feature, according to a report from AdWeek, is at the "top of advertisers' wish lists for Twitter".

It looks like Twitter is now dipping its toes into the autoplay water in a limited capacity. The company is reportedly testing the feature with a small group of users on iOS. AdAge reports:

This autoplay video test will apply to Promoted Video ads, videos that users upload through Twitter's mobile app and clips that are part of its Amplify program, which lets companies like ESPN and the NFL post videos with pre-roll ads, according to a person familiar with the matter. Videos that originate in Vine, Twitter's company's 6-second-video app, will not play automatically on Twitter as part of this test.

In one prong of the experiment, some people will see entire videos automatically play in a loop, while in the other, users will see looping 6-second autoplay previews teasing a video, the person said. Both formats will play the videos on mute. If people click on either video format, the video will expand to full-screen and play with sound.

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. At the time, Twitter said tests showed that tweets containing native Twitter video generate better engagement and more video views than before.

It's hard to imagine that adding autoplay to the videos won't result in even better engagement. It certainly seems to have worked for Facebook.

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. The social network has been autoplaying videos since fall of 2013. In January, the company revealed that the number of video posts per person had increased 75% globally and 94% in the US over the past year, while the amount of video from people and brands in News Feed increased 3.6x year-over-year.

Nowadays, brands are posting more native Facebook videos to the social network than YouTube videos. In case you haven't seen this chart yet:

That's a pretty remarkable change in a year's time, and Twitter has no doubt been paying attention.

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.

One would think adding autoplay to Twitter video would only lead to increased engagement (and less YouTube video tweets from brands).

Images via Twitter, SocialBakers

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.