Twitter's Video Plans Include Autoplay Ad Previews

Advertisers Would Only Pay If People Click to Play

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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Advertisers love Facebook's autoplaying video ads as well as YouTube's pay-for-plays ones. Now they're getting excited about Twitter's potential to combine the two features in its own nascent video ad product.

Twitter is mulling the possibility of making promoted videos automatically play 6-second previews when they pop up in people's feeds, according to people briefed on the company's plans. If the autoplay previews were to catch someone's eye, that person could click to watch the full video.

Twitter is also considering charging advertisers only when people click to watch a full video as opposed to charging for the initial autoplay previews, the people said.

Twitter hasn't firmly committed to the autoplay preview feature for ads or how it would charge advertisers for those ads, but the company's executives discussed both possibilities with advertisers in meetings during this week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.

Twitter announced its promoted video ads in August 2014 as a beta test for advertisers to bring their growing digital video budgets to the publicly traded social media company. At the time the company said that people would have to click to watch a promoted video and advertisers would be charged by the view.

Agency execs who have been briefed on Twitter's plans said that the autoplay preview feature and pay-for-plays cost structure would combine the best of Facebook's and YouTube's video ad products.

As with Facebook's autoplay video ads, Twitter's autoplay video ads could give brands a better chance of attracting people's attention. And only charging advertisers if people click to watch the video could qualify those views, ensuring that advertisers are only paying for the people who really wanted to watch their ads, as with YouTube's TrueView video ad product.

It's unclear whether Twitter will extend the autoplay preview capability to non-promoted videos, such as those media companies or regular people would post using Twitter's native video player, which the company teased in November and said would roll out in the first half of this year.