Just like it promised a little while ago, Twitter today is announcing that it is starting a beta test of Promoted Video, an outgrowth of even earlier experiments it has had that will give Twitter another strong foothold in the online video ad business.
The wrinkle with Promoted Video seems to be that advertisers don’t have to make a huge commitment — at this point — to advertise there because Twitter will only be charging them on a cost-per-view ad buying model.
Advertisers only pay when a user “starts playing the video,” according to Twitter’s info -- but it’s unclear whether there is any minimum amount of time a user has to stick around for the message to count as a view in Twitter’s estimation.
Advertisers can also measure reach and effectiveness of their messaging with new video tools that can keep tabs on how many of those ads are actually seen to completion, breaking out organic versus paid video views.
The Promoted Video gambit didn’t come out of the blue. CFO Anthony Noto hinted at it in a recent earnings call, and of course, there’s been lots of talk — and some doubt — about Twitter’s ultimate value to advertisers, and investors, without a stronger video platform. Business Insider showed an example of what seems to be at least a cousin of Promoted Video in May.
Of course, Twitter already has Twitter Amplify, which connects Twitter video with other screens, most notably used for TV broadcasts of sports, and then let the user pass on the clip to other Twitter users, usually embedded with advertising. It has some major sports and network backers. Promoted Video seems more aptly aimed at the much broader array of advertisers just doing their work connecting buyer to seller.
Twitter tries a little to suggest Promoted Videos is just great for users by offering more video they can access through their accounts. But Emil Protalinski, writing for The Next Web.com, is more cynical.
“If the goal was to bring more video to Twitter, the company would be testing things like EmbeddedVideo, a bot that automatically tweets the embedded video in a link so that you can directly see it in your stream. In general, the company would be experimenting with getting users, not advertisers, to post more videos,” he writes.
Twitter is competing with Facebook for video presence with advertisers on social media. In the U.S., according to figures supplied by eMarketer, Twitter will fetch 1.5% share of the overall digital advertising market in 2014, up from 1% a year ago. But Facebook already 7.6% and that’s supposed to increase to 9.5% this year. That’s a $50.71 billion ad market, so those slices of the pie are significant.
But the real gap seems to be in mobile, where so much of the social business is heading. Twitter is expected to get 3.7% of the mobile ad market this year, but Facebook already has 15.8% and Google a gigantic 41.5% of the nearly $18 billion mobile market, again according to eMarketer stats.