Twitter wants to build out its advertising offering on the claim that it is the place for high quality video views, boasting that people are watching branded posts all the way through to the end.
The volume of video consumption on the social network has jumped significantly over the last six months, with native video views up 150x across Twitter, Periscope and Vine. “Now the entire ad industry has been engaged in a dialogue about high-quality video views, something that's lacking on most ad platforms,” Adam Bain, chief operating officer, told analysts on the conference call for its quarterly earnings yesterday evening (28 October).
To exploit the trend, Twitter started only charging for a video ad once it’s in view for at least three seconds in June and in the same month it introduced autoplay on all devices, which sparked a 84 per cent decrease in the cost per video views. The drop meant that the cost per engagement also fell because the cost per view of auto-play video is dramatically lower than that of click-to-play, meaning better value for advertisers.
Additionally, marketers saw a 7x increase in the amount of video completion - people aren’t just watching more video on Twitter, they are watching video all the way through to the end, claimed the company.
Advertisers and agencies including WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell are demanding underperforming display shifts, urging the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Google to introduce more robust measurement and attribution metrics. Twitter believes it can satisfy that need, claiming that advertisers are starting to see it as a strategic partner and not just a media owner.
“Now these results demonstrate how changes in our video ad features are helping marketers drive higher ROI,” said Bain.
To bring real scale to this proposition, Twitter wants to improve the cost per video, developing a number of features over the next few quarters to lower rates. Case in point is how it’s opening up new video focused inventory with the launch of Promoted Moments, a feature currently only available in the US to select advertisers.
But these plans will prove futile in the long run if Twitter can’t convince more people to sign up. It reported 320 million average active monthly users in the third quarter, up from 316 million in the prior quarter, but missed analysts’ forecasts of 324 million. The lower than expected growth in users was compounded by the social network’s fourth revenue forecast of $695m and $710m, well below the average prediction of $739.7, according to Thomson Reuters.
It marked Twitter’s first quarter since co-founder Jack Dorsey returned earlier this month as its permanent chief executive. He used the quarterly announcement to reiterate his focus on offering a simplified experience that’s much easier to communicate in its marketing.
Part of this strategy has seen the introduction of its Event Targeting tool to capitalise on the live nature of the platform. It means marketers can manage an ad campaign around an event versus hand picking all the keywords and interest to reach the right audience. There’s also the marketing campaign for Moments, which has just launched in the US ahead of a wider rollout in 2016 and will offer the first glimpses of how the brand will be promoted in the future.
No update was given on the social network’s search for a chief marketing officer, although the company is working to integrate its team across marketing, communciations, content and media.