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Twitter Promoted Video: Will this work in India?

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | August 19, 2014
Twitter recently unveiled a new advertising programmme that delivers "promoted videos" to the tweet stream of users. afaqs! explores how viable this feature is for Indian advertisers.

Videos have emerged as the new big thing on the internet and brands are aggressively looking at online videos as they find new ways to connect to the consumer. As a response to this growing trend from advertisers, social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have also jumped into the game of offering video ads for advertisers.

Twitter Promoted Video

Twitter has just unveiled a new advertising programmme that delivers "promoted videos" to the tweet stream of users. Earlier this year, the platform began testing a new Twitter Video Card that streamlines video playback and brings a one-tap viewing experience in the users' timelines. These tests have shown that Tweets containing native Twitter video generate better engagement and more video views than before.

After months of experiments and feedback from users and brands, Twitter has now launched a beta version of Promoted Video, which builds upon the Twitter Amplify programme, and brings a new set of video tools to high-quality content producers. Using Promoted Video makes it easy for brands to upload and distribute video on Twitter, and to measure the reach and effectiveness of this content.

"It is an incredible storytelling medium and we're thrilled to be giving brands, publishers and a subset of verified users the ability to share organic and Promoted Video on Twitter," says David Regan, senior product manager, TV and Video, Twitter Inc.

Twitter gives advertisers the ability to run ads with a new Cost Per View (CPV) ad-buying model. This means that advertisers only get charged when a user starts playing the video. Additionally, advertisers using Promoted Video have access to robust video analytics.

Will it help Indian advertisers?

Nimesh Shah

Pratik Gupta

Nimesh Shah, head, Windchimes Communication, explains that Twitter has been under tremendous pressure from advertisers to increase its revenue options and hence this launch is not surprising given that a significant amount of online ad spends are directed to YouTube for video promotion. "Twitter is trying to grab a piece of that advertising money. But they should have come out with alternative billing mechanism or other product disruption. Google has a formidable product in YouTube and it will not let go of its share easily," opines Shah.

There is another argument that Twitter had started to look like a single dimensional text-based platform where most ads didn't seem to work. "It was important for Twitter to add this multi-media perspective to its product as advertisers will find it easier to experiment with video. Moreover, Twitter has been infamous for not being advertiser-friendly especially with their pricing. To make this product a success in India, Twitter will need to price it smartly," says Pratik Gupta, director, New Business and Innovations, Foxymoron.

There will be immense initial advertiser interest for this feature, and it remains to be seen how Twitter sustains this interest. Moreover, over time, there is also a possibility that brand managers might divert their Twitter spends from getting followers to promoting videos. But it is not all smooth. "Twitter is accessed largely through mobile phones and unless 4G plans are offered at low prices, I don't see a lot of video promotion happening in India," Shah adds.

Twitter accounted for 0.5 per cent of global digital ad revenues in 2013, according to research firm eMarketer, and expects to increase that to 0.8 per cent this year, as digital ad spending grows to $140.2 billion. Last month, Twitter announced that the number of monthly active users of the platform has hit 271 million, up 24 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.

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