Will New Video Ads and Internal Agency Finally Propel Twitter Forward?

October 25th, 2017

Will New Video Ads and Internal Agency Finally Propel Twitter Forward

Twitter has, at minimum, three big problems:

  1. A declining base that is actually getting smaller in the United States
  2. Ad revenues that are similarly stagnant
  3. Constant battles over the platform being used for harassment and abuse

Add to this list the fact that while video has been available on Twitter since 2010, followed by the company’s acquisitions of Vine in 2012, and Periscope in 2015, many advertisers have been non-plussed about the platform’s video ad capabilities.

With Facebook and Instagram video ads skyrocketing in popularity, combined with the ongoing threat presented by Snapchat for the attention of young social media users, Twitter had to do SOMETHING to further unlock advertisers’ video lucre.

And. They. Did.

Introducing Video Website Cards

Twitter last week rolled out a new advertising format that combines Vine-like six-second videos (they don’t loop, however) with the ability to drive traffic from Twitter to a defined URL.

Called “Video Website Cards,” this new opportunity seems daunting at first. “H0w can I engage a target audience in SIX seconds?” But, the beta advertisers like Macy’s are proving it’s possible as long as you focus on a quick-cut, no-dialog experience that feels a little like an abbreviated Snap story:

One of the best features of this new format is the ability to optimize for clicks or for conversions. In fact, in their announcement blog post, the Twitter team says these new ads are delivering twice the results compared to benchmark mobile video ads.

I like this format, and this opportunity, a lot. I’ll be testing Video Website Cards soon.

But Seriously, Six Seconds?

Twitter may understand that doing six-second ads well isn’t intuitive for many marketers. Thus, in a companion release, they announced #Fuel (unnecessary hashtag included), a cadre of Twitter creative types working as an ersatz agency to help big companies do video better on Twitter.

Converse is one of the first brands to take advantage of #Fuel, partnering with Twitter on a recurring video series aimed at Millennials and Gen Z called “Converse Public Access.” Stars of the series include Miley Cyrus and Maisie Williams.

The whole idea of #Fuel is admirable on one hand, as brands might be quite keen to get some help with this kind of campaign. I’m less certain that agencies are going to be excited about this move, however, as it potentially puts Twitter in the position of competing for services revenue against the very same agencies that are buying the Twitter ads in the first place.

Twitter describes #Fuel like this:

“#Fuel is a rapid-response hub to help brand partners develop content strategy, activate creative ideas, and optimize content for the feed, all with a focus on enhancing the consumer experience on Twitter.”

Sounds like an agency to me.

It will be very interesting to see if the community of large agencies and media buyers embraces or rejects #Fuel.

How about you? What are your experiences with Twitter video ads?

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