Ooyala Lets ESPN Embed Video in Tweets

Ooyala has showed off its Twitter Video Card solution with a campaign from ESPN. Ooyala provides a platform for online video management, publishing, analytics and monetization. The new functionality lets Ooyala customers quickly embed clickable clips into tweets for instant playback.

The new feature inserts a thumbnail of the video directly into the stream, so that followers can play it without leaving Twitter. In addition to making a company’s Twitter feed more interesting, embedded video can also increase discovery of other content from that publisher, according to Brian Theodore, group product manager for insight and optimization at Ooyala.

“Before, you could tweet the link to a video, but the only action users had was to click through. Video Card keeps the experience in the stream,” he said.

The tech works with Ooyala Discovery, a service that lets video content providers recommend targeted and relevant content with the player. In ESPN’s case, if someone watches a highlight from a particular game within @ESPN, he or she might get a recommendation to watch more highlights from the game or a post-game event.

ESPN used tweet-embedded videos to promote live broadcasts of college football championship games, Theodore said. “Obviously, they want the fan experience to be on ESPN,” he said. “They set up a separate Twitter account, @ESPNCFB, tweeting out embedded instant replay clips to the live game, and all those clips had links back to the actual game. They used it almost like lead generation to harvest audiences to come to the live game.”

While many publishers use Twitter to increase inbound traffic to their websites, where they display ads, the Video Card solution can increase monetization for publishers of premium content that show ads within videos, Theodore said. Embedded video in tweets acts as another distribution channel for ads, as well as content, because pre-rolls, post-rolls or interstitial ads play as part of the video. The publisher maintains control of all the ad insertions.

“It’s an exceptionally good deal, because, even though happening on Twitter Card, there is no rev share,” Theodore said. Because the video is embedded within the tweet as an iFrame, he said, there is no way for Twitter to detect ads.

Twitter has certified Ooyala’s video player, speeding implementation by its customers across desktop, mobile web and native smartphone and tablet apps, Theodore said. Ooyala’s API automatically generates the necessary Twitter tags to enable Twitter Cards. Because the player is hosted on Ooyala’s platform, individual publishers using the solution don’t need to file individual requests to use a third-party player on their sites, Theodore said. “It cut the waiting time down to days instead of weeks.

Ooyala customers will receive data on the performance of their embedded tweets within Ooyala’s analytics.

Ooyala said the new feature also opens the door for video integration into Promoted Tweet advertising campaigns across Twitter. Theodore added that publishers should consider which videos and which ad units will create the best experience within Twitter. “For example, you don’t want to put a 30-second spot on the front,” he said. “We will likely see very short-form pre-roll ads, maybe five to 10 seconds — a very Twitteresque ad.”

Related reading

CNN screenshot featuring a Simpson’s video parody of President Trump