Twitter Follows Facebook With Autoplay Videos in Timeline

Twitter has followed in the footsteps of Facebook with the introduction of autoplaying video. 

In a move that is no doubt music to advertisers’ ears, videos, GIFs and Vines will now play automatically, albeit silently, as you scroll through your Twitter timeline.

Twitter said in a blog post: “Today it’s become even easier to enjoy video on Twitter. Now native videos, Vines and GIFs will begin to play back automatically. So you can keep up with the action without missing a tweet and get a better sense of what’s been shared instantly.”

If you see a video that tickles your fancy, you can tap it or flip your phone sideways to activate sound and make the video window bigger.

As might be expected, the news hasn’t gone down well with some Twitter users, who have – you guessed it – tweeted their dismay.   

However, maybe these users should have read Twitter’s full post before whingeing about the move, as the company has said that autoplaying videos can be switched off easily. 

Twitter explained: “Remember, you have ultimate control through your settings. You can choose to revert to the previous click-to-play experience all the time or simply have videos autoplay only when you’re connected to WiFi.

“If you’re somewhere with high data rates or you have low bandwidth on your device, we’ll opt you out of autoplay to avoid unexpected charges or slow performance, so you’ll continue to see videos as click-to-play.”

Autoplaying videos will show on Twitter for iOS and twitter.com from today, and will arrive on Android in the coming weeks.

Advertising Views

The move is being promoted as a positive development for users, but it is more likely that Twitter is appealing to advertisers that want video adverts to play directly in timelines without the user having to press play.

Twitter provided some insight into how it will use auto-play videos for advertisers, explaining that it will charge advertisers only if an advert is played for more than three seconds at 100 percent in-view on a device.

“We’re putting this standard of 100 percent viewability in place because we think it’s simply the right thing to do. If a video is not 100 percent in-view, we don’t think an advertiser should be charged,” the company said in a separate advertising blog post.

This move was welcomed by Ron Amram, senior media director for Heineken USA, who described it as an important metric for justifying online advertising spend.

“Viewability is one of the key drivers that make or break the effectiveness and ROI of any campaign, and we need to partner with platforms who understand this,” he said.

“Twitter continues to bring stronger value and deeper user engagement to their platform, and the evolution of its video product is a win/win for brands and the Twitter user experience.”

The news comes a week after Twitter announced that Dick Costolo is stepping down as chief executive to be replaced in the interim by site founder Jack Dorsey, in a move seen as recognition that Costolo has failed to grow the site’s user base.

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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