A guide to Twitter Promoted Video

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

With bigger phone screens and unprecedented access to high speed Internet, it’s no surprise that we’re watching more video online and on mobile devices. Whether it’s to stay updated on breaking news, a game-winning touchdown, new music from a favorite musician or timely messages from brands, people turn to Twitter to discover what’s going on in their world.

With this in mind, we’ve been testing Promoted Video, a new way for brands to post videos that users can play in their timelines with a single tap. Promoted Video comes with robust targeting options and cost per view pricing, so you only pay when someone chooses to watch by clicking “play.”

The results of early tests have been strong. A recent study we commissioned from Nielsen* found that purchase intent lift was 28% higher for users who chose to watch brand videos on Twitter than for users who saw the same videos as pre- or mid-roll ads during a 22-minute program. We also found that users watching branded content on Twitter versus other platforms sat closer to the screen, were more likely to smile, and were more willing to remain engaged with videos longer than 30 seconds.

So how can you use Promoted Video to drive viewership and purchase intent? Here are six best practices we’ve seen:

1. Create compelling Tweets to invite users to watch your video.
Use a high-quality thumbnail image and Tweet text to captivate your audience and give them a preview of what your video is about. Universal Pictures used a custom thumbnail image to tease the trailer for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which was launched exclusively on Twitter:

2. Communicate the value of your video quickly, but don’t feel constrained by length.
People come to Twitter to discover new content. Whether your video is educational, humorous or emotional, make that clear early on to draw in viewers. Here, Glade explains their video and music offering in just 12 seconds:

Once viewers are drawn in, use the time you need to tell your story: test different video lengths, Tweet text, thumbnail images and ad targeting options to learn what resonates most with your audience. For example, this Nike World Cup spot runs over four minutes, but engages users from start to finish:

3. Use video to spark conversations on Twitter.
One of the most exciting and unique aspects of Twitter is the real-time engagement it enables between consumers and brands. Use Promoted Video to start conversations with people interested in your content. In this instance, GE educates users about the complexities of the brain, and follows up with personalized @replies to build loyalty.

4. Optimize your video content for mobile.
Research shows that mobile video is the most attention-grabbing of all digital advertising formats. On Twitter, 90% of Promoted Videos views happen on mobile devices.

To connect with this mobile audience, make sure your video plays well on a small screen and use contrasting colors and close-ups to maintain viewers’ attention. Here’s an example from Duracell:

5. Use Promoted Video to complement your TV strategy.
By combining Promoted Video and TV Targeting, it’s easy to align your TV and Twitter strategies. Brands can promote Tweets to people on Twitter who have likely seen their TV ads, or leverage TV engagement signals on Twitter to reach new audiences for the first time.

Footlocker used Promoted Video to distribute a TV commercial just as the spot began to air to maximize distribution and social sharing. The result: nearly 7,500 Retweets:

Mountain Dew took a similar approach. The brand promoted an expanded version of its 30-second TV spot on Twitter. By including humor, action and an exclusive offer, they created an asset that Twitter users loved to share.

6. Align your brand with premium, real-time TV content.
Twitter Amplify is a great way to distribute your message and be part of the excitement of TV. As an Amplify sponsor, you can pair your short video ad with real-time TV content and promote it to your target audience. With Twitter Amplify, your message will reach people well beyond your followers:

Ready to get started with Promoted Video? Reach out to your account representative today.

*The study: In November 2014, we worked with Nielsen to study 500 Twitter users in a media lab in Las Vegas. Three hundred users were shown a Twitter timeline with a selection of Promoted Videos, and were asked to spend 10 minutes engaging with whatever content they found interesting. The remaining 200 users were shown the same ads before or during a 22-minute video program. To normalize for screen experience, users in both categories viewed the content on mobile and desktop. Surveys were conducted before and after the test to determine brand lift. Facial coding was used to measure users’ emotional engagement.