Twitter video: what marketers need to know

Twitter video: lets users shoot and post longer clips than Vine allows
Twitter video: lets users shoot and post longer clips than Vine allows

The roll-out of Twitter video is a positive move to further improve user experience, writes Andy Pringle, head of performance media, Performics UK, part of the ZenithOptimedia Group.

While Facebook has a core value of "shipping" regular platform, product and service updates, Twitter is more considered.

Its latest video update is built with the consumer in mind, enabling people to capture real-time experiences and enter the debate in innovative ways.

For this reason, while it’s consumer-focused, Twitter video will nonetheless offer opportunities for the right brands.

Twitter can be considered a reactionary platform. Video adds another string to its bow – it’s fast, stands out and is easily shareable.

Where Vine clips are only six seconds long, the 30-second timeframe of Twitter video will let users convey more detail than a 140-character tweet.

The speed of video and the way in which Twitter is used to access up-to-date information means the tool will no doubt lend itself to live experiences, events and people-focused content.

But this factor also means the platform won’t be right for every brand, and should be used accordingly.

Brands looking to use this form of video must be really imaginative. Pushing our existing TV ads or content won't wash

Twitter video is not a paid-for advertising product – it already has one of those. Facebook’s recent focus has been in getting advertisers to invest in paid-for ad products, whereas Twitter’s video update gives brands an opportunity to think more organically about the platform.

This, in turn, demands that brands looking to use this form of video be really imaginative. Pushing our existing TV ads or content won’t wash.

To gain organic reach and maximise shareability, content needs to be topical, relevant, creative, funny and, crucially, specific to the platform.

If brands get the content right, the video platform has huge potential to integrate with Twitter’s other features and ad products.

For example, a brand using Twitter Amplify when tracking conversations and serving ads around TV shows, may want to complement this with organic video content.

The pitfalls that Twitter might face are the policing of the video content. During the World Cup, users were compiling Vine clips of goals filmed at matches. As a result, the Premier League warned users that it would clamp down on unofficial videos.

As ever with content posted on social channels, Twitter video could present issues with ownership and, at scale, would be much harder to police.

While many might see Twitter video as a rival to the products offered by Facebook and YouTube, we actually need to go back to the core offering of each channel and establish why consumers use the platform.

Lots of definitions abound, but largely, YouTube is "destination content" and Facebook is "discovery content". But a unique benefit of Twitter is "instantaneous content".

Twitter serves to deliver real-time news and issues straight into the hands of the consumer, and brands looking to use this new service have to keep this in mind.

User experience must be at the forefront of the content they create if they are to gain any traction with the medium.

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