A significant part of evolving Twitter into a more valuable offering for ad partners will be incorporating more original video content, with new CEO Linda Yaccarino bringing her years of experience in building an ad-supported video platform into the business.
Yaccarino was a key player in establishing NBC’s Peacock service, which now has over 20 million subscribers, and it’s this knowledge that Twitter will be looking to integrate into its own video offering, as it seeks to merge Twitter’s popularity as a ‘second-screening’ service (i.e. a complementary platform to regular TV viewing) into a more singular entertainment solution.
Which is the way that all social platforms are headed. TikTok has led the way, in transforming social apps from person-to-person interaction, to more of a straight feed of entertainment. And now, Twitter’s looking to follow suit – and along this line, it’s added a range of new video elements to feed into this new shift.
For example, earlier this month, Twitter added picture-in-picture (PiP) playback, so that Twitter videos continue to stream outside of the app.
Twitter’s also improved its screen mirroring integration, making it easier to cast Twitter video to your home TV set, while it’s also added more responsive playback controls to enhance the video viewing experience.
Its most recent addition on this front is an upfront Airplay button on iOS, making it easier again to stream Twitter videos direct to your TV set.
In addition to this, Twitter also now allows Twitter Blue subscribers to upload videos up to two hours in length, aligning with its broader creator monetization push, which it’s hoping will encourage more publishers to share their content direct to the app, putting it in competition with YouTube, and other platforms, as an entertainment destination.
Twitter still has a way to go on this front, with YouTube offering significantly more revenue generation potential. But the pathway is being developed – and with bigger publishers like Apple also experimenting with uploading longer video content to the app, that could help to pave the way for Twitter’s expanded video push, and facilitate all new opportunities for creators and advertisers in the app.
On the latter, Yaccarino recently noted that developing improved full-screen, sound-on ads will be one of her key areas of focus early on, while she’s also working to lure more celebrities and influencers to the app to feed into this new push.
The idea is that Twitter will eventually facilitate a similar, full-screen video feed to TikTok, but with Twitter-exclusive content, with big-name stars like Tucker Carlson leading the way, by switching to Twitter as an alternative platform for his cancelled Fox News program.
Though the early returns, at this stage, highlight that there’s still some way to go in shifting user behaviors in this respect.
Tucker Carlson’s new Twitter show gleaned a lot of attention early on, with the first episode, based on Twitter’s video view count, generating 26.7 million total views. That had Musk touting the reach of the platform, in a pitch to other broadcasters – but since then, views of subsequent episodes have declined, with the most recent show, the eighth of the new program, reaching only 3.8 million viewers.
That’s still a significant audience, no doubt, but the declining view stats show that Twitter users have not realigned how they use the app just yet, and that Twitter still has some way to go in evolving behaviors in line with its new video push.
Can Twitter get it right, and merge the platform’s popularity as a real-time news source into an online video powerhouse?
Twitter’s been trying to do this for years, in various ways, as a means to become a more significant provider of entertainment, along with related commentary. It hasn’t succeeded – but maybe, with Yaccarino at the helm, Twitter can re-establish user norms, and merge more video content into the app, thereby creating a new opportunity for video ads, and more reach to viewers as a result.
There’s a lot to be done, but the framework is slowly taking shape, and that could deliver new reach potential for your Twitter campaigns.