Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) has taken a cue from social network rival Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), announcing Tuesday it has started testing video advertisements within Tweets. A key difference between video ads on Twitter and video ads on Facebook, however, is that Twitter ads will only play when users manually press play.
With the new beta program, video advertisements will show up in users’ news feeds, similar to Twitter’s promoted tweets, the Wall Street Journal said. The venture has been noted by Recode as Twitter’s effort to get at some of the billions of dollars advertisers spend on TV ads.
Twitter currently has a miniscule stake in the advertising sector and hopes video ads will help bolster its influence in the market. The social network accounted for only 2.4 percent of the global mobile ad market and 3.3 percent of the U.S. ad market in 2013, research firm eMarketer reported. With its promoted video in place, Twitter could see its market share increase globally to 2.8 percent this year and 3.7 percent in the United States. In comparison, Facebook accounts for 17.8 percent of the global mobile ad market and 15.8 percent of the U.S. market.
While Twitter aims to increase its market share in advertisements and in turn its revenue, the company is also keeping users in mind with its click-to-play option. Conversely, Facebook’s new Premium Video Ads play automatically when a user scrolls past.
With its click-to-play structure, advertisers will only be charged when a user plays a video, which means Twitter's revenue from its new venture is dependent on users. But Twitter is optimistic the setup of its promoted videos will work in its favor.
“The overall goal is to bring more video into our users’ timelines to create a richer and more engaging Twitter,” the company said in a blog post Tuesday.