Twitter has announced that videos, Vines and Gifs will play automatically in timelines by default in an effort to appeal to advertisers by letting them put adverts directly into users’ timelines.
The company has started rolling out the change for users of its app on iOS and on the Twitter.com website. The Android update is listed as coming soon.
Twitter said that the move is designed to make it easier for people to see content, as it believes that the current set-up, whereby users have to actively choose to run a video, is time consuming.
See more, tap less - videos now autoplay on Twitter! Your thumbs deserve a break. 👍 https://t.co/l73nC6Eq4o— Twitter (@twitter) June 16, 2015
Videos will now play automatically, albeit without sound, as outlined by Baljeet Singh, product director for media, TV & video at Twitter, in a blog post.
“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,” he said.
“Once you tap the video, sound will turn on and the video will continue to play in an expanded view. If you turn the video to landscape mode, the sound will automatically turn on and the video will expand to fill the screen.”
This is now the default setting, but Singh said that users can set their profile to revert to the previous video play method, and the site will also know if you’re roaming or have low data speeds and turn the feature off automatically.
“You can choose to revert to the previous click-to-play experience all the time or simply have videos auto-play only when you’re connected to WiFi,” Singh said.
“If you’re somewhere with high data rates or you have low bandwidth on your device, we’ll opt you out of auto-play to avoid unexpected charges or slow performance, so you’ll continue to see videos as click-to-play.”
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 firm said in a separate advertising blog post.
Introducing autoplay and new standard for viewability. Advertisers will only be charged when a video is 100% in-view https://t.co/8BEVzZT7wM— Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) June 16, 2015
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 move comes a week after Twitter announced that Dick Costolo is stepping down as CEO 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.
Infected apps have been downloaded more than 50 million times
Customers of regular price-raising ISP and cable operator claim nationwide outages started on Monday
Pixel 2 smartphones and a Pixel-branded laptop also planned by Google
The moment you've all been waiting for...