On Tuesday this week, Twitter announced that it will now offer a "more seamless video experience" on the network by rolling out autoplay videos.
Mirroring a move made by Facebook back in 2013, Twitter will now show native videos, Vines, and GIFs in users' feeds. This marks a big change to the Twitter experience for users, and an important change for brands that use Twitter to reach that audience. As such, this update is generating a lot of articles and analysis around the Web. To save you from having to read all of that right away, here are the 7 things you need to know about Twitter autoplay videos:
1. Yes, you can make it stop
Anticipating some backlash from the introduction of this new feature, Twitter has added a quick and easy way to shut it down on your feed. Although, according to Twitter's advanced research, you might not want to; users were 2.5 times more likely to prefer autoplay videos in their feed. To manage the way your Twitter account handles autoplay on your mobile device, do the following:
Tap your settings gear icon > tap Settings > tap Video Autoplay
2. No, this doesn't apply to YouTube videos
While Twitter doesn't come right out and say it in their announcement, videos must be native to Twitter (uploaded directly, or shot through the mobile app) to play automatically. Much like it does on Facebook, Twitter's autoplay feature puts YouTube videos at a huge disadvantage in the user's feed. What are the chances you're going to stop and hit play on a YouTube video when your feed is full of eye-catching action like this Vine of the Golden State Warriors victory dance?
CHAMPS! https://t.co/LPl2C770e7- Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) June 17, 2015
3. Yes, video ads will also auto play
It doesn't seem much of a stretch to say that the move toward autoplay was likely motivated by the potential for advertising dollars. Unsurprisingly, Twitter video ads will be among the new moving images you see when scrolling through your Twitter feed. This is great news for advertisers who will now be able to present far more information to viewers than they ever could with 140 characters and a still image. Yes, videos ads are already available on Twitter, but they have historically relied on the viewer to tap 'play' to view them - a somewhat unlikely scenario if we're all being honest with ourselves.
4. No, the sound will not play automatically
When people hear "autoplay video," the stricken look that appears on their face is likely because they are suddenly wondering if they'll still be able to discretely scroll through their Twitter feed during long business meetings. The answer, thank goodness, is yes. Just as on Facebook, the sound will not start playing unless you actually tap on the video.
5. Yes, this will change how Twitter counts views
Though advertisers should be pretty pumped about this new feature, whoever is in charge of the ad budget will likely be raising their hand about now. Not to worry; David Regan, senior product manager at Twitter, has already addressed these possible concerns:
"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." (Adweek)
In order for Twitter to charge an advertiser for a view, the video must be playing for 3 seconds once it is 100% in view on the viewer's device. A heartening statistic Twitter saw in its testing was the video completion rates were seven times higher for videos that played automatically.
6. No, it *should* not eat your data alive
While you can manually control the conditions under which videos will auto play on your device, Twitter has also taken your data usage into consideration:
"If you're somewhere with high data rates or you have low bandwidth on your device, we'll opt you out of autoplay to avoid unexpected charges or slow performance." (Twitter)
7. Yes, you will have it soon if you don't already
The new autoplay feature began rolling out to all Twitter desktop and iOS users on Tuesday, June 16th. The Android version does not currently exist, but the announcement assures readers that is it "coming soon."
How do you feel about Twitter's new autoplay video feature? Let us know in the comments