A Complete Guide To Twitter Promoted Video Ads

Looking to diversify your paid advertising spend? Columnist Larry Kim of WordStream recommends Twitter's Promoted Video ads.

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Twitter recently announced the broader launch of Promoted Video, their in-stream video advertising product. It’s been in beta with select advertising partners since August and is now available through Twitter account representatives.

Promoted Video is part of Twitter’s Amplify program, which was designed to “harmonize the two-screen experience.”

[blockquote]Twitter Amplify enables media companies and brands to capture the excitement on TV and distribute it to fans and audiences across Twitter, beyond their followers.[/blockquote]

This is a critical distinction for brands — if you expect Twitter Promoted Video to perform like YouTube ads, you may be in for a surprise. And while Twitter ads can target specific keywords in the same way as search ads, you’ll need to adapt your strategy to compete in social PPC.

This year, I’m focusing on diversifying my search ads budget to include social ads, and I can’t wait to see what Twitter can do with video.

Wait, Couldn’t I Already Post Video Ads?

Sure, you’ve been able to embed video in a tweet and promote the tweet for some time. Technically, even though you may be promoting the video, it’s still a Promoted Tweet. The good news is that you can do this from the self-serve ads platform.

What this means, though, is that you’re only going to see metrics like clicks on the ad, interactions with the tweet, impressions, etc. It’s still treated like a Promoted Tweet, regardless of the media contained within it.

In other words, you can’t see metrics you might expect with video, like the percentage watched (which you’re used to if you’ve run TrueView Ads on YouTube). I’ve experimented with Promoted Tweets containing video and didn’t see very good results. The last one I tried actually did terribly!

Promoted Tweet with Video Metrics
As you can see, it had very low engagement rates (below 1%, see above) and very high cost per engagements, above $3 USD.

To be fair, the video I experimented with was a full minute in length and was pretty typical business material. I’m going to produce a more exciting video (not sure of what yet), make it less than 30 seconds long, and try again soon!

So that’s one option, if you want to promote one of your business videos on Twitter.

Promoted Video on Twitter is different — it’s a native video ad offering available only through account reps at this time.

So What Is Twitter Promoted Video?

Promoted Video ads enable advertisers to upload video directly to Twitter and target using different parameters including keywords (either keywords used in tweets, or searched keywords on Twitter), interests, website tags, tailored audiences, device or carrier, TV targeting (users engaged with specific shows), and demographics.

Here’s what Promoted Video looks like:


As you can see, Promoted Video is native to the Twitter platform, so there’s no link to an external video source as there is when you embed a video in a regular tweet, like this:

Promoted Video is offered on a Cost Per View (CPV) model, so like YouTube’s TrueView video ads, you only pay for actual views.

Although Twitter designed this feature for the two-screen experience, it’s clear they’re marketing it to the business advertising audience as well.

In a blog post about their Promoted Video ads, senior product marketing manager John Heywood notes:

[blockquote]A recent study we commissioned from Nielsen found that purchase intent lift was 28% higher for users who chose to watch brand videos on Twitter than for users who saw the same videos as pre- or mid-roll ads during a 22-minute program.[/blockquote]

The premise is promising; native video ads subject to all of Twitter’s ad targeting parameters sounds pretty good, right?

How Does Promoted Video Work?

In 2014, Twitter began testing a new Twitter Card for video that made video viewing a one-click experience in the timeline. Twitter Cards power a ton of different rich media and engagement functions, but this one was designed to give high-quality video content producers (AKA big brands and media companies) more tools for native video.


Image: Twitter

With video cards, a brand could promote their video on Twitter, but also embed the tweet in their website (or anywhere else) and get that same one-click functionality.

Budweiser’s massively successful “Friends Are Waiting” campaign is a great example of the power of the two-screen experience. Remember the adorable yellow lab the beer brand used to tug on your heart strings in their anti-drunk driving Super Bowl ad?

On September 14, 2014, Budweiser released a new 60-second Promoted Video featuring the pup enjoying a series of adventures with his owner as he grew up, then waiting one night for him to return home from a night out.

For just a few seconds, we’re made to think he might not be coming home. He does, of course, explaining to his furry bestie that he made a responsible decision to stay overnight because he had been drinking.

Budweiser released the video on YouTube as well, where it’s earned over 20 million views since September. But on Twitter alone, the Promoted Video had over two million views in the first two days it was live.

So, how did it work?

  • Budweiser’s team has mastered the art of short storytelling and knows just how to keep their audience engaged throughout the video. Not one second seems wasted or like unnecessary space.
  • 80% of Twitter’s active users access the site via mobile devices, so brands trying to connect with mobile-first audiences (like millennials) find Twitter a great platform for it.
  • Using the hashtag #FriendsAreWaiting gave Budweiser a way to spread the word quickly, maximizing on their paid promotion with organic sharing. It also enabled them to connect the experience for users across media by featuring the hashtag in their television commercials, as well.

Second-screen is about more than promoting a TV show or product on both TV and the Internet. It means engaging your TV audience, as well, and drawing them into the viral conversation about your campaign on Twitter.

Don’t get hung up on video length if you decide to give it a shot. According to Twitter, Glade saw success with its 12-second Promoted Video, while Nike made it work in early testing with a video over four minutes long! It’s all about the story you’re telling.

Promoted Video Targeting and Performance Measurement

Who can you reach with Promoted Video?

If you’ve used Twitter Ads at all in any form, you’re probably accustomed to targeting by geography, gender, language, keyword, and interest or username.

A lot of people don’t realize Twitter also offers a website tag for remarketing, allowing you to tag your site visitors and create an audience out of them. You can also create these tailored audiences using your own lists of email addresses, phone numbers, Twitter IDs, mobile app users (collected using conversion tracking on your app) or mobile advertising IDs.

TV Targeting is a unique option for brands; it can help add reach beyond a TV buy, add frequency to existing TV campaigns or use TV signals as an approximation for demographics and interests.

This type of targeting allows advertisers to promote content to people engaged with (or likely to be engaged with) certain TV shows. Twitter hasn’t released a ton of information about Promoted Video targeting since it’s not a self-serve ad option, but you can bet TV targeting is part of it.

Similarly, there isn’t a lot of information available about performance measurement. However, Twitter promises that “advertisers using Promoted Video have access to robust video analytics, including completion percentage and a breakout of organic vs. paid video views.”

So is it worth giving Promoted Video a shot? Right now, you’d better have deep pockets if you want to give it a try, as it’s only available to Twitter partners (their larger advertisers). Get familiar with it, though; Twitter ultimately wants more native video in the feed – users love it. I won’t be surprised to see a self-serve Promoted Video offering in the near future.

If you already have a strategy and can be a first-adopter when it opens up, you’re ahead of the game!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Larry Kim
Larry Kim is founder and CTO of WordStream, provider of the AdWords Grader and 20 Minute PPC Work Week.

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