Twitter is introducing a new video ad format today designed to help brands drive traffic to their websites and other ecommerce properties and increase sales.
The Video Website Card, which has been in limited beta with some advertisers for several months already, is an extension of the Website Card that launched back in 2014. In a nutshell, the video-focused ad format allows companies to demo products or services in your Twitter feed, while reducing the friction from the purchase process.
“As users have come to expect more personalized interactions with brands, we’re increasingly hearing from brands that they want to create more seamless user experiences for consumers along various stages of the path to conversion,” noted Twitter product manager Sean Huang, in a blog post.
For example, Trident Gum — one of the early beta partners — could broadcast one of its video ads inside a tweet while linking to its online Amazon store. Though the company could equally have elected to link to its own online store.
On a desktop browser, clicking the card simply takes the user to the company’s desired website (in this case, an Amazon store) in a new tab. But on mobile, things are a little more interesting.
When you tap the Video Website Card on the Twitter mobile app, the destination site basically opens instantly within Twitter’s own in-app browser which makes the whole transaction feel a lot more seamless.
In this case, you would have to sign in with your Amazon credentials which, while still not entirely frictionless, still makes the process easier. And you can still view the original video ad at the top of the screen.
Of course, the new ad format could be used for just about anything in the marketing realm, not specifically just to drive sales directly there and then. It could be used to promote a new video game, for example, or a new mobile phone — anything that a company wishes to promote through video.
Though the Video Website Card does feature auto-playing video, the sound won’t play until the user has clicked it. Marketers can also include their own tailored headline, and any destination URL. The brand can also optimize the ad to suit their objection — an immediate sale may not be their goal, so if it’s just about raising awareness of an upcoming new product, then just getting video views will be enough. In that instance, they can decide in advance that they pay for views. But a company that needs people to visit their online store may prefer to focus more on paying for click-throughs.