Twitter is introducing a new video ad format today designed to help brands raise awareness and drive traffic to their websites and other online properties.
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 friction during 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, or 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 get a little more interesting.
When you tap the Video Website Card within the Twitter mobile app, the destination site opens instantly within Twitter’s own in-app browser, which makes the whole transaction feel more seamless.
In this case, you would have to sign in with your Amazon credentials, which, while still not entirely frictionless, 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 just driving sales in the moment. It could be launched to promote a new video game, for example, or a new mobile phone — anything that a company wishes to demonstrate through video.
Though the Video Website Card does feature auto-playing video, the sound won’t play until the user has clicked on it. Marketers can include their own tailored headline and any destination URL.
Brands can also optimize an ad to suit a specific objective. If it’s just about raising awareness for an upcoming product, for example, then getting video views will be enough. In that instance, a brand can decide to pay for views, while a company that needs people to visit an online store may prefer to focus on click-throughs.