Video Is The Huge Hole In Twitter's Advertising Plan

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As Twitter
looks to open the spigots on new revenue streamsfollowing its highly anticipated IPO, the real-time social media network is somewhat light on advertising products that would help it monetise video content shared on its site.

While Twitter does allow brands to purchase promoted tweets featuring video content through its Amplify product, there is no way for publishers and brands (or even Twitter itself) to directly monetise the videos they share that are not paid promotions.

While Amplify tweets can include pre-roll ads, publishers first have to upload the videos elsewhere before sharing them on Twitter. And Twitter’s own in-house social video sharing app, Vine, does not yet sell advertising.

“It’s just an odd missing component to the overall strategy,” said Michael Downing, CEO of the social video publishing platform Tout. “The biggest concern is you want to drive engagement within your own domain. You have to have some kind of vision about what the video is actually giving you, and you want to be able to monetise it.”

As it stands, Downing said publishers who share videos longer than six seconds on Twitter are uploading them elsewhere, costing Twitter an opportunity to keep users on its site and making video advertising more difficult for its publisher partners.

By doing so, Downing says Twitter is preventing advertisers from leveraging Twitter’s ownership of the so-called real-time web to capitalise on the rapid growth of online video sharing. By 2016, the audience for such content is expected to double to 13.2 billion, according to data released earlier this year by Cisco.

Downing’s company, Tout, works with publishers like the Wall Street Journal and World Wrestling Entertainment to allow them to upload short videos from smartphones and tablets which can then be published on their websites and shared on social media. While it appears Tout provides precisely the service Downing says Twitter needs to expand its revenues, he says that while Tout and Twitter have a working relationship, the two parties have not spoken about an acquisition.

“One of the biggest movements is that the web is looking a lot more like TV than a newspaper,” Downing said. “If that’s the case, a company like Twitter that’s going public better have a core platform to drive revenue across that trend.”

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