How Effective Are Long Form Twitter Videos For Indian Brands

Twitter is giving exclusive access of its long form videos to select brands. How are these videos performing, can it compete with YouTube and Facebook videos

In the past year, the share of impressions from video ad formats has increased over 5X, from 2.5% of all impressions in Q1 2014 to now just over 12.8% of impressions. These global findings were part of the recent State of Mobile Advertising report by Opera Mediaworks.

In India out of 118 social media active accounts, 10% of the percentage of the population is watching videos on mobile, informed We Are Social’s new Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015.

Half way through 2015 and we have already seen how aggressive social networks have been to implement videos. YouTube, the grandfather of the video industry, is already facing a stiff competition from Facebook. Earlier in the month of April, Facebook reported that its users now watch 4 billion videos on its service every day and 75% are happening on mobile. While YouTube still receives 7 billion views everyday, the competition is heating up.

Twitter which is struggling to spike its dropping user base and increase its revenues, has been silently pushing the long form videos on its platforms. These videos are 10 minute long, play on the Twitter app itself and right now is at the invite only stage.

During the recently concluded IPL 8, Twitter had been pushing the long format videos with exclusive access to select teams. At the same time Twitter also joined hands with the IPL partner companies. Cab booking service Taxi For Sure was one of them that invested on Twitter videos for its #MadnessForCricket campaign.

#MadnessForCricket, at its core, was an exciting one as it gave fans a chance to share their ‘madness for cricket’ while getting lucky to meet with the cricket junkie, quiz freak and presenter, Gautam Bhimani.

Interestingly, YouTube was ignored for this campaign which wasn’t the case as in the previous two campaigns by TaxiForSure. Speaking to Lighthouse Insights, Arvind Singhal, CEO, TaxiForSure informed that the reason to ignore YouTube lies in the kind of content this campaign was producing and the media spends.

“We have been looking into video platforms and found out that Twitter was providing much more engagement for our videos. At the same time it has also been providing better real time engagement around the videos. The results have also been encouraging with Twitter, impressions have increased beyond seven hundred thousand plus in the last three weeks.”

TaxiForSure’s choice for Twitter video is a wise one. Over the years it has invested in building a community on Twitter that has grown to 8K plus followers. Added to it is the social media influence that Gautam and other participants have brought on Twitter, which has obviously benefited the reach of the videos. “We are into real time business and real time interactions are happening over Twitter. This real time interaction and buzz was very critical for the campaign which Twitter provided us.”

Even though Twitter long form videos are new in the market but they are doing well in terms of engagement with users, informed Ajit Pillai from Flying Cursor. The digital agency in recent times has implemented long form Twitter videos for various campaigns; Colors TV using Pappu to interact with fans for the India’s Got Talent reality show is one of them.

Twitter’s community is unique in terms of its depth and engagement and has the potentiality to provide YouTube a stiff competition, highlighted Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO at Culture Machine. “Even though Twitter is predominantly a text and images platform Twitter will give YouTube a run for Twitter’s own set of audiences currently consuming content on YouTube, and try and replace their watching habits on their own native video platform to start with.”

However he feels that the larger YouTube only audience which doesn’t engage on Twitter, will largely remain unaffected. “As a % of referral traffic, I believe YouTube would be a lot more concerned with Facebook video than they would be of Twitter. It’s a much heavier duplication both in terms of profile and size that of Twitter.”

Nonetheless Twitter will face a stiff competition among giants like YouTube and Facebook. “In front of the two giants, there is a very tough competition but all three mediums are different so they will get advantage of their unique kind of users,” Ajit added.

To add to it discovery of Twitter videos beyond the timeline and the unavailability to all brands are the biggest challenge. For smaller brands this is a very expensive feature to be explored and more as compared to Facebook, informed Ajit.

Brands will also have to respect the mediums when they are uploading content on them and definitely just uploading the existing YouTube content won’t work. “The service experience is different for both, so brands that are big on Twitter, need to find content formats that work well for the platform, not just upload what worked for YouTube onto Twitter in the hope that it will be equally engaging,” Sameer cautioned.