How Vevo Found a Workaround to Make its 'Fifty Shades' Video Autoplay on Twitter

Little-known option grabbed eyes (and ears) for 'Earned It'

'Earned It' from Fifty Shades of Grey hit Twitter this week in a surprising way: as autoplay.

Vevo isn't waiting around for Twitter to release an autoplay feature. Instead, it's one of a few media companies already playing videos automatically in users' feeds by making use of a little-known trick.

This week, the digital music video platform posted the video for "Earned It," a song off the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. The clip plays instantly on desktop versions of Twitter—no clicking required. And unlike on Facebook, the autoplay includes sound.

The studio behind Fifty Shades, Universal Pictures, promoted Vevo's tweet through Twitter's Amplify program for advertisers. Typically, videos shared through Amplify play after a user clicks on them. The "Earned It" post, though, played instantly and even began with a 30-second pre-roll trailer for the movie before going into the music video.

A source said Vevo has been setting its videos to autoplay thanks to a little-known feature in the Amplify program. It's been done before; last year The Weather Channel amplified a video that played automatically. Twitter has guidelines about when Amplify partners can set videos to autoplay, and typically it is limited to those less than 10 seconds long. The "Earned It" video and pre-roll, however, combine to create about five minutes of autoplay. Twitter declined comment on whether guidelines have changed.

Twitter has been working on an autoplay feature that could make its feed more dynamic, and expand beyond what a couple Amplfiy partners have been able to use so far. Facebook launched an autoplay video format last year, and brands have embraced it. Twitter also is developing a native video player for users and marketers, one that lets them shoot and share footage with tools built into the app.

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