Twitter Gives Users a New Revenue Stream With Expanded Pre-Roll Ads on Periscope

Brands can reach live audiences easier

A few months ago, Twitter integrated its Periscope livestreaming app into Twitter's flagship app.
Sources: Twitter, Periscope

Twitter is introducing pre-roll ads to its Periscope livestreaming app, providing brands with a new way to reach Twitter’s audience.

The news, announced today, gives creators and publishers on the platform another way to monetize their live video content through the pre-roll ads program already existing within Twitter’s flagship app. According to Mike Folgner, group project manager for Periscope, the ads will play when users either select or replay content in their timeline or via search. The ads will appear in both regular livestreams and 360-degree video.

“Ads on Periscope content are a new way to use live and on-demand video to reach audiences at the most relevant moments,” he wrote in a blog post published this morning. “Periscope’s authentic and interactive nature brings people immediately into compelling live experiences and the conversation that surrounds them.”

This morning, during a breakfast hosted by Adweek and Bloomberg, Periscope co-founder and CEO Kayvon Beykpour said the updates give advertisers another chance to increase video ads and other content on the platform—an area in which Twitter continues to bet heavily.

“It’s important for us to create an experience that allows consumers to be able to both watch and create content across that spectrum,” he said. “And advertisers should have the utmost choice and control with being able to marry their creative with whatever spectrum of content is interesting to them.”

The news comes as many brands and advertising agencies are pulling ads from YouTube in the UK and elsewhere due to the Google-owned platform showing brands’ ads next to offensive content. Asked what Periscope is doing to maintain brand safety at a time when others are facing more scrutiny, Beykpour said today’s “highly controlled” pre-roll announcement takes an approach that’s opposite to the programmatic play taken elsewhere in the digital ecosystem.

“You as an advertiser know exactly what content from what publisher you’re putting your ad on top of,” Beykpour said. “Likewise, as a publisher, you know exactly what advertisers are marrying their creative with your content.”

Beykpour gave the example of tennis star Andy Roddick providing live commentary from his iPhone during the U.S. Open. As a part of Roddick’s live feed on Periscope, Chase—a major sponsor of the tournament—and Grey Goose ran pre-roll ads and other sponsored branding to go along with it.

“Andy wasn’t surprised, they weren’t surprised,” Beykpour said of the athlete and the brands. “This was all prearranged, so they knew exactly how their brand was going to be infused, so there wasn’t that unpredictability that you can be subject to elsewhere.”

In addition to introducing pre-roll ads, Twitter rolled out other tools for professional broadcasters that might be interested in livestreaming, as the tech company bets increasingly on the future of video on the platform. For example, last week it rolled out its live video API for broadcasters that want to connect professional equipment to a livestream for higher quality content.

In December, Twitter also integrated 360-degree livestreaming into Periscope, giving the platform a way to compete with competitors that have already integrated 360 video into their apps such as YouTube and Facebook. That same month, Twitter integrated Periscope’s technology into Twitter’s flagship app, giving users for the first time a chance to livestream more easily without opening Periscope’s own app.