How Have Twitter In-Stream Video Ads Been Performing?

A study by Publicis Media and Kantar Millward Brown showed a strong impact on ad recall, brand favorability and purchase intent

Twitter introduced in-stream video ads in April, and one of its first beta partners in the initiative, Publicis Media, teamed up with consulting and research firm Kantar Millward Brown to study the effectiveness of those ads.

Kantar Millward Brown recruited Twitter users between the ages of 18 and 54 who used the social network at least monthly and were interested in the brand categories being tested to research labs throughout the U.S., “seamlessly” inserting the ads into their Twitter feeds and having them respond to long-form surveys afterward.

Twitter director of U.S. agency development Stephanie Prager discussed the findings in a blog post:

In-stream video ads perform as well as—and in some cases better than—a leading online video platform, according to the research findings.

Twitter’s in-stream video ads went up against a leading video platform, and the results showed a strong impact on upper-funnel metrics like ad recall, brand favorability and purchase intent. Twitter outperformed on another important metric: message association. Lastly, tests showed that in-stream video ads are perceived as equally credible and relevant compared to ads on a leading video platform.

One of the key drivers of this strong performance is that people on Twitter curate their timelines and watch videos that align to their interests. They are coming to Twitter in a receptive mindset, making them open to discovering new content from people, publishers and brands. In fact, people who use Twitter say their top motivation is to “discover something new and interesting.”

Publicis Media practice lead, analytics and insights, Americas and audience insights, global Kate Sirkin added:

Premium publishers engage with consumers on social platforms, creating a quality content experience for users and an attractive ad adjacency for our clients. In this environment, we’ve seen our Twitter pre-roll video completion rates compare favorably with other pre-roll opportunities off-platform. We are proud to have partnered with Twitter on this new format and are committed to driving future-shaping innovation with our partners to deliver increased impact for our clients.

In a separate blog post, research analyst Ryan Kiernan provided five best practices for marketers looking to run in-stream video ads:

  • Target the most relevant content category that aligns with your brand: When in-stream video ads are paired endemically—as when a sports drink ad appears in front of a sports highlight clip—higher brand impact is achieved across key brand metrics. The chart below compares the brand impact across four key brand metrics of endemic (light blue) and non-endemic (dark blue). In every case, endemic content performs best.

  • Use short-form video: To get your audience’s attention quickly on mobile, shorter ad lengths work best in achieving higher brand affinity. The ideal length is six seconds, according to Publicis Media’s research.

  • Include your branding within the initial video frames: In-stream video ads create maximum impact when your brand is clearly identified within the first few frames—which is particularly important for content viewed on mobile devices.
  • Communicate visually: In-stream video ads appear within a video stream, so it’s important to catch your audience’s attention with strong visuals. Express your message without audio (or sound off). Be creative with captions to incite curiosity and interest.
  • Don’t mix messages: Trying to share too many messages can be confusing to your audience. Think of one main message you want to convey and make it easy to understand. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.