Twitter just became a more attractive home for premium, short-form video content.
The social media company launched a new way for partners to present video in tweets: Now, video previews can appear in the timelines of users, who can initiate playback with a single click (or tap). For most video on Twitter, you have to click two or three times to start playback.
No big deal, you say? Twitter claims it’s huge: In tests with a few partners (which the company declined to identify), the single-click videos with the preview images delivered a threefold increase in the number of users who actually watched the video, according to a rep.
The NBA began using the in-line one-click video feature last night, posting clips from the Lakers-Spurs game in-progress to drive viewers to watch on ESPN. (Click here and here to see tweets with embedded highlights.)
The idea behind the feature is to mimic the experience with Vine, Twitter’s six-second video app, which already lets you start watching a video with one click. The in-line video playback uses Twitter Cards, which lets publishers attach previews of photos, articles, apps and other content in tweets.
Currently, the in-line video playback doesn’t work on embedded tweets — it’s available only on Twitter’s website and mobile apps for iOS and Android devices and.
Twitter is describing the in-line video feature as a beta test. Initially, the company plans to test it out with the 60-plus companies participating in Twitter Amplify, its advertising and promotion program for TV and media partners. Those include ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, ESPN, Turner Sports, Viacom, BBC America, The Weather Channel, A+E Networks, Discovery Communications and Major League Baseball. After testing with those partners, Twitter expects to expand the program to other “high-quality publishers” on an invitation-only basis, according to a rep.
Twitter offers two options for partners who want to distribute video: They can use the native Twitter Card or via third-party players like SnappyTV (which the NBA uses for its instant highlights). Twitter said it’s open to working with multiple video players to enable one-click playback.