This article originally appeared in Business Insider.
Twitter is debating internally whether to launch a feature that would see videos begin automatically as users scroll through their timelines, sources have told Adweek.
One industry insider called the debate “a tug of war.” It’s a move that would no doubt please advertisers, as more people’s eyes would be attracted to their branded content and ads, but could send users running as videos begin to clutter up the feed.
Twitter autoplay video would build on the company’s Amplify ad program, in which the company works with sports and entertainment brands to sell sponsorships against live-streamed video. Autoplay video may have been the vision behind Twitter’s June acquisition of SnappyTV, a service that allows for the clipping, editing, and sharing of clips from live broadcasts in near real-time. An autoplay feature could also help drive up the price of Twitter video ads, which a source told Adweek were relatively cheap at about 2 cents per view, versus $1 per view on other social platforms.
Jan Rezab, CEO of the social-media analytics company Socialbakers, told Business Insider: “Twitter already has auto-expand photos in the feed—and remember, it was the first to launch autoplay, with Vine [although these don’t autoplay in the feed, only when they are expanded]—but with Facebook’s autoplay videos and YouTube announcing a few days ago it will launch autoplay, Twitter has been left behind.
“Autoplay is much more attractive because it just works better. Facebook is proving that; it is accumulating huge amounts of video views.”
Data from Socialbakers given to Business Insider earlier this month showed that for the first time ever, Facebook Page owners uploaded more videos directly to Facebook than shared YouTube videos in November. Facebook’s autoplay video feature seems to be so attractive, it’s carving off a huge slice of YouTube’s audience.
Socialbakers also found Facebook videos drive more engagement than YouTube videos shared on the platform.
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