Twitter is testing automatically playing videos on its apps for the iPhone and iPad in a bid to ramp up the company's rollout of video.
Certain users within the United States may notice videos automatically playing in their Twitter feed when they use the app for the iPhone or iPad without the need for them to press play for the video.
"We're running a small test on a few variations on the video playback experience," said a spokesman for Twitter in a statement sent through e-mail to Ad Age.
The autoplay videos are reportedly part of a two-part test that Twitter is carrying out to see whether it is more likely for users to watch videos when they begin to play automatically, which can be seen in Facebook, compared to the current setup of the user requiring to tap on the play button to watch the video, which can be seen in YouTube.
The test for automatically playing videos will be applied to Promoted Video advertisements, videos that are uploaded through the mobile app and Amplify program video clips, which allows companies such as the NFL and ESPN to post videos that come with pre-roll advertisements, according to a source that is familiar with the matter.
The report also noted that videos coming from six-second-video app Vine will not be part of the autoplay experiment.
In one stage of the test, users will see the entirety of videos being automatically played in a loop. In the other stage, users will see six-second previews of video teasers automatically playing. However, for both instances, the videos will not be playing with sound. If a user would click on the videos, for either part of the test, the video will go to full screen and begin playback with sound.
Autoplay video is one of the ways to grab the attention of users because if a video automatically begins playing, then the user is already watching it. If the user needs to tap on the video to begin playback, the users might take time to read about the video's description or be distracted by other items on their feeds, leading to the user skipping watching the video entirely.
Automatically playing videos will increase viewing numbers, which is a significant metric for companies that are looking to advertise on Twitter.
Twitter is seemingly looking to replicate the success of Facebook with autoplay videos, as the social network revealed that it is averaging over 3 billion views of videos per day, with a view of a video being defined as a video that has played for at least three seconds.
Photo: álvaro Ibáñez | Flickr