Twitter has finally caught up with fellow social media hubs Facebook and Instagram, adding auto-playing videos on both its site and iOS app (with the Android feature coming soon).
Although the move makes sense – and will keep its advertisers happy – Twitter also added a feature to turn auto-play videos off. The service is additionally offering other options — such as auto-play only on Wi-Fi and automatically having all auto-play videos muted until the user clicks on them.
So now, when you're scrolling through your Twitter feed on the website or the service's native app, you will see videos playing, but muted. One click expands the video to full screen with audio.
To opt out of auto-play videos, go into Twitter's settings and turn them off. Also, if you have an unreliable Internet connection, the video won't play unless you tap on it.
It's sort of a win-win for all involved: advertisers get what they want (a way to force users to watch their video ads) and users get control over how they view those ads, if they view them at all.
"We have learned just showing a thumbnail with a play button isn't enough to entice consumers to watch," said Adam Bain, Twitter's president of revenue and partnerships, to the Wall Street Journal. "Consumers preferred this video viewing experience on Twitter more than any other experience."
Although many Internet users see auto-play ads as intrusive, those ads still collect more dollars from advertisers than standard display ads. Facebook saw success after adding auto-play a few years ago, getting about 4 billion views per day with those videos.
You'll also notice that animated GIFs now auto-play, which is likely something that users will appreciate. The short Vine videos have always auto-played on the service.
Twitter also plans to bring forth other video-related features, including recommended videos based on what users previously viewed.
Twitter recently made some changes with its direct messaging feature: earlier this week, the company announced that it would remove the 140-character limit for all user-to-user messages and extend that to 10,000 characters. The company assured its users, though, that public Twitter messages will still have a limit of 140 characters. Twitter intends to roll out the new direct-messaging feature in July.
Twitter's first-quarter results weren't all that great, so expect the company to announce more changes. The company also had its chief executive, Dick Costolo, step down following pressure from Twitter's investors.
Photo Credit: Steve Garfield | Flickr