It looks like Twitter may be the go-to platform for publishers looking to generate revenues from video in 2019. Reuters recent announcement that it is witnessing a “revenue bump” from monetized video views on Twitter, is the latest in a series of “wins” posted by Twitter over the past year.
“Twitter has become a formidable player in the video space,” wrote our regular contributor, tech and media journalist Simon Owens, explaining why publishers should consider investing more resources in Twitter.
We also reported on how 70% of UK publishers are focusing on video content as their top priority in 2019, based on the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018. The research found that British publishers expected revenue from mobile and video to grow by almost 30% in 2019.
Reuters’ announcement is just a culmination of these trends, and the indicators are consistently pointing north.
Reuters: Twitter + Video = $
According to Dan Colarusso, Executive Editor at Reuters TV and Reuters.com, Twitter now brings in significant revenue, in line with what Reuters gets from Google AMP. He says, “In terms of one product on one platform, Twitter is contributing the most.”
“Video is the clearest thing we have a more rigid business plan for,” continues Colarusso, he elaborates that globally around 10 people now work in some capacity, posting video to Twitter. Of these, three are full-time staffers and an additional seven work on it as a part of their role. In fact, the company moved three people working on Facebook Live, which it was no longer monetizing, over to posting video on Twitter.
Surpassing expectations: 29% ad revenue growth
Earlier this year, Twitter attributed more than half of its $575M Q1 ad revenue to video, this was up by 21% YoY. The company’s Q3 earnings beat Wall Street’s revenue and profit estimates leading to its share surging more than 17%.
Ad revenue grew 29% YoY to $650 million surpassing expectations of $590 million. Twitter also said that ad engagements increased by 50% YoY. while cost per click decreased by 14%. This indicates that the company is becoming more efficient with ad targeting, creating value for advertisers and users.
There were concerns of a larger-than-expected decline in monthly active users, with 326 monthly active against predictions of 330 million. But the company played it down, saying that it was focusing on removing accounts used for disinformation, hate speech, and other abuse to solidify a base of high-quality users who are attractive to advertisers.
Twitter continues to ‘do a lot with a little.’ User growth is lackluster, but the company is eking out more from current users.Jim Cridlin, Global Head of Innovation at WPP’s Mindshare
“Twitter has a consistency that Facebook doesn’t”
Over the past two years, Twitter has made a relentless push into news. And publishers are enjoying the benefits of its current resurgence. Earlier this year, publishers including Bauer, Stylist, CNBC and Joe Media reported notable increases in video views compared to the previous year.
Niall McGarry, the founder of Joe Media, said, “We’ve seen a big resurgence in Twitter, the growth in views “is significant.” In the last six months, Joe Media has doubled the size of its editorial and production team, and increased the amount of content it posts to Twitter.” Now with Reuters announcement, we are seeing that publishers continue to benefit from Twitter video.
Whether content does well on Facebook is in the lap of the gods. The algorithm is much more complex. Twitter has a consistency that Facebook doesn’t.Niall McGarry, Founder, Joe Media
Steadily amping up its game
The company has been steadily amping up its game, working at improving its products features, from algorithmically curated timelines of news tweets earlier this year, to recent experiments with encouraging conversations.
It has also been proactively working with publishers to improve their video revenues. For example, when Bauer Media’s Grazia posted a video about Meghan Markle on Twitter shortly after her engagement was announced, the Twitter team flagged Bauer that the video was performing better than expected. This encouraged the publisher to create additional content for the platform.
“We have an open dialogue on almost a daily basis,” said Greg Adams, Head of Video at Bauer Xcel Media. “That makes it easy to quickly adapt strategy and key learnings.”
The nature of media is cyclical, and Twitter is having its time under the sun. While the publishing wisdom of not putting all your eggs in one basket still very much holds, for 2019, publishers focusing on video ad revenue might consider giving Twitter special attention.
Download WNIP’s new Media Moments 2018 report, which dives deeper into this year’s developments in publishing, and looks at what opportunities 2019 could usher in. The report is free and can be downloaded here.