Twitter will now display view counts for all videos, including ads

Twitter has joined YouTube, Facebook and Instagram in publicly displaying how many views each video on its platform has received, the company announced on Monday. These view counts will appear on both organic videos and video ads, though not pre-roll ads, according to a Twitter spokesperson.

Public view counts are often used to compare a video’s performance on one platform versus another and as proxies to evaluate the platforms’ respective video audiences. For example, Facebook began publicly displaying videos’ view counts in 2014, and as brands and publishers saw videos receiving millions of views, they increased the number of videos and video ads they ran on the social network. Twitter likely hopes to see a similar trend in the wake of today’s news, assuming its view counts compare favorably.

How Twitter counts views

Since these view counts will likely be used to compare Twitter with other platforms, it’s worth pointing out how Twitter counts a view versus those other platforms.

  • Viewability threshold: Twitter counts a view once the video has played for at least two seconds while at least 50 percent is in view, in accordance with the Media Rating Council’s video viewability standard. By comparison, Facebook and Instagram count a view three seconds after a video has played, and YouTube typically counts it once 30 seconds or half of a video has played, whichever comes first.
  • Organic plus paid views: If a brand runs a video as both an organic tweet and a Promoted Video ad, Twitter will combine the respective organic and paid views into an overall view count that will appear on both the organic tweet and video ad, the spokesperson said. People will not be able to see separate counts for paid views versus organic views. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube also combine organic and paid views without delineating between the two.

By publicly displaying videos’ view counts, brands, publishers and others may feel pressured to pay Twitter to promote a video as an ad in order to boost its viewership and thereby the perception of its popularity. That could help to further bolster Twitter’s video advertising business, which has been a rare bright spot for the company, whose revenue has declined throughout 2017.


About The Author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.