Twitter starts experimenting with autoplay videos in timelines

After months of discussion, Twitter has finally started testing autoplay videos in timelines to see if such a method of presentation helps improve video view count. The feature is already an established part of sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Vine, so there’s a good chance it’ll become a permanent feature of the microblogging site, too.

Twitter’s autoplay trial reportedly applies to Promoted Video ads, videos uploaded by users using Twitter’s mobile app, and content that arrives via the company’s Amplify program, which allows broadcasters to post clips preceded by ads.

Twitter confirmed the launch of autoplay videos in an email to AdAge, saying, “We’re running a small test on a few variations on the video playback experience.”

The experiment is starting with iPhone and iPad users, with some users seeing videos play in their entirety, in a loop, and others shown a six-second ‘preview’ loop designed to entice the user into hitting play to watch the rest of the clip.

As with similar services, the videos will play without sound unless the user enables the audio track by tapping a button on the display, at which point the content will also expand to fill the display.

Of course, if Twitter sees an uptick in video views for content that plays automatically, the service will become more attractive to marketers keen to reach a wider audience, a result that should help to push more business Twitter’s way and enable it to increase ad rates. However, if users simply scroll by the videos to the same degree as they do with non-autoplay content, then the company will need to reconsider its integration.

Twitter will also be mindful of user reaction to autoplay videos – any noticeably negative response and the feature could be quickly ditched.