Back in 1927, Fred R. Barnard coined the phrase “a picture is worth ten thousand words.” Today, social media experts will tell you that video is worth more than all those words. It’s more shareable, and provides richer opportunities for monetization.
Twitter may have been slow to awake to this reality, but now it’s trying to make up for lost time — and play catch-up with Facebook’s growing video monetization capabilities — with an expansion of its Twitter Amplify program, announced today.
First unveiled in May 2013, Twitter Amplify initially required the advertiser and publisher to directly engage, with the advertiser paying to insert a pre-roll ad into a tweet with an embedded video, and then promoting the tweet on Twitter.
Last October, Twitter modified Amplify so all publishers had to do was upload their videos to video.twitter.com to start monetizing their content and get paid the majority of the ad revenue — reports say 70% (versus YouTube’s 55%) — through automated rev-share payments.
New features announced today include the ability to opt-in to video monetization on a tweet-by-tweet basis or pre-set monetization for all of their videos. Monetization is also non-exclusive, meaning creators can elect to monetize it on Twitter as well as other platforms.
Twitter also unveiled its new Media Studio for desktop, which replaces video.twitter.com, as well as updates to its Twitter Engage app, launched in June. Features include a new unified media library for videos, GIFs and images, new tweet scheduling and playing capabilities, team management and multi-account support and improvements in stability and upload performance. It also added a new “Earnings” section to the Twitter Engage app that allows creators to track their earnings for not only Twitter, but Niche programs as well.
In his Q1 2016 earnings letter to shareholders, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said the company was working to establish itself “as the hub for how the next generation of creators make money online,” noting that creators signed up on its Niche platform for online talent had made 111% more money in Q1, year-over-year.
Niche had more than 28,000 creators in April, and the number has now grown to over 35,000. But that pales in comparison to the number of creators monetizing content on YouTube, where the Maker Studio network alone has over 55,000 creators. And, while YouTube video monetization is open to virtually anyone, Twitter appears to have a more stringent application process.