On the last day of January, Buzzfeed’s Dorsey Shaw noticed something different on Twitter; namely, the presence of a video view counter positioned beside the timer. Mashable picked up the story on the very same day, confirming with a Twitter rep that the video view count feature was being tested on a limited scale.

Are Twitter VIDEO VIEWS (FOR BETTER RANKINGS) AN OPPORTUNITY for digital publishers?

Social media giant Facebook launched a new rewards program for long-form videos, so we’re not surprised that Twitter is experimenting with a new video feature. A Twitter spokesperson told Mashable that the popularity of video posts is on the rise, leading the company to add counters in an attempt to analyze what viewers want to see.

It’s speculated that the new video view count feature will lead to the ranking of Twitter videos based on popularity — most likely for the Explore section of the site. The tab provides users with a look at trending topics and viral tweets; with the addition of a view counter on videos, the most popular videos can be strategically placed in front of viewers. This could serve to pique user interest and revitalize the average Twitter experience, leading users to stay longer and engage more on the site. It does have implications for digital publishers, who will need to pay attention to what is popular so they can keep up with content trends.

Twitter is using the Media Rating Council’s standard to count video views, which is 2 seconds of view time at 50 percent visibility. Whether this guideline will change after the experimentation phase remains to be seen; in addition, we don’t know if all videos will have a counter. A related change Twitter recently implemented is the looping of short videos, specifically those under 6.5 seconds in duration, which could help minimize performance gaps between long- and short-form videos on the site.

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Although Twitter revenue has grown over an eight-year period, the company reported a loss of approximately $103 million for the final quarter of last year — leading to a 9 percent cut in staff.  The drop in revenue might be one reason the company is making modifications. Adding useful new features and improving existing ones is a solid strategy for increasing user satisfaction on any site.

Are you in favor of video view counters on Twitter? Have you yourself noticed this feature? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at vahe@stateofdigitalpublishing.com.

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