Twitter’s new videos are conveniently the same length as a TV commercial

Image: Reuters/Kacper Pempel
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Built-in video is coming to Twitter. The company announced Jan. 27 that users will soon be able to incorporate videos up to 30 seconds into their tweets. While this will most likely be exciting for the army of Vine and Instagram video-takers—who are limited to only six and 15 seconds respectively—that video length will also be welcome news for advertisers.

One of the standard lengths for a TV commercial is 30 seconds, although there have been calls for the standard’s demise. When developing the creative elements of an advertising campaign, agencies will often produce several minutes of content, which can then be broken down into multiple short videos. The most costly 30-second slots of TV advertising in the US are during the Super Bowl, which are reported to cost $4.5 million this year.

Brands will most likely welcome the idea of being able to get more use out of TV ads without having to pay for additional TV slots. And they get a prominent mention in Twitter’s announcement about video: “The Twitter you experience today is rich and immersive, full of images, gifs, Vines, audio files and videos from some of the world’s most recognizable figures and brands.” We reached out to Twitter for comment and will update this post with any response.

Twitter also launched a native video advertising service for brands earlier in January. Unlike the video posts that regular users will soon be able to create, brands partnering with Twitter can post longer videos for specific messages they want to convey:

Ambitious CMOs and advertising agencies might take Twitter’s announcement today as an invitation to create new content types, but it also offers something far easier: recycling. Brands can reuse their expensive TV advertising campaigns on their Twitter feeds, without having to purchase any advertising spots on TV, which is often more expensive than the creative work itself. While digital advertising spending is increasing across the advertising industry, traditional video advertising continues to be the largest part of most advertisers’ budgets. eMarketer reported that brands are already repurposing 30-second TV commercials for Facebook, so there’s no reason to believe this trend won’t spread to Twitter.

If Twitter is TV, as we’ve argued, then these ads will be the noise between programs that Twitter needs to keep growing. Here’s Twitter’s own 30-second video describing its new video capabilities: