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Twitter Has a New Video Ad Unit That Will Be Hard to Miss

Twitter is going after mass reach.

Yeko Photo Studio/ Shutterstock

Twitter is looking for new ways to make money, and it found one that could be lucrative: A new, mass-reach video ad unit that will be hard for you to miss.

Twitter rolled out a new ad called First View on Tuesday, a video ad that will exist on Twitter for 24 hours and appear near the top of every user’s timeline the first time he or she opens the service during that time period. (You’ll only see it once, not every time you open the app.)

The ad is intended for big brand advertisers that want to reach as many eyeballs as possible but aren’t necessarily concerned who those eyeballs belong to. Essentially, Twitter is promising advertisers that their video ad will be one of the first things every Twitter user sees. As Twitter put it in a blog post, it’s the company’s “most valuable advertising real estate.”

Twitter is rolling out the new ad unit a day before its Q4 earnings release, and the mass targeting is a bit of a reprieve from the company’s usual ad pitch, which centers around targeting (a la Facebook). Yes, it means users will be greeted with an ad the minute they open the app, which may turn some people away, but the company needs to build its business and this is one way to sell ad space to heavy spenders looking to reach millions.

Twitter is selling these video ads in a new way. Instead of charging advertisers per view, the ads will sell at a set rate, with Twitter giving the advertiser a target or expected audience size. We don’t know what that target is, but the ad unit is just in the United States for now, which means the target audience should be tens of millions of people. (Twitter has 66 million U.S. users.)

First View also demonstrates Twitter’s continued interest in TV ad budgets. Selling a mass reach ad with a priority on total eyeballs versus targeting is more akin to TV advertising than traditional online media buys.

The inaugural First View ad is a trailer for the upcoming movie “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” a film produced by Chernin Entertainment. That’s the same media company owned by Peter Chernin, the Twitter board member who may soon be stepping down.

Here’s a graphic Twitter put together to demonstrate what the new ad will look like:


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