Twitter announced today an expansion of its Amplifier Publisher Program, which allows those creating videos to opt-in to include pre-roll ads on those videos, taking a cut of the revenue generated by those ads. The program requires they sign up for Niche, a service Twitter acquired in 2015 that helps those with sizable social followings monetize their accounts. Videos can be published either through the desktop Media Studio site or through the recently launched Notify app and creators will be asked each time if they want to ad ads to video they’re about to post.
This is an important update for Twitter since “not helping its biggest users make more money” is one of the complaints leveled against it when it comes to weighing Twitter against other social networks vying for their attention and audiences. But for the end audience it’s…more ads. Pre-roll in 2016 feels like a step backward in terms of the user experience, something we tolerated for years and still have to deal with on YouTube but let’s be honest, this isn’t what we want. It’s what advertisers want, sure, because there’s no way to skip them and get to the video we want to watch, so it’s guaranteed viewability and to hell with kids and their ad blockers anyway.
Still, if it’s something that can keep Twitter afloat for a while longer that’s great. There have been so many hits it’s taken in the last couple years around lack of growth, falling ad revenue and more that it’s starting to feel like the network won’t be around much longer, particularly if it can’t get better about articulating what it is and what the value proposition for new users is. So if a bit more ad money will help keep things going, great. But it’s not a permanent solution and those bigger issues will continue to weigh things down until they’re sorted out.