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As Online Advertisers Look to Video, Twitter Bets its Future: WSJ

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Online advertisers are leaning toward video ads and interactive experiences, and that's bad news for Twitter. As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, Twitter's main ad format is the promoted tweet, and sales have been declining. The company is pinning its future on video ads and the NFL, but won't know until the fall if advertisers will bite.

This fall, Twitter will begin streaming 10 Thursday night NFL games without authentication. News broke in early April that Twitter paid approximately $10 million for the rights. Under the agreement, Twitter will get 15 ad slots to sell for each game. The company has already signed up one major market advertiser.

Twitter already sells video ads, but this fall it will introduce advanced targeting tools that let advertisers zero in on just the demographics they're interested in. Twitter is hoping that the combination of major broadcasts and ad targeting will revive its sagging fortunes. In fact, it's betting the company on it.

Twitter is “not yet at the forefront of the video content conversation and that is where the dollars are,” Shelby Saville, president of innovation and investment platforms at ad-buying firm Mediavest Spark, told the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, Facebook has seen its already strong ad sales buoyed by a combination of video and advanced targeting. Twitter's revenue growth is predicted to shrink to 17 percent this quarter, while Facebook's ad revenue increased 57 percent in Q1 2016, led by video ads. 

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