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Red Bull unleashes one-click Twitter video to hook app downloads

Red Bull is one of the first brands to try out a new Twitter ad format that automatically plays video when a tweet is clicked on to promote the newest addition to its growing portfolio of applications.

The energy drink brand posted two tweets with different copy that promote its new Red Bull Focus app last week. As Twitter looks to ramp up its audience to Facebook?s scale, mobile video ad offerings are key to how the company plans to rake in marketing spend from big brands that are known for investing in television and digital video.

"Red Bull has a solid track record of making excellent video content to support its social community and avid brand followers," said Kurt Lohse, chief marketing officer at Poptent, Philadelphia.

"If you?re focused on user experience, a one-click video improves your engagement with your core audience, although I don?t feel Twitter?s one-click video mobile viewing and YouTube are mutually exclusive technologies," he said. "Smart marketers will find a way to engage both to gain better mobile user experiences without sacrificing the re-viewing, sharing, and community building benefits that YouTube provides."

Mr. Lohse is not affiliated with Red Bull. He spoke based on his expertise on the subject.

Red Bull did not respond to press inquiries. 

One-click play
Red Bull?s tweets contain a 15-second video that automatically plays when it is clicked on. The clip shows off Red Bull?s collection of extreme sports photography, including skate and surfboard scenes.

A link below the video pulls in Apple?s App Store to download the app when clicked on.

A few other recent Red Bull tweets also include the built-in video player. For example, one tweet also posted last week included a short video clip to promote Life Behind Bars, a Web video series.

Video has been a big focus for the social media platform with Twitter Cards the past couple of years, which lets marketers embed multimedia into organic and paid posts (see story). 

Up until now, videos have been embedded into a tweet through links, but Red Bull?s tweet pulls the video into a custom video player.

With Twitter recently reporting that 80 percent of its revenue came from mobile during the first quarter, the company is now beefing up its advertising options with a number of new products that mimic similar offerings from Facebook (see story). 

Twitter is likely looking to tap into some of the same success that Facebook has seen with the recent launch of app install ads and its MoPub mobile ad network.

One-click video ads particularly appear to be Twitter?s direct response to Facebook?s gradual rollout of auto play video ads the past six months.

"Red Bull's partnership with Twitter's new one-click video format is a smart push for richer multimedia experiences," said Zak Dabbas, CEO/cofounder of Punchkick Interactive, Chicago.

"Mobile video ads that can live as a native experience on Twitter will no doubt attract promoted content tailored to the social media platform," he said. "For Red Bull, using Twitter's video platform isn't an afterthought, and it isn't part of a different experience. Rather, video is part of an overall seamless conversation."

Adweek reports that Volvo and Burger King are also using Twitter?s new ad format in promoted tweets. 

Similar to Red Bull, Old Navy is taking a different approach by mixing video into organic social efforts. The retailer's tweets distribute TV and Web clips featuring actress Amy Poehler.

Game on mobile
Red Bull?s Twitter push is also the newest example of how the marketer relies on gaming to fuel its mobile strategy.

The Red Bull Focus iPhone app is an interactive puzzle game. Players spin moving circles around on images to fill in pictures and earn virtual rewards that unlock additional content. 

The puzzles are timed, and users receive points based on how quickly they are completed.

Social is heavily incorporated with Facebook and Twitter calls-to-action so that users can share their score.

Red Bull has 20 apps in Apple?s App Store and about half are games.

Additionally, the energy drink brand launched an on-pack promotion last year that used SMS and QR codes to drive traffic to a mobile Web game (see story). 

In 2012, Red Bull ran a back-to-school campaign within the Spotify iPhone app with a mobile game that targeted college students (see story). 

"Video ads on mobile have always had aspects that are not ideal for marketers," said Justin Kaiser, social media strategist at Metia, Seattle.

"With videos, a link takes the user away from the channel that the marketer is advertising on to YouTube with the potential of the social media user not coming back," he said. "With Vine videos, marketers are restricted by their seven-second time limit.

"The new auto-play video ads remove both of these blockers. With that being said, ultimately it?s going to be about the content. If the content is relevant to the targeted audience, this could be huge for views, clicks and downloads due to the ease at which the user can absorb the content."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York