X boasts 8 billion daily video views as it pushes to become video-first

As a Digiday+ member, you were able to access this article early through the Digiday+ Story Preview email. See other exclusives or manage your account.This article was provided as an exclusive preview for Digiday+ members, who were able to access it early. Check out the other features included with Digiday+ to help you stay ahead

Video is now at the forefront of the latest strategy for X (formerly Twitter) to recapture advertising dollars.

There are 8 billion video views happening on the platform per day on average, and those views have increased 35% year over year, according to the platform’s latest newsletter for advertisers that Digiday has seen. A view metric is counted when an X user watches a video for at least two seconds, and sees at least 50% of the video player in view, for both uploaded videos and live broadcasts, according to the X Help Center. And those views only count when users are logged in to the platform. 

With these stats, X aims to make headway toward positioning itself as a video-first experience in the eyes of marketers. The hope is that upcoming updates will go even further toward solidifying that. So far, X has already launched video spaces on iOS and audio video calls, while an X CTV app and an X video tab are tipped to come soon, per the newsletter document, though no dates were listed.

“It’s tough for an advertiser to ignore the data, especially with the chance of the U.S. banning TikTok. Eight billion video views is quite a few impressions,” said Josh Rosen, president of digital media buying and planning agency Hotspex Media. “If X really pivots and becomes a video-first platform, it could promote itself as the go-to social site for those already looking to move away from TikTok as the ban sits in limbo. There’s no reason to think that the success on TikTok wouldn’t translate well on X, especially if the ban moves forward.”

Of course, this is a pitch that, in theory, won’t just appeal to brand marketers, as is normally the case whenever video is involved. X is also trying to win over performance advertisers and has cited how performative its videos can be. According to the platform’s newsletter, optimized targeting powered by Grok AI has resulted in a 10% increase in CTR and 16% increase in conversion rates.

Tom Jauncey, head of digital marketing agency Nautilus Marketing, said he and his team can certainly vouch for seeing increases, as X typically takes up between 10% and 15% of social media mixes for his clients. 

“We see an increase in CTR by 12% and conversion rates have increased by 15%,” Jauncey added.

X has intentionally conveyed these moves for a while now, considering CEO Linda Yaccarino herself said back in March that the platform was becoming “video first.” But these most recent efforts are more about X trying to evolve with how people use social media nowadays — more like a multimedia content feed instead of a space for talking to friends and like-minded people. Even before Musk took over the platform, X was a bit of an outlier here. The upcoming CTV app shows just how far it’s come.

And partnerships continue to be a huge focus for X’s team, to help make that message stick.

For example, around the Paris Olympics, X has partnerships available with NBCU, Paramount, CBS and the International Olympic Committee, according to the newsletter.

Overall, sports is clearly a bigger focus during 2024, given how packed the sports calendar is, and for the first time it feels a lot more varied. While the focus until now has predominantly been on X’s partnership with the NFL, the newsletter also highlights two basketball-focused partnerships.

The first is with the premier professional three-on-three basketball league, Big3, which will arrive on X from the start of its next season on June 15. It includes live streams, video on demand and exclusive content, both in the U.S. and internationally. The league has already amassed success on X, with a total of 18 million U.S. video views, or 49,000 views per day, and a total of 628 million U.S. impressions, said the newsletter.

Next there is X’s partnership with the women’s national basketball association (WNBA), which started on May 14, and includes real-time highlights, live games and exclusive content. According to the newsletter document, there were 2 billion U.S. impressions during the 2023 WNBA games and 221 million U.S. video views on WNBA posts during the 2022 to 2023 season. Those marketers wanting to get in on the action can try the platform’s Amplify pre-roll ads, takeover ads, branded features, keyword ads and targeting.

Further, X is still doing its best to woo creators to attract the type of attention it hopes will pique the interest of advertisers. And a handful of those include YouTuber Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD), tech reviewer and content creator Justine Ezarik (@ijustine), American sports and comedy group Dude Perfect (@dudeperfect), online streamer Tyler Blevins (@ninja), and of course media personality, businesswoman and socialite Paris Hilton (@parishilton).

The newsletter highlights X’s Paris Hilton partnership, which has continued even though her media company, 11:11 Media, pulled ads from X back in November over concerns of pro-Nazi content on the site. Supplementary slides to the newsletter detail “the power of Paris on X,” with stats such as 16.4 million X users follow Paris Hilton’s account, while 72% of her audience is under age 34. For marketers wanting to take advantage of Paris Hilton’s reach, partnership opportunities include targeted video pre-roll, in-post brand mentions, Spaces conversations, custom branded content as well as live shopping.

Should these partnerships work well, that would likely attract even more users to the platform.

As things stand, it appears that X’s user base is growing, with the platform recording more than 550 million monetizable monthly active users (MAUs), according to the newsletter.

If those figures are accurate, the platform has already surpassed Pinterest, which recorded 518 million global MAUs, and Reddit, which counted 82.7 million daily active uniques, during their respective Q1 2024 earnings calls. Additionally, Snapchat said it has 422 million daily active users (DAUs) and 800 million MAUs, while Meta recorded 3.24 billion DAUs across its family of apps during their respective Q1 earnings calls. Even though TikTok is a private company, Statista recorded the platform as having 1.6 billion MAUs as of April 2024.

But the question still remains, are these efforts enough to really get advertisers to reconsider their stance on X?

With the new stats and the event partnerships, Rosen said his team would definitely consider running ads on X, but he still has hesitations. 

“The first is around reputational risks. There’s tons of concerns around brand safety and filtering since Musk (and therefore X) is so controversial,” he said. “The other reason is because the platform has shown relatively poor performance for advertising success compared to others, TikTok being one. But the fate of TikTok is in limbo, so I want options.”

X did not respond to Digiday’s request for comment.


More in Marketing

How Snapchat, Meta, Pinterest and Google are eyeing up TikTok ad dollars

Timing is everything when it comes to these moves, and the underlying messages are certainly not lost on advertisers.

The header image features an illustration with a dollar bill that has the Snapchat logo in the center.

Snap eyes growth as TikTok faces uncertain future in the U.S. 

TikTok’s uncertain future in the U.S. could be a win for Snap, especially as the TikTok ban calls into question the billions of dollars currently driving the short-form video app’s ad business.