Twitter Introduces Mobile App Install Ads

Taking another page from Facebook, Twitter is rolling out new ad tools to help marketers and developers drive mobile app installs.

The company on Wednesday announced a set of ad creative, targeting and measurement features geared to promoting app installs and engagement both on and off Twitter. That includes the option to buy Promoted Tweets designed to drive installs as well as running campaigns outside Twitter through the company’s MoPub mobile ad exchange.

“Advertisers can now choose to run simultaneous marketing campaigns to more than 241 million active users on Twitter, and to more than 1 billion mobile devices off-Twitter, through one interface at ads.twtter.com,” wrote Kelton Lynn, product manager, revenue, at Twitter, in a blog post today.

The company is testing the new ad offering, which includes a native ad unit “that combines the best of Twitter Cards and Promoted Tweets,” with beta partners including Spotify, HotelTonight, Kabam and Deezer.

While not disclosing specific results, Twitter offered testimonials from companies that have tested the app install ads so far. Rich Pleeth, vice president, global marketing at GetTaxi, was quoted as saying: “Twitter has jumped to be our No. 1 acquisition channel, we couldn’t be happier with the results of the beta.”

The ad promotion tools are now available to U.S. advertisers, while still in private beta. The company emphasized integration of Twitter’s ad system with MoPub, which it acquired last year to expand its reach beyond the microblogging service itself.

“Advertising campaigns run across the Twitter Publisher Network are automatically translated into programmatic bids on the MoPub exchange, on a level playing field with MoPub’s existing DSP {demand-side platform) partners,” Lynn stated.

Twitter is counting on app install ads to be the moneymaker they’ve proven for Facebook, helping drive the social network’s impressive mobile ad growth. Still, as Re/code’s Peter Kafka noted, MoPub has already been selling app ads, and hasn’t been able to replicate Facebook’s success with the format.

Jesse Pujji, CEO of Twitter ad partner Ampush, however, expressed confidence developers would flock to the new ad opportunity. Besides the sheer size of Twitter’s user base, “the unique characteristics of this audience, such as its younger, more actively engaged user base…present the most opportunity for advertisers to measurably engage and grow their audience on mobile,” he said.

Twitter isn’t the only company trying to compete with Facebook and Apple for developer’s ad dollars. Yahoo last month began testing its own version of app install ads, using an in-stream native unit across its mobile app and Web properties.

Yahoo said this week it now has more than 430 million active monthly mobile users. If Twitter can generate increased ad revenue through its new app install ad tools, it could help alleviate investor concerns about the pace of its own user growth. 

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