Twitter Makes Bold Moves in Mobile Ad Game

Twitter on Thursday announced new ways for advertisers to connect with targets both on and off the site, via products that it claimed could reach more than 1 billion unique mobile devices.

The new ad offering is the first integration between Twitter and MoPub, the mobile advertising exchange that Twitter acquired last year. With the partnership, advertisers will be able to launch ad campaigns that run across the entire Twitter Publisher Network. That encompasses 241 million monthly active users on Twitter, as well as roughly 1 billion people who use the apps in MoPub’s ad exchange.

Marketers also will be able to buy app-install ads, which redirect users to an advertiser’s mobile app home and encourage them to download its product.

Facebook has seen major success with app-install ads. Since launching its product in October of 2012, Facebook has helped generate more than 245 million app downloads.

Twitter already has seen success with the program, through tests with a few beta partners, including Spotify, HotelTonight and SeatGeek, which said it was impressed with the “high-quality, transactive app users” that the platform helped attract.

Giving Advertisers More Options

It’s about time that Twitter gave advertisers the opportunity to explore its own platform’s potential as well as MoPub’s, said Paul Gillin, social media marketing strategist.

“It’s essential that Twitter generate more revenue to satisfy Wall Street, which hammered it for its most recent results,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Mobile is the biggest opportunity.”

Install-app ads can be a good way to start generating that revenue, said Jennifer Wise, an analyst serving marketing leadership professionals at Forrester. In addition to prompting downloads, they can supply marketers with valuable data.

“They are drawing attention and budget today because the action is easier to track,” she told the E-Commerce Times. “With tracking comes metrics, with metrics comes justification, and with justification comes more budget. Extending their capabilities here to capitalize on the demand from app developers is a good idea.”

Besting the Competition?

Twitter’s latest advertising offerings are part of the never-ending battle for mobile advertising supremacy between the major consumer Internet giants.

The new ads have transformed Twitter into GetTaxi’s “No. 1 acquisition channel,” noted Rich Pleeth, the company’s vice president of global marketing.

It remains to be seen if other companies will have a similar reaction, said Gillin.

“Facebook can insert advertising in line with the news feed, which is a big advantage in terms of prominence,” he noted. “However, Twitter’s terse format is also an advantage for getting a message across quickly. Facebook does a better job of supporting images and video; however, Twitter is known to be working on changes to its interface that will make it more of a rich media experience.”

The race ultimately will come down to which company is better at chasing down cash, said Wise.

“Extending the reach past Twitter itself to its publisher network is a good move that increases Twitter’s ability to monetize with mobile,” she pointed out, “but ads for more mobile apps only go so far, and other factors — such as who can capture big-budget brand dollars — are important.”

If Twitter can win over some of those big-budget clients, generate revenue with its new offerings, and continue to keep its platform the place where a tech-savvy crowd gathers to chat about the most current events, Twitter has the potential to be a lucrative mobile ad platform, said Nipa Shah, president of Jenesys Group.

“Twitter is so much more flexible, immediate and accessible than Facebook,” she told the E-Commerce Times. “In that way it will do better due to the sheer volume of people using it. Best of all, Generation X has opted for Twitter over Facebook, in many instances, and that’s where Twitter will benefit the most.”

Rachelle Dragani is a freelance reporter based in Brooklyn, NY. She enjoys staying on top of e-commerce deals, reporting on what new gadget is coming your way, and keeping tabs on anyone trying to hack into your info. Feel free to e-mail her at [email protected]. You can also connect with her onGoogle+.

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