Will Twitter Ignite The App Install Wars?

InstallathonMobile app install ads have proven to be lucrative for Facebook, and sources say Twitter is close to releasing its own version of such ads along with a new mobile app install partner program.

“Given the prevalence of Twitter app usage in mobile, which has an even higher percentage of mobile vs. desktop than Facebook, it’s no surprise to see Twitter move forward with mobile app install ads,” said Paul Steketee, head of paid social and emerging media at CRM agency Merkle.

As originally reported by Bloomberg, sources identified ecommerce and game industry marketers as viable users of a prospective Twitter mobile app install product.

App developers represent an attractive new ads opportunity for Twitter because of built-in demand. Such a product could help satisfy the classic need for more visibility and engagement in crowded mobile apps marketplaces. Additionally, advertisers could potentially buy more directly from Twitter, instead of going through a salesforce or intermediary.

Steketee recalls recently spotting an app install ad placement in his newsfeed and observed how the unit provides a direct link to download the app along with a media-forward preview image for the app.

“We’re excited to turn these ads on for our clients,” he added. “Many folks are using Twitter in short-but-frequent bursts on their mobile devices and won’t mind having an app download in the background while they are waiting in line or commuting while using Twitter.”

The success of these ad units will depend on how well they’re integrated into the native Twitter experience.

“Mobile app install ads on Twitter should be colorful, engaging, graphically focused ads to compete on the same level [as Facebook],” said Andrew Foxwell, cofounder and CEO of social media consultancy Foxwell Digital.

He also pointed to additional success factors for the Twitter products, such as “how well and seamlessly the ad build and launch sequence operate and how complex and specific the advertisement targeting can be tailored.”

Twitter’s release of an app install product and partnership program (should it go through) comes at a time when Twitter is formalizing its marketing services. In the past month, the social network consolidated its once-separate partner programs for targeting, measuring and APIs into the Twitter Marketing Platform Program. Additionally, Twitter’s acquisition of mobile ad exchange MoPub also marked its first real move into direct response advertising.

These moves also mark a shift in Twitter’s ad offerings philosophy. Alex Andreyev, director of omnichannel marketing at global media and performance marketing agency Neo@Ogilvy, said historically Twitter targeted brand and TV budgets. However, he noted Twitter has recently focused on direct response advertising, a move underscored by Twitter’s app install initiatives.

“If Twitter can prove they can play in the DR space, especially mobile DR, we should continue to see Twitter roll out more offerings for all other DR advertisers,” he said.

Although Twitter is in tight competition with Facebook, Jeremy Leon, senior social strategist at social media agency Laundry Service, said Twitter has the potential to surpass Facebook in this race because it can offer more stability. For instance, he noted increases in Facebook CPM rates. As CPMs increase, he said, CPIs tend to follow.

In contrast, Twitter’s CPMs have remained stable, which indicates its CPIs may not fluctuate either. While Facebook’s increases might be due to higher engagement rates, in the long run, Leon said, Twitter’s steady CPMs and CPIs could appeal more to advertisers.

Another factor that could differentiate Twitter app install ads is each time a highly optimized mobile app install Tweet is promoted, there is potential for a key retweet, “which will lower your eCPI (effective CPI) substantially.”

Twitter declined comment on the mobile app install ad units and the partnership program.


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