Given's Twitter reliance on advertising, and its slowing user growth, the company has had to get creative in terms of how, and what type of ads, it would show to users. Most recently it introduced a brand new way to make money from brands and developers: mobile app install ads.
Released into beta in April, the product was apparently pretty successful, because the company announced on Monday that after "seeing strong results in beta," it is taking the ads global.
"People turn to Twitter to connect with their interests, and discover new ones. During the mobile app promotion beta, our clients have been able to reach Twitter’s highly engaged audience to drive a large volume of cost-effective downloads," Kelton Lynn, Product Manager, Revenue, wrote.
Mobile app install ads allow a user to click on an ad that appears in their mobile Twitter feed. Once they do that, they will be redirected to the advertiser's page in an app store, where they will be able to download said app.
The company did not specify how many companies are using the ad product, but some of the beta partners for the program included Spotify, HotelTonight, Kabam, Deezer, SeatGeek, GREE and Get Taxi. Some new partners have included Lyft, EA and Dots.
As I said earlier, over the last year and a half, ever since its IPO plans began firming, Twitter has released a slew of new ad products.
In April of last year it introduced a new keyword targeting tool for advertisers, which allow then to sell ads to users based on words in their tweets. That was followed up in June with targeted cookie-based ads, which means that users started seeing ads for the websites they most recently visited. That effort was launched globally in December.
In January of this year, the company's ad targeting program was expanded even further to include user's email addresses and Twitter IDs for promoted tweets.
In April, Twitter opened its native ads platform to all publishers. It allows publishers to use MoPub’s native ads platform to serve direct-sold or in-house native ads, and auction inventory on MoPub Marketplace.
Why is advertising so important? Because it is Twitter's primary source of revenue.
Of the $250 million Twitter made in revenue in the first quarter of 2014, advertising accounted for $226 million. Data licensing, and other revenue, its only other revenue stream, took in only $24 million.
For Twitter it's advertising or bust right now. But given the success that Facebook had with its own mobile app ads, it could be a great move on Twitter's part.
Introduced in October 2012, Facebook’s Mobile App Install ads saw 245 million apps installed at the end of last year and accounted for hundreds of millions in revenue for the company.
Now, obviously there is a big difference between Facebook and Twitter, including the size of their user base. While Facebook has roughly 1.25 billion MAUs, Twitter only has 255 million. But it still has to give Twitter some hope that the product will be a major success.
Twitter was unavailable for further comment.