Twitter is ramping up its advertising offerings to boost user-advertiser engagement and make it more competitive with Facebook. More than 15 new ad types are being considered, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In line with Facebook’s highly successful mobile app-install ads, which have fueled more than 245 million app downloads, Twitter is courting mobile gaming app developers by beta testing an app-install ad unit using its Twitter card technology. The ads entice users to download apps with a link that brings them directly to Apple’s App Store.
The Facebook-like update follows others modeled after Facebook in recent months such as design modifications that support up to four photos in a single tweet and tagging up to ten people without using any of the 140-character limit. Twitter also experimented with replacing retweets with a “share with followers” option.
Twitter’s new Facebook-esque components have been the subject of complaints by users who believe the social network is moving away from its cultural traditions. The company has prioritized the user experience since its early days, so an influx of in-stream ads may lead to backlash. From the WSJ:
In December, Twitter signed or expanded partnerships with large third-party data marketers such as Datalogix Inc. and Acxiom Corp. that allow advertisers to target users based on their consumer behavior when they are not on Twitter. While the two databases can’t make out personal identifiable information such as email addresses and phone numbers, combining the databases can inform advertisers what Twitter users are doing when they are away from the service.
Twitter and those companyies involved in its beta tests — including Spotify AB — have declined to comment on the new initiatives, which include a “call-to-click” button that puts consumers in touch with businesses by phone. Users are also seeing in-stream ads by mobile-payments company Square Inc.
Despite increases in ad dollars from consumer brands and doubling its fourth quarter earnings, Twitter has yet to turn a profit and its stock has dropped 33 percent this year. From the WSJ:
Facebook is below $4 in the U.S. That compares with a current cost of about $20 through ads on Twitter, according to a person familiar with the matter. Recent beta test results of the app-install unit show that the cost has become more competitive with Facebook, this person said.
WSJ sources said Twitter introduced the new ad formats to a group of visiting ad executives last week, demonstrating how Twitter cards can be used for contests and sweepstakes and suggesting creative ways marketers, app developers and e-commerce companies can use the product on a more open platform.