Twitter Is Now Letting Apps Advertise With Video

Previews mean more downloads

Twitter's video ads are looking for a little more action. For the first time, the microblogging platform is allowing advertisers to drive app installs directly from promoted videos, the company announced today.

The new video capabilities were part of an announcement that comes more than a year after Twitter first started selling app-install ads, a key driver of revenue across the mobile-advertising landscape. Twitter works with companies like Comedy Central, Lyft and Postmates to promote their apps on the service and through its network of partner apps on its MoPub mobile-ad network.

"The union of video and a call to action—driving app installs—that's new," said Richard Alfonsi, Twitter's vp of global business development and platforms. "It's an immersive experience to have video directly in the tweet. It creates great performance and lets marketers convey a lot more about what the app does."

Twitter has been building up its video offerings much like the rest of the social-media world, with rivals like Facebook introducing new video ad units on the social network and Instagram. Twitter also recently introduced autoplay videos that start instantly without the need for a click.

Video ads are becoming standard in the app-install category. On Facebook, marketing partner Nanigans said video leads to more app installs and a lower cost per install.

"Mobile app-install ads are often one of the most effective ad unit options for mobile gaming companies advertising on Facebook," the company said in a newly released report. Two-thirds of app installs for gaming companies come from video ads as opposed to ones with still images, the report said.

Twitter's mobile-app evolution includes new ways to bid on the ad inventory as well, allowing marketers more flexibility to set prices. Twitter is offering what it calls "optimized action bidding."

"This new bidding type allows app install advertisers to optimize their bids according to install, while still paying by app click—offering another way to lower cost-per-installs and yield the highest possible ROI," the company said in it announcement today.

Ride-sharing company Lyft claimed Twitter app-install ads outperform its marketing elsewhere. "Twitter has become our go-to channel for social media marketing. We've seen tremendous results with up to three times better performance than other social media channels," the company said in Twitter's announcement.

Twitter does not reveal what percentage of its ad revenue comes from app-install ads, but Alfonsi did say, "I can tell you it is a major focus for us."