More ads—up to 15 new types—are reportedly headed to your Twitter stream. According to sources speaking with The Wall Street Journal, the social network is devising new ways to target users in their timelines, with Twitter already internally testing a new ad that will launch in the next few weeks; that ad is based around apps, and attempts to encourage users to download those apps directly through Twitter.
Twitter’s ad revenue doubled during Q4 of last year, up to $219.6 million compared to the year prior, which is why the social network is adamant about pummeling users with so many different types. Much of Twitter’s activity is focused around specific events—the Super Bowl, for example—which many advertisers are very interested in. But while Twitter has been successful with major consumer brands, it’s been less so with younger advertising business, which is why the app ad plan is the first to roll out.
Facebook, the dominant social network, uses a similar ad unit, which has been responsible for more than 245 million mobile app downloads in 2013; the initiative was first introduced at the end of 2012, which has been a large part of the company’s mobile ad revenue, according to the WSJ. Facebook said much of its traffic is now through mobile thanks to the accessibility of smartphones. Twitter doesn’t have nearly the same user base as Facebook, though the potential for install ad units has certainly caught its interest.
According to WSJ’s sources, the app-install ad units will use Twitter’s card layout, providing users with a direct link to that app. The app then downloads, and then immediately shoots users back to Twitter. The social network is essentially acting as a middle man, but using its platform to help advertisers get more eyeballs on its particular app. So far there’s been no word on what apps will start being advertised in Twitter feeds.
In addition to the app-install ad, Twitter also demoed a way for advertisers to get consumers to quickly sign up for sweepstakes and contests. Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, apparently showed off how such a campaign would work, offering users the opportunity to share their email with one simple click. Twitter will apparently open up its Cards platform to allow marketers to come up with their own uses, which is now limited to just seven predetermined formats.
By granting advertisers more creative freedom, and up to 15 different styles of ads, the social network could become a pretty crowded platform. That’s obviously good for Twitter as it hopes to attract a more diverse group of advertisers. But how will your Timeline look by the end of 2014? We could get our first glimpse in as little as two weeks.