The social network plans to broaden the scope of native ad formats as part of a wider bet on the continued growth of app usage instead of the mobile web. It follows the launch of its Fabric and Digits developer tools last week, which effectively allow developers and brands to embed a mini version of Twitter inside their apps.
Twitter said its Digits service, which lets people log into apps using their phone number, would pave the way for “our next generation native mobile service”, while also offering developers “competitive advantages” over existing identity services including building their own native mobile sign-up. Mopub, Twitter’s mobile ad exchange, will also play a bigger role moving forward, allowing brands to monetise their apps at scale.
The native ad rush comes as the business looks to offset the falling price per ads that are affecting the wider industry with higher quality ad formats that can lead to increased conversion. Both Google and Yahoo are making similar moves in a bid to change perceptions of their own advertising offerings, with many brands reluctant to spend high on mobile inventory.
The downturn had no noticeable impact on Twitter’s performance in the three months to September when advertising revenue jumped 109% year-on-year to $320m, 85% of which came from mobile. The sharp rise was boosted by a 150% surge in total ad engagements despite a 17% decline in cost per ad engagement, reflecting richer ads, improved prediction and targeting and media, according to Twitter.
Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo told analysts on an earnings call yesterday evening (27 October) that the value of ads on the platform was growing in the eyes of advertisers and pointed to the 14% year-on-year rise in people checking their timelines to 181 billion times as a sign that its users are highly engaged around topics that can drive advertising revenues.
Twitter made $1.77 for every thousand views of its timeline, a significant 83% jump on the same period last year.
The engagement levels will give Twitter and advertisers confidence in the platform’s nascent video offering. Beta tests are currently running with unnamed advertisers, while the business continues to expand its Amplify TV ad targeting tool which launched last year.
“We want to focus on communicating through media and delivering both creation and consumption experiences that are more media centric and that applies to both images and video absolutely”, said Costolo.
Separately, the business experimented with attempts to try and monetise its logged out userbase, which it says is two to three times the size of those logged-in.
Enhancing profile pages to reduce the barriers to media consumption alongside deeper search results, better access to real-time tweets and improved content through syndicated partners such as CNN and ESPN are four ways Twitter plans to create an immersive experience for logged out users.
Twitter reported a 114% jump in total revenue to $361m in the latest quarter. Average monthly active users (MAUs) totalled 284 million in the period, a 23% year-on-year rise. The average mobile MAUs accounted for around 60% of the total.