Twitter wants to make money by copying Facebook, and it's working

For Twitter, it is good to be the younger sibling in the social media club. It gets to follow in Facebook’s footsteps. It gets to avoid its mistakes. Facebook had to push the boundaries and take in harsh criticisms. Twitter gets the benefit of the doubt and the advantages of hindsight. Case in point: Twitter made it official this morning that it will be launching app install ads through its MoPub mobile ad marketplace. With considerable enthusiasm, the announcement talked up the creative and measurement tools available to developers in this new offering. 

Sometimes the rivalry between Twitter and Facebook is like a children’s game of copycat. Facebook copied Twitter’s hashtags and trending topics. Twitter copied Facebook’s profile page design and automatic display of images in the feed. But those are cosmetic changes. The money is in the advertising products. And on Thursday, Twitter announced that it would now formally offer the product that bootstrapped Facebook into mobile advertising: application install ads. So-called app install ads are exactly what they sound like — ads that pop up on your mobile phone urging you to install a new app (or in the latest variation, nudge you to fire up an app you haven’t used in a while). For a new game or messaging service or utility trying to stand out from the hundreds of thousands of other apps in the Apple and Google stores, the ads are a great way to get in front of potential customers.

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