It's not enough that Twitter modeled its new layout after Facebook. The company has also taken a major advertising cue from the world's most popular social network, announcing Monday it will roll out app-install ads, an ad unit that lets users download third-party apps directly from Twitter's mobile app.
Twitter is tapping into a new revenue stream by opening up globally the distribution of app installs through users' timelines, which it has been testing in a closed beta. The social network said the feature has helped companies, including Lyft, TwoDots, and Electronic Arts, increase the distribution of their apps. TwoDots, the wildly popular successor to BetaWorks' mobile game Dots, attributes much of its rapid growth—reaching 3 million users in less than a week—to Twitter's app-install ad unit.
Advertisers can customize the language for their tweets and app descriptions. In addition, on iOS, the app-install cards can show install notifications, alerting users when the third-party app has finished downloading. Twitter will charge advertisers when users are sent to the App Store or Google Play, or when they open an app directly from Twitter.
Facebook has found promising results with app installs. At its last earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it one of the company's "best performing ad products, driving over 350 million installs to date."