If Twitter Plays Its Cards Right, App Developers Could Pay It A Lot Of Money

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Twitter just released a new feature meant to help mobile-app developers make money—in direct competition with Facebook, which is also actively courting app makers.

The pitch isn’t subtle, either: “More downloads for your apps,” Twitter’s developer site promises.

At an event for developers at its San Francisco headquarters Tuesday evening, Twitter unveiled an update to its Twitter Cards technology designed to push users to either download new apps or use the apps they’ve already installed more frequently.

A previous version of Twitter Cards displayed previews of photos, articles, and other linked content posted in a tweet. But those led to Web pages, not mobile apps, which made for a circuitous route for app downloads.

Facebook, likewise, is hoping to push app downloads, through its App centre directory and new features which highlight app activity in users’ News Feeds and profile pages.

Both Facebook and Twitter also offer ads specifically meant to push app downloads. The new Twitter Cards feature seems intended to give app developers better unpaid or “organic” promotion, in the hopes that they’ll also spend on paid ads. It also implicitly encourages developers to let users post to Twitter from within their apps.

Apps are a lucrative, fast-growing area of mobile advertising. With Google and Apple’s app stores getting harder and harder to break into, app makers must pay to market their wares. Game makers, e-commerce sites, and dating services are heavy spenders.

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