Twitter Just Became Every Mobile App’s Best Friend

Open in FlickrTwitter is not just about 140 characters anymore. Ever since it introduced Twitter Cards, it’s been expanding the scope of a Tweet to include photos, videos, music, article extracts, and more. Today Twitter announced three new types of cards to display information about apps, products, and photo galleries, but it also added a couple of key features that will make Twitter a natural distribution platform for mobile apps. Developers will be able to add links at the bottom of their Twitter cards to get people to download their app directly from a mobile app store or deep link into their apps for those who already have them.

These new features are designed to drive app installs and deep linking into mobile apps. From Twitter’s Developer blog

One of the most important features in the new Cards is the ability to allow users to download your app (if the user doesn’t already have it installed), or deep-link into your own app (if the app is already installed on the user’s mobile device)

Forget about the desktop web for a second. This move is Twitter’s way of giving mobile apps a huge bear hug. Mobile apps already rely on Twitter and Facebook to share any photos, videos, articles, or other content found or produced inside those app. The problem is there is no return path to those apps, even for other people who are discovering those shared links (now multimedia cards) on mobile phones.

With download links, every time someone shares something on Twitter via a mobile app that implements these types of cards, all of their followers are just a click away from downloading the app—every time they share something. That is huge. The more people share from a particular app on Twitter, the more that app will be downloaded.

Every single mobile app developer is going to want to add these download links into their Twitter Cards. And if they haven’t implemented Twitter Cards yet, now they are going to have to think hard about why they aren’t jumping into the fray.

It’s not just about downloads. Twitter is taking a stab at one of the big problems with mobile apps: it’s hard to link between them. (Remember, the link structure of the web is what makes it so powerful). With deep linking, people can move seamlessly from their mobile Twitter stream right into the app being linked from. It could be that picture in Path, or that video in Takes.

Twitter’s embrace of mobile apps and its willingness to become a huge distribution platform for them will in turn help spice up the Twitter stream with all sorts of expandable cards. The more that Twitter Cards become the norm inside your stream, the more diverse and visually rich that stream will become. No doubt, advertisers will love that. Twitter is already testing different ad units and direct commerce in cards. Imagine Twitter Cards as ad units where the revenue is shared with the contributing mobile app or publisher. If Twitter gets this right, it could create a very lucrative revenue stream for both itself and the ecosystem of apps that publish into Twitter.
Twitter cards

33 thoughts on “Twitter Just Became Every Mobile App’s Best Friend

  1. Pingback: The Demo Blog

  2. This is definitely huge.
    It works so well on Twitter because people are used to clicking away from Twitter itself to visit links. Whereas Facebook IS the destination (and is painfully trying to push users to install games etc), Twitter is the middleman helping you get to any destination you need to. Bravo Twitter.

    • It works even better when Twitter and Facebook are both the distribution platform and the delivery mechanism. We’ve enabled in-stream commerce for a year now, turning advertising into in-stream real time commerce and payments. Attention rerouting advertising – conversion is low. In-stream conversational commerce – high.

      • Great point there Chris. Definitely In-stream conversion will be high @abh1nay

      • Interesting, I can definitely see the opportunity there too. For us, their Promoted Tweets feature has been effective so I wouldn’t mind putting money down into the next step. Oh the possibilities…

  3. Pingback: Twitter Just Became Every Mobile App’s Best Friend | My Daily Services

  4. Pingback: As Google Steps out of the iOS App Discovery Business, Twitter Steps in | The Inneractive Blog

  5. Downloading an app is only the first step in becoming a user. Eventually, you want users. But as you download and have more apps on your device, inevitably you have less time for each. Also your gadget becomes cluttered up with hardly-(if-ever)-used apps.

    • That is where the deep links come in. If someone I follow shares from an app I already have on my phone and I see it on Twitter, the deep link opens up that screen in that app on my phone. — Erick Schonfeld Executive Producer, DEMO 917-592-6729

      On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 7:10 AM, Erick Schonfeld: TechStre

      • True. That’s definitely a step in the right direction. But what if you don’t have the particular app? would you install it? You actually mentioned that these “features are designed to drive app installs” (obviously Twitter’s aim).

        That’s exactly why the link structure of the web is so powerful – no installation, no commitments, no extra buttons, no strings attached.

        I assume most of these deep links are merely to share content or even to complete a specific task (say, to purchase an item). Well appropriate for the web.

        So, back to the first question – if you click the deep link and don’t have the particular app, the browser might be able to handle it. A real killer app.

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  9. The mobile app works better while twitter and Facebook are both works on mobile app. Twitter is very help full to get to any destination you wish to. Mobile apps are dependent on twitter and Facebook to videos , photos , or produce inside the apps.

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