Twitter has been rather lacklustre on the advertising front, compared to rivals Facebook and Google. The microblogging company simply has less information to pull from the user, since it doesn’t track search and hasn’t got the wealth of information Facebook acquires. However, Twitter will now track what applications the user downloads on their iOS or Android device. The tracking will be similar to a cookie on a smartphone, capable of monitoring downloads.
Twitter is not the first social company to experiment with app tracking and has been open on how to remove these features. Facebook and Google also use tracking to monitor app downloads. The tracking will hopefully bring more relevant advertisements on Twitter. If Twitter knows you have the Uber app installed, it may be able to offer cheaper rides, same with Starbucks for cheaper coffee.
These targeted ads are much more expensive and companies are willing to pay more to appeal to the right kind of audience. Twitter will work to integrate the new ads into mobile, the new front for advertising. Twitter still lacks the raw information on users, which other Internet companies can acquire. The founders have mixed views on advertising and this may have caused rather lackluster performance in the past.
Compared to Facebook’s billion dollar advertising business, Twitter only offers promoted posts and tweets. These are not well targeted ads and can often times be simple generic advertisement from one company.
This new tracking feature may be a good start for the mobile push, but already users feel conflicted views on the tracking. Twitter has been open about how to remove the tracking and is also against the U.S. government when it comes to surveillance, actively fighting the NSA in court.