Twitter Inc. (TWTR) said it will help sell native advertisements on mobile applications, capitalizing on its recent acquisition of a mobile-advertising exchange.
The ads are dubbed native because they would blend into the content around them, making them seem like a part of the app, the San Francisco-based company said in a blog post. Twitter is broadening advertising across the mobile Internet after acquiring MoPub Inc., a mobile ads exchange, in October for about $350 million in stock in its biggest-ever acquisition.
Twitter, which went public last month, is trying to capitalize on the growth of advertising on smartphones and tablets, where most of its users spend their time. The company has been adding features for advertisers to help them reach its more than 230 million users. Twitter shares have soared, pushing up MoPub’s value closer to $900 million, according to people with knowledge of the terms, who asked not to be identified because the specifics are private.
“Native advertising can provide a better experience for users and great returns for advertisers,” Kevin Weil, vice president of revenue product, said in an interview. “Native means it feels natural, and what you see here is exactly what we said we would do when we joined forces in October.”
With the MoPub product, marketers put in text and graphics and ad publishers can display them in a format that looks like it belongs in the app, MoPub founder Jim Payne said in an interview.
Advertisers are increasingly looking for more efficient ways to buy across screens -- from televisions to tablets to desktops -- to keep pace with consumers’ behavior. MoPub’s advantage in mobile media should help Twitter become more attractive to marketers, said David Cohen, chief investment officer at UM, a media buying and planning firm that’s part of IPG Mediabrands, a unit of the Interpublic Group of Cos.
“MoPub totally solves a problem for Twitter,” Cohen said. “One of the challenges that Twitter has faced is a limited product suite, meaning few areas in which an advertiser can place their message -- MoPub opens up a whole new opportunity for them in accessing inventory and creating new ad products.”
Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Twitter, declined to comment on MoPub’s current value.