Twitter rolled out a new function last night called "Cards" which allows users to display photos, app information and products for sale in a more visual, prominent manner.
The move looks like a challenge to Facebook's mobile app install ads, which have been gaining favor with game, app and e-commerce companies because they allow users to buy stuff directly from Facebook via the ad (and the app they download).
Twitter Cards launches with these partners: Delectable, Etsy, Flick, Foursquare, Gumroad, Jawbone, Path, Rovio's Angry Birds, SoundCloud, Storenvy, Wine Library and Vine.
Obviously, several of those companies are large e-commerce concerns.
Here's what Cards will look like in users' Twitter feeds. They come in three different types, for apps, products and photos.
#insert RSS here#
Simon Mansell, CEO of TBG Digital (one of Twitter's ad buying partners), tells us he's excited about the new formats. Cards "make it more effective to use Twitter to drive re-engagement to apps you have installed on your phone but not used for a while," he says. The gallery function indicates that users who want to click through will see a bunch of photos, not just one. The whole thing helps advertisers to "use tweets to drive people to purchase stuff."