Twitter announced new features for its Web and mobile services this week that seem tailored to appeal simultaneously to developers and marketers.
The company announced that new types of content can display within the card format it launched last summer. Tweet cards can now include app information geared toward developers and product displays and photo galleries geared towards brand advertisers.
The app information template also includes a link that lets users open apps they’ve already installed or download new apps.
Twitter today began rolling out updates to its own mobile apps. The updates will allow users to see more of the media content in cards from their mobile devices.
The bundled launch shows Twitter still moving forward in its efforts to become a media company supported by advertising, not the utilitarian data stream many developers who supported it early on hoped it would become. But it also suggests that Twitter has learned that it needs developer support to keep its platform vibrant.
If developers grew angry enough at Twitter, they could stop supporting sharing to its platform from their apps, which would hurt both its traffic and its reputation. As it rolls out the card format, Twitter relies on app and Web developers to amend their code.
“Having more options for developers, and useful ones such as app finding and linking, photos, etcetera — these are core services that developers need to help propel their own businesses. And Twitter needs these features as well to make sure their platform remains relevant,” said Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner.
The company’s announcement over the summer that it would effectively put the kibosh on applications that relied on Twitter content without delivering inbound traffic angered developers.
This week, Twitter invited developers to its headquarters to announce the new features. And it put app discovery front and center in its announcement, tucking the more commercial types of newly supported content into the bottom of its blog post.
But it’s clear that Twitter is still following through with the plans that initially angered developers. The company says it has “fundamentally re-architected the way Cards are created and delivered” to allow for “greater customization by publishers and developers.”
Yet Twitter was careful not to break the integrations publishers and developers have already created for cards: The new architecture is “backward compatible; if you’ve already implemented Cards, your integrations will continue to work seamlessly,” the company said.
The company may finally have struck a balance between optimizing its platform for advertising and playing nice enough with other tech innovators to persuade them to continue to integrate with Twitter.
“Twitter does seem to be going in a new direction here, one that is divorced from their previous developer declarations where they upset developers who had thought Twitter should go in one direction and the company then went in another,” Blau said.