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Facebook or Twitter: Who is winning the Mobile Monetization Battle?

This has been an interesting week so far for both Facebook and Twitter. While Facebook's "significant mobile-focused announcement" tomorrow will most probably be in the form of a HTC phone designed to run its services, on top of a highly forked version of Android, Twitter's announcement on the other hand was more directly targeted at app developers.

Twitter, in its developer event on Tuesday, announced a new feature to its Twitter Cards technology which will now push users to download new apps or use the apps they've already installed, more frequently. In its earlier avatar, Twitter Cards was used to display previews of photos, articles and other content posted in a tweet. What has changed now is that now developers can deep link their tweets directly to the app download page or enable the app to launch it from the tweet itself.

Why is this important you ask? With app download advertisement campaigns driving over 60% of mobile ad revenues, specially from mobile game companies, both Facebook and Twitter are now gearing up to grab a major portion of this revenue stream. Mobile app discoverability is already a huge concern on the Apple and Google app stores and any service that allows both organic and inorganic downloads will always find favor with game studios, e-commerce sites and dating sites who are traditional heavy spenders on mobile.

While Facebook already has App Center and regularly advertises apps and in-app user activity on its user feeds and timelines, this is a first big initiative from Twitter for this segment and it's intentions are clear with the "More Downloads For Your App" message on its developer homepage. Twitter hopes that such organic download features will encourage app developers to spend on its paid download services as well.

The Facebook announcement tomorrow is of huge significance as it might give some clear reference to Facebook's mobile strategy. If Facbeook is to compete with Apple, Google and Amazon and stay relevant in an increasingly fast changing mobile-first generation, it has to have a hardware play as well. Now Facebook mines user information based on their behavior on its apps and services. With a mobile phone, it can now break free and can gather user information outside of its portal, like where I am, who I actually speak to from my phone, my real network, thus enabling Facebook to deliver much better and higher priced advertisements.

Sometime back, Facebook also announced free calls to landlines and mobiles from its apps for users in North America. So with a phone, this service can be seamless and that means it can bypass telcos. So all you will be carrying is a data enabled communication device for all your needs.

Whether my speculation is correct or not, we will get to know. But one thing is certain. The mobile monetization race is getting more interesting with every announcement from these two big players.

Guest Post by Sukamal Pegu