San Francisco - Twitter said its new mobile-advertising product will be able to reach more than 1 billion devices, rivalling the number of users on Facebook.

The ads, aimed at software makers seeking to encourage downloads of their applications, will be carried both on Twitter and outside the microblogging service, the company said in a blog post today.

The initiative marks the first time marketers will be able to buy ads via Twitter and take advantage of MoPub, a mobile-advertising exchange that Twitter bought in October.

Combined with Twitter’s 241 million users, advertisers will be able to reach an audience similar in scale to Facebook, which has 1.2 billion users.

The promotions for mobile-app installs are among several features being developing with MoPub, according to Kevin Weil, vice president of revenue products at Twitter.

“This is the first connection between Twitter and MoPub and we are eager for other opportunities in the future,” he said.

“MoPub has some serious scale.”

With the app-install ads, Twitter will be able to attract customers in the e-commerce and gaming industries.

MoPub, which can display ads to more than 1 billion mobile devices, handles over 130 billion ad requests in Android and iOS applications every 30 days, the company said.

The company has been testing the app-download ads with developers including Spotify, HotelTonight and Kabam.

A user clicking on an app-install ad will be redirected to the advertiser’s page in a mobile-app store to download the program.

Facebook introduced the ads in October 2012, driving 245 million app downloads last year, the company has said.

Mobile is a key piece of Twitter’s business and generates more than 75 percent of advertising revenue.

The company will report first-quarter earnings on April 29. - Bloomberg News