Instagram switches on its ad interface

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Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, has switched on its game-changing advertising API (application program interface), enabling mobile marketers to conduct campaigns in a more automated and efficient way.

This means that advertisers will no longer have to speak directly with Instagram sales people, a practice that effectively limited the platform to those with large budgets and the time to negotiate fees, according to a report on UK site Warc (which itself referenced Business Insider and Mashable).

“With automation, it is expected that advertisers with smaller budgets will soon be able to plan Instagram campaigns, increasing the likelihood that the social network will host more ads and make it an even stronger competitor to its rivals,” says the report.

“Only last week, analysts at eMarketer forecast that Instagram will generate US$595m in global advertising revenues this year and that it is on track to overtake Google and Twitter in terms of US mobile ad revenues by 2017.

“By switching on its API, Instagram is enabling all advertisers to plan campaigns on the platform in a similar way to what they can do on Facebook and Twitter.

“Using third-party platforms, they will be able to cross-promote, schedule and monitor their Instagram marketing activity across other social networks.”

Instagram’s Ads API partners so far include Hootsuite, Kenshoo, Brand Networks, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Unified, SocialCose, 4C, Nanigans and Ampush.

Jamie Tedford, co-founder and ceo of Brand Networks, one of the Facebook marketing partners, was bullish about the prospects for Instagram: “This is one of the most anticipated moments in the evolution of advertising, and we expect the platform’s offering will continue to expand rapidly,” he said.

However, Debbie Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, cautioned that Instagram will need to take care that the expected increase in the number of ads does not harm its reputation for hosting well-crafted, quality ads.

“It will be interesting to see if the engagement level continues without Instagram hand-holding advertisers, as it has been for the past couple of years,” she told Mashable.

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