Recently Emarketer predicted that Instagram is on track to generate $595 million in advertising revenue this year, and by 2017 it will be on track to surpass Google and Twitter in terms of US mobile display ad revenues. Looks like the prediction isn’t that bad as Instagram, the photo and video sharing social network has switched on its API (application programming interface.)
Opening up the API means – marketers can start buying Instagram ads and planning their Instagram marketing in a more automated fashion, alongside their other digital ad buys on Facebook or Twitter. From now on the API will let advertisers use third-party platforms like Brand Networks and Salesforce to schedule their own campaigns for the first time.
This is a big move from Instagram’s point of view, till now the network that Facebook had bought in 2012 allowed a selected group of big companies to use its ad products. This is going to change now and even other mid and smaller companies can tap into Facebook targeting tools and a 300 million-strong Instagram audience. In short, it means more brands can buy more Instagram ads now.
Worth more than $35 billion, Instagram started advertising from late 2013 with Sponsored Posts. Late last year the network rolled out the video ads after rigorous testing and hands-on work with brands.
This year Instagram has had four major roll outs that has kept us hooked to the platform. This March, Instagram, for the first time, allowed the possibility of opening up URLs on its network with the launch of carousel ads. Instagram started showing clickable links with the carousel ads that tell a story by letting you swipe through four branded images in sequence.
The second major push Instagram did in this space was earlier in this month by providing action-oriented advertisement to marketers. Providing the ability to shop on Instagram wasn’t a surprising move since over the time it had been working closely with a few influential brands to make shopping a one-click experience on its platform. For instance, Banana Republic was one of the retailer who could link to product pages from their Instagram ads.
Later on it announced that Instagram will have the ability to connect businesses to the right people through expanded targeting options with the help of Facebook too.
The latest roll out of opening the API was also expected. To begin with Instagram has tied up with Facebook’s biggest marketing partners. such as Hootsuite, Kenshoo, Brand Networks, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Unified, SocialCode, 4C, Nanigans, and Ampush.
Hootsuite is rolling out an Instagram integration that gives users of the popular social management tool several handy time-saving features. Social teams using Hootsuite will be able to share access to Instagram accounts across teams, monitor Instagram activity and create approval workflows, and respond to comments and engage with users.
Hootsuite has created a scheduling workaround, similar to the one used by services such as Latergram. Here’s how it works: A user can schedule posts to be published immediately or at a later time, uploading a photo and caption. When the scheduled time arrives, the Hootsuite Instagram app will send a push notification to the user’s mobile device. Clicking on the notification pulls up the Instagram app with the photo and caption loaded, and the user can publish at will. The Instagram app will be available from Hootsuite’s app directory on Wednesday.
Salesforce is also offering a whole new set of tools for marketers to engage with customers on Instagram across its various products. Providing further details on how marketers can benefit from Salesforce Marketing Cloud Instagram integration, the company said that advertise, publish, engage, analyze are the various features that could be availed.
While this is good news for brands, this might not be so for users who might just hate the sudden rise in ads. “The Instagram Ads API will help us make ads more relevant to the community, serve more diverse business objectives and make buying on the platform easier for advertisers.” said an Instagram spokesperson.
Definitely Instagram users will see more ads but Facebook wouldn’t be interested in killing the uniqueness of the mobile first product. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO at Facebook will surely pass on his mobile ad experience to Kevin Systrom, CEO at Instagram.
However the challenge lies in monitoring the ad quality and earlier ads were only for branding. Today there are multiple objectives like Facebook ads, which could challenge the user engagement. Instagram boasts that its ads are 2.8 times more effective than other online advertising. This would now be closely watched.