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Instagram turns on its Ad API

In a major move for Instagram, the photo sharing app owned by Facebook has switched on its advertising API. The company announced a test of its advertising API in June, and now it has opened the platform with Facebook Marketing Partners. These include Kenshoo, Salesforce‘s Marketing Cloud, Brand Networks, 4C, Hootsuite, SocialCode, Nanigans, Unified, and Ampush.

The Instagram Ads API partners will be able to schedule and publish content to the platform, share access to Instagram accounts across teams and monitor audience.

During the Q2 earnings call, Facebook had highlighted its plans to scale up advertising on Instagram. Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook said, “We continue to make progress with ads on Instagram.  In Q2 we launched Instagram ads in Brazil, Germany and Japan.  We also introduced additional capabilities for marketers, including Carousel Ads on Instagram, which brands are using in creative ways — for example, to showcase a spring fashion collection, gradually reveal a full panorama, or show different views of a location.”

“Over the coming months Instagram ads will be available to more advertisers with new formats, better targeting, and the ability to buy online as well as through third party partners.  As we ramp Instagram ads, we remain focused on quality and relevance to ensure the best experience for people and the highest performance for marketers,” Ms Sandberg added.

Speaking on the launch, Kenshoo Asia-Pacific and Japan Managing Director Yukihiko Imamura said, “Our integration with Instagram makes high-value mobile advertising inventory accessible to more advertisers. Kenshoo is thrilled to be among a group of the first Facebook Marketing Partners given initial access to the Instagram Ads API. The mobile audience on Instagram is significant and brands want to place their brand messages in front of this engaged audience.”

However, Facebook did say it will tread the ad route on the app lightly. Ms Sandberg said in the earnings call, “We’re opening up more advertisers. We’re also opening up more abilities which means more formats like direct response, more ways to buy like self‐serve. That said it’s important to understand this, while we think there’s a lot of interest and great opportunity, we’re going to be really thoughtful and strategic about how we ramp revenue.  Instagram remains small relative to Facebook and it’s going to really take time to have significant impact on our growth.”

Group M Australia SEM Director, Furqan Wasif, said Instagram has quickly become a must-have advertising channel for brands that want to stay at the forefront of mobile engagement.

“Kenshoo’s access to the Instagram Ads API offering will enable us to streamline our campaign launches, and integrate them seamlessly with our existing mobile campaigns; allowing our team to get a comprehensive view of our entire campaign portfolio. The integration strategically complements our Facebook campaigns and creates extended reach for our clients to build their brands on a proven mobile platform,” said Mr Wasif.

According to a recent emarketer forecast, Instagram will bring in USD 595 million in mobile ad revenues worldwide in 2015. By 2017, the global mobile ad revenues of the social media platform will reach USD 2.81 billion. This will account for over 10 per cent of its parent company, Facebook’s, ad revenues.

“Clients that have launched Instagram ads through Kenshoo are achieving average click-through rates higher than Q2 2015 industry averages for social advertising. When coupled with Kenshoo’s innovative suite of targeting and optimization tools, and brands advertising on Instagram have the potential to exponentially improve results for their entire campaign portfolio,” said Will Martin-Gill, SVP, product for Kenshoo.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.