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Instagram changes advertising platform in bid to increase marketer spend

4th Aug 2015
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Instagram has changed its advertising API to allow mobile marketers to start buying Instagram ads and plan their marketing campaigns on the social network in a more automated way, using third party software like Salesforce and Kenshoo.

With 300 million monthly active users, brand advertising has long been monitised on the photo sharing site, however the new API is expected to give marketers the opportunity to deliver more specific targeted campaigns, and improve on the ‘right audience, right place, right time’ philosophy being driven by Facebook’s advertising platform.

Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012, for over $1 billion. Since then, the introduction of advertising has been a key component of the network’s rise to financial dominance, and mobile ad revenues are predicted to overtake Twitter within two years, reaching $2.81 billion worldwide by 2017, according to eMarketer

The addition of Salesforce, in particular, is expected to help marketers better manage advertising campaigns on the social network, as they will now be able to sync their CRM data, publish content, assist in customer service, and provide analytics.

Marketing platform Kenshoo has also been granted initial access to the Instagram Ads API, and its Infinity Suite software is already wielding results for brands reliant on visual communications, such as fashion retailers.

“Instagram provides an opportunity to reach our customers and potential customers where they are already deeply engaged,” says Bryan Galipeau, director of social media and display for fashion outlets, Nordstrom.

“Kenshoo’s Instagram support enables streamlined campaign launch, management and optimisation that integrates with our existing social efforts. The combination of Instagram and Kenshoo strategically complements our Facebook campaigns and creates a new opportunity in a proven channel.”

Instagram’s advertising changes come within a month of Facebook also changing its own offering, having announced in July that it will no longer charge advertisers when users apply ‘social’ clicks to paid-for ads. Brands will instead be charged solely for external clicks or off-site calls to action, such as ‘shop now’.

Both announcements are part of a wider drive to maximise the revenue the social networks derive from advertising, however some experts remain unconvinced.

“From my view it's the next logical step in monetising the platform but they are being very cautious as to not degrade the consumer experience,” says social media consultant, Sue Reynolds.

“I'm already seeing sponsored posts in my personal feed and have clicked them out of curiosity; however, it remains to be seen if these ads will convert to real sales.”

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