A picture is worth a thousand words. But for Instagram, a picture is worth thousands of eyeballs. . . and millions of dollars.
Instagram has officially opened itself up to marketers and will let them take advantage of its 300+ million strong userbase who upload seventy million photos and like 2.5 billion photos per day. Facebook Marketing Partners, such as Salesforce, can now facilitate the creation, targeting, and publishing of Instagram Ads for brands.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, will also let brands take advantage of Facebook’s own ad targeting features. Brands can also use a “Shop Now” button in their Instagram ads and take advantage of multiple images in one ad using the new carousel format.
For Facebook, this puts Instagram on track to quintuple its ad sales from $595 million to a whopping $2.81 billion by the end of 2017, according to a report from eMarkerter. With those numbers, Instagram would make up 10% of Facebook’s revenue.
Of course, this is all dependent on whether or not users will accept the increasingly commercialized Instagram experience. In October of 2013, Mashable conducted a poll that showed over 40% of users were disappointed with the implementation of Instagram ads and over 16% of users were furious. Regardless, the increasing presence of ads on Instagram has yet to slow the growth of the Internet’s fifth-largest social network over the past two years.
In addition to the Ads API announcement, Instagram is now letting Hootsuite, the popular social manager, schedule photos. That said, the process of scheduling your Instagram photos from Hootsuite is convoluted. While you can upload photos and add descriptions from your desktop into Hootsuite, you will still need to use your mobile device to actually push the photo live. For marketers that have already worked with Instagram, this will be a welcome reprieve from typing ad copy on tiny screens and duking it out with autocorrect. Nonetheless, there is a lot of room for further automation, assuming it doesn’t degrade the quality of postings.
While the Ads API from Instagram is a big announcement, there is certainly more to come from the Instagram team on the advertising front. Assuming Instagram continues to grow, we can expect its advertising solutions to grow as well.