Instagram opens ads API; Kenshoo, Salesforce and Hootsuite announced as partners

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 5 August 2015

Instagram has for the first time opened up its advertising API, which sees the Facebook-owned photo sharing app ramp-up its mobile monetisation capabilities.

The move sees marketers now having the ability to reach more than 300 million monthly active mobile consumers via the app.

To streamline the process Facebook has initially opened the API to a set number of marketing partners including Kenshoo, Hootsuite, Brand Networks, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Unified, SocialCode, 4C, Nanigans, and Ampush.

However the process is soon to be opened up to more partners and will see advertisers be able to buy Instagram ads in the way they would across other social channels.

GroupM Australia's 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.

“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,” Wasif said.

“The integration strategically complements our Facebook campaigns and creates extended reach for our clients to build their brands on a proven mobile platform.”

George Pappas, campaign director for social agency G Squared, agreed, saying that it's not only a good move for advertisers, but you can now build applications using Instagram content.

“For instance, social platforms such as Sprout and Hootsuite can now easily integrate with Instagram and publishing content, managing communities and so forth will all be done seamlessly," Pappas said.

“Instagram’s API is the final piece of the puzzle, now allowing social ads, community management and publishing content to all occur under the one framework," he said.

This move follows Instagram announcing in June that it was opening up its ad network to any advertiser, adding click to buy functionality, improving targeting and making it measurable and trackable.

It is likely this move will see more ads being served on the platform and also the high creative standards may dip due to the opening of the API, with advertisers previously having to work specially with Instagram and gain approval before running ads on the platform.

However this move positions Instagram to be a serious mobile revenue generator for Facebook, with eMarketer just last week tipping Instagram to topple its nearest rivals in terms of global mobile revenue.

The Facebook-owned business hasn't supported advertising for very long, however the business is said to generate $595 million in mobile ad revenues worldwide this year. Over the next few years that is expected to grow exponentially. By 2017, that number is expected to hit $2.39 billion - which in 2017 is said to be higher than that of Google and Twitter.

Kenshoo Asia-Pacific and Japan managing director Yukihiko Imamura said Kenshoo is thrilled to be an Instagram partner.

“Our integration with Instagram makes high-value mobile advertising inventory accessible to more advertisers,” he said. “The mobile audience on Instagram is significant and brands want to place their brand messages in front of this engaged audience.”

The announcement comes before Instagram reveals its new ad formats which Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg tipped on the recent earnings call for the social giant. She hinted to opening up more ad inventory for marketers as well as new formats, better targeting, and introducing the option to buy ads through third-party resellers. Sandberg did stress however, “Our highest focus is on the consumer experience on Instagram.”

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