Instagram's new Advertising API
Instagram, the world's leading image-sharing software, has announced that they are changing how their advertisement system works. The decision to change to a the new API was an obvious one, which will allow for a greater variety of businesses to advertise with them. An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a tool that is typically used to assist in the creation of applications. In this circumstance, it is being used to automate the process of creating and releasing advertisements onto the Instagram platform.
Why is this a big step? Previously, Instagram had a team dedicated to managing advertisements. While having a dedicated team might seem like it would make things simple, it actually caused the process to be a lengthy one, with each incoming ad being carefully reviewed and revised, and the amount of manhours each advertisement required caused prices to be high and the process to be slow. This meant that the old system heavily favored large businesses with dedicated marketing departments and hefty budgets, and smaller businesses would get shoved by the wayside.
The new API is automatic, meaning that prices are lower and ads can be approved much faster, opening the market to small businesses as well as large. A limit on how often ads from a given company will be run leaves room for lots of businesses and companies to get their ads shown to the world, and the system is capable of sorting listings by geographic region, so users in California won't see ads for a pizzeria in Florida. If there is a downside to the API, it is that since ads aren't reviewed by a dedicated team, ad quality might go down slightly, but the system is able to monitor ad content to identify disturbing or "not safe for work" content and prevent it from being distributed.
The ad software is similar to those already in use by Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram has announced their intention to use Facebook's analytical tool. The analytical tool provides feedback to ad purchasers concerning how well their ad is going, showing how many users are shown their ad, how many interact with the ads, and how often the ads are used to redirect a user to the target website.
Ads can be of a variety of formats, including single pictures, image carousels which feature multiple viewable pictures, or 15-second videos. Ads will be presented alongside typical Instagram content, assuring maximum exposure to users.
Instagram has not yet announced when the platform will be available to widespread users, but it is in testing currently, and should be released relatively soon. The announcement has sparked excitement from business owners, large and small, around the world. Current Instagram ad users say small business owners who make use of Instagram's upcoming ad system should expect to see a significant increase in public exposure and popularity.