Facebook Inc made a major move in its drive to make money from photo-based social network Instagram on Tuesday morning. The firm opened up the ad API for Instagram quietly, and ad-buyers will now be able to go about loading up the site with their ads automatically. Before this morning buying an ad on Instagram meant calling up a sales rep.
The move is a milestone for Facebook as it seeks to increase its sales and profit by using the massive user bases on its non-core mobile apps. Right now most of Facebook sales come from the social network itself. With the release of an API, and a slow but steady increase in the ad load, that’s about to change.
Getting money from Instagram
Instagram is the second-oldest member of the Facebook golden circle of social apps. Messenger and WhatsApp don’t make any money for Facebook, and the photo-sharing network has just begun its journey to making a profit. A small number of partners will be able to use the API right now, but Facebook is expected to roll it out to more firms through the coming months.
Brand Networks, one of the first partners, CEO Jamie Telford said that the move would “help brands use the same advanced Facebook targeting tools to create and deliver relevance-driven ad campaigns that increase ROI by reaching the right audience, at the right place and time.”
A spokesperson from the social network said that the API would “serve more diverse business objectives and make buying on the platform easier for advertisers.”
Brand Networks will be joined by the likes of Nanigans, Kenshoo, Unified, SocialCode, 4C, , Hootsuite, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Ampush as one of the first firms to get its hands on the API.
Slow and steady wins the race for Facebook
Wall Street is looking for huge sales of ads from the three under-used Facebook social apps in the coming years. In its most recent earnings report, Facebook disappointed by stating that its build out of ads on Instagram would be slow and steady.
The last thing that Mark Zuckerberg and his team want to do is drive users away from the app because of the increase in the number of ads, and a slow increase is being touted as the best way to ensure that users stay engaged while boosting sales.
The photo-sharing site is, for the time being, one of the most looked at segments of Facebook by Wall Street research houses. Almost all of the positive reports on the firm in the days after earnings named it as a key driver of growth.
John Blackledge of Cowen and Co says that users spend about 21 minutes per day on the photo-sharing app back in November 2014. The app was also named as the hottest property for new ads in his survey. “Thirty percent of advertisers expect to advertise on the platform, [citing] fast-growing users, high engagement and brand affinity” he says.