In 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion. Seems like a lot, right? However, in the next few months Instagram will be making some seriously exciting updates to its advertising platform that will make it the new kid on the block in digital marketing.
As the result of its upcoming changes, the popular social media and photo sharing platform has the potential to generate $1.2 billion dollars in revenue next year, and $4 billion by 2018. Nice move, Zuckerburg. Even EMarketer predicts that Instagram will surpass both Google and Twitter in terms of US mobile display revenue by 2017.
This announcement comes as no surprise to the advertisers who have been waiting patiently for it to come. Finally, marketers across the globe have the opportunity to get their brands in front of the 300 million users who use Instagram daily. Two major updates to Instagram’s advertising interface are worth noting, especially as our clients begin to budget and plan for 2016.
1. Instagram’s Updated Targeting Capabilities
In June of this year, Instagram announced that Facebook’s extensive targeting capabilities will soon be available to advertisers on Instagram. Prior to this announcement, targeting was limited to gender, age, and country, making it an almost impossible tactic for any CMO to sign off on. The integration process will take a few months, but by the end of the year, Instagram is destined to be at the top of every marketing department’s 2016 wishlist.
Users of the app should benefit as well. Scrolling through their feeds, people will begin to see ads (if they have not already) that align more appropriately with their interests. Because of this symbiotic relationship, brands will be able to precisely serve content that is both rich and relevant to the audiences they cherish most.
2. Instagram’s Updated Advertising API
For the first time, advertisers will be able to purchase ads in an automated fashion through third-party vendors, making the purchasing process similar to Twitter and Facebook. Prior to last week’s announcement, buying space on the popular picture-sharing platform was limited to companies willing to shell out the big bucks, and time was being wasted since marketing teams were forced to interact directly with sales teams.
However, according to Business Insider, soon all brands will be able to include Instagram in their marketing budgets, allowing them to “monitor their Instagram marketing activity — including photos that aren’t paid-for ads — across other social networks, all in a self-serve fashion.” All in all, this integration will allow marketing teams to simultaneously plan, execute, and manage multiple campaigns across across multiple platforms.
SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
Instagram’s done you a favor and given you a heads-up: there are big things ahead, and it won’t be long before you’re going to want to get involved. What’s even better is that with this lengthy timeline for release, Instagram’s also giving you plenty of time to create your strategy and get all your ducks in a row — if this is a medium that fits within your brand, spend the next few months planning your expansion, creating your visual assets, and scraping up enough media budget so when the time comes you can hit the ground running.