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Instagram Boosts Ad Offering

David Murphy

Instagram action ads June 2015Instagram is boosting its offering to advertisers with a number of new “action-oriented” formats, increased targeting capabilities, and the launch of an API to make it easier for businesses to buy ads on Instagram.

The action-oriented formats will take the form of a button below a photograph on Instagram, inviting users to buy a product (‘Shop Now’) download an app (‘Install Now’) or sign up for something on the brand’s website (‘Sign Up’). This is a significant departure from the brand-led ad formats that Instagram has offered since it launched ads in October 2013.

On the targeting front, Instagram plans to work with its owner Facebook to target Instagram users based on demographics and interests, as well as companies’ first-party data. Instagram also said that it will improve the feedback mechanisms within its platform to give people greater control and improve the relevance of the ads they see.

Finally, the launch of an Instagram Ads API and Facebook ad buying interfaces “over the coming months” is designed to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to advertise on Instagram. The company said it wants to leverage the best of Facebook’s infrastructure for buying, managing and measuring the success of ads on Instagram, adding that it will start by opening the Instagram Ads API to a select group of Facebook Marketing Partners and agencies, with plans to expand globally throughout the year.

Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, welcomed the move, saying: "These updates completely change the character and nature of Instagram advertising. New ways to target and an API are both things that advertisers have been asking for for a long time."