Social media giant, Instagram, which sits alone at the top of the crowded photo sharing app space, now offers their Application Programming Interface (API) to third party users. It appears they’ve finally joined the social media marketing gold rush. This obviously has far-reaching effects for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and networkers.
What This Means for Marketers
Basically, Instagram has just opened up its gates for more convenient and efficient mobile advertising, with different brands and their respective developers having the power to directly plug their software into the app’s system. This makes it easier to align your social media strategy with an overall marketing strategy.
In the past, brands and their marketing teams had to work with Instagram directly and engage with users on a one-off basis. This, plus the lack of reliable click data, made it difficult to quantify Instagram marketing. This kept many brands away from the medium, for fear of inability to show ROI. The API release changes all that, for better or worse.
What This Means for Users
Although there are huge benefits for advertisers, this rollout could affect a number of regular Instagram users. As marketers, it will be important to approach this tactfully, so as to avoid ruining an otherwise highly engaging platform with poorly done ads. There will most certainly be a shaky testing period while people learn how to most effectively reach their audience. And when the number of ads increase, the users may start looking for other alternatives that could offer them a better user experience.
As for a lot of marketing experts, they are honestly hoping that Instagram learns from the mistakes that its owner, Facebook, has made in the past. They nearly lost their top spot after users started complaining about the number of ads they were seeing on their news feeds. Aside from the fact that the ads grew in number by the minute, a lot of the ads were completely irrelevant to what each user was looking for.
From this experience, Instagram should learn how to be selective with what kind of ads they allow and how often they are shown. Of course, more details will be given in the next few days and weeks as the rollout is perfected. This should give Instagram a lot of time to smooth out the kinks, which are inevitable with any large product rollout.