Instagram has launched its advertising API (application programming interface), allowing marketers to start automating ad campaigns in the app.

Advertisers will now be able to cross-promote, schedule and monitor marketing activity on the Facebook-owned photo sharing application, and serve ads to its 300 million monthly active users.

Inventory will be available via third-party platforms on a self-serve basis, cutting out the lengthy and costly advertising process in place before, which required contacting the company directly.

Agile marketing software group and Facebook Marketing Partner Kenshoo is one such platform, and was given early access to the Instagram Ads API. The group has been in touch with PerformanceIN to report positive feedback among its users.

“Clients that have launched Instagram ads through Kenshoo are achieving average click-through rates higher than Q2 2015 industry averages for social advertising,” notes Will Martin-Gill, SVP, product for Kenshoo.

Engaged users

From today, advertisers have an opportunity to access Instagram’s ‘deeply engaged’ user-base when reaching out to existing and potential customers, according to Kenshoo client – US retailer Nordstrom.

“The combination of Instagram and Kenshoo strategically complements our Facebook campaigns and creates a new opportunity in a proven channel,” added Nordstrom’s director of social media and display, Bryan Galipeau.

While Instagram has offered a series of recent ad updates, they’ve not made a huge impact on the mobile market, leading some advertisers to question what value the API would bring.

However, initial trials seem to have quelled concerns.

“We assumed that the broadening of Instagram’s ad product offering was going to lead to new positive outcomes for advertisers, but the lack of a clickable experience within Instagram to date had us projecting only modest success in response to this new feature,” said Maikel O’Hanlon, VP, social media strategy for Horizon Media.

“Instead, the early returns are fantastic,” O’Hanlon adds.

With mobile ad revenue expected to $2.81 billion worldwide in 2017 according to eMarketer,  Instagram advertising is expected to grow rapidly in the months ahead.