Until yesterday Instagram had cherry picked a handful of agencies and brands to run bespoke advertising on the platform for which it enforced a minimum spend of £50,000 ($78,061) in the UK. In opening up its application program interface (API) to all marketers and dropping the entry fee, it has taken a similar method to ad booking as Google, Twitter and parent company Facebook.
The news has released a tsunami of excitement in the advertising industry. MediaCom’s head of paid social Renee Mellow said a “collective cheer” went round the agency when the API was switched on. She said the move will see the likes of Twitter and Snapchat fight harder to retain their place on the media plan, with Instagram boasting the edge given it will now include Facebook’s data and targeting capabilities. “That will be a huge instigator for clients when it comes to their spend,” she added.
However, Essence’s mobile director Liam Pook warned that advertisers must exercise control and ensure their creative is top notch, and in keeping with the premium nature of the platform. Flooding it with below par inventory, he said, will risk alienating its 300m monthly users, 14m of which are UK based.
To date Instagram has been gatekeeper to the quality of advertisements it accepts. Although it is likely to maintain fierce quality control guidelines for its self-serve platform, user experience may suffer as a consequence, at least in the short term, some worried. “Until now the responsibility for the quality control has been very much on Instagram. Now that responsibility will lie with the brands,” said Pook.
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