Third-party developers and agencies are leveraging the first version of Instagram's API to make the most of the opportunity today, but also prepare for a more complex future. Ernie Capobianco, CEO of Sq1, tells CIO.com he expects Instagram to start getting more technically savvy by opening up different ad placements, working with more agencies and further developing its targeting capabilities.
Facebook enables advertisers to target audiences directly at the point of purchase, but Instagram hasn't made that leap yet nor has it introduced CRM integration or the pricing models enjoyed by other more established platforms. "It's a painful process to run those Instagram campaigns," says Capobianco.
Make Way for Programmatic
He expects that to change when Instagram gets even cozier with Facebook to offer combined targeting options, workflow and reporting. "There's a lot of really cool advanced targeting strategies we're able to do in Facebook, hopefully we're able to do that soon enough in the other platforms," Capobianco says.
Despite those limitations, theAmplify was able to break cash-flow positive just six weeks after it launched late last year to focus exclusively on Instagram influencer marketing, according to CEO and founder Justin Rezvani. The Culver City, Calif.-based startup has developed an algorithm called "SharedRank" that taps into Instagram's API to measure against 1,000 data points and enable brands to target 16 specific affinities of individuals.
"The important thing for marketers are not the influencers themselves. The important thing for marketers are the audiences that reach those particular influencers," says Rezvani. He also believes Instagram will eventually embrace programmatic buying and deeper targeting opportunities through audience segmentation, but for now it makes sense that process would be less technical on Instagram.
"The focus in here is creative and creating beautiful content and experiences on Instagram," Rezvani says. "If you just put too many ads on this platform it's going to be really difficult to engage. You have to remember everything on Instagram is 100 percent share of voice and everything takes up 100 percent of the screen at a certain time. So an ad unit on Instagram is way more impactful than any type of platform. On Facebook you'll look at four or five ads with one screen, this you're only looking at one at a time."
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