Instagram has turned on its advertising API today, with hopes of expanding into a major mobile advertising business.
The API allows marketers to begin purchasing Instagram ads, and structuring their Instagram ad campaigns using computerised software.
By opening up the photo-sharing app to partners, the Facebook-owned company is evolving into an advertising competitor of Google and Twitter.
The API has been designed to make Instagram ads “available to businesses of all types and sizes”, whilst speeding up the process of getting adverts onto the app.
Previously, marketers would have to make direct contact with Instagram’s sales department, but this latest move enables advertisers to organise and monitor their marketing campaigns more efficiently.
An Instagram representative said: “The Instagram Ads API will help us make ads more relevant to the community, serve more diverse business objectives, and make buying on the platform easier for advertisers.
“We started working with a group of Facebook Marketing Partners a few weeks ago and they’ve brought great experience and technological savvy onto the platform. We’ll continue to build upon the Instagram Ads API in the coming weeks and months.”
The social network recently announced it has hit 14m monthly UK users, confirming its position as one of the most popular social networks around.
They also revealed that 300m people around the world log into Instagram once a month, with 70% of these users coming from outside the US.
In terms of potential advertising revenue, researchers have predicted a huge amount of profit for the Facebook-owned app – eMarketer estimating the photo-sharing app could make $595m in ad revenue in 2015.
Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimated its ad revenues could reach around $1bn by 2017, a figure that they think can climb to as much as $3.86bn by 2020.
Find out more about the API here.