Facebook’s $1 billion investment into Instagram — its now 300-million-user social media picture-sharing site — seems to be paying off. With todays changes to its advertising API (application programming interface), Instagram is poised to become a major mobile advertising business — potentially big enough to rival Google and Twitter.

Instagram is opening up its API to third-party software providers, which will make it as easier for marketers to craft marketing and advertising campaigns on the photo sharing platform.

Vendors are lining up to integrate. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud, a provider of digital marketing automation and analytics software and services, is among the first to announce integrations with the Instagram Ad API.

“This integration combines the power of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud with the reach of Instagram’s 300 million strong global user community,” Scott McCorkle, CEO of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, told CMSWire. He said Salesforce was eager to help marketers extend their reach to mobile customers "and coordinate those efforts with every other channel in the customer journey.”

The Power of Pictures

Instagram hasn’t slowed down since Facebook scooped it up in 2012. The latest Instagram report includes 300 million active users, 30 billion photos shared, 2.5 billion likes daily and 70 million photos posted per day.

Some industry reports claim Instagram has more active users than Twitter. Combined with its parent, Facebook, it’s a 1.7 billion-user monster.

Forrester Research analyst Nate Elliott called Instagram "the king of social engagement" in a 2014 study of 3 million user interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts on seven social networks. Instagram, Elliott reported, generated 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter.

screenshot of the technology integration between hootsuite and instagram

Hootsuite Jumps In

Maybe this is why the folks at Vancouver, British Columbia-based Hootsuite are so “freaking excited” (as they claim in a press release today) about the Instagram integration. Though it is not an Instagram Ad API partner, Hootsuite, a popular social relationship platform, has jumped onto the Instagram bandwagon.  

“Scheduling posts is now a reality!” Hootsuite officials also said in their release. 

Previously, Hootsuite users had to install the Instagram app from the Hootsuite App Directory. Hootsuite’s web and mobile social media dashboard helps its 11 million users monitor, post and track results across multiple social networks.

The company announced Hootsuite users will now be able to schedule their Instagram content, monitor and engage with audiences, share access to Instagram accounts across teams and create team workflows for assignments and approvals.

“The new integration enables marketers, content creators, social media managers and individuals to seamlessly manage their Instagram accounts and integrate them with other social strategies,” Jimmy Duvall, vice president of product at seven-year-old, 800-employee Hootsuite, told CMSWire. “This feature will save users time, making social media management more efficient, and help users monitor all aspects of their social campaign from one screen.”

The analytics component will be key, he said. Users will be able to monitor Instagram activity and engage with audiences from the Hootsuite platform. Users can now monitor Instagram alongside Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus accounts all from within the Hootsuite dashboard.

Hootsuite officials called the Instagram integration its top-requested capability from users.

Salesforce Perspective

From Salesforce’s vantage point, it's all about the Instagram Ad API. This news today builds on Salesforce’s partnership with Facebook. It's a member of the Facebook Marketing Partner Program, which offers tools for marketers to engage with customers across the Salesforce Marketing Cloud

screenshot of the technology integration between salesforce marketing cloud and instagram

Marketers will now be able to use:

  • Its Social.com for managing Instagram advertising campaigns at scale (buy and manage Instagram advertising)
  • Its Active Audiences to unlock and sync CRM data in Salesforce to optimize Instagram advertising
  • Its Social Studio for Instagram publishing, engagement, customer service and analytics

Salesforce’s Instagram integration adds to its digital advertising and social marketing repertoire, alongside Facebook Ad technology, content marketing, community management and audience onboarding. Salesforce is also a launch partner of Twitter’s Ads API program, Pinterest’s MarTech Developer Alpha and LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates program.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  Title image by We Are Social.