Picture-sharing network Instagram on Thursday launched a suite of tools for advertisers to help them better track metrics such as impressions and engagement.
The new services should help the image-sharing site monetize its highly engaged user base at a time when the sharing of images is being facilitated by the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets. The launch comes as parent company Facebook has also been investing in monetizing its mobile user base with features such as its Audience Network to improve targetinng.
"While we are excited about the long-term potential of our ads initiatives like Instgram, auto-play video, and the Audience Network, we are still in the early days of building these businesses and expect their revenue contribution to remain small in the near-term," said David M. Wehner, chief financial officer at Facebook, in a recent conference call with investors. “We remain optimistic as ever about the long-term opportunity to grow revenue by improving the quality and relevance of our ads and increasing the value we bring to marketers through our products, tools,and technologies.”
The new tools include account insights, ad insights and ad staging.
The account insights tool, presented in a dashboard-style format, allows brands to see how they are increasing brand awareness on Instagram by tallying impressions, reach and engagement.
The ad insights tool shows the performance of paid ad campaigns as measured by impressions, reach and frequency.
Ad staging allows advertisers to preview materials for upcoming campaigns and collaborate with their creative partners.
The move to better serve advertisers comes as Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, moves to step up its ad capabilities on mobile. Its nascent App Links service eliminates the need for a mobile browser by connecting users straight from a Facebook ad or post into a company’s mobile application using deep-linking technology.
In July Facebook said its App Links platform had been adopted by mobile applications including Hulu, Spotify and Vimeo.
App Links has the potential to boost mobile click rates and ad prices, analysts said.
Instagram is likely following down the same path of becoming more mobile-friendly for its advertisers.
The new tools will help brands monitor their campaigns via real-time summaries of how their target audience is responding to sponsored photos. Also, brand marketers will be able to better understand the best time of day to post a photo or video, Instagram said in a blog post.
“In all of this, we remain focused on the transition to mobile,” said Sheryl K. Sandberg, chief operating officer, Facebook, in the analyst call. “Our recently launched Audience Network lets advertisers use Facebook targeting, while extending their campaigns beyond Facebook. This can improve the relevance of ads people see both on and off Facebook, and we're encouraged by the early response.”
Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Marketer, New York