Instagram has launched a partner program aimed at providing its business customers with experts to help them grow on the photo-sharing platform. The company hopes to entice businesses with not only its 400 million monthly active users, but with resources that will assist them in getting their message across on the visual service.
To start, Instagram has selected 40 partners across advertising, community management, and content marketing. Included in this set are companies like Adobe, Adaptly, Hootsuite, Marin Software, Percolate, Sprinklr, Unified, Tongal, and Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud.
Instagram said its partners will “help solve a wide variety of business challenges — whether it’s driving more installs for a new mobile gaming app, or driving in-store foot-traffic during the holidays.” Companies that are part of this group are vetted to ensure they satisfy certain criteria, including if they excel in one of Instagram’s specialties in at least one major country and if they have the resources to stay current with constant technology changes, a transparent business model, a proven track record of client success, and an understanding of Instagram’s value proposition.
Advertisers can think of Instagram’s Partner Program as being akin to a certified developer platform, but specifically for businesses. If a business wants to market its product on Instagram, it can be somewhat overwhelming to think of all the options. But now Instagram is assuring advertisers that when they choose one of these vetted partners, they’ll be doing business with an entity that has all the knowledge needed about Instagram marketing.
One partner, Brand Networks, told VentureBeat that it claims to have seen a 330 percent increase in its Instagram business since June. “We don’t expect the rush to slow down anytime soon — especially as retail and ecommerce businesses gear up for the holiday shopping season,” said Jamie Tedford, the company’s chief executive and founder. “More brands will add Instagram to their holiday marketing mix, and with this new Instagram Partners Program, it will be easier than ever for brands to team with strategic partners…who can help them increase awareness and convert customers on this rapidly growing platform.”
While Facebook declined to provide specific revenue numbers for Instagram in its last earnings report, analysts have repeatedly called the service a potential cash cow for Facebook, with Cowen & Co. saying that it could generate $5.8 billion by 2020. Bank of America Merrill Lynch separately estimated that in 2015, Instagram will scrape up $110 million in revenue (and $300 million in 2016). Until today, Facebook had only released user metrics for Instagram, with the last count putting it at 400 million active users in July.
Instagram has been opening itself up to more advertising options over the past few months, all aimed at enticing businesses that want to tap into this visual experience. Among the myriad of releases include longer video ads. It also did away with tradition (sort of) by no longer constraining content creators to the iconic square photo or video, instead enabling users to upload landscape and portrait photos. App install ads on Instagram appear to be resonating with advertisers and developers as well.