Appsflyer – And Attribution – Come To The Instagram Ads API

ProductMadnessInstagramInstagram has rounded up a posse of Facebook Marketing Partners since the closed beta launch of its ads API in early August.

Mobile analytics company Appsflyer is the most recent addition to a list that includes AdRoll, Adaptly, Ampush, Brand Networks, 4C, Kenshoo, Laundry Service, Publicis-owned agency Mediavest, Nanigans, Olapic, Resolution Media, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, SocialCode, Social Moov, Sprinklr and Unified.

Instagram, which has about 300 million monthly active users, first dipped its toe into advertising in 2013 with the release of Sponsored Photos and Sponsored Videos.

Like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Pinterest, Instagram is turning its attention to direct response, with “action-oriented” formats – Instagram’s answer to app install ads and buy buttons – sitting at the heart of its push toward monetization.

On Monday, Instagram also added support for landscape and portrait modes, moving beyond the square in what some might argue is at least partially an attempt to make the platform easier for advertisers to use.

While most of Instagram’s partners are focused on targeting and optimization, Appsflyer focuses on reporting.

Similar to the role it plays as a third-party mobile measurement partner for Facebook, Appsflyer’s integration with the Instagram ads API is about tracking and attribution all the various stops along a customer’s in-app journey, from click and install to lifetime value and ROI.

While it’s still early days for advertising on Instagram, Product Madness, one of Appflyer’s clients, is starting to see a good return after running app install ads on the platform.

Appsflyer and Product Madness, creator of casino slots app Heart of Vegas, have been working together for about a year. The Instagram relationship is nascent.

The demographic split for Heart of Vegas – it’s the top-grossing app for iPhone in Australia, above Clash of Clans, Game of War and Candy Crush Saga, according to App Annie – is roughly 60% female/40% male, with an average age of 35.

But for Patrick Witham, senior mobile user acquisition manager at Product Madness, it’s a constant quest to expand that audience with high-value users who are likely to engage, especially in the US, where Heart of Vegas is looking to crack the top 50 for iPhone.

Instagram’s young millennial audience isn’t the first thing you might think of when someone says “35-year-old female slots player” – but that’s actually a good thing for Heart of Vegas.

“Our focus in the US is trying to grow at scale and if we can find new pockets of users who will be profitable to us, that’s what we want to do, wherever that is,” Witham said. “Instagram is a major source of previously untapped inventory for us.”

By targeting Instagram users with an interest in poker, Heart of Vegas has started to gain traction with a younger demographic of males aged 22 to 30.

Although it’s been fairly hush hush about the ads API rollout, Instagram noted in a June blog post that, “Working with Facebook, we will enable advertisers to reach people on Instagram based on demographics and interests, as well as information businesses have about their own customers.”

While it’s unclear if advertisers on Instagram can access the same robust targeting available on Facebook itself, the Instagram help section notes that the platform “use[s] information about what you do on Instagram and Facebook … as well as information from third-party sites and apps you use.”

It’s too soon to extrapolate on the meaning of initial results, but Ran Avrahamy, head of marketing at Appsflyer, did say he’s seen an encouraging boost in conversion rates, 18% higher than other user acquisition efforts in the case of one gaming client.

As long as the proportion of paid posts to organic on Instagram remains reasonable, Avrahamy is confident about the platform’s potential.

“Fill rate is always a problem with ad tech, but Facebook knows how to keep the ratio of paid and promoted at a good level,” he said. “They seem to have figured out the formula: connecting visuals with targeting and performance."

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