Digital marketers can now start buying Instagram ads, after the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app turned on its advertising API last week.

The aim is to turn the app into a major mobile advertising business. Its ambition is to rival Google and Twitter.

The arrival of the Instagram advertising API means that marketers can now plan their Instagram campaigns alongside their other digital marketing efforts. This will enable brands to cross-promote across multiple platforms, including Instagram, and enable them to then monitor Instagram’s performance using third-party platforms, including Kenshoo.

This is not the first move into digital advertising for Instagram. In June 2015, the photo-sharing app announced that all Facebook’s ad-targeting tools would be available to Instagram advertisers. June also saw the launch of ‘Shop Now’ buttons, while earlier this year Instagram introduced carousel ads.

Analysts expect big things from Instagram in terms of advertising revenue, with eMarketer forecasting the app to generate $595 million in ad revenue in 2015. Bank of America Merrill Lynch said it expects Instagram’s ad revenues to reach $1 billion by 2017, in a research note it published last month.

Instagram ad projections

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Sarah McCay Tams is senior content and PR manager at ClickThrough Marketing. This includes planning and delivering on content for our clients as well as our own marketing materials. When her fingers are not dancing across the keyboard, her feet are on the dance floor – Salsa, Bachata and Rueda put this dancing queen in a spin.