[SAN FRANCISCO] Instagram unveiled plans on Wednesday to expand its offerings to advertisers, opening up possibilities for global marketing efforts on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing network.
"Starting this month Instagram is open for business and available to advertisers large and small," Instagram said in a statement.
The expansion will allow advertisers to launch global campaigns in a variety of formats including video ads of up to 30 seconds.
Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook in 2012, has had only limited advertising opportunities up to now. In 2013, it began with a small number of "sponsored" posts by well-known brands such as Michael Kors and Adidas.
The new system could help Instagram generate considerably more revenue.
"Over the past few months, we've been working to make ads on Instagram available to more types of businesses on a self-serve basis," the statement said.
"We're excited to announce that starting this month, advertisers both large and small can run campaigns on Instagram. In addition, ads are now available in more than 30 new countries - including Italy, Spain, Mexico, India and South Korea - and will be launching in markets around the world on September 30."
Instagram is also launching a service called Marquee, a "premium" advertising product aimed at driving mass awareness in a short time-frame for events like movie premieres and new product launches.
Instagram has more than 300 million users around the world and is seen as a potential growth segment for Facebook, which has nearly 1.5 billion users.
The research firm eMarketer projects that Instagram can generate 14 per cent of mobile ad revenue for Facebook by 2017, and generate some US$2.8 billion for the group.
Last month, Instagram broke its square mold with an update that adds portrait and landscape formats to the image-sharing smartphone application, which also opened up new possibilities for advertisers.
"With the addition of new formats, we're starting to see marketers achieve a range of objectives, from web site clicks to mobile app installs," the Instagram statement said.