Photo sharing app Instagram has opened its platform to most advertisers across the globe today, a move aimed at making money and competing with popular rivals such as Snapchat.
Previously Ads have been available only in eight countries, but are now debuting in more than 20 others including Italy, Spain and India, Instagram said.
More than 200 countries will have ads by Sept. 30.
Instagram has 300 million monthly active users, which is a key advantage over rivals because parent Facebook Inc’s vast trove of consumer data allows it to target audiences more accurately, a major selling point for advertisers.
“It would have taken us years to build some of this technology without Facebook. We can take advantage of years of experience,” James Quarles, global head of business and brand development at Instagram, said in an interview last week.
Until Wednesday, Instagram ads had only been available in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Germany, France and Brazil.
Advertisers have been clamoring for the chance to get on the increasingly popular app to tap its user base of teenagers to young adults, and its ability to leverage data from Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 1.5 billion users.
The ad revenue is projected to reach $1.5 billion in 2016, according to eMarketer, a research firm, and nearly double by 2017 to $2.8 billion.