Remember back when Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion? There was already speculation back then about advertising space creeping onto the social platform, but it has taken a while for it to become a "thing". Facebook would have to make that money back in some way, so it was only a matter of time.
According to the Instagram blog, the 150 million user strong platform will soon be hosting adverts within each user's feed in order to keep Instagram running as a sustainable business. This is set to roll out over the next few months.
The End Of Instagram As We Know It?
Instagram say that their aim is not to bombard people with nonsensical rubbish that doesn't apply to them, but rather to offer an enhancement to their experience that could lead them to discovering related content they would be interested in. In their words: "Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands. After all, our team doesn't just build Instagram, we use it each and every day. We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine."
Users will also have the option of hiding adverts they don't want to see, as well as offering feedback to Instagram as to why they'd prefer not to see specific ads (it's not clear whether or not they will be able to block adverts entirely or if hiding will be permanent, but we can only wait and see). Obviously, this in turn will offer Instagram more insight into building up the platform in line with exactly what users want... no adverts is perhaps what a lot of people would say, but this change was expected.
According to Instagram, the introduction of adverts into a user's feed will be slow and steady and will start with prominent members and brands of the Instagram community. Brands who are already killing it on the platform will probably be less enthused by the news as aspiring photographers, small businesses and creatives who were wondering how to make Instagram a lucrative form of exposure. It's another channel that can now be tapped for resources and as with anything, it'll take a little getting used to and there will no doubt be a lot of chatter - some good and some bad - around it once the ads start to surface.
As a side note: at the end of the blog announcement, they did remind everyone that their photos and videos will still be their own, just in case anyone forgot about their failed attempt to make all content owned by Instagram.
Image courtesy of: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/2013/09/ads-on-instagram/