Last month, as Instagram crossed the 150 million user mark, business operations head Emily White told us that we could expect the company to start experimenting with ads some time within the next year. We didn't really have any specifics at that point, but we assumed that when they arrived, they'd come in the form of some sort of sponsored photos from brands appearing in users' feeds, or when they search certain terms. Either way, we knew they were coming. It was inevitable anyway.
Today's the day, folks. The salad days are over. Instagram is launching ads in your feed.
From Instagram, in a post called "Instagram as a Growing Business":
We have big ideas for the future, and part of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business. In the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States. Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.
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.
Instagram's insistence on natural ads that you might
tolerate enjoy seems to echo an announcement from Facebook last week. Instagram's parent company said that they would be tweaking their news feed algorithms to show users more relevant, useful ads.
"As always, you own your own photos and videos. The introduction of advertising won’t change this," says Instagram, as the company wisely reminds users not to freak out about the company possibly selling their photos, like they did last year.
So, there you have it. Ads on Instagram. We knew they were coming. You knew they were coming. Baby's gotta monetize, you know what I'm sayin? You didn't think Facebook bought Instagram for nearly a billion dollars so it could sit there looking pretty and not earn, did you?
Image via CrissyNanette444, Instagram