When Instagram announced that the salad days were over and ads – eh, sponsored posts – would soon be landing on the previously ad-free social network, you could hear the collective groans from heavy users but you couldn't register any shock. Nobody was surprised that Instagram had finally decided to make some money.
I mean, Facebook didn't pay almost a billion dollars to let Instagram sit around treading financial water.
Since Instagram ads' hard launch in November of 2013, the company has seemed rather pleased with the program's performance.
"The results for advertisers have been positive—and in some cases, well above the ad industry’s average for performance," said Instagram in June, when announcing that they would soon go global with the ad product.
And there's some analysis to back that up. A recent study found that brand ads posted on Instagram see 58 percent more engagement than Facebook and Twitter – and it's not even close.
But good in not good enough, and the Facebook-owned Instagram knows there's still a lot of untapped ad revenue to be had on a network that is the second most-popular among millennials.
Cue the news that Instagram has made a big hire. Or more like a resource shift. According to Recode, Facebook Regional Director James Quarles is your new Global Head of Business and Brand Development at Instagram.
This is an entirely new position at Instagram.
Can you hear the ad blades turning?
From my personal experience, Instagram ads are less intrusive than ads on many other social networks. This is a conscious effort from Facebook and the Instagram team. Considering how sensitive Instagram users can be when the word "ad" is merely hinted, Zuckerberg and crew know they have to be cautious not to alienate.
As Instagram ramps up their advertising product, which is inevitable, finding that balance will be the key to success.