The inevitable has drawn closer: Facebook-owned photo-sharing network Instagram confirmed that it will begin introducing advertising into its feed “in the next couple of months.”
Executives from Facebook and Instagram have mentioned monetizing the photo-sharing network in the past, but there will likely be backlash from users, so Instagram broke the news gently in a blog post, promising to “start slow,” to deliver “high-quality photos and videos,” and to ensure that the ads “feel as natural” as the rest of the content in users’ feeds:
We have big ideas for the future, and part of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business. In the next couple of months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the U.S. 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.
We’ll also make sure you have control. If you see an ad you don’t like, you’ll be able to hide it and provide feedback about what didn’t feel right. We’re relying on your input to help us continually improve the Instagram experience.
As always, you own your own photos and videos. The introduction of advertising won’t change this.
However, monetizing Instagram has been mentioned by Facebook Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson in a conversation with Ad Age in June; by Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the company’s second-quarter earnings call in July; and by Instagram Director of Business Operations Emily White in a September interview with The Wall Street Journal.
A total of 123 of the Fortune 500 companies have Instagram accounts, and its recent milestones include the introduction of Video on Instagram in June and reaching 150 million monthly active users in September.
Readers: What will users’ reactions be when the first Instagram ads start appearing?