Instagram is kick-starting the process of monetizing its Explore tab with the gradual introduction of ads, but they won’t appear on the initial Explore screen.
Users of the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network won’t see ads in Explore until they click through to further investigate content, after which they will appear in the results feed—photo or video ads for posts with images, and solely video ads for video posts.
Instagram head of business Jim Squires said in an interview that one-half of Instagram accounts visit Explore on a monthly basis, with 200 million people accessing it daily.
He added that since debuting five years ago, Explore has evolved into a highly personalized space, and every person’s results look different.
Instagram said in a blog post, “Brands are an important part of the Instagram experience for people. Whether it’s shopping, catching up on Stories or discovering the latest trends, we see people actively looking to connect with brands they like. That’s why, over the next few months, we’ll be introducing ads in Explore feed.”
The process will be gradual, starting with a select group of brands, both small and large, across different categories, and expanding over the coming months.
Squires said, “One thing that is unique about Instagram is that because people are so focused on their interests, 80% follow businesses on their own.”
On the brand side, ads in Explore are an extension of what they’re already doing in Instagram’s main feed, with the same creative, targeting and objectives. Advertisers that have access can simply extend existing campaigns into Explore.
Instagram wrote in a blog post, “For advertisers, this is an opportunity to be part of what’s culturally relevant and trending while reaching new audiences who are looking to discover something new. Advertisers can easily extend their campaigns using automatic placements with a simple opt-in to reach audiences in Explore.”