Instagram's $20 Billion Ad Revenue Isn't Exactly a Shock to Marketers

Photo-sharing site is a big chunk of Facebook's business—even beating Google's YouTube

It’s hard to remember now, but for the first three years of its existence, Instagram was ad-free.

When it finally incorporated ads, shortly after Facebook bought the photo-sharing platform for $1 billion in 2012, the language around the rollout promised users it wouldn’t be too much, too soon: “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,” the company said in a 2013 blog post announcing the change.

But now it’s 2020, and my Instagram feed is littered with shoe companies I’ve never heard of while Squarespace and LinkedIn nestle their promoted Stories between those from my friends and family.



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