Coming soon to your Instagram feed – a word from our sponsors

Caitlin McGarry
4 October, 2013
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All right, Instagram users. You’re not going to like what I’m about to tell you, but you knew it was going to happen. In a few months, you’re going to start seeing ads in your feed.

I know, I know. Go ahead and throw yourself to the ground, screaming, “But why, Instagram? Why?!” No judgements.

But Instagram is a company that has to make money – Facebook doesn’t drop US$1 billion on something to never see a return on its investment. And since you don’t pay it to post your filtered latte art, advertising it is.

Analysts and journalists have long speculated as to when Instagram would introduce ads and what those ads would look like; now some details are starting to trickle in. In a Thursday blog post, the company said users will begin seeing “photos and videos from brands you don’t follow”.

“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 continued.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom introduced Instagram video in June. Video will play a part in the company's advertising efforts.

Instagram is treading carefully here, because an easy way to kill a still growing app’s momentum is to anger its 150 million users. The company was quick to point out that users still have total ownership over their photos and videos and that advertising wouldn’t change that – otherwise Instagram would risk incurring the type of wrath not seen since the great Terms of Service debacle of 2012.

Users will also be able to hide ads they don’t like, then tell Instagram what they didn’t like about the ads. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to hide all ads forever and tell Instagram, “I just don’t like any ads” in the feedback section, but you never know. And if those ads turn out to be photos and videos from brands you already like, maybe you won’t be that mad at Instagram.

“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 favourite brands,” the company said in its post.

Users will, of course, remain sceptical until we see what these so-called ‘beautiful’ ads look like. The company didn’t say exactly when Instagrammers can expect to see ads roll in, only the very vague “in the next couple months”.

by Caitlin McGarry, TechHive

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