Instagram will introduce photo and video ads in the next couple months

By , Oct 3, 2013

Instagram ads

For those who’ve been following Instagram for a while, it will hardly come as a surprise that the company today announced it will start delivering ads into the feed of US users in the next couple of months.

Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook over a year ago, has yet to turn a profit. This new decision to start displaying ads on mobile devices might exactly be what the company needs to become profitable, even if it means alienating a few users in the process…

We already knew ads would come to Instagram, but we didn’t expect them to come so quickly. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month, Instagram COO Emily White was quoted saying that the company could be ready to begin selling ads within the next year. It seems things have accelerated since then.

At first, only Instagram users based in the US will be be delivered ads, a move that is not very surprising as Instagram sales force wants to focus first on its home turf, which is where most of its users are anyways. In a blog post published today on Instagram’s blog, the company explains:

We have big ideas for the future, and part of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business. In the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States. 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.

Because Instagram offers a very visual experience, photo and video ads is almost a natural evolution:

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.

Instagram made a few users unhappy last year when it unveiled its new ToS, and this move towards photo and video ads certainly won’t make things any better. As a very frequent Instagram user, I am obviously not excited about the news, but I completely understand that the company can’t operate at loss forever and has to eventually generate profits. If they can push targeted and beautiful ads to my feed, it will definitely be easier to endure than if they pushed ugly and irrelevant ads.

I suspect many users will be offended by the move and decide to go elsewhere to share their square photos and videos, but in the grand scheme of things, this will probably not be a big loss for Instagram and its 150 million users.

What do you think about this move? Are you surprised? Will you keep using the service of is this going to be a turn off?

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  • TesticularFortitude

    This is just what users want – More ads.

  • chumawumba

    Hopefully there will be an iOS 7 jailbreak by then. And a tweak which will block instagram ads.

    • Andrieux Querido

      I don’t know, do you know any Ad Blocker that works on Facebook APP.
      I dont. :(

    • joes223

      I bet you are one of those who use AdBlock on your browser… do you have any idea how much this hurts the business? I have an online advertising company and users like you are the ones that make it difficult to prosper…

      So instagram is just supposed to give you a completely free service, they have to manage to make mobile apps, website, servers, bandwidth, space… and they have to pay for all of this, so that you can use it for free?

      The same way that you pay for apps to support their developers instead of pirating them, you should not block the ads that are intended to be seen.

      There are people that work and rely on internet/apps ads to live. You need to consider the consequences that blocking advertising has on the companies.

      • Lerimer Santana

        Well, do you know how annoying ads are… thats why people use services like netflix, and prefer to buy tv series on any platform, just to get away from ads. When Facebook was introduced, it was free of ads… until it became live in the stock market…. instagram has been a free service and up till now, “that Facebook purchased it”, was free of ads. Do you know the #1 reason I pay for my apps… its not because I don’t wanna pirate them… Its because most of them are free with ads… or pay and have the app ad free… So I pay. Why not give us the choice to pay for an ad free experience. Next will be twitter… once it goes live in the stock market and becomes public… we’ll see ads there too. I can’t stress enough how much the damn ads take away from the experience of using an app….

  • Wierdninja

    We get inundated by Ads everywhere now. Even on our phones. Personally I understand Instagram needs to make money. But, I can post photos and videos to Facebook and other places for free. I rarely use Instagram. With intruding ads now being thrust in my face, Instagram will be deleted from my ipad and my iPhone. Tired of ads in my apps and freemium apps. No longer wasting my time with either. Rather pay for quality up front than dealing with intrusive ads and constant pulls for my hard earned dollar. Another “good” thing spoiled by corporate America. Sigh

    • Khis Ariasaif

      Do you not see the ads in Facebook? Cause there has been ads in Facebook. Lol

      • Lÿo

        Exactly!

      • Wierdninja

        Facebook gives me real value. The tradeoff of ads is not bothersome to me when I get real enjoyment and usage from it. But an app that can be easily replaced with something else, should really rethink its strategy in this regard. If I can cut down on the ads I must endure, i will. So in the end, I will stop using Instagram. Not a great loss to me. Instagram will lose some users i think. Losing customers makes this choice by Instagram, questionable.

    • Lÿo

      Facebook has tons of ads and owns Instagram.

    • John

      Yup, agree. I don’t mind SOME freemium games, but those that force me to watch ads receive 1 star ratings in the App Store, an email of complaint and a review reflecting their horridly annoying ways.

  • Corey

    Right now, I think that I will care but in the long run, Ill get used to it and get over it.

    • John

      Let’s see how you feel if video ads are actually rolled out.

  • onebyone_

    “Thanks facebook for buy instagram and transform it to a real adshit “

    • John

      I wonder how long before Yahoo turns Tumblr into the new Facebook (ads wise, I mean)

  • Taimur Khan

    Another great app. Destroyed by Facebook. Just hate it so much.

    • Andrieux Querido

      Facebook for IOS, sucks, every 2 or 3 posts, you see 1 or 2 ADS

  • TeChNoStyLeZ

    I’m Gone

  • http://louieyabut.tumblr.com/ Louie Yabut

    I hope someone makes a tweak that disable Ads… sad as that might sound.

  • Markus Hudobnik

    Don’t really care too much. The ads will look good. There won’t be ads that have banners on them. They will be integrated into when you just scroll. Not a big deal.

    Now Instagram, please update your app icon. It’s an eye sore on my home screen

  • Frozen Bee .GFKS

    F*CK YOU ZUCKERBERG!

  • richrich

    yet another reason not to use instagram.

  • Jonathan

    Why… -_-