What ads on Instagram will look like

By , Oct 24, 2013

instagram sponsored ad

Anyone with a bit good common sense has probably been expected ads to come to Instagram for a long time, but it wasn’t until about a month ago that it was officially confirmed, and even explained shortly after on the company’s blog.

Today, Instagram took to their blog again to give us an idea of how ads will look like and what we’ll be able to do about them…

The company announced that coming this week, users in the US will see the above ad in their feed. This is a one-time sample ad aimed at giving you an idea of what ads on Instagram will look like.

If you see this ad, you’ll be able to tap on the “Sponsored” link where the photo or video time stamp normally is. This will take you to a page with more information about Instagram ads. The blog post failed to explain how a user will be able to act on the ad. For example, will there be a link below the ad to take me to the advertiser’s website? Will I be able to double tap on the ad to like it or be taken to the advertiser’s site? This isn’t clear yet.

The company also reiterated that “We want ads to be creative and engaging, so we’re starting with just a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.” In short, they want you to understand they won’t pollute your feed with ugly ads but rather deliver targeted and tasteful photo or video ads. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nike and other premium brands as part of Instagram’s new advertising program.

We all despise ads, as beautiful as they may be, but they are a reality of the online world. If you want to enjoy a product or service offered for free, be ready to see ads. I’m not particularly happy to soon see ads in my Instagram feed (by the way, are you following me on Instagram?), but I trust the company will do it in a tasteful way. What about you?

Update: Instagram PR agency reached out to us and shared some of the initial advertisers that will be on board, as well as how these ads will be more about branding than generating direct sales.

On background, anyone with an Instagram account can include a hyperlink in their profile (that “bio” portion at the top of their feed). The ads themselves will not be hyperlinked, but someone interested in the brand can click on the brand’s username to be taken to their feed and whatever link the brand features. However, it should be noted that ads on Instagram are designed to help brands build awareness and tell their story visually, just like a magazine ad – they are not designed to drive transactions.

Note, too, that we shared the list of initial advertisers on the About Ads explainer – the list is: Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Lexus, Levi’s®, Macy’s, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood.

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  • Tsavo Walker

    So far the ads seem to be not very disrupting, but if they begin to pile with several in a row, the viewing experience will be ruined.

  • nick

    I wouldn’t mind if the ads all looked as artistic as the one they posted as an example. However I am sure we will end up seeing ads for McDonalds and Facebook games soon enough.

    • Jo

      and ads for candy crush

      • chumawumba

        I see a candy crush ad at least once a week

  • chumawumba

    It’s only a matter of time before a jailbreak tweak which blocks ads will be released.

    • therealjjohnson

      As long as that jailbreak is for iOS7 then cool.

  • Palmer Paul

    Sebastien: Was your hashtag issue resolved?

  • Mika Salakka

    Isn’t that what Facebook said when they were implementing “sponsored content” into our news feeds? That it would be relevant, tasteful, uninterruptive? So far the crap I see on mine is none of these things. Instagram isn’t Flicker; I don’t go to a site to look at photo albums. Instagram is all about individual shots of high quality. They are creative, they look great, they’re interesting. Ads aren’t designed to immerse you in other people’s lives – they are about trying to get you interested in a product. They can be as beautiful as you want, but they won’t have any soul, and it’ll make the Instagram experience a jarring one. I wish they had simply charged for the app, or made it subscription-based. But of course, they can’t do that. Facebook paid a billion for it and they’re going to infest it with Farmville ads that look just amazing and won’t go away.

    • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

      I could be an exception, but the ads I see in my FB feed are always tasteful and targeted. Many times, they display ads for apps I use or apps I’m considering using. But again, I might just be an exception.

  • Obaydok

    Is it just for iOS users or it will contain Winphone users soon, as well?

  • Jeff Ramirez

    Can you say Do Not Track me for Instagram. I would gladly pay instead of ads…