Instagram is planning to introduce ads, as the Facebook-owned photo app looks to turn its 150 million users into a profit.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Emily White, Instagram’s director of business operations, said the company is planning to introduce advertising within the next year.
Instagram is considering bringing ads to the app’s “Discover” feature, which allows users to browse popular photos, or to its search function, according to the Journal.
So far the company hasn’t mentioned placing ads directly into users’ photo streams, which would likely be a much higher-value piece of digital real estate.
Both Facebook and Twitter regularly fill users’ personal feeds with marketing. Each began by selling less intrusive ad units first.
According to web monitoring firm Simply Measured, at least 59 of the world’s top 100 brands are using Instagram, but the firm has yet to offer a mechanism to let these companies broadcast ads to a wider audience than a specific account’s followers.
Commenting on the move, Micke Paqvalén, CEO and Founder, Kiosked said: “Images have always been central to advertising, from brand logo association to striking visuals, allowing us to engage, share and shop with others around the globe. The news that Instagram is to introduce ads to its platform is proof that images can create a connection for brands to engage with consumers online. Everyone can respond emotionally to images because they allow easy and succinct communication.
“Moreover, a platform like Instagram which focuses so heavily on personal photos means that brands can tap into social profiles. As people across the world express themselves via social channels, broadcasting these interests displays brand affinity that marketers can respond to with targeted offerings in real time.
“However, as Instagram is looking to monetise its app by incorporating traditional ad formats, such as banner ads, into its offering, it’s important for brands to realise that it takes more than just a thinly veiled sales message to convince consumers to buy. Only by providing experiences which are engaging, relevant and useful will brands be able to cut through the marketing noise. ‘Smart content’, where any visual or social content can become a shop front, means that brands can drive meaningful engagement with their customers through visual content. As the hyper visualisation age dawns, brand marketers will have to work diligently at differentiating themselves by providing more innovative visual content, or by delivering it in novel new ways. Connecting users with their memories and personal moments through image-led advertising is an intelligent way for Instagram to expand but it will need to ensure that the experience for its users is not compromised as a result of restrictive traditional ad formats.”