Instagram is launching ads in the UK, Canada and Australia following trials in the US last year, as the Facebook-owned photo app looks to expand its ad reach and capitalise on its popularity with younger mobile users.
The service, which has over 200 million users worldwide, lets users take photos and then apply various filters, which can then be shared within the app and on other social networks.
In a blog post, Instagram said advertisers had positive results which “in some cases [were] well above the ad industry’s average for performance”.
“We are committed to learning as much as we can while building Instagram as a sustainable business,” the company said in a statement.
Instagram trialled ads in the US with a few select firms last autumn, including Adidas, General Electric, and Levi’s. Since then, it has expanded to include around 20 firms, including Taco Bell.
Monthly ad campaigns can cost close to $1m, and in March the compant announced it had signed a deal with advertising giant Omnicom worth an estimated $40m.
However, the process of introducing advertising has been slow, partly because Instagram’s users have said they are concerned that the experience of using the app could be harmed by too much advertising.
Advertising consultancy eMarketer estimates that there were 34.9 million Instagram users in the US – meaning a large portion of those posting photos to the site are outside the United States.
The global expansion comes as parent Facebook has increasingly sought to position itself as a mobile-first company.
Facebook bought messaging app WhatsApp for $19bn this year, and recently said that mobile advertising makes up 59% of its total advertising revenue.
Read the blog post here