Instagram will have ads within a year

If you’re one of Instagram’s now 150 million users, enjoy your ad-free photo sharing while you can. The advertisements are coming.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Instagram’s director of business operations Emily White revealed that the company had begun laying groundwork to begin selling ads — telling the outlet, “We want to make money in the long term, but we don't have any short-term pressure.”

There’s no set date for the ad rollout, and it’s unclear how the photo- and video-sharing service plans on making the ads appear in a user’s feed. White says the challenge is figuring out “how to integrate marketing without without jeopardizing Instagram’s cool factor.” (Via Gizmodo)

According to The Next Web, that could be easier said than done:

“This is different from Facebook where you can post media, status updates, play games, and have a slew of other meta data available to help the social network better target you. Perhaps Instagram would solicit to you based on your location, the types of photos you’ve posted or liked, or friends you’ve interacted with?”

Hypothetically, brands would be able to promote their own content or advertise using keywords in search. According to reports, Instagram is hesitant to give brands the opportunity to link to their own websites from within the app. (Via The Verge)

Brands are already quite active on Instagram, without the help of ads. Thirteen of the top brand accounts on Instagram have more than 1 million users each.

Without promoted ads, companies have been pressured to creatively engage with Instagram’s now-150 million monthly active users — asking for user submissions under certain hashtags to use in advertisements, sending users products as prizes in photo contests and giving behind the scenes looks at company operations.  (Via It’s Pixel Perfect)

But as TechCrunch points out, the most pivotal of Instagram’s obstacle will be the users who have enjoyed a free, ad-free environment since the app launched in 2010.

“Instagram users have already shown an aversion to certain forms of advertising, as proven by the revolution that followed Instagram’s changed terms of service, allowing users’ photos to be used in advertisements.”

Over the past six months, Instagram has gained 50 million new active monthly users and 60 percent of users are now from outside the United States. In a statement the company says it is more committed than ever to bringing users the best Instagram experience possible.

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