Like every other social media platform, Instagram explores opportunities of advertising. Rumours about social advertising on the popular photo and video sharing platform spread in September when the company’s Chief Operating Officer Emily White was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

The decision towards mobile and social advertising on Instagram comes with no surprise as the billion-dollar acquisition has never made a cent into a real business yet.

The challenge for Instagram is to allow advertising and commercialising the platform without compromising its ‘cool factor‘. “We want to make money in the long term, but we don’t have any short-term pressure,” Emily White said.

Instagram has a huge potential for monetisation as more than 150 million monthly active users are attracted to the visual platform and it is insanely popular among teens.

Apparently, the roll-out of video and photos ads will start with a handful selected brands in the US. Which brands will be invited to spend their marketing dollars on Instagram is kept secret so far. Brands like Nike Inc. and Lulumon Athletica Inc. are already harnessing the power of Instagram through viral marketing campaigns. With the permission to promote these posts, companies will be able to target much more specific and efficient. Instagram didn’t disclose how much the ads will sell for and if Instagram will use a similar approach to Facebook ads yet.

The company has announced that they aim for “engaging” ads which should have the look and feel of “high-quality”, glossy ads consumers are used from magazines. “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 favourite brands,” the company wrote on its blog Thursday.

As there is a slight chance that the Instagram user account will be clattered with social advertisements soon, the company promises to embed a feature to hide commercials. In addition, users will be able to provide feedback to Instagram to improve the user experience.

The company noted that the inclusion of ads won’t affect the ownership of user’s imagery, nor user’s video material. It seems that Instagram has learnt their lesson after the company has faced a backlash when it changed their terms of services last December. The changes to the services indicated that advertisers were allowed to use data and content from its users for ads. After the outcry, the company rolled back the policy.

It is likely that Instagram will be only a test ground for Facebook’s future mobile video ads as Instagram is tightly affiliated with the world’s biggest social media channel. In July Facebook announced that it is testing “TV-style ads” which will be 15 seconds long and are supposed to appear in user’s newsfeeds. These video ads will be available to larger brands for between $1 million and 2.5 million a day and users could expect to see the ads in their newsfeed up to 3 times per day.

As Facebook accounts for 15.8% of the global mobile ad market, the step to harness even more mobile advertising opportunities sound logical. It is just a question how much more marketing social media users are willing to take in.

What are your thoughts on this? Will you continue using Instagram although you can expect to advertising on the platform?

Photo credit: Money money money by Matt Murray.

About the author: Sonja Ceri

Sonja Ceri
Sonja Ceri

Sonja is the Founder and Chief Editor of the Media Bootcamp, based on the Gold Coast. She enjoys commenting on the social media landscape in Australia and also on major developments worldwide.


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