Instagram Introduces Adverts - Social Songbird


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Instagram Introduces Adverts

The photo sharing social network site, Instagram, confirmed last week that adverts will be
introduced to the site in an effort to turn the site into a ‘sustainable business’. The site now
has 150 million users who share their images on the social media platform, forming a global
community. Instagram’s introduction of adverts comes as no surprise as it follows in the
footsteps of many other social media networks who have already introduced adverts over
the previous months or years. But how will it affect the user experience of the photo sharing


Instagram announced the addition of adverts to their site on their blog in a post entitled
“Instagram a Growing Business”. They stated that “we have big ideas for the future, and part
of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business”. This shows that
that the chief reason for the introduction of the ads was as a way of monetizing the business
and to build revenue from the popular photo sharing site. It follows the moves of other social
media platforms who have already introduced similar money-making features – a couple of
weeks ago Pinterest introduced “promoted pins”, which look just like ordinary pins but have
a special “promoted” label, with a link the learn more about what it is. This has been heralded
by Pinterest as a move to “plan for the future”.

 Instagram has stated that US users will start to see the occasional ad appearing in their
Instagram feed in the next few months. These will be in the same format as the photos
and videos that they already see from the brands they follow on Instagram, but instead
the adverts will be from brands that they are not already following on the site. They have
declared that this form of advertising will start slowly, in order to maintain the enjoyable
experience of using Instagram, and making sure that the adverts they do include are high-
quality, comparable to those you see when you flip through your favourite magazine.

The social network stated that they plan on delivering “a small number of beautiful, high-quality
photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram
community”. This shows a similarity to the introduction of promoted pins by Pinterest, with a
focus on blending in the adverts to the existing content so that it is more subtle.

 Instagram has also commented that its users will still be in control of their news feed on
the site, and will be able to control which ads they see and which they don’t – if you see
an ad you don’t like you will be able to hide it and provide feedback to the company to say
why you didn’t feel that it was right for you. They hope that this will help to constantly
improve the experience that you get from Instagram, and provide the user with an enjoyable
experience of the adverts that they see so that they do not feel bombarded by irrelevant

 For now, the sound of advertisements on Instagram does not seem to threaten the user
experience and we will have to wait and see how the adverts actually work when introduced
to the site. If they are filtered in seamlessly with the existing content which you follow
on the site, it shouldn’t affect your experience of using the site too much. However, if the
company begins to get carried away by its monetization, it could significantly affect the user
experience and could affect the number of users on the site.

This latest announcement may however be good news for a number of smaller brands
struggling to compete with the huge following of successful brands who use Instagram,
such as Nike and Starbucks, as it will provide them with the opportunity for their content
to be seen by a much greater volume of people if they choose to pay for their ads to feature
on the site. At the moment the use of Instagram ads still relies on a heavily visual form of
advertising, and therefore it is limited in its scope of which brands will use the feature for
now. But if your brand relies on beautiful imagery, and fits in with the square format and
filtered images which the site creates, then it could be a great new place to advertise to a
receptive audience who have logged on to the site to see visually appealing content.

What do you think?

Do you think the introduction of adverts to Instagram will ruin your experience of the photo
sharing site? Would you use Instagram ads as a way to market your product to a greater

Rowena Cormack

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Instagram Introduces Adverts Reviewed by Alex Carson on Thursday, October 10, 2013 Rating: 5
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