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Instagram To Roll Out Adverts To UK Users

How Do You Like Your Pictures of Toast in the Morning? I Like Mine With a Corporate Message

Bad news if you’re an Instagram user: you’re an Instagram user. But it’s about to get even worse. Over the next few days, Instagram’s people will oversee an update which will bring ads to its UK users.

Adverts have traditionally been suspiciously absent from the site - which attracts 200 million poor souls every month - and ever since the Facebook takeover in 2012, it’s seemed inevitable that users would eventually have to suffer corporate sponsorship during their daily fun-filled browse of cats, eating full English breakfasts, and full English breakfasts being eaten by cats.

And you lot can’t say you weren’t warned. In November 2013, the service started displaying adverts to its US users. The ads, which worked in exactly the same way as Facebook’s own sponsored posts, appeared to be relatively unobtrusive. As detailed in an official blog post, users who had no interest in seeing any one ad were able to remove it from their feeds, never to be seen again. Instagram also promised that only those who already enjoyed a high level of popularity on the site would be able to advertise; a company would need to prove its quality before sponsoring posts.

It’s a great compromise (especially when considering the disaster that certain other sites are currently having), and it seems to be bearing fruit. Adidas, Levi’s and General Electric were all part of the first wave of companies to enter Instagram’s inner ring, and they've since been joined by others to take the total number of official sponsors to 20. With each of them reported to be paying the site $1m per month, it’s no wonder Instagram are looking to expand further – particularly when 65% of the site’s users frequent the site from outside the US.


So what do UK users have to look forward to? Pretty much the same thing. Adverts are to be rolled out over here “slowly”, we’re told, and this will again begin with companies “already great” on Instagram. This reluctance to drown their users in fully-fledged adverts will be due to the fear of alienating their existing users to gain advertising dollars. After all, you can have all the corporate sponsorship in the world, but if nobody’s viewing your website then it won’t make you money. However, so far so good for the company, as Instagram said in a previous blog post they were “in some cases well above the ad industry’s average for performance”.

Instagram will hope that, like our Yankee counterparts, we take the gradual roll-out of advertising well. Fortunately for Instagram, us Brits aren’t prone to moaning.


Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

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Instagram To Roll Out Adverts To UK Users Reviewed by Emile Cole on Monday, September 22, 2014 Rating: 5
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