Ever since Facebook purchased Instagram, many people have been waiting to see when advertising would creep into the Instagram stream, although it has surprisingly taken much longer than anticipated.
Now Instagram has announced that advertising will begin appearing within a few months within the Instagram photo stream.
Many Instagram users will remember late last year when Instagram changed its terms that seemed to imply that Instagram would own the rights to all photos posted on it, with the implication that Instagram could sell those photos to advertisers. There was a huge backlash, and users flooded to other photo sharing sites such as Flickr, and the Instagram terms were reverted.
Since that time, there had been the question about how Facebook would begin to generate revenue for a company that cost them $1 billion.
Now, after nearly a year, Instagram has made public its new plans to generate revenue for the site. Instagram appears to be starting off slowly with the introduction of advertising, likely because of the followed from their previous possible foray into revenue generation with those terms changes last year. Instagram even reiterated that there are no changes to how the site views photo and video ownership.
Advertising will begin with a limited number of U.S. advertising firms only. Instagram specifically said in their blog post that they will be starting small with only occasional ads. And they state that all the advertising will have high-quality images and videos, so they look as if they belonged in the stream:
Seeing photos and videos from brands you don't follow will be new, so we'll start slow. We'll focus 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.
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 favorite brands. After all, our team doesn't just build Instagram, we use it each and every day. We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine.
It's likely that the advertising will have a similar field to sponsored posts with large photos in Facebook, but with the Instagram feel to it.
Instagram will also be soliciting feedback from its users so that they can give feedback about the types of advertising they are seeing, with the ability to hide them and give feedback about why specific ads didn't work for them:
We'll also make sure you have control. If you see an ad you don't like, you'll be able to hide it and provide feedback about what didn't feel right. We're relying on your input to help us continually improve the Instagram experience.
It is worth noting that Instagram didn't make any reference to the ability to hide all ads permanently, and it is unknown if any of the ad block programs will be able to block ads either.
It will be worth watching to see how well the Instagram community takes to these advertisements in their stream, and whether they really do end up fitting the look and feel of Instagram. If they do well, it will be another avenue for advertisers to target their brands to users on a new social media advertising platform.