Instagram Hints at Advertising on Platform: Smart Monetization Tactic or Selling Out?

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First, disconnecting Twitter integration, now advertising?


Instagram is making a few business decisions that are making its users uneasy about their beloved photo-sharing app but show that the app is focused on growing the platform into a revenue-generator for interested advertisers. When asked if Facebook will put ads in Instagram at a Business Insider conference, Facebook's VP of Global Marketing Carolyn Everson said,

Eventually we'll figure out a way to monetize Instagram. There are many brands that use Instagram right now to try to get a feel for how to engage with their followers. We will definitely be figuring out a monetization strategy. When that will happen, I can't comment, but it's going to happen.

While it should be noted that Everson never confirmed that ads will indeed be displayed on the app, one can only guess that all monetization tactics will be explored, including ads. While brands like NastyGal and Bergdorfs continue to have enormous Instagram success in terms of followers (482K and 148k fans), more and more brands are asking: what can I do to increase a photo's reach and actually sell product?

As the Atlantic Wire stated,

Why else did you think Facebook spent all that money buying the app in the first place without killing the product immediately? It bought the competition so it could sell the product.


To survive in the current digital space, an app must generate money. It's a simple fact. However, the idea of ads filling up one's Instagram feed is still disappointing.Remember when your Facebook feed started filling up with sponsored stories and ads and how that altered your Facebook behavior? Speaking for myself, the minute my feed became less about what I wanted to read and see was the minute I found another platform to occupy my time. One can only wonder what will happen to the Instagram community once these monetization tactics, whatever they may be, are applied.


Which leads me to this question that I wanted to ask you all:

If ads started appearing in your Instagram feed, would you be disappointed or ambivalent? Would advertising negatively impact how you use Instagram?


For more information you should read the Business Insider and Atlantic Wire article.

Photo via Shutterstock

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3 Responses

  1. Elissa

    I’m certainly put off by this. It’s hard enough to generate traffic from Instagram (you can’t hyper link or copy links in a caption) so I may start relying more heavily on the Twitter photo interface which would mean switching over from HootSuite/having to use multiple apps…

    This is just a bloggers nightmare.

  2. Mikelle S

    I’m interested in seeing how this would happen. I was thinking maybe instead of interrupting feeds with a “sponsored page likes story” it could provide more of a click through? so if you double tap a sponsored story, in addition to a like, you are taken from the app to the actual length beneath the app. This hasn’t been available previous, to use Instagram to boost traffic.

  3. Omega

    I think it’s very naive to assume that FB didn’t have a plan in place to make a tidy profit from instagram before they bought it… this vagueness from their VP seems.. a little disingenuous?

    If they treat their readers with the same disrespect they do on FB, well, Facebook may well be what pushes G+ into actual popularity.. I am already seeing a shift because people like a platform where they get to decide what they see, and they can see all of their friend’s updates if they want to..