In a move that has been expected by marketers for months now, Facebook’s photo-sharing app, Instagram, is set to place ads on users’ feeds.
The move marks the first moneymaking strategy in the company’s three-year history.
Paid video and photo ads will be introduced on the platform in the U.S. over the coming months.
Speaking in a blog post yesterday, Instagram said that while it is starting out slow, the firm has big plans for the future. Part of bringing those plans to fruition, the post confirmed, will depend on Instagram becoming a sustainable business.
In its relatively short lifespan, the photo-sharing network has grown rapidly. It now boasts 150 million active monthly users, with an average of 55 million photos uploaded every day. The company was acquired by Facebook in 2012.
In June this year, Instagram launched a short video-capture feature following the success of the Twitter-owned mobile app, Vine.
While a host of SMEs and global brands have taken to posting videos and photos on Instagram – using it to boost engagement and increase website traffic as part of broader internet marketing strategies – only their followers will have received the content on their photo feeds. The paid ads, however, will be delivered to anyone – regardless of whether or not they follow the brand.
While the paid ads will no doubt broaden the potential audience a brand can reach, whether or not the ads will be tailored to individual user preferences – as they are on other popular platforms – is yet to be confirmed. Companies that have experienced success through using the unpaid photos and videos may well continue as they are.