San Francisco, California–Instagram advertising will début in about a year, according to a news report by the Wall Street Journal.
When Facebook purchased the photo sharing site just more than a year ago, critics weighed-in early, proclaiming the internet’s largest social network would ruin its new acquisition.
Fast forward to the present and Instagram has gained about 50 million more users than it had when it was bought out. Now, the social site has a reported 150 million active users.
Instagram Advertising on the Horizon
Asked about ads appearing on Instagram, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a quarterly earnings conference in July that the photo and video sharing platform would be monetized “when the right time comes.” Apparently, that time is fast approaching. Within the next year, Instagram advertising will likely be a reality. Ads will probably appear in the Discover tab, the home of the Popular page and the Search page.
Brands are already on the social site, with 13 of the top corporate accounts having over a million users a piece. Using hashtags as one method of exposure, brands like RedBull has used the search feature to solicit creative photos of its product. Starbucks’ “Behind the Scenes” campaign is another example of native advertising on the social network, giving users a glimpse into the customer relationship side of the ubiquitous coffee chain.
The Challenge Ahead
The largest challenge for Instagram will be its users’ ingrained attitudes. To date, they’ve enjoyed an ad-free site since the company’s launch in 2010. It quickly gained popularity, not because it was the first photo sharing app, but because it was the easiest to use. Its many filters made photo sharing all the more exciting and being able to share pics on Facebook and Twitter put the app over the top. The company certainly has its work cut out, especially having been bitten once before when it changed its Terms of Service to allow user photos to be used in ads.