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Look out, Instagram’s big ad push is about to begin

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Instagram may have more than 300 million users but till now its ad model has been rather limited for marketers eager to reach them.

Not anymore. Starting this month, the Facebook-owned company is making changes that could see its ad revenue fly off the charts.

Announcing the new strategy this week, Instagram said it’s opening up its ad business to brands “large and small.” That’s a big deal as up to now the company has been tightly controlling the system, partnering mainly with select big-name brands as it experimented with different ways to incorporate sponsored messages into its photo- and video-sharing service.

The new system will enable marketers to go about their Instagram-based campaigns in a more automated manner that means they’ll no longer have to spend valuable time negotiating directly with a member of Instagram’s sales team over a proposed ad spot.

What’s more, the company is going to start allowing marketers to launch global campaigns with the possibility to include video ads of up to 30 seconds “so brands can engage in richer storytelling,” Instagram said.

It’s also launching a new premium product called Marquee that the company claims will help drive “mass awareness and expanded reach in a short time-frame,” touting it as ideal for events like movie premieres and new product launches.

And remember how it recently started letting users post landscape and portrait shots alongside the square pictures it’s so famous for? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the change was made with advertisers very much in mind, as it’ll give them more options for how they present their campaigns to users.

Instagram said it’s recently expanded its ad business to 30 new countries – among them Italy, Spain, Mexico, India, and South Korea – with plans to enter even more markets around the world at the end of this month.

Although Instagram launched in 2010, ads only started appearing on the service in 2013. The company up to now has been careful to incorporate its ads in a way that doesn’t leave users annoyed or overwhelmed, so we’d be surprised if these latest changes, the most significant to date regarding its marketing model, will blow all that hard work. We should find out in the coming months.

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