Skip to main content

Instagram: Ads coming within next 12 months as app reaches 150m users

ads on instagram

Of course, Facebook didn’t fork out a billion bucks for Instagram to then just sit back in a comfy chair and gaze dreamily at it through the changing seasons. Au contraire! If Facebook consisted of nothing more than two eyes (a bizarre thought, admittedly) then upon them we’d see two enormous dollar signs every time the subject of Instagram came up. That’s right, there’s (lots and lots of) money to be made with the popular media-sharing service, and the company is finally gearing up to rake in the cash.

We’ve known for a while now that Facebook is intending to monetize Instagram, and on Sunday a Wall Street Journal report threw a little more light on the plans, with the company’s director of operations, Emily White, confirming ads will be coming to the service in the next 12 months.

Related Videos

“We want to make money in the long term, but we don’t have any short-term pressure,” White told the Journal.

White has overseen the expansion of Instagram’s workforce since joining the service from parent company Facebook earlier this year. Of the current 50  employees – up from 32 when the social networking giant acquired the app 18 months ago – four are helping to build relationships with brands already using Instagram to promote their businesses.

“Theoretically, [Instagram] could be making hundreds of millions of dollars today,” Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wiesser told the Journal, “But they would need a big sales force and they would risk polluting the environment.”

Indeed, Instagram needs to find a way to incorporate ads without making them too intrusive, a situation certain to upset fans of the app. The company has already incurred the wrath of users once with a controversial change in its terms of service; it won’t want to go through all that again.

The news that ads will be appearing on Instagram in the next year comes at the same time as the service, which launched in 2010, announced it now has more than 150 million users.

“As the community continues to grow, it’s becoming more global too — now more than 60 percent of you are from outside the United States,” the company said in a blog post detailing the news.

It added, “To the 50 million of you who’ve joined in the last six months, welcome. And from our team to all 150 million of you, thank you for making Instagram great. We can’t wait to see what you’ll create next.”

Editors' Recommendations

Hear that? That’s the sound of ads coming to Instagram
ads on instagram

Is the Instagram platform about to get those ads we've all been worrying about since the Facebook acqusition? A new promotion within Facebook hints that the social network is finally putting Instagram fully to use and eyeing the long-awaited monetization of the photo-sharing network.
According to AllThingsD, Facebook exec Emily White has been moved over to Instagram as its new director of business operations. She’ll be working side-by-side with Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, to “expand partnerships, improve user operations, and, presumably, come up with money.” White fittingly announced her promotion on Instagram with a photo of herself and the note: “Hello Instagram team- I am excited to join you! #lookingup.”
Facebook confirmed that White will be working with the Instagram team, and said in a statement attributed to Systrom, “I’m excited to bring Emily White onto the Instagram team. As we continue to scale our operation to support over 100 million active users, her experience with partnerships and business operations will play a major role in our future success.”
White has held stints at Google, helping build out Google Adwords. At Facebook, she helped build out mobile partnerships. Her expertise clearly falls in line with figuring out a way to introduce ads to Instagram without isolating a user base that is clinging steadfast to its relatively un-corporate experience. 
White has a tough job ahead of her. We've already seen fallout over a change in terminology to Instagram's Terms and Conditions and there's been plenty of talk over the damage that Facebook's attempts to monetize Instagram could do. So it's quite possible that with business development as a core job  requirement, we'd expect partnerships to build out a native advertising strategy which might include promoted photos, promoted hashtags, and of course brand pages. That's the ideal situation to avoid interfering too much with the user experience. 
But if she's eyeing a through-and-through advertising strategy, we could end up seeing ads that we're familiar with already thanks to Facebook, like the banner ads on the side of the profile page. That might fit snugly on Instagram's Web client, but would certainly crowd the mobile UI. However Facebook ends up implementing this, one this is sure: The ads are coming to Instagram, whether we like it or not.

Read more
TikTok should be expelled from app stores, senator says
TikTok icon illustration.

The wildly popular TikTok app continues to come under pressure from U.S. lawmakers.

Many are concerned that ByteDance, the Beijing-based company behind the app, has close ties with the Chinese government, and that laws in China mean it could be required to hand over user data to the government to assist in intelligence gathering.

Read more
Yay! Twitter has just become less annoying
Twitter logo in white stacked on top of a blue stylized background with the Twitter logo repeating in shades of blue.

A couple of weeks after Twitter said it was working on it, the company has finally updated its Android and iPhone apps so that you once again return to the timeline that you were looking at last.

Read more