When Facebook dropped about $1 billion for the popular photo-sharing app, Instagram, it did so knowing that the app wasn't profitable. But Facebook is Facebook, and money is money. Now, they're ready to give that a change, with ads.
In a post on their blog, Instagram has finally given us a glimpse at what ads on the service will look like. Will they stand out? Be a different color? According to the images the company posted, it seems that the ads will blend right in. Check out the Levi's ad on the left: it really is a clean, casual photo that isn't screaming for attention. If you already follow Levi's, for example, the photo won't be showing up on your newsfeed. (Only companies you don't already follow will be.) They'll be marked off with a "Sponsored" label on their right side, and, other than the company being a brand that you do not follow, there's almost no other indication that it's an ad. And no, you don't have to worry about your photos being used as ads that will end up going on other people's feeds: the company explicitly said that wouldn't be happening, especially after the fiasco from a few months back when they updated their policy statement. In an earlier post, Instagram said these ads will begin rolling out in the next few months, so if you haven't seen them yet, you're going to pretty soon. Hey, at least 40 percent of the thousand most shared videos on Instagram are from brands, so companies have gotten marketing down to a science.