Instagram says that the ads will start appearing over the next couple of months and will come from brands that you don’t follow. They say that this will ‘start slow’. “We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community. ”
The advertisements, says Instagram, will be made to feel ‘as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy’. There will be some ad controls for users as well, you’ll be able to hide ads you don’t like and give feedback about why you did that. This feedback will then be used to tweak your ads.
In what is likely a nod to the confusion stemming from its policy changes a few months ago, Instagram notes that photo and video ownership remains with the user.
The introduction of advertising to Instagram was anything if not inevitable, considering that its parent company Facebook is one of the biggest modern ad-driven companies. But given the nature of the Instagram product — a focused feed of single-serving images — advertising will be far more disruptive on here than it will on Facebook, which is already comprised of a variety of post types, sizes and formats.
The rollout of the ads will likely be handled with kid gloves, investing in a series of ad partners that can produce high-quality ad ‘content’ that won’t clutter the feed with terrible concepts or execution right off the bat.
If you’re interested in what in-stream advertising might look like, the recent partnership between Apple and Burberry to show off images and video of a fashion show shot on the iPhone 5S is one place to look. The videos are shot well, they’re attractive and they’re interesting. But you also had to follow the brand or see it via a link in order to have seen any of them. Having them shoved into your feed is another matter.
Ads are everywhere, and ad-supported products are quickly becoming the norm, rather than the exception. The path to a sustainable product for Instagram has led down the path of ads for a very long time. Now, how it executes will be the thing.
Also, good job on dropping this news just before the rumored Twitter IPO filing Facebook, well done.