Kevin Systrom Says He Vets All Instagram Ads, “Too Early” To Put Them On Instagram Direct

During this morning’s press event unveiling Instagram Direct for private photo-sharing, co-founder Kevin Systrom offered some thoughts about monetizing (or not monetizing) Instagram and its new feature.

Systrom suggested that Instagram will have an ad-related announcement coming soon, but for now he was willing to say, “We’re taking it very slowly.”

He added that the early results have been “really encouraging so far,” and that it’s important for Instagram ads (like the one pictured to the left) to feel like organic, high-quality content — in fact, he said there’s a “thorough” content review process “that actually goes through me.”

Asked whether he’s going to bring ads into the just-announced feature, Systrom replied, “I think it’s way too early to talk about advertising and Instagram Direct.” He didn’t rule out doing something in the future, but he said Instagram is currently focusing its ad efforts on the broader campaigns. A more interesting use case, he suggested, is for brand contests with user-submitted photos, with Instagram Direct as the photo collection mechanism.

That was a bit surprising, considering the fact that the event was held in New York City — when a tech company headquartered in Silicon Valley holds press conferences here, it’s often because they’re hopign to get the attention of media and advertisers. So during the question-and-answer session, I asked Systrom, “Why New York?”

“We love Silicon Valley; it’s been very good to us,” he said, but this was meant to “reiterate how global Instagram is.”