After much speculation over its plans for monetisation, the team behind popular camera app, Instagram, have officially confirmed that it will begin to show ads.
In some cases for websites on the Internet, the key to success is simply to ‘get a lot of users’, or, in the case of a website like Amazon the idea is to ‘sell a lot of products’. However, when it comes to the apps that we download from the App Store, Google Play or any of the other mobile application hubs, the quest for monetisation is a little bit more difficult. Some teams make the app paid, making users pay just to download it, others might even charge users for extras, whilst many others put ads into the app and don’t charge a dime. But for Instagram, which some consider as the most complete camera app around, the success of making money off of photogenic young people’s pictures hasn’t quite hit the same highs of its popularity and so now, the team behind the app have announced their plans to bring ads to the service.
For users of Instagram, one of the main selling points, other than the multiple instances of bright and professional-looking filters to add to images, is that its interface is relatively clean and easy to use, so why now are the team behind it choosing to include the ‘clutter’ that some consider advertisements? The reason could be down to Instagram’s owners. Back in April 2012, Facebook made a huge social media power play by purchasing the camera app for a whopping $1 billion dollars and now, as Instagram’s popularity soars, Zuckerberg’s famous company could be looking to earn their money back.
Instagram announced the news on their official company blog, marking the decision as a way to make their “big ideas for the future” happen and that “part of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business.” Instagram have also revealed how the ads will roll out, explaining that “n the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States.” They then went on to explain that ads “from your favorite brands” (in photo and video form) will show up in your Instagram feed and that users will be able to “hide [ads that they don’t like] and provide feedback about what didn’t feel right.” This is somewhat similar to the way that ads on Twitter work, in that sponsored or promoted tweets may show up on Twitter timelines and users can remove them by clicking ‘dismiss’. Presenting ads in this way have not been too unwelcomed by Twitter users and the fact that Instagram seem to value users’ opinions could see their attempt at monetisation work quite well, so it will be interesting to see how the team roll it out.
We’ll keep you posted once we know more.