Here They Come…Instagram Ads

Nothing comes free…including your use of Instagram. As expected, the site is about to introduce ads to your photo/video feed. Here’s an overview of what to expect with these ads, along with a couple other observations and questions.

The Rollout
Instagram will introduce ads next week. A handful of national advertisers have signed up to be part of the advertising rollout including Starbucks, Michael Kors, and Macy’s (among others). The ads will look like typical posts except the word ‘sponsored’ shows up in the upper right corner of each post in place of the timestamp appearing on all posts.

Instagram sample ads provided by Instagram

In addition, you can offer feedback on ads by clicking ‘more’ (illustrated by the 3 dots in the lower right corner). Feedback options include the ability to hide an ad and/or write why you don’t like the ad.

The Observations
I love the feedback option for Instagram ads. I hate poor ad placement (in any medium) as it benefits neither the advertiser or the user. Recently, an ad for those in the dental industry appeared near the top of my Facebook News Feed. I would’ve loved the opportunity to say something to the effect of “why show an industry-specific ad to one not in said industry?” Now I (and you) can.

Instagram ads will not contain your personal information or uploaded pictures/video. This is in contrast to Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) and Google who sometimes use your friends’ likes and comments in custom ads.

The Questions
When will Instagram ad placements become available to other advertisers? This is not known. I’m guessing user feedback/response to the initial advertisers will help shape Instagram’s ad strategy moving forward.

Is there a limit to the number of ads a user can hide? Inevitably, some users will attempt to hide every ad that shows up. I think it will be interesting to see what happens if a user attempts to do so.

Would Instagram consider instituting a small monthly/yearly fee for an ad-free Instagram experience? Pandora users have shown a willingness to pay a few bucks a month to hear no ads, can this work on other popular internet hubs?

The Takeaway
You didn’t really think Instagram would remain ad-free, did you? Nothing online will be completely free, even sharing your personal photos with friends. I have said here many times that people don’t oppose ads in all forms, just those that are of no relevance to them. Could the feedback and hide features be the key to Instagram providing a better ad-serving experience? I say maybe logo


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