Written by 5ivecanons Staff
Instagram, the popular video and picture sharing site, announced in early October a rollout of their new marketing platform. This early BETA version has created some buzz, as the company will attempt to increase revenue through selling ads.
The photo-centric ads will be used to target over 150 million Instagram users. The company communicated through their blog that the transition into ads would be gradual, and has already begun preparing for ads by removing the ability to disable autoplay feature within the app’s settings.
Keeping Social Apps Profitable
When Facebook first acquired the photo-sharing site for $700 million, Instagram was struggling to monetize. But now with Facebook now at the helm, things may be different. However, Instagram’s advertising announcement has been met with mixed reactions as users take to social media to either praise or complain about the changes.
This isn’t the first time social sites have landed themselves in hot water after announcing marketing integration to their platforms. When Twitter and Facebook announced them, users cried foul. However, after the ads had been fully implemented, the social media channels continued to grow in both users and in profits.
Arguably, the key factor to both companies’ success was in maintaining their site’s user experience. Twitter did it by keeping their ads as inconspicuous as possible. Promoted tweets on Twitter look no different than the tweets of those you follow and if a user is not interested in the offer, they can simply scroll past the ad leaving the social experienced virtually untouched.
How then will Instagram emulate the past successes of Facebook and Twitter? All indications seem to point towards a seamless integration of ads and content. The company wrote on their blog “our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands.”
Many sites have created projections for how Instagram ads will look. Because Instagram is a photo-sharing site, it fundamentally differs from Facebook and Twitter which place strict restrictions on how their ads can be displayed. With additional freedom and space to post ads, certain companies will be able to create big, bold and expressive ads which suit their identity. The ads will certainly revolve around the canvas, and will look exactly like an image posted by one of your friends, which will make it very difficult to distinguish between a user’s post and an ad. However, Instagram makes it easy to remove certain ads from your feed.
Consumers will have the option to unfollow brands if they want to eliminate them from their feed.
Looking for the Future
In many ways, this is the process for successful social media channels. One where ads and user created content are blended seamlessly to create a unified message. Some complain that ads are over bearing and intrusive, however subtle they might appear, they are making their place to stay. If Instagram is successful, some investors estimate the company can earn up to 400 million in ad revenue for their first year.