In the latest phase of its business model, Instagram announced today that users in the United States will begin to see “occasional ads” in their Instagram feed. The social media platform, which boasts over 150 million active users, will gradually begin showing ads, but will also give users control over what ads they see.
“Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow,” said Instagram in its official blog. “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.”
Instagram says it aims to make the advertisements feel as natural to the platform as any other photo or video would from brands a user already follows. The company wants to equate ads appearing on Instagram to ads appearing in users’ favorite magazines.
Instagram also says users will have control over the ads in their feeds. If a user doesn’t like a particular ad, he or she will be able to hide it and provide feedback regarding why they didn’t like it.
The rollout of advertisements won’t change anything else on the platform, including – most importantly – users’ ownership of their photos and videos.
This announcement is just the latest step Instagram is taking to monetize the platform. It was an inevitable move for the company, which has been around since 2011, as many of its fellow social media platforms have gone a similar route with including paid advertisements in users’ feeds.
No details have emerged yet on whether the ads will be targeting users based on their information or locations, but it would be a good assumption that’s the route the company will take, much like Twitter and Facebook have with sponsored posts.
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