One of the quirkiest aspects of the amazing success that many relatively new Internet tech companies enjoy is the fact that the free services don’t actually bring in a lot of cash, at least not compared to the scale of their popularity. Thus, inevitably, something has to give, and for Instagram
that something is the placement of ads
in users’ feeds, which is something that Facebook
has had to do, as well.
In a blog post titled “Instagram as a Growing Business”, which foreshadows news that users won’t like very much, the byline-less post said, “In the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States.”
Users will begin to see a “small number” of photos and videos from some of the brands that are “members” of the Instagram community. Instagram seems to hope that the introduction of the ads will be relatively seamless. “We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine,” said the post.
Users will have a measure of control over the ads, though, including the ability to hide ones you don’t like and give feedback about them. Presumably, over time you’ll be able to give enough feedback that you’ll get more targeted ads instead of random ones. Instagram also noted that nothing will change regarding user ownership of photos and videos.
Nothing is ever completely free, including the Instagrams of the world, so a few ads may be a small price to pay to keep using the service without having to otherwise pay for it.