Are Ads Coming To Instagram? Maybe.

Instagram Ads

My buddy Jon sent me this article from Business Insider stating that ads are coming to Instagram, but I’m still not sure I agree. Here’s what ad sales chief Carolyn Everson said about the issue.

BI: Will you put ads in Instagram?

CE: Eventually we’ll figure out a way to monetize Instagram.

BI: How far are you away from figuring that out?

CE: Well, Instagram continues to grow incredibly fast and we’re still a very small team when you think about the amount of people they are reaching. There are many brands that use Instagram right now to try to get a feel for how to engage with their followers. We will definitely be figuring out a monetization strategy. When that will happen, I can’t comment, but it’s going to happen.

This to me doesn’t sound exactly like “ads” per se, but trying to come up with interesting ways of monetizing Instagram streams. Notice she mentions in particular that many brands use Instagram. Here’s a couple of ideas that I think they could go with.

Sponsored Photos
Taking a page from Twitter, you’d see a photo from Target or Red Bull in your stream, even if you don’t follow them. They get their brand in front of you, pushing an even or promotion.

Brand Filters
You’re scrolling through filters when suddenly come across a Gucci filter, which makes your photos golden and shining, or Mountain Dew which makes your photos dark and gritty with a hint of green.

Popular Page Gets Sponsored
We all know the Popular page of Intagram is a wasteland of tween self portraits, sparkly nails, cat photos, and of course, One Direction photos that were taken from the Internet. Would anyone even care if this entire section was sponsored? At least the photos could be better looking.

Would I be happy about any of these? Nope. But I think it’s interesting to think of what they might be thinking. I’m personally split over the idea of ads in Instagram. Half of me wants to say “Fuck them!” they can’t put ads in, how dare they! THe other half of me says “Well they have to make a profit somehow.” For the last couple years this service has been completely free. Running a business and not making any money is pretty stupid. Either way it’ll be interesting to see what happens.