In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
Ads are coming to Instagram in the next couple of months, the photo- and video-sharing app maker said Thursday.
Starting out, users in the U.S. may see an occasional ad in their feeds, the company announced.
The ads will come as both photos and videos and will be from brands that users do not follow, Instagram said.
Instagram said it will start rolling out the ads slowly, "from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community."
A spokeswoman for Instagram declined to comment further or to say which brands would be coming on first.
The aim, according to Instagram, is to have the ads feel as natural as the photos and videos coming from the brands that people do follow.
Instagram's clean interface and processing filters have helped to make it one of the most prominent photo-sharing apps. Facebook bought it for about US$1 billion last year, when the app reportedly had little or no revenue.
Instagram claims to have 150 million members, and it may risk losing some of them if it clogs their feeds with ads.
Still, some saw the move as inevitable as Instagram tries to monetize its service. In July, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked during the company's quarterly earnings call whether people would start seeing ads in their Instagram feeds.
His answer: Probably yes, in time.
Instagram said there would be controls for users to hide ads they don't like and to provide feedback to the company.