Zuckerberg says no ads on Instagram -- at least, not yet

Still, the free app will generate profits in time, the company says

Instagram's new video function lets users record and share up to 15 seconds of video.
Instagram's new video function lets users record and share up to 15 seconds of video.

Instagram users fretting about ads clogging up their image feed can breath easy, at least for now. Facebook said Wednesday it has no immediate plans to put ads in its photo-sharing app -- though make no mistake, they are coming eventually.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked on the company's quarterly earnings call whether users will start to see ads popping up in their feeds, as they do already on Facebook. But growing Instagram's user base and building out the product are Facebook's main priorities, Zuckerberg said.

"The focus for now is just to increase the footprint for Instagram," he said, meaning Facebook wants to add more users. But Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom has always been clear that Instagram, which is free to download, was intended to be a business, Zuckerberg said.

"We expect that over time we will generate a lot of profit from it, and that will probably be through advertising," he said. Facebook paid about US$1 billion to buy Instagram, which currently has about 130 million monthly active users, up from 80 million a year ago.

Facebook makes most of its money from advertising, but monetizing its services on mobile devices is seen as particularly critical to its success, as more users migrate away from PCs to smartphones and tablets.

During Wednesday's earnings call, Zuckerberg didn't mince words on this issue. "Soon we'll have more revenue on mobile than on the desktop," he said.

Facebook has been advancing steadily toward that goal since it first started running mobile ads last year. Mobile ad revenue made up 41 percent of its total advertising revenue last quarter, the company reported. That was up from 30 percent in the first quarter, 23 percent in the fourth quarter last year, and 14 percent the quarter before that.

But while Facebook may not be running ads on Instagram yet, businesses are still experimenting with it as a way to promote their products, said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook.

General Electric is a prime example, she said. The company has posted dozens of polished photographs of jet engines, wind turbines and other machinery to its Instagram feed, which is followed by nearly 140,000 people.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Cannes Part 1: Why brands must put human interactions at the heart of their business

As a Media Juror at this year’s Cannes Lions, I was fortunate enough to attend the world’s most influential festival of creativity and listen to thought-leading marketers from around the globe.

Nickie Scriven

CEO, Zenith

4 creative skills that will be useful forever

In recent times, the clarion call from futurists, economists, marketers, educators and leaders the world over is one of slight panic, “The world is changing and you’re not ready for it!” And of course, they make a very good point.

Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory

Speakers, trainers, co-authors

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

Being an investor who has an understanding of the finance industry, I would question the validity of this article, judging by the impairm...

Rowan

How a customer-led digital transformation has helped this CMO generate $6m in incremental business

Read more

An interesting update considering that today is the easiest way it has ever been to measure contribution to the business as well as the h...

Frederic

State of the CMO 2019: Tenure shortens, pressure is on as marketers strive to demonstrate impact

Read more

I thought this was what Salesforce Audience Studio (formerly Salesforce DMP) was supposed to do. How are a CDP and a DMP different? I'm c...

Tony Ahn

Salesforce announces customer data platform

Read more

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in