Ads are on the way for Instagram's 150 million users

The photo-sharing app has to translate its growth into profit, so get ready to see some ads in the next year.

Instagram is unstoppable. The photo-sharing app added 20 million users over the last two and a half months, growing from 130 million to 150 million monthly active budding photographers since introducing video.

For comparison, Twitter had 200 million active users as of March. Vine, Instagram's main competitor, has 40 million registered users. Instagram is clearly killing it.

So it comes as no surprise that Facebook is preparing to turn the popularity of its subsidiary into cold hard cash. Emily White, Instagram's director of business operations, joined the company in March to take the app to the next level. And that next level will include ads, at least that's what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he envisions during social network's second-quarter earnings conference call.

"We expect that over time we're going to generate a lot of profit from [Instagram], probably through advertising," Zuckerberg said.

Poised to sell

White told the Wall Street Journal that she expects Instagram to be poised to sell ads sometime next year. There's a lot of work to be done before that happens. The company is building relationships with brands that are already using Instagram to promote themselves for free. Those brands will have to be convinced that paying for ads is more effective than simply posting amazing photos. Instagram also needs a sales team.

According to the WSJ, White is considering the app's Discover and Search sections as definite ad possibilities. White also said that brands are interested in click-through links from their Instagram photos to their product pages, but that is a pie-in-the-sky idea for now.

White's biggest challenge in prepping Instagram for ads is the app's 150 million users. Instagram has been ad-free for so long that any major change could send those users into the waiting arms of another photo-sharing app.

If Instagram is able to avoid Facebook's recent missteps with policy changes--which White has committed to, she told the WSJ--then perhaps an ad-supported Instagram might not be that terrible.

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

Latest Videos

More Videos

Well done, team at Larsen. Fantastic story of how to continually invest in customer experience.

Adam Frank

A designer jewellery brand's take on customer relations

Read more

Great piece Katja. It will be fascinating to see how the shift in people's perception of value will affect design, products and services ...

Paul Scott

How to design for a speculative future - Customer Design - CMO Australia

Read more

Google collects as much data as it can about you. It would be foolish to believe Google cares about your privacy. I did cut off Google fr...

Phil Davis

ACCC launches fresh legal challenge against Google's consumer data practices for advertising

Read more

“This new logo has been noticed and it replaces a logo no one really knew existed so I’d say it’s abided by the ‘rule’ of brand equity - ...

Lawrence

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

IMHO a logo that needs to be explained really doesn't achieve it's purpose.I admit coming to the debate a little late, but has anyone els...

JV_at_lAttitude_in_Cairns

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

Blog Posts

Why marketing technology utilisation is taking on new urgency

Disparate data sources, fragmented technology and a lack of funding has left many brands struggling in the battle for online customer attention amid a global pandemic. Now more than ever, brands need to focus on unlocking the value of their marketing technology.

Suzanne Croxford

Marketing technology partner, Wunderman Thompson Australia

How to design for a speculative future

For a while now, I have been following a fabulous design strategy and research colleague, Tatiana Toutikian, a speculative designer. This is someone specialising in calling out near future phenomena, what the various aspects of our future will be, and how the design we create will support it.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

The obvious reason Covidsafe failed to get majority takeup

Online identity is a hot topic as more consumers are waking up to how their data is being used. So what does the marketing industry need to do to avoid a complete loss of public trust, in instances such as the COVID-19 tracing app?

Dan Richardson

Head of data, Verizon Media

Sign in