Earlier this year, Instagram users gained a major new feature when the service rolled out the ability to record and share 15-second video clips in addition to the filtered photos that it had been known for. Now the company has revealed that its got another big addition planned, but this one may not be quite as exciting for Instagram's user base.
Emily White, Instagram's director of business operations, has revealed to the Wall Street Journal that the Facebook-owned service plans to begin selling ads "within the next year." Details on the rollout of the ads and what they'll look like are up in the air, but White's team is considering utilizing the service's Discover and search features. Some companies have expressed interest in photo ads that would lead users to the brand's website when clicked, but White said that she isn't sold on that idea because of the low quality of some mobile-focused sites.
While Instagram has been around for nearly three years now, the company has yet to actually make a profit. Instagram has undergone quite a few major changes recently, though, including being acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. Now that the company has been integrated into Facebook, it's gained several employees that focus solely on analytics and maintaining relationships with brands, two jobs that ought to come in handy in its effort to sell ads.
Instagram announced this evening that it's now home to 150 million users, 50 million of which have joined within the last 6 months. Considering the size of its user base and the fact that Facebook dropped a cool $1 billion to acquire it, it's not exactly a surprise to hear that Instagram plans to begin selling ads in the near future. What will be interesting is seeing if the company can figure out a way to integrate ads into the service without alienating its large user base, especially the passionate Instagrammers that contribute frequently and inspire other users to do the same.
Do you use Instagram? If so, how do you think that Instagram could integrate ads without turning off its users?