It was only a matter of time. Instagram’s director of business operations Emily White told the Wall Street Journal this weekend about its plans to monetize. In the appropriately-titled article "Instagram Pictures Itself Making Money."
Since Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, users have been waiting for the social networking giant to "ruin" Instagram with ads. But Instagram has held off on monetizing with advertisements. White described the challenge that Instagram has when it comes to introducing ads: it doesn't want to lose its hipness.
From the Wall Street Journal:
As director of business operations, the 35-year-old Ms. White effectively is the new chief operating officer of Instagram, the point person charged with turning a billion-dollar acquisition that has never made a cent into a real business. Mr. [Kevin] Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, still makes the ultimate decisions, but it is Ms. White who is responsible for courting brand marketers and laying the foundation for advertising.
There are no ads on Instagram, but Ms. White said it should be ready to begin selling ads within the next year.
Her challenge is to figure out how to integrate marketing without jeopardizing Instagram's cool factor.
When Instagram gets ads next year, what will they look like? The Wall Street Journal says that they might incorporate them into the Discover feature or allow for links on products that will take a user to the advertiser's website.
Companies have been using Instagram as a marketing tool since the beginning, but so far, users only see a company's advertisements if they subscribe to its feed. Still, hundreds of thousands of users choose to follow their favorite brands on Instagram, liking and engaging via photos.
Facebook's in-feed advertisements are often promotions from pages that your friends have willingly "liked," so it might be natural for Instagram to follow a similar trend.
Many professional photographers have already fled Instagram since its Terms of Service scandal in late 2012. Meanwhile, Facebook's new Terms and Conditions are prompting some photographers to take down their photos from the social network.
Let's hear from you: Will in-app advertisements push you away from Instagram?