Instagram has long been promising to add advertisements to its site. The picture sharing social network, popular among teenagers and amateur photographers, was purchased by Facebook in 2012 for a grand sum of 1 billion dollars. Now it’s time to make some money. However, can Instagram do so without alienating its users?
Instagram has learned from Facebook and other free social networks’ examples. Though it will use the same ad targeting tools as Facebook, Instagram promises to be less intrusive. There will be no automatic play videos, no “page take over” ads, no forced viewing advertising videos—all the things we know and hate about social media advertising. Instagram employs a “swipe to view” option that lets the user choose whether he sees the ads.
While this approach is very considered, it only works if the site employs a perfect targeting algorithm. Other sites—Facebook and Twitter for instance—flood their users with a deluge of annoying ads that ultimately sour user opinion of the site. If Instagram can avoid this suboptimal strategy in their targeting algorithm, then perhaps users will not complain about the new ad policy so much.
Instagram’s new ad platform will certainly open doors for marketers and small businesses trying to sell their name to the youth, but at what cost? If Instagram appeases their users, it will more than likely to succeed. If not, the social network could go to hell in a hand basket.
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