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Get ready for ads on Instragram within the next year

Photo sharing app has now topped 150 million users

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
September 9, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/31d9

Facebook's purchase of Instagram has pretty much been an unqualified success. The app took off after the purchase, and never slowed down, it has now become the preeminent photo sharing app in a very crowded space. But now comes the hard part for Facebook: actually turning the deal into a money maker. 

So get ready for the service to begin showing advertisements within the next year, Emily White, Instagram's Director of  Business Operations, has revealed to the Wall Street Journal.

The ads could potentially appear on the app's Discover feature, or search function, both features that involve the user actively trying to find something on the app. It would seem that perhaps a keyword search would trigger an advertisement.

White also said that some advertisers are interested in linking pictures of products to their websites, but also expressed reservations about this as many mobile sites are not yet up to snuff.

Instagram has been building up its relationships with brands; a study from business data analytics company Simply Measured last November found that 54 of the world's top 100 brands were now on Instagram. Given that that was almost a year ago, that number has most likely gone up since then.

These brands included MTV, Starbucks, Burberry, Nike, Gucci, Tiffany and Co, Audi and GE.

Still, Instagram needs to tread carefully when it comes to advertisements.

The company found itself embroiled in controversy at the end of last year when it updated its privacy policy page in December to say that it would be sharing user data with Facebook so that pictures uploaded to Instagram could be used in advertisement on the service without user permission.

The backlash was fierce and was so bad that Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom actually wrote a blogpost on a few days later apologizing to fans, and saying that the company would be reverting back to its original terms of service.

The app reportedly lost four million users as a result of that scandal, though Instagram denied that this was the case. 

The worst thing that Instagram could do, though, would be to ever put an advertisement onto an Instagram photo, but I cannot imagine that the company would ever do that. The point of advertising on mobile is to make the ads as non-intrusive as possible. Facebook has been very good about successfully delivering non-intrusive ads on its newsfeed, so I suspect that it will be able to do the same for Instagram.

In addition to the advertising news, White also revealed a new user milestone: Instagram now has 150 million users. That is a gain of roughly 128 million since being bought by Facebook, and 50 million users since announcing that it reached 100 million just seven months ago. 

Instagram has basically been a success from the very beginning, and is showing no signs of slowing down.

After launching in October 2010, the app was an instant hit, reaching one million users only two months later. After it launched its Android app in April 2012, the same month that Facebook announced  that it was buying the company, Instagram saw its user numbers jump by 10 million in 10 days. It cracked the top 10 fastest growing sites in the United States for March, jumping 19% in a single month.

In April, Instagram's unique visitors shot up 78% to 14.5 million, from 8.2 million unique visitors in March, making it the fastest-growing Web property. 

Vator has reached out to Instagram and Facebook for confirmation.

(Image source: http://fnflive.com)