Instagram is still known as the hip and cool social app on iOS and Android, despite it being owned by Facebook and holding a huge 150 million userbase, something that cannot be considered indie in any sense of the word.
The last attempt at adding advertisement to Instagram did not go down very well. The company decided to change the terms and conditions policy, allowing users to take photographs and Instagram would send the photo to ad agencies.
Naturally, users were quite alarmed that their private photos may be subject to scrutiny under the eyes of greedy third-party ad agencies, even though the general idea was code from name tagging and object tagging would allow Instagram to get an overview of what the user likes.
We may see this return in a less demonic way in 2014, according to the WSJ who say Instagram will deploy an ad program next year. The company currently does not make a lot of revenue and this new boost in ad sales will be what it needs, as Facebook starts to grow weary of the apps actual use.
Photos are still a flexible medium for advertisement and there are plenty of ways to “sell a photo” on Instagram. The way we see it happening is through object tagging and recognition, allowing Instagram to note users posting about brands and products.
If a user likes Deadmau5 for instance, ads may pop up showing tour locations or photos that relate to Deadmau5 merchandise. It is an open playing field and one with more possibilities than the typical text-based advertisement.
Instagram still needs to nail the execution of this ad service, the terms and conditions jig made many feeling uneasy about the app, thinking Facebook was trying to make over control and force feed ads down users throats.
The company doesn’t need to explain it, but they also do not need to be silent about the ordeal. Instagram should give users reasons why they need ads on the mobile app and then just add them and see how it goes – it will probably work out just fine.