While that news alone is great news for those who count followers and look for others’ photos in the same vein, the announcement today that Instagram had reached 150 million users was coupled with the fact that Instagram would begin incorporating ads in its platform next year.
Acquisition of Instagram
For those aware of that fact that Instagram was purchased by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) last year, this shouldn’t come as a tremendous shock. Facebook didn’t pony up over a billion dollars out of the goodness of its heart, but rather has always been planning to monetize its acquisition. While people will complain, Facebook and Instagram are certainly in a position to say, “You want your money back? OK sure, how much did you pay? Nothing? Easy enough, here you are, thanks.”
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Emily White, Facebook’s senior director of mobile partnerships, will be shifted to the position of business operations at Instagram. A position that Instagram hadn’t needed until its purchase by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). She’s not only been charged with this difficult task, but been told to do it quick like.
The difficulty resides in how to monetize the platform without losing the 50 million users that have joined Instagram in the last six months alone. When Instagram began its life in 2010 it wasn’t the only photo-sharing app on the market. It was, however, one of the cleanest and easiest to use.
It allowed and continues to allow amateurs and professionals alike to simply snap their pictures, apply effects, and share them directly with those who share their interest, while also allowing them to comment on shared photos.
White understands this simplicity and for that reason is considering beginning the addition of ads in the rarely-used Expore tab in the app that users rely on for finding new content.
Search for advertisers
White will also face the task of finding advertisers, many of which already have free accounts. It may prove tricky to get companies to pay for something they already use for free.
RedBull has even taken its free account further by inviting other users to submit photos based on a specific hash tag—where those that share might have their photos used in the company’s advertising voluntarily and excitedly.
White will have to keep users happy while lining Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s pockets, no easy feet.