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Instagram takes cautious steps in introducing advertising

Ads on InstagramBeginning next week, Instagram is all set to introduce advertising on its platform. Instagram had made an announcement earlier this month that indicated that it would take the advertising route to become a ‘sustainable business’. While the ad formats will begin in the United States for now, which is one of Instagram’s biggest markets, it is understood that the social platform will take learning from the initial phase of advertising and extend it to other markets as well.

The platform is taking some cautious steps to begin advertising. Not only is it limited to the United States at present, but the ads breaking next week are also said to be one-time ad from the Instagram team that’s meant to give a sense of the look and feel of the ads.

Users will know a photo or video is an advertisement when they see the ‘Sponsored’ label where the time stamp normally would be. On tapping this label, they will know more about how advertising works on Instagram.

A company statement said, “We want ads to be creative and engaging, so we’re starting with just a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community. If users see an ad that doesn’t interest then, they can tap to hide it and provide feedback about what they didn’t like. This will help us show more interesting ads in the future.”

The first brands whose ads would be seen on Instagram include adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Lexus, Levi’s, Macy’s, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood.

Another important question facing Instagram is which ads to show to its specific users given its claim to show engaging ads, implying ads that would be of interest to the users. The platform has said that it would show ads from businesses interesting to its users, and to do that, it will use information about what the users do on Instagram and its parent company, Facebook. For instance, it may look at people that users follow, the photos and videos they like on Instagram, other interests and basic info on Facebook.