By: Alli McIlvain



This week Instagram has officially showed its 150 million users its plans to advertise. While it started off as a somewhat small app for photo editing and sharing, Instagram has grown tremendously in the three years it has been available. Over 16 billion pictures have been posted; therefore, it’s no surprise that the company would like to take advantage of this opportunity.

Facebook recognized the potential in Instagram early in 2012 and bought the company for $1 billion. It is well know that Facebook is on the forefront of advertisements and new technology used to target specific groups of people. This does not look to be the case for Instagram, at least not yet. For now Instagram is working with only a select number of companies including General Electric and Burberry. While the number of companies advertised on Instagram will likely grow, the company is starting on a small scale as it eases into the advertising field.

A simple image was posted on Instagram on October 24, 2013 portraying a man sitting at a modern looking table with an iPhone, cup of coffee, and a laptop with and Instagram icon. The picture has a “sponsored” caption at the top to identify the photo as an advertisement rather than a normal post. When the “sponsored” link is clicked on, the user is taken to a link containing information about specific advertising details, such whether the advertisers will have access to personal photos and videos (the answer is no).

Instagram users are also given the ability to hide an advertisement. The users can then provide their own feedback about how they feel about the ad and what they do or do not like about it. The company claims that this function is to make sure that users are happy with the images they are seeing and to ensure they are engaged. The app is attempting to keep the integrity that it originally started out with, even though it is now a billion dollar company. However, the fact that users have the power to choose which advertisements they are exposed to is an improvement from other applications.

There is, surprisingly, not much backlash about the company’s plans to implement advertisements. This could be because almost every other popular application contains them and people may have been expecting this to happen at some point. However, it will be interesting to see what types of creative ads will be featured on one of the most popular social networks.


Rusli, Evelyn M. “DealBook.” DealBook Facebook Buys Instagram for 1 Billion Comments. N.p., 09 Apr. 2012. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <;.

Smith, Craig. “| DMR.” DMR. N.p., 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <;.

Stern, Joanna. “This Is What the Ads in Your Instagram Feed Will Look Like.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <;.


Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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