Instagram is about to hit you with ads whether you Like them or not


Instagram ads
Get ready to see this stuff all the time.
Photo: Progressive (via Instagram)

Are you tired of your Instagram feed being low on sponsored posts from companies trying to sell you things? If so, here comes the best news you’ve ever heard.

The company has opened up its advertising code to make it easier than ever for partners to get ads all up in the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app.

“Instagram is bringing on experienced Facebook Marketing Partners to help brands use the same advanced Facebook targeting tools to create and deliver relevance-driven ad campaigns that increase ROI [return on investment] by reaching the right audience, at the right place and time,” Jamie Tedford, Brand Networks CEO and cofounder Jamie Tedford told Business Insider. “This is one of the most anticipated moments in the evolution of advertising, and we expect the platform’s offering will continue to expand rapidly.”

We’ve already seen some pluggery happening on Instagram with multi-image “carousel ads” like the Progressive one above and others with “Shop Now” buttons that link to external sites if you see something that you just gotta have immediately. But opening up the API is going to make advertising more prevalent, and some pretty big companies are already on board due to their existing relationship with Instagram owner Facebook.

Current partners include the aforementioned Brand Networks, which represents companies like American Express and Starwood Hotels, SocialCode (Heineken), and Ampush (MasterCard, Uber, Dollar Shave Club). Research firm eMarketer projects that this deal will push Instagram’s revenues to $2.81 billion within a couple years.

“Now that Instagram is opening up, there is a lot of pent-up demand,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “The rollout of new features over the next several months means that by the end of 2015, Instagram will have a host of new ad products for advertisers large and small.”

Companies wanting to advertise on Instagram before had to go through the company directly, but now that they have direct access to the API, they can just roll their Insta-ads in with the rest of their campaign.

Marketing jargon aside, what this means at the user level is that your feed is going to be full of unsolicited material soon that will mostly look like the stuff you actually signed up to see. We don’t know yet if advertisers are going to just shotgun-blast their pitches through the Interwebs or use a more targeted approach, which would mean letting them hand-pick which ads you see based on the accounts you follow.

However this ends up coming to bear, though, we’re pretty sure it’s going to be annoying.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.