When Facebook acquired Instagram last year, many wondered how the photo-sharing service would be monetized. Now we know: A couple of weeks after hitting 150 million active users, Instagram announced in a blog post Thursday that U.S. users will begin seeing ads in their Instagram feeds within the next couple of months.
The news isn’t particularly surprising: Emily White, Instagram’s director of business operations, told the Wall Street Journal in September that Instagram would start running ads “within the next year.” Over 60 percent of Instagram’s users are based outside the U.S., and they’ll be free from ads for now.
“Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.”
Image-based social network Pinterest also announced a couple of weeks ago that it is rolling out ads. Both companies will face similar challenges in maintaining the visual integrity that their users have come to expect. Instagram notes that users will be able to hide ads they don’t like and “provide feedback about what didn’t feel right.”