Instagram hit 150 million users yesterday and its mission to "capture and share the world’s moments" is finally beginning to look like it might have a serious impact in the world’s markets. Thus far, however, there has been no sales aspect to Instagram and no way that all that usage could be monetized. Now former Facebook director Emily White has announced plans for Instagram to begin featuring adverts.
The new move, which should take effect within the next year, is expected to be phased in slowly as Instagram tries to get the balance right between earning revenue and keeping users onside. It also needs to work out exactly how advertising would work, if it would mean an end to promotional images being posted on the service for free, and whether it would offer businesses wider reach. One possible approach could be for Instagram to target the local search market, with location-based advertising that enables advertisers to direct people to nearby stores or promote their products.
Ms. White’s approach seems to be to keep the service simple, avoiding the problems that companies such as Google and Facebook have created for themselves by promoting too many similar products. She has suggested that ads might fit into the search or discover functions as promoted content, meaning that they would not intrude on the day-to-day user experience; however, until figures are released showing the reach of these functions it is difficult to assess how appealing they would be to potential advertisers. Whilst Ms. White has been in talks with some very big corporate names, could Instagram provide a service that would also be useful to small- and medium-sized businesses?
Ms. White insists that Instagram is under no short-term pressure and it therefore has time to get its approach right. Businesses will want to watch this carefully so that when the time comes they can get in early on any good opportunities that the system presents. There is already work that can be done with this in mind; for example, Ms. White has said that she is hesitant to direct users to business websites when so many work poorly on mobiles. As mobile use makes up an increasing proportion of all internet use, this is a reminder of the importance of tailoring sites so that they are accessible from as many different devices as possible.
To find out more about accessible web marketing, local search marketing and how you might adapt to Instagram, call Xcellimark at 888-318-3950 ext 211 to speak with an internet marketing consultant today.