Well, it was good while it lasted.
Instagram, the popular mobile photo-sharing app that has been completely ad-free since it launched in 2010, announced on its blog Thursday that the gravy train is ending. Over the next few months, users will start seeing advertisements in their Instagram feed for the first time.
When Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) purchased Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, everyone knew that it was only a matter of time before the ads came. But most didn’t think the ads would come so quickly.
Instagram passed the 150 million month active users milestone in September, and the Wall Street Journal reported that Instagram would reveal plans to turn those users into revenue within a year. According to Instagram, the ads will show up in the next few months.
The challenge will be introducing the ads without frustrating users.
“Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow,” Instagram said in its blog. “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.”
Instagram says it will work to ensure that advertising feels natural and organic. Users will also have the option to hides they don’t like and provide feedback.
Instagram also made sure users knew that their photos wouldn’t be sold to marketers. When Instagram made a change to its terms of service in December, many users interpreted the change to mean that brands would be able to use users’ images.
“As always, you own your own photos and videos,” Instagram wrote. “The introduction of advertising won’t change this.”