Instagram unveiled its first ad on Friday. Fortunately, it may not be as bad as many people feared -- and some didn't even notice it was there. The colorful image, courtesy of fashion designer Michael Kors, featured a luxury watch lying among tea-time snacks and gold embellishments, targeted at women in the U.S regardless of whether they were following the brand or not.
According to Mashable, Instagram said last week that ads were coming, and offered up a preview ad of its own to show users what to expect, but Friday's sponsored image is the first real ad to come across the platform. It took all of a few hours for the ad to start experiencing major traffic. By mid-morning, the ad had more than 65,000 likes and more than 540 comments. Given its successful debut, we're not surprised to learn that Burberry, Lexus, Macy's and many more are set to follow in its footsteps.
Facebook famously bought Instagram last year for a reported $1 billion when the app practically had zero revenue. Since the acquisition, Facebook has steadily streamed to not only hold Instagram as the top photo-sharing app in the tech world, but to also make it profitable. Now they are doing just that. According to PC World, ads on Instagram will be labeled as such with the word “Sponsored” in the upper-right corner. By clicking on the “...” in the lower-right corner, users can hide the ad after it appears, and provide feedback to Instagram about what they didn’t like about it. This feedback, according to Instagram, will let the app deliver more-relevant ads to users.
While the first-ever Instagram ad ran as a sponsored photo, ads are set to come in video form as well. According to Facebook, Instagram has roughly 150 million active users, making it prime real estate for advertisers. As to whether users of Instagram approve, only time will tell.