Earlier this year, Instagram was acquired by Facebook. Since then, we have seen almost no changes to the core functionality of the app, except the notable addition of web profiles added early last month. Today, something else has changed. Facebook VP of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson has confirmed to Business Insider that “monetization” will be coming to Instagram.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, said at the time of acquisition that they would be “able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.” Apparently “working closely” means finding some way to monetize the service. Instagram had considered various means of making money before its acquisition but “nothing came of it,” according to CEO Kevin Systrom.
Maybe it’s in our best interests to have ads within Instagram, maybe it’s not. The photo sharing company before its acquisition was making literally zero revenue, and losing any money that it raised from investors on a monthly basis. The site was a unique case — it had 30 million users, and made literally no money at all. Essentially, Facebook was paying for the users of the site, with the opportunity of eventually monetizing them.
Still, there is hope, because Facebook did not officially say that Ads would necessarily be coming to Instagram. Maybe they will offer some kind of “Premium” subscription to service — I’m sure it would sell like hot cakes to teenagers trying to make the best of their professional photography.
It would be great if we could continue to use Instagram ad-free, but Facebook has apparently decided that such a business model simply wouldn’t work. What do you think of Facebook’s plan to monetize Instagram?