Instagram will embrace advertising within the next year as part of a plan to monetize its photo-based social network, presumably to satisfy Facebook's need to make money. The site recently announced it surpassed 150 million monthly users, which is a growth of 15% since July.
Until now Instagram has kept more or less to its original business model, even after being purchased by Facebook. The one big advance the company has made came by way of Instagram videos. The Wall Street Journal reports Instagram's "Discover" and search functions are where Facebook might place ads. Another possibility is inserting Instagram-like photos of products from advertising partners into the photo stream--a click on such a photo could link directly to a retailer website.
Though some form of monetization was always going to be likely for Instagram, even before its billion-dollar buy out, ads may be a hard sell to users. Since its inception, Instagram was something of a boutique app, and even the addition of an Android app caused headline-grabbing consternation.
[Image via Flickr user: Tucker W.]