Facebook Introduces Ads To Instagram

For the first time, users will see photos and videos from brands they don’t follow.

Facebook Introduces Ads To Instagram
[Image: Flickr user Jodie Leila Parman]

Brands have long used Instagram to promote themselves, but until now they’ve only been able to push photos and videos to the people who already follow their accounts. Now they’ll be able to reach other users–for a fee.


Instagram, which says it has 150 million users, quietly announced on its blog Thursday that its users should expect to start seeing “an occasional ad in [their] Instagram feed[s].”

In June, Facebook unveiled a video feature for Instagram, which allows users to share clips of up to 15 seconds, a standard commercial length.

Apparantly anticipating some backlash, the service noted that “Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow.”

(The whole text of the announcement is below.)

Over the past three years we’ve watched with amazement as Instagram has grown to a global community of more than 150 million people capturing and sharing the world’s moments. Instagram is a place where people come to connect and be inspired, and our focus with every product we build is keeping it this way.

We have big ideas for the future, and part of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business. In the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States. Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. 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.


Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands. After all, our team doesn’t just build Instagram, we use it each and every day. We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine.

We’ll also make sure you have control. If you see an ad you don’t like, you’ll be able to hide it and provide feedback about what didn’t feel right. We’re relying on your input to help us continually improve the Instagram experience.

As always, you own your own photos and videos. The introduction of advertising won’t change this.

Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more details. We’re excited to continue building Instagram alongside this inspiring community.

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.