Facebook wants its new photo-sharing app to make some money

When Instagram was purchased by Facebook last year, many wondered how the photo-based social network would change. Today, we see some good and bad news on that front. 

The good news is that Instagram recently ballooned to over 150 million users. According to Instagram's blog, 50 million of those users joined in the last six months alone. 

However, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Facebook wants to throw advertisements on the photo-sharing app to make some money. We can expect to see them within the next year. 

According to the article, Emily White -- Facebook's senior director of mobile partnerships who is now director of business operations at Instagram -- has been put in charge of making sure the revenue-free Instagram starts raking in the cash soon.

White plans to do so by putting ads on the social photo app, but she understands that just slapping some annoying banners and images right on the feed would likely spook users away.

Instagram, which launched in 2010, was certainly not the first photo-sharing app -- but it was the cleanest and easiest to use. It allowed users to take their photos and add filters for that artistic touch, and share them in a straight-to-the-point type of feed. Sort of like a slideshow of photos with their comments and likes. 

Throwing ads into that winning combination wouldn't be easy, and that's why White is considering putting the ads in the Explore tab of the app, which is now reserved for discovering new content. 

Aside from user backlash, putting ads on Instagram will also be tricky because large brands like Nike already have their own accounts for free with many followers. Why would they need to pay for advertising on top of that? Especially when anyone hardly ever visits the Explore tab. Many brands even launch campaigns to keep users engaged, like RedBull, which would send users cans of their special edition beverages if they submitted creative photos with the right hashtag. The photos were then made into a collage and used as ads around the UK.

Speaking of which, remember when Instagram changed its terms of service last year saying that user photos could be used in advertisements? That didn't go over too well. Many people complained and even said they'd stop using the app. 

So clearly, Instagram should tread carefully with this ad business. 

Source: Instagram

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