Here at AppAdvice, we love Instagram. In fact, for many of us, the free app is the only one we use to take photos on our iPhone. Even when Facebook purchased Instagram earlier this year, our love remained. After all, despite our initial concerns, the social giant had done nothing to change Instagram in a negative way.

Until now.

Business Insider is reporting that Facebook is about to implement “monetization” in Instagram. In other words, we’re soon about to say hello to Instagram ads.

In a note to investors, Sterne Agee analysts Arvind Bhatia and Brett Strauser state that Facebook’s recently revised terms of service make Instagram ads a near certainty.

They state:

Instagram Monetization Coming Soon? Facebook recently proposed changes to its data use policy and statement of rights and responsibilities that will, in short, enable the company to share information with affiliates like Instagram. While the monetization of Instagram is something investors largely expect, the main question has been the timing. This change could be an indication that Facebook is planning to monetize Instragram in the near future, as it would allow Instagram to use Facebook’s data to personalize the Instagram user experience and perhaps target advertisements. We note that Instagram currently has approximately 39M monthly active users, according to AppData. We believe most estimates currently do not factor Instagram monetization yet due to the uncertainty on the timing.

Here is my suggestion to Facebook. Instead of ads, offer users a paid Instagram version. That way, users would have a choice between seeing ads or not. Otherwise, the first time I see an ad popping up next to photos of my daughter, Instagram’s prominent place on my iPhone will be gone.

Thankfully, there are plenty of Instagram alternatives already in the App Store.

Source: Business Insider