In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the Facebook-owned Instagram’s director of business operations has confirmed that mobile ads are still incoming for the image-sharing service, and notes that users could see in-app ads launch within the next year.
The news comes as Instagram celebrates an impressive milestone in its user base: a massive 150 million photographers are now sharing pictures online using Instagram, which offers an application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch.
Despite Facebook having purchased Instagram some 18 months ago, however, mobile advertisements have yet to reach the service’s smartphone apps, and Instagram’s user base has continued to grow. This doesn’t mean that in-app ads aren’t coming, though. Instead, the service’s director of business operations, Emily White, could bring advertisements to the iOS application “within the next year.”
As director of business operations, the 35-year-old Ms. White effectively is the new chief operating officer of Instagram, the point person charged with turning a billion-dollar acquisition that has never made a cent into a real business. Mr. Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, still makes the ultimate decisions, but it is Ms. White who is responsible for courting brand marketers and laying the foundation for advertising.
There are no ads on Instagram, but Ms. White said it should be ready to begin selling ads within the next year.
As Instagram users will note, however, mobile ads could serve not only to inhibit further adoption of the image-sharing service, but present users, too, may abandon ship if distracting advertisements invade Instagram’s interface. Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal explains:
After years without ads, Instagram’s big risk is alienating its members—especially its large base of teen and young adults, who are coveted by marketers. Too much overt marketing could clutter the service, undermining one of its strongest selling points.
“Theoretically, [Instagram] could be making hundreds of millions of dollars today, but they would need a big sales force and they would risk polluting the environment,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group.
It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out. As always, we’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
In the meantime, see: Microsoft Launches New Xbox Music Streaming iOS Application, Amazon Publishes Essential iOS 7 Update For Kindle iOS App Users, and It’s Official: Apple’s iPhone 5 Has Been Jailbroken Under iOS 6.1.4.