When Facebook purchased Instagram, smartphone shutterbugs shuddered. Facebook is notorious for bombarding users with advertisements. Ads have become so commonplace on Facebook that many former users now shun the social network. So, when Zuckerberg was recently approached by big name advertisers concerning Instagram, the photo community held its breath.
Zuckerberg's Response to Instagram Ads
Thankfully, Zuckerberg turned down requests from companies seeking to stick ads on Instagram photos -- for now. Instead, he told press that Facebook is currently working on expanding Instagram, and building up the app even more than it already is. Currently, Instagram has more than 100,000 users, and many of those users would likely stop using the service if ads started to appear.
Zuckerberg also pointed out that Instagram is larger than Facebook was at the same stage. Adding advertisements that anger users would be a very big mistake, and it's not one that Facebook can really afford to make. But, that doesn't mean that Zuckerberg and crew won't advertise via Instagram in the future.
Where Ads Might Appear
If advertisements were to start appearing on Instagram, what might they look like? This is anyone's guess, but I'm going to take a stab at it: below user photos. Seemingly, these ads would be directly targeted (example: you post a photo of a Bic Mac, and you see a McDonald's ad), but that really doesn't make much of a difference.
Nobody wants to see ads running alongside personal photos or ruining art -- and there are some pretty artistic photos on Instagram. What Facebook will do with the photo app company has yet to be seen, though. For now, Zuckerberg had this to say: "I am really optimistic about the business and the opportunities...big brands are approaching us” Yikes.
An Instagram Outrage
Instagram users enjoy the freedom that comes with using the program, so changing a major policy like privacy was a big deal. Instagram quickly reverted back to its original policy, which includes letting users know of any changes and asking user opinion. It's likely that advertisements will ruin Instagram if Facebook ever goes in that direction.
A Careful Balancing Act
Facebook needs to generate revenue through Instagram. This often means advertising. At the same time, the company can't upset users too much, or ads would be useless. In short, the company has a very fine line to walk -- one that requires a great deal of balancing.
It will be interesting to see if Zuckerberg caves in to advertising dollar pressure. The money that comes from advertising might just be too much for the company to pass up. For now, though, Instagram users are safe. How much longer with this last? Only time (and Zuckerberg) will tell.