- Instagram showed mock-ups of what its first ads will look like
- The paid posts will be formatted just like regular Instagram posts but labeled as sponsored
- The new ads will roll out to users in the U.S. in the coming week
Instagram is easing users into ads with a first look at what the paid posts will look like.
The photo-sharing service said the ads will begin appearing in users' feeds in the coming week and showed examples of what ads will look like in a blog post. Instagram first warned users of the impending ads three weeks ago. This is the first time ads have appeared in Instagram feeds.
The ads will look almost exactly like regular Instagram posts, but in the top right corner a blue arrow icon and the word "sponsored" will replace the old time-stamp. Click on the more button in the bottom right corner and there will be additional options to hide an ad or give feedback on why you didn't like it.
The service is taking great pains to make initial ads attractive and in-line with the sepia- and sunset-soaked Instagram brand. It's handpicking the early advertisers, choosing big names that already have Instagram accounts including Levi's, Ben & Jerry's, General Electric and PayPal.
Well-funded brands will likely spring for high quality, original photos that blend in better with a regular feed of photos from friends. If your friends are iffy photographers, the ads might stand out for being a bit prettier than you're used to.
It's a much more cautious approach than Instagram's parent company Facebook took with its early ads. The notoriously low-budget ads on the social network have been known to shill everything from discount clogs and dating services to big brands like Verizon and Virgin America with dinky stock photography or logos.
Instagram and Facebook already know a great deal about what you like and what ads you'll be most interested in seeing. The service is going to use data from your Instagram and Facebook habits -- like your friends, likes and interests -- to help it choose what ads to show. It will also use your feedback on ads over time to flesh out your ad-dossier.
All Instagram users will eventually see ads, even if they don't have a Facebook account. If you're on Instagram, there is no way to avoid them for now, though the rollout will be limited to users in the United States at first. Instagram will also only show ads to people 18 and older (anyone over 13 can open an Instagram account).