Instagram is growing. And its users want to make sure its growth is managed, as we found out last year
, when the stuff hit the proverbial fan over proposed changes to terms of service that seemed to suggest photos could be used for ads.
So if you were one of those people who guffawed at the thought of Instagram ads, what would your reaction be if you read this TechCrunch article
about how big brands are approaching Facebook about advertising on Instagram?
Admittedly, my first reaction was this: If big brands want to advertise on Instagram, they should, you know, open an Instagram account. And post relevant photos there. See? Easy peasy.
Now, even I know it isn't that easy. But I can tell you this:
The thought of ads in my Instagram feed does indeed make my face scrunch. But Facebook does promoted posts, and they're not all that bad, you might say. Well, that's Facebook. You can pretty much share any form of media on Facebook. But Instagram is supposed to just be about photos. Will I be happy about obvious ads slipped in between photos from my friends? Nope.
But the thought of willingly selling photos and being paid per like raises my eyebrows. Would I like a photo because I knew a friend would make a few cents as a result? You bet. The thought of monetarily rewarding good work, or simply being in the right place at the right time, sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
And in the end, the thought of ads on Instagram makes me unleash a cynical yawn. Well, of course this was going to happen. It's a business. It's owned by Facebook. It needs to make money. This is not rocket science.
My one question: Do big brands want ads because it's easier? Is it just because they have the money to throw at the problem of generating a following on Instagram? Or have they tried to build community the old fashioned way and it's just not working? Because if it's the latter, it seems to me that's the real problem here.