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Instagram Update Tackles User/Advertiser Interactions
By: Andrea Jackson
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It's no surprise that Instagram is now larger than Twitter, according to a 2014 report. In recent months, users have seen an increase in advertisements or images with the heading “Sponsored” above them while scrolling down their news feeds. These images by sponsored companies were not necessarily posts by brands or organizations the user elected to follow.

The change to include sponsored advertisements in a user's news feed originally began in 2013. As one could imagine, users didn't like it too much. At the time, however, the ads were few and far in between. In the past few months, there has been an influx of images and videos identified as sponsored posts on everyone's feeds.

Most people are aware that free services often come with advertisements — that's just the way the game works. It's very similar to advertisements along the side of web pages. Free services must find a way to remain free for users, all while being able to cover the costs of running and operating the service.

Instagram has undergone a series of updates recently that allow for 15-second video clips to loop rather than stopping at the end of the video (uh, hello, Instagram — can we get 30 seconds, please?), muting videos when they auto-play, and letting users tap the video for sound. Now there are clickable ads.

What does this mean for users? Well, users are consumers. Instagram and its partners have developed a way to change how users interact with ads. Gone are the days of "double-tap if I like it, scroll past it if I don't." Advertisers can generate content that can actually be clicked on and that opens in-app and allows users to become more hands-on with the brand.

This means a lot for companies, especially non-profit organizations that seek donations. Instagram users now have the ability to donate to their favorite cause or purchase those sunglasses they double-tapped — I mean, liked. The upgrade certainly has its perks for advertisers.

Sorry, users, this new version of Instagram isn't available to everyone else.

Do you think the changes in advertisements are an invasion of privacy for consumers or a smart move for both advertisers and consumers alike?

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About the Author
Andrea Jackson is a Speech and Debate Teacher and Florida native. With her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and Master of Science in Global Strategic Communications, both from Florida International University, she enjoys keeping up with the communications industry and its latest advances. Her interests include public speaking, speech writing, copywriting/editing, and blogging.
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