It was a year ago when Instagram allowed advertisements in it’s photo feed, and plans to expand the opportunity into Instagram stories are underway.
The company, that was bought by Facebook for the price of $1 billion in April 2012, had waited 3 years before inserting ads. But just 5 months after the introduction of Instagram stories, Instagram is in ad testing with about 30 clients including big names such as Nike, General Motos, Buick, and Capital One. With 150 million out of 300 million Instagram users looking at or creating stories, there’s a large audience for companies to reach.
Instagram stories was criticized upon release for it’s similarity to Snapchat’s mystory feature, which both allow users to update their followers for 24 hours on their daily activities. The criticism didn’t hinder consumers or the feature’s growth, as Instagram stories already match Snapchat’s latest user statistics.
Advertisements will show up between stories and will be limited to 15 seconds, the allotted time allowed for users to make a story. Ads can be as short as clients want and can be in a slideshow format. James Quarles, vice president of Instagram Business, says their approach will be slow.
“We’ll watch it closely, but I think we’ll introduce it and over time it will be expected just like on home feed — you see the sponsored logo and know ads are just a part of the experience.”
That doesn’t mean progress won’t evolve into the option of a paid subscription, which Quarles and his team “certainly looked at it.” This would allow users to pay a premium price not to be displayed ads. It’s a difficult decision to implement, as Quarles describes. “When you get into subscriptions and haves and have-nots, it just changes the experience.”
The ads for Instagram stories will be sold at auction, with no base price announced.