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Instagram Introducing Video Ads: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

To some people, Instagram is still just that website where people put up faux-vintage selfies, but the site's video features are immensely popular with users. Ask an Instagram user what they love about the platform and a common answer is likely to be "there's no ads on the site!" Well... that's about to change. Instagram has been test driving their new video ads for about six months now, and they're unleashing ads onto the site proper.

The first ads seen on the site come from brands like Disney, game developer Activision, and Banana Republic. The Big Hero 6 one in particular is eye-catching, featuring the animated characters from the film in selfie poses.

There has, predictably, been some resistance to the inclusion of ads on the site. Take for instance a TechCrunch headline on the matter "Instagram Video Ads Go Live Because Everything Good Must Come To An End," or this one from FastCompany: "Like it or Not, Instagram Video Ads Are Here."

The site has gone through a lot of trial and error and experimentation to create the least intrusive advertising experience possible, but the fact remains that Instagram is where we go for fifteen second vids. The ads that will pop up in your Instagram feed are just as long as the videos themselves, and for many users, it's fair to guess that it simply won't be worth it.

Looking at this from a more optimistic perspective: it's hard to run a 100% free app without ads. Facebook revenue jumped sixty one percent when they introduced mobile ads, so it's fair to assume that this one big change will help Instagram to avoid having to make lots of changes that hurt the platform. If you weigh the users you will lose with advertising versus the users you will lose if you charge for use of your platform, the choice becomes pretty obvious.

Consider, too, that ad revenue is exactly why there are so many people making a living solely on their Youtube content. It's not impossible to imagine a future where professional Instagram user is just as common a career, should Instagram eventually implement a rewarding revenue-sharing program.

As with any major changes to a beloved platform, app or website, there is a lot of resistance to ads on Instagram, but the same could be said of any platform that went from no-ads to ads. Like it or not, we're all just going to have to get used to it.

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