The Facebookification of Instagram?

Instagram opens up to advertisers to scale its advertising business

If you use Instagram, you might have noticed some changes to it in the past few weeks. You might have stumbled upon several ads on your feed as you scroll, or if you’re an even more active user and post, that you are no longer required to crop the photo into the quintessential square format that once defined the Instagram look.

All of these changes point to Instagram shifting its business strategy to emulate that of Facebook and, in particular, its mobile growth. With over 300 million monthly active users, Instagram is poised to rake in ad revenues from brands from all across the spectrum. As well as rolling out to thirty new markets worldwide, Instagram will be available in all the global markets where Facebook is provided. The two social media platforms’ backend will be linked “seamlessly,” which means all of Facebook’s purchase interface and ads API will be the standard to that of Instagram.

And even though the two companies insist that they are maintaining their independent brands and discrete demographics, it is undeniable that gone are the days when Instagram was perceived as a frightfully young, intimidating channel for brands. From heightening brand awareness to increasing direct sales, it’s fast becoming an indispensible tool marketers simply cannot afford to do without.

Moreover, Instagram is giving advertisers tools to track and optimize different campaign types. That new option of choosing between landscape and portrait mode is in line with putting Instagram on a more equal footing with other major social networking platforms. Instead of having to reshape or even reshoot images specifically for Instagram, advertisers can use the same images they used to post on other platforms to post on Instagram.

These concessions, however, bring up the concern that Instagram will become just another Facebook. Nevermind Instagram no longer enforcing its 4 by 4 aesthetic on every photo uploaded: what with the changes in the backend it is inevitable that they manifest to users. Facebook’s targeted ads could prove to be a double-edged sword that might flood Instagram with heaps of ads that drive users away or work as a tool that elevates user experience and drive revenue.

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