Instagram will soon be inserting photo and video ads into the stream for its US members, the 3-year-old Facebook-owned service announced Thursday. People will notice the "occasional ad" in the "next couple months," Instagram said.
"Seeing photos and videos from brands you don't follow will be new, so we'll start slow," Instagram said in a blog post on the change. "We'll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community."
The change, though expected, will be a radical one for the more than 150 million people who use Instagram's iOS and Android applications on a monthly basis. Though a boon for parent-company Facebook's bottom line, the ads bring with them the potential to alienate active users and could stir up a controversy like the one that bubbled up when Instagram temporarily changed its terms of service at the end of last year.
"As always, you own your own photos and videos. The introduction of advertising won't change this," the company iterated so as to avoid a similar dustup.
Instagram, for its part, is promising magazine-quality ads that "feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands." The service also said that users can, just as on Facebook, click to hide the ads they don't like.