Instagram Strikes Ad Deal

Advertising seems to be cluttering most forms of media we consume daily, including our favorite: social media. Facebook is surrounded by personal advertisements, Twitter is filled with promoted tweets, and Pinterest lets the users do the advertising. Instagram, a social network dedicated to images and short videos, is now hopping on the advertising bandwagon. Instagram has recently signed a deal valued around $40 million dollar with Omnicom Group Inc.


This deal means that Instagram users will begin seeing advertisements within their news feed for certain Omnicom clients, such as AT&T and Pepsi. The advertisements will look similar to native Instagram posts, supposedly making them less intrusive to users. It is already known that Instagram has been a platform for indirect advertising and celebrity endorsements, but this deal will intensify the sense of sponsored advertising on the particular social media.

Instagram has experimented with sponsored advertisements recently with brands such as Michael Kors and Ben and Jerry’s. The reviews from users was mixed. Some felt like advertisements were entering into a place they felt as if they owned, while some felt like it was an inevitable conclusion.


Instagram is a unique social media in that many use it to gauge their self-worth, even more so than other social media. Instagram is their place to build self-esteem as well as build or tear down other’s self-esteem, and now this “personal space” for doing so is being subjected to advertising.

Many have acknowledged the promise of the deal with Omnicom. The deal is flexible in that Instagram gets a say in which clients Omnicom promotes and the format in which they do so. Instagram wants to make sure the advertisements fit the platform because they want to stay true to their users. Some might think this is impossible, while others might believe it is irrelevant. Ultimately advertisements infiltrate all forms of media, and maybe it was just Instagram’s turn.

Will Instagram be able to stay “true” to their users and advertise for Omnicom’s clients at the same time? Does it even matter?

– Rachel Gracy

12 thoughts on “Instagram Strikes Ad Deal

  1. Social media has become the ideal place for advertisements. People spend hours refreshing their news feeds and timelines to keep up with what is happening in the lives of their friends. Being an Instagram user, I have recently seen advertisements appear on my feed. At first I thought it was a mistake, I had hope that Instagram would never sell out to the advertisement world. However, I then began to think of the way in which these ads were making their way into my sight. It was quite smooth actually, casually appearing as though a friend had taken a rather professional shot and posted it. Unlike Facebook, Instagram has not sold corners or sides of their web page to companies for ad space. They simply agreed to occasionally blend an advertisement into the mass amount of pictures posted each day. I strongly believe Instagram will stay true to their users and still advertise for Omnicom.

    • Every company starts out thinking that they can make it work all by themselves which is not the case. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram all started with very few advertisements and then realized the opportunity at hand and the 100% pure profit that advertising on pages can give you. Instagram is not going to have ads running down the sides quite yet but it would not surprise me if they did eventually.

    • With the cyber world going at an alarming rate you’re right. Companies have to find a middle ground with advertising firms. With Facebook you’re right, the advertising is completely different from advertising on Instagram. The post reminded me of a company who sells a physical product Red Bull. They had a campaign were they placed “cargo” drops all around college campuses. Red Bull in this example is keeping there online advertising carbon foot print pretty low by allowing users of this product to post pictures and bring the buzz up on their product online. Companies who can seemingly blend ads into news feed or pages will have the next advantage over the competitor in the online arena.

    • I agree, Luke. Personally, I abhor advertisements and the space they take up, but thankfully their, as you said, “smooth” incorporation of these ads is less displeasing than other social networks’ advertisement placement methods. With the creation of a new social network and as it gains popularity, advertisements are almost always guarenteed in the near future. Honestly, Instagram refrained from ads longer than I imagined. I believe staying true to their users will be an easier (compared to Facebook) task for Instagram because of the predominately mobile use of the network.

  2. To be honest this is something that doesn’t really take me by surprise! With company accounts forever lingering within the popular page upon refresh after refresh of the page, I think essentially the advertisements is more of an ensured view for the corporations. To me, I’ve never really minded advertisement unless they inhibit or inconvenience me with obtaining the media or content in which I’m trying to reach; such as automated YouTube ads that last longer than 12 seconds, or the layers of popup boxes with microscopic “X” tabs to close them. With a simple advertisement that looks just like a post from any one of those that I follow, it wouldn’t inhibit me from scrolling down my feed to see more photos. If this could potentially mean more possibility for Instagram and maybe even more features for users, then it would be a win-win in my personal opinion!

  3. I can’t say that I mind this happening. I think that advertisements will always be incorporated into anything that has the public’s interest. Facebook was the first of its kind and is now more or less one big advertisement with some pictures of old friends sprinkled in. Instagram is far more simple in its design and could accommodate ads while still maintaining the original feel. There has always been advertising on Instagram from celebrity movie plugs to actual products and events, but now it will just be presented for what it is.

  4. While I’m not exactly a raving fan of having ads on my Instagram feed, I’ve always known that it was coming eventually. Now that it’s really happening, we users get to decide whether or not we continue using Instagram, or we burn it at the stake for making dollar signs out of the very users that brought life to the app. But in my opinion, it isn’t so bad. Facebook did the same thing a few years ago, and the ads on Facebook really don’t “annoy” me at all. The way that they are all tailored to the things that I’m interested in on Facebook actually makes me click on them sometimes, rather than just overlooking them like a bug on a windshield. In addition, I feel like it isn’t very hard to think of ways that Instagram can keep the adds “true” to the app and thus not “annoy” too many of the users. I have faith in Instagram’s ability to keep the adds friendly and fitting, so that they blend into the Instagram “environment” and keep the same user-friendly feel that the app has always had.

  5. I think that Instagram having advertisements was inevitable because most social media has them now. It is a smart tactic for company’s to use because of the popularity of social media and the amount of time spent on them by it’s users. The way that instagram went about incorporating the advertisements was smart because they did not make it very obvious, instead they made it appear as just another post on your feed. I have seen the ads and don’t mind them, but I hope that Instagram will keep them this way because otherwise they would disrupt the way it works. This would make the ads will become obnoxious like they have become on most other social media sites. This makes me want Instagram to stay true to their clients and not completely change the way it works.

  6. I feel as though today, an individual cannot escape advertisements. I am not surprised that Instagram bought into this, since advertising is the “in thing” to do. I feel as though if Instagram does not stay true to their users, then they may lose a lot of them. Especially in today’s world, there is always a new app being created, so if Instagram becomes unloyal to their user population, then they may find a new app that is just like Instagram without the advertisements. For example, Pandora radio has advertisements after a certain amount of songs is played, but they sell Pandora radio with no advertisements, which is actually pretty smart because individuals actually buy the app so they do not have to see or listen to the advertisements.

  7. Rachel,

    It will be interesting to see how this deal plays out. If Omnicom makes these advertisements look like usual Instagram posts, I think they will be somewhat successful. I am interested to see if companies that are similar to Omnicom will try to make a deal with Instagram if Omnicom is successful. It is definitely an advantage that Instagram gets a say in which clients Omnicom will promote and how they will go about doing that. Great article!

  8. I am curious if this deal with Omnicom’s clients will stay flexible and if they will constantly monitor who they allow to advertise and how they do it. I don’t believe that Instagram will be able to stay “true.” I have an Instagram and recently I have noticed these advertisements but I can’t find a difference in seeing them on my feed or hearing them on Pandora. They are both equally annoying. There are already a list of people that I follow that repost from companies who constantly advertise for their brand so I don’t believe that Instagram should have these advertisements post, intrusive or not. However, with $40 million dollars maybe they can monitor and make the instagram experience more reliable.

  9. I think that it does matter that Omnicom and Instagram have joined forces for mutual benefit. The ads, as smooth as they might be, are still infiltrating our feeds and what many individuals view as their personal, customized webspace. By this I mean, by choosing who to follow, unfollow, and what to like on a daily basis, we have the ability to create our own Instagram reality. Personally, I do not follow any famous individuals and only wish to see photos of my friends. With this said, my feed looks very different than a lot of my friends’ feeds. With this new advertising plan, I feel my feed will be filled with uninteresting posts to bog it down. If I enjoy a brand, I will follow their Instagram. I don’t think it should be an automatic, unavoidable “follow”. This sort of takes away our “follow freedom” and the ability to really create our own content filter for our feeds.

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