As of 23 September Instagram has started serving brand sponsored ads on its platform to users in the UK. Its approach to the roll out is refreshingly sedate, only allowing a small number of hand-picked brands to participate, following strict guidelines for both content and frequency of posts.
But what does this ultimately mean for the platform? I think we all understood in April 2012 when Facebook paid $1 billion to bring Instagram into its fold that this wasn’t going to be a free ride and at some point the platform was going to have to sing for its supper. Are the introduction of ads, and the new revenue stream they bring with them, justification for the hefty price tag spent on its acquisition?