The age of an ad-free Instagram is just about over.
Instagram is finally giving a sneak preview of its upcoming in-stream advertisements, and, well, there aren’t many surprises here.
The sample ads, which you can see above, appear to be relatively standard fare: Once in a while Instagram will plug a sponsored photo into your stream and mark it with both “Sponsored” and the name of the brand that it comes from.
Early partners for the effort include Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Lexus, Levi’s, Macy’s, Michael Kors, PayPal, and Starwood.
Instagram’s approach should sound familiar because it’s the same one Tumblr introduced with its own mobile app back in April. There’s no word yet on how many ads Instagram plans to display per day, but it shouldn’t be any more than four, which is Tumblr’s number.
Instagram also confirmed that your Facebook activity will indeed affect the sort of ads on its app (assuming you use the same email address for both services).
That’s a big deal for Facebook, which will be able to use Instagram’s ads to boost its share of the mobile display ad market higher than the 33.3 percent share it’s already expected to get. (The company’s stake last year was just 21 percent.)
Preempting the inevitable backlash from the move, Instagram says that introducing ads is all about fleshing out the app’s business side, which has taken the backseat so far.
“Building Instagram as a business will help us better serve the global — and ever-growing — Instagram community, while maintaining the simplicity you know and love,” the company says.
While many users will complain about the ads, the reality is that in-line ads are degrees better than the more intrusive banner ads that, for whatever reason, have become common in mobile apps. And that is something to be thankful for.