How Instagram Ads Will Affect Businesses, Users and Trolls

Instagram has finally opened its doors to advertisers—but just ever so slightly. If you haven’t heard the news, Instagram rolled out its first revenue-generating strategy in the form of “Sponsored” photos appearing in user’s feeds. While this is great news for brands looking for another piece of the social marketing pie, it’s no advertising free-for-all either. How will this change affect you? Here’s the scoop:


Instagram has chosen just a “handful of brands” to work with for the initial rollout. These include globally known brands such as adidas, Lexus, Levi’s®, Macy’s, Michael Kors and PayPal. That doesn’t mean your brand should turn the other cheek. While the big brands play, you should focus on prepping that Instagram profile for the impending changes. You’ll want your brand’s Instagram in tiptop shape when the opportunity to advertise on the network presents itself. Now’s the time to find your following and create a profile that speaks your message.



Will there be backlash? Probably. Most users recall a time when social network founders preached against ever allowing advertisements on their sites. But things have changed. Users should note that these ads don’t affect usability in the least. They won’t pop out from random screen corners and function the same way anyone else’s shared photos do. The option to hide ads is as easy as tapping the “…” button located below them (seen above). Overall, some users will complain but most will barely notice.


Good news for Internet bullies. Beyond the option to hide ads, users have been given the option to leave comments on why they didn’t like them. This means Instagram ads could become a troll’s paradise. For brands, the danger of a negative comment domino effect is real. Are you willing to let your brand bare all?

While Instagram ads may not be right for every brand, it’s important to consider the possibilities. There are always innovative ways of harnessing the power of social. And a smart marketer considers every avenue. Remember, change usually brings with it opportunity.


Instagram’s first ad was a photo of a watch by Michael Kors. Is it any surprise that even after 65,000 likes, the only standout detail of its run was the negative comments? It seems that users continue to express their frustration with Instagram ads. A recent poll showed 41% of users are “disappointed” with the decision to feature these Sponsored photos while 16% are absolutely “furious.” Could this be the beginning of a cataclysmic digital backlash? Or is this simply the initial resistance to change that’s common when you tinker with people’s comfort zones? Time will tell.

Social media is a must for any good marketing plan. Need a specialist? We’ve got plenty. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to provide marketing strategies through print, web, social media and video productionall in house. At Appleton, we want to learn about your business, empower your marketing team and be your creative resource. Your marketing goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or

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