Instagram Ads and the Future of Social

Instagram Ads and the Future of Social

As Instagram ads are rolled out to the general public, it is interesting to think on the future of social and digital advertising.

Instagram is about to explode. OK – it has already exploded by most definitions, but it is about to explode as an advertising platform. The Instagram advertising API has been switched on, and marketers simply can’t wait to dig into it. In fact, there is so much anticipation that analysts are predicting that by 2020 ad revenues could be close to $4 billion!

Instagram ads projected revenue

That’s 3,500% growth in five years!

Thinking about this brand new (publicly available) ad space and how many Instagram users will soon be digesting ads at the same rate they do on Facebook or Google, one wonders about the future of the socialsphere and what we might see coming out of the industry in just a few short years (or even months!).


So, now we will see ads. We’ve already seen some, but these have mostly been tests and betas run by the companies willing to make the significant investments that come with these types of pilots. Now everyone from your local clothing store to international Instagram sensations can begin promoting content.

This has been a long-awaited integration and we have reason to be excited (on the professional front). As with all things free and tech, however, it won’t be long before people are up in arms over the inclusion of paid content. “How dare they?!” we will shout. But will it make any difference? Probably not. People will still open the app ten times per day to pass the time, only now the occasional snarky comment will be left on a brand’s ad.

It’s funny to think that that social network that (I think) has done the best job of seamlessly integrating advertising without an uproar from the public – Twitter – is having the hardest time finding its stride.

And speaking of Twitter…

Twitter Gets a Much-Needed Takeover

Twitter is struggling. Jack Dorsey is a smart kid – there’s no denying that – but he is also the CEO of payment processing startup Square, which is also set to go public. Twitter needs a full-timer at the helm if they ever want to succeed, and the only way to get the network on track might be through a takeover.

Rumblings can be heard that Google will be the most likely to buy the network. After all, Google has decidedly failed when it comes to social (more on that shortly) and Twitter would be a great fit. What’s more, even if Google paid triple the stock price (which they would never do, but humor me for a moment) they would still have double-digit billions in cash leftover. If they paid a slight premium on what Twitter is worth now, they would be able to buy it four times over.

But will Google be the one to take it over? Probably not. (But still maybe. But probably not.)

Larry Page and the Google M&A team are looking to acquire companies that are literally changing the world. Twitter would be a valuable tool when it comes to expanding their mobile and native ad presence (which Facebook is dominating, and Instagram will, too) but Twitter has (probably) affected all the change in the world that it is going to affect. Google tends to go bigger picture.

That said, someone is more than likely going to step in and scoop up the company. Even though it has struggled (despite a smart move to come into the market at an undervalued stock price) there is still a lot of value there.

As For Google

Google has conclusively failed when it comes to building a ‘Facebook Killer’. It built the opposite, in fact. Google built a network that put into perspective just how well executed Facebook really is. So what will become of the ‘social layer’ Google once boasted?

Required Google+ sign in is gone, the building that once housed Google’s tentpole for social is emptying (slowly and sadly) and everything is moving towards alternatives. That said, there are a few things we can still expect to see from Google on the social front.

I wrote an article a little while ago that details what we can expect to see from Google+ and Google’s social efforts. Take a look at it here.


Certainly, there is a lot we can expect to see in the realm of social. It is a constantly evolving space with a ton on the horizon. While these might be the trends of the day, expect so much more to come in the next few months (or even days, who knows?).

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Corey Padveen is a data-oriented marketing professional with a focus on statistical analyses of human behavior. This specialization has led him to speak and present at dozens of conferences around the world, to write for a variety of reputable online and print publications, and recently, to publish ‘Marketing to Millennials For Dummies’ as part of the world-renowned ‘For Dummies’ series. He regularly shares real world examples and findings from his research, and discusses how members of society are evolving as consumers, communicators, and a global network as a whole.

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