Facebook is prepping Instagram to start selling ads by next year, according to a report.
Emily White, a former Facebook exec and now director of business operations at Instagram, is leading the charge for profits for the photo-sharing app, according to the Wall Street Journal. Instagram has never made a penny, but that may all change by next year when it starts selling ads.
Instagram founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom still makes the final decisions, but White is the one laying the ground work for marketing and advertising.
White started off in sales for Google in 2001 before leaving for Facebook in 2010. In comparison, Instagram was a kooky startup without customer service, analytics or others to handle advertising. (That's likely hard to comprehend when Instagram also claims more than 150 million monthly users.) So White started hiring and creating business relationships with marketers.
But can Instagram survive with ads? Its users haven't been used to ads cluttering their screen for years. "Theoretically, [Instagram] could be making hundreds of millions of dollars today, but they would need a big sales force and they would risk polluting the environment," Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group, told the WSJ.
Instagram's users skew younger than Facebook users, but it's unclear if that means they will be less or more bothered by previously unseen ads. We think that will depend on the kinds of ads and if they prove to be more engaging than just a screen-hogging image.