Instagram launches first paid image to mixed reviews

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Last Friday Instagram ran its first sponsored image, an ad for a Michael Kors watch, and received mixed reviews. The ad featured a high-quality image of a gold watch next to a plate of macaroons and has received over 229 thousand likes and over 1,700 comments — many of which are not particularly positive.

Michael Kors Instagram ad

Instagram first announced its move to start showing “sponsored” images and videos on its blog last month, letting U.S. users know that they may start to see “occasional” ads in their feed. “Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow,” wrote Instagram. “We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.” The move to start offering sponsored posts is not terribly surprising considering Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, started pushing sponsored posts to user feeds last year.

While many of the comments for the Michael Kors image are negative, it’s likely they are from non-followers given the two most common complaints are seeing a “sponsored” image in their feed and seeing an image for a luxury brand.

According to AdAge, there are nine other brands that Instagram has lined up to produce ads, including Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Levi’s, Lexus, Macy’s, PayPal and Starwood.

Time will tell if Instagram users start to become generally accepting of the unsolicited images in their feed, however, it’s unlikely Instagram would abandon the idea given the potential growth this could bring for Facebook’s mobile revenue. After all, complaints about sponsored posts in the Facebook news feed didn’t stop them!

What do you think about Instagram’s new foray into paid images?

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