Ads are coming to more places on Instagram. Today, the social media platform announced that it’ll soon start placing ads within the Explore page, which is where users go to discover new content that lines up with their interests. The ads won’t appear on the Explore grid itself, but they’ll appear once a user taps on an Explore post and begins scrolling through that discovery feed. The ads will be photos and videos, and the first ad — for IGTV — will go live today. The team will begin working with select partners over the next few weeks with the goal of opening Explore ads up to everyone over the next few months.
“Explore is where people are really open to discovery, and that’s why we’re really excited about this,” says Susan Buckner Rose, director of business product marketing, in a chat with The Verge. She says the team considers “the mindset where people are most receptive to advertising” and that the Explore page made for an obvious fit because it’s where “people come to discover new accounts or people or brands that they don’t already follow.”
She also says that there was “nothing particular” about the Explore grid that prevented the team from starting ad placement there, so it’s still unclear why the grid is being left untouched, at least at this moment.
While it might be true that people are open to finding new brands in explore, they may not love seeing more ads in their various feeds. Instagram already allows ads in Stories and the regular feed, so bringing them to yet another place could crush the idea of an authentic Instagram experience. But Instagram is an ad-run business that needs to meet brands’ expectations. As more advertisers come to Instagram and Facebook, it only makes sense that Instagram would look for more untouched digital real estate. Plus, users don’t pay to use Instagram, so they are paying in the form of their attention to brands’ content.