Instagram said Wednesday it planned to launch advertising on its Explore page, expanding marketing opportunities on the Facebook-owned, visual-focused social network.
In the coming months, ads will appear on the Explore feed, where users go to discover content aligned with their interests, an Instagram blog post said.
"Today, 80 percent of people follow a business on Instagram, and Explore can help them find the next business or product they might love," the Instagram business team wrote.
"Whether it's shopping, catching up on stories or discovering the latest trends, we see people actively looking to connect with brands they like. That's why, over the next few months, we'll be introducing ads in Explore feed."
The statement said the ad rollout would be done "slowly and thoughtfully" in the coming months.
"For advertisers, this is an opportunity to be part of what's culturally relevant and trending while reaching new audiences who are looking to discover something new," the Instagram team said.
Instagram, which now has more than a billion users worldwide and has attracted some users tired of the core Facebook platform, has become an important source of advertising revenue for the California social networking giant.
Although Facebook does not offer a detailed breakdown, the research firm eMarketer estimated that Instagram ad revenue in the US will grow nearly 47 percent this year to reach $9.08 billion (roughly Rs. 63,000 crores).
"Instagram advertising is very popular, and Explore will open up a pipeline of valuable new ad inventory," said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson.
"Half of Instagram users use Explore, making it a highly popular feature. We expect advertisers to quickly adopt this ad placement."
Instagram, acquired by Facebook in 2012, began limited advertising in 2013 and two years later began serving up video ads.
Earlier this week, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri sought to quell fears that the social network uses private messages as part of its ad targeting strategy.
"We don't look at your messages, we don't listen in on your microphone; doing so would be super problematic for a lot of different reasons," Mosseri said in an interview with CBS.