As photos have become more and more popular in the browsing experience, we see several hot social websites, like Pinterest and Instagram, excel in the area of all that is visual. Whispers and rumors have circulated about both working on ad platforms, but Facebook’s acquisition makes Instagram a good bet to incorporate ads into its platform sooner rather than later.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated they could generate a lot of profit from Instagram in the future. 130 million monthly active users can’t be wrong, and 41 percent of Facebook’s $1.6 billion advertising revenue was in mobile ad revenues. This leaves Instagram poised to be an advertiser’s dream to reach hipsters, tweens, millennials – that is, at least until your mom finds out about it.

So what could Instagram ads look like?

I envision something like this:

instagram ad

Retailer Threadless makes T-shirts from designs that customers/fans submit. They have 215k fashionable followers on Instagram.

Communicating promotions through unoffical “ads” now is simple; in this example, a simple image becomes a banner that can be served to 215k fans for free. After clicking on the ad — I mean image — we can see the “likes,” a description, and comments where fans can interact with the brand. Brilliant.

In the future, we’re likely to see these ads incorporated into the Newsfeed; advertisers have begun to notice decent performance in this ad unit, and Zuckerberg himself noted campaigns with Newsfeed ads were seeing a higher ROI.

What’s next for the this chapter in social media PPC? Likely we’ll see betas released to only elite advertisers, then limited roll-outs to advertisers through the Facebook self-serve platform with little to no documentation or customer service. Despite this effort, advertisers with the special target markets likely taking self-portraits in bathrooms and cyber-stalking celebrities will be on board immediately to cut themselves a piece of the PPC pie.

What interests you most about Instagram ads? Let us know.

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Lisa Raehsler is founder and principal strategist at Minnesota-based online advertising agency Big Click Co.