Instagram to introduce ads within a year in attempt to monetize service

Instagram's director of business operations Emily White has told the Wall Street Journal that the app should be ready to start selling ad space in the next year.

White joined Instagram from Facebook when the social media giant brought the company for one billion dollars, despite it having never made any money - she was parachuted in with the task of monetizing the acquisition.

With selling space the most obvious way of making a profit from the millions of users, it's no surprise that ads will eventually come to the app however.

In Facebook's 2013 Q2 earning call, Mark Zuckerberg said there was an understanding with co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom, who still has the final say at Instagram, that the plan is to make money from the app.

"Kevin [Systrom] has always been clear that we're building Instagram to be a business," he said. "We expect over time to generate a lot of profit from it. We think the right focus for now is to continue increasing the footprint of Instagram and, when the right time comes, we'll think about advertising."

This week Instagram announced that it now has 150 million people using the service every month, with 50 million joining in the last six months. Despite this White says there is no requirement to turn a profit immediately.

"We want to make money in the long term, but we don't have any short-term pressure," she told the WSJ.

Rather than looking at placing ads straight on users' main home feed, which could threaten a big backlash, White says that the team are concentrating on the app's search function and its 'discover' feature, which promotes popular posts.