Instagram Will Usher in Ads

The move is the first step toward monetizing the Facebook-owned service

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Instagram, Facebook’s mobile-picture-focused social app, is about to start including advertisements in users’ photo streams, the company announced today in a blog post.

“Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands,” the statement said.

Industry analysts see Instagram as a major, underutilized source of value for Facebook Inc., and a big reason the company is “arguably the most under-leveraged name in the Internet sector,” RBC Capital’s Mark Mahaney told

Just as with Facebook, the app’s 150 million users will be able to hide ads they don’t like and provide feedback as to why, according to the company’s statement. Facebook promises to ease users into the advertising game. “Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow.”

Facebook finalized its acquisition of Instagram in September 2012 for $715 million in cash and stocks. The photo service, whose logo resembles a vintage Kodak Instamatic camera, was founded in 2010 by Stanford grads Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.