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Instagram inaugurated its ad-supported model with an ad for a Michael Kors watch that showed up in the feeds of Instagram's users on Nov. 1.

The launch of advertising on Instagram was met with mixed reactions, probably in part because the ad didn't feel contextually relevant to the audience viewing it.

What's not in doubt is that by some measures the effort was an overwhelming success: "18 hours after having been shared, the promoted post had received 217,700 Likes, a 370% increase compared to the 46k the designer brand is used to seeing on average," according to Nitrogram, an Instagram analytics and engagement platform.

In one sense, though, advertising on the mostly mobile social platform is nothing particularly new: As Om Malik points out on Gigaom, "Instagram power accounts—well-known Instagrammers with tens of thousands of followers—are pushing their own form advertising [by] putting hashtags of commercial products" with the images they post.

Here, three online advertising and marketing executives discuss both the first official Instagram Ad as well as Instagram's strategy and what it needs to do to become a successful platform for marketers and advertisers:

  1. Ferdinando Verderi, creative director at creative agency Johannes Leonardo, and head of JLF, the agency's division dedicated to fashion, luxury, and art.
  2. Tony Winders, SVP of marketing for in-screen ad network GumGum.
  3. Fritz Desir, SVP, head of experience planning, at customer experience agency RAPP.

They answer these three questions:

  1. What does Instagram need to do to keep from alienating its loyal fan base as it rolls out advertising?
  2. What can marketers learn from Michael Kors's bold inaugural journey into Instagram advertising?
  3. Is there any value for brands advertising on Instagram if their ads are not targeted?

What does Instagram need to do to keep from alienating its loyal fan base as it rolls out advertising?

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image of Vahe Habeshian

Vahe Habeshian is the director of publications at MarketingProfs and a longtime editor. Reach him via vahe@marketingprofs.com.

Twitter: @habesh