Instagram inks its first advertising agency deal

The Facebook-owned entity has hooked a really big fish in the advertising world.

instagram kevin systrom
Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom. Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

Just five months after delivering its first official advertisements, Instagram has a made a believer out of Omnicon Group, a top-tier advertising and marketing agency with more than 5,000 clients.

The agency has signed a one-year contract with Instagram, an Instagram spokesperson told CNET on Friday. The partnership marks the first agency deal for Instagram and signifies the seriousness of the smartphone application's intention to turn the photo and video app, used by more than 150 million people each month, into a lucrative business.

The deal, which comes with creative guidance from Instagram, was first reported by AdAge. AdAge reported that Omnicom would spend up to $100 million on Instagram ads for its clients. When reached for comment, the Instagram spokesperson would not confirm pricing.

"This is an exciting new chapter and we're looking forward to the great creative content that comes out of this partnership," Jim Squires, director of market operations at Instagram, said in a statement shared with CNET. "Our teams are going to work hand in hand to develop and execute campaigns that provide people with amazing imagery -- and drive meaningful business results for advertisers."

After three years of being ad free, Instagram kicked off its advertising initiative in November with a sponsored photo from Michael Kors that was shown to US audiences. In December, Instagram said that early guinea pigs like Levi's and Ben & Jerry's reached more than 7 million people in just over a week with their sponsored photos. Instagram has always maintained that it aims to show members magazine-quality advertisements that they'll actually enjoy.

The Omnicom agency partnership won't affect Instagram's advertising strategy, Squires said. "People will continue to see a limited number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from select brands who already have a strong presence on Instagram."

 

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