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Facebook Expanding Instagram Monetization

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Jul. 1 2019, Updated 4:02 p.m. ET

More than 500 million people access Explore per month

Facebook’s (FB) Instagram is bringing ads to its Explore section, where people go to find fresh content that aligns with their interests. Given that Instagram is used by more than one billion people worldwide every month, and more than half of those monthly users access the Explore section, ads seem to be offering advertisers greater exposure than ever.

Facebook’s other social media platforms, WhatsApp and Messenger, each boast ~1.5 billion monthly users. Twitter (TWTR) and Pinterest (PINS) finished the first quarter with 330 million and 202 million monthly users, respectively.

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Nearly $130 billion up for grabs in US digital advertising market

Facebook previously said that Instagram had 2.0 million active advertisers. Introducing ads to its popular Explore section could help Facebook attract more advertisers to Instagram and capture more advertising dollars. This year, eMarketer estimates that ~$129.3 billion is up for grabs in the US digital advertising market, and it projects that opportunity to grow to $201.8 billion by 2023.

Instagram and Snapchat add shopping features

Instagram, also courting consumer brands, has introduced a shopping feature that allows people to shop for and purchase items within the app. The shopping feature means that consumer brands could reach potential Instagram customers just as they are willing to make a purchase. Instagram competes directly with Snapchat, whose parent Snap (SNAP) has partnered with Amazon (AMZN) and Shopify (SHOP) to bring shopping features to the platform.

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