How is Instagram evolving under Facebook’s umbrella?

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As Instagram slowly starts to mix in some advertising, the major question for the photo-sharing app is how it will become a source of monetization for Facebook. While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or COO Sheryl Sandberg might address the early effects of Instagram advertising in its Q2 earnings call on July 23, it’s worth noting that Instagram ads are still in their infancy.

How new are Instagram ads? In a Fortune story published recently about Instagram, noting that CEO and Co-Founder Mark Systrom still personally reviews each ad the limited subset of advertisers design for the app. Instagram first allowed advertisers who already appealed to core segments of Instagram’s user base.

The feature story shed some light on newer features, such as Instagram Direct and video. In the past month, 45 million Instagram users (about 25 percent) have either sent or received a message through the app.

However, the video feature hasn’t been as successful, Fortune reports.

Fortune’s Jessi Hempel described the adoption of the two features:

In December, Instagram launched a private messaging product. Most of the tech press wrote it off quickly, but data suggest that momentum is building. According to Instagram, over the past month 45 million people, or roughly 25% of its users, sent or received a direct message on the service.

The company has had less success with its 15-second videos, which launched shortly after Twitter’s Vine videos became popular. Though Systrom says Instagram has been happy with it, the company won’t release information about how many people are using video, and two sources close to the company suggest it has been disappointing. In a sense the company’s blessing may also be its curse: It has built its reputation on letting its users do one thing extremely fast and incredibly well.

The story also notes that Instagram has more than 200 million active users (almost as many as Twitter), who upload 60 million photos per day. Instagram users spend an average of 3.7 hours on the app every month.

Readers: What do you think of Facebook’s advertising, so far?

Image courtesy of Bloom Design / Shutterstock.com.

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