Instagram to give more options to its users, advertisers

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Introducing new options in addition to its signature square for pictures and videos, Instagram to lure more advertisers and to stop users from taking to more flexible services such as Snapchat.

The move to the photo-sharing, social media service since Facebook Inc bought it for $1 billion in 2012, and addresses the wishes of many of its 300 million users, who have been forced by the square format.

“It comes to giving advertisers and users more options,” said Debra Aho Williamson, a social media marketing and advertising analyst. “One wants people to see more of your ad. It’s something advertisers are going to be interested in.”

One in five photos and videos posted on the service don’t fit the square format, Instagram said in a blog. From 3 September, Instagram’s web-based service and mobile applications running on Google Android system and Apple’s iOS will allow users and advertisers use of portrait and landscape formats.

Instagram is expected to generate nearly $600 million in advertising revenue by the end of this year and $2.8 billion in 2017, according to projections from research firm eMarketer. The move should help Instagram in its battle with newer rivals such as Snapchat for users in the fast-moving messaging and media-sharing market.

By comparison Facebook, the world’s most popular social network, generated more than $12 billion in revenue in 2014. The service hit one billion users in a single day for the first time on Monday.

To promote the new formats on 3 September, Walt Disney Co  released exclusive footage of its upcoming film, “Star Wars, The Force Awakens,” using the new landscape option.

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