Instagram, the video and image-sharing platform owned by Facebook, has announced that it will allow the gradual introduction of ads to its Explore tab.

This is the feature where users go when they want to see photos and videos related to their interests from accounts they may not already follow – and it is estimated that more than half of Instagram users access Explore each month.

According to a company blog post, 80% of Instagram’s one billion users follow a business and Explore can help them find the ones they want.

“Brands are an important part of the Instagram experience for people,” the statement read. “Whether it’s shopping, catching up on stories or discovering the latest trends, we see people actively looking to connect with brands they like. That’s why, over the next few months, we’ll be introducing ads in Explore feed.”

Instagram said it would introduce ads in Explore “slowly and thoughtfully” over the coming months and that ads will be served only after users tap on a posted photo or video.

“People may begin to see ads as part of their browsing experience just like in the main feed,” the statement continued. “As always, people have control over the ads they see.”

For advertisers, Instagram said the extension of ads to Explore, which first launched in 2012, would provide opportunities to be part of what is “culturally relevant and trending” while also reaching new audiences.

There is no new complicated registration or payment system and advertisers have been told that they can “easily” extend their campaigns by simply opting in to place their ads on Explore, just as they do for the main Instagram feed.

“The move to bring ads into the Explore experience has some logic to it,” commented Ingrid Lunden and Josh Constine of TechCrunch.

“With Facebook’s News Feed usage in danger as attention shifts to Stories that it’s still learning to monetize, the company is leaning more on Instagram to keep revenue growing,” they added. “But Instagram must be sure not to suffocate the golden goose with too many ads.”

Sourced from Instagram, TechCrunch; additional content by WARC staff