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Facebook's Instagram to expand ads beyond U.S

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Instagram, the mobile photo service owned by Facebook Inc, is expanding its nascent advertising business beyond the United States and will begin showing ads to users in Britain, Canada and Australia, the company said on Monday.

The ads will start to appear on versions of the service in the three countries later this year, Instagram said in a post on its official blog.

A Facebook spokesman said that Instagram will initially work closely with a handful of advertisers in each country. Facebook introduced ads within Instagram in the U.S. in November, working with brands such as Levi's and ice cream company Ben and Jerry's.

Instagram said on Monday that the U.S. ads have in some cases generated results "well above the ad industry's average for performance," though it did not provide details.

Ads on Instagram, which has more than 200 million users, are considered an important source of new revenue growth for Facebook, which acquired the popular mobile service for $1 billion in 2012.

Still, Facebook has sought to temper investor expectations of an immediate revenue boost. In April, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said that the company would take its time rolling out ads on Instagram. "We don't see the need or the urge to ramp this as quickly as we possibly can," Sandberg said.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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