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Meta tests non-skippable ads on Instagram

What To Know

  • Meta, the parent company of Instagram, is testing a new type of non-skippable ad in the Instagram feed, referred to as an “ad break.
  • It is especially notable because the company is testing these ads in the main feed rather than in Reels or Stories, where video ads are more common and, for now, still skippable.
  • By moving these ads to the main feed, Meta is potentially disrupting the user experience in a space that has been traditionally more user-friendly and less ad-saturated.
  • If users find these ads too intrusive, it could lead to a backlash and even a decrease in user engagement on the platform.

Instagram ads might soon be much harder to ignore. Meta, the parent company of Instagram, is testing a new type of non-skippable ad in the Instagram feed, referred to as an “ad break.” Some users have already noticed these new ads, which cannot be scrolled past until the ad break finishes.

Screenshots shared on Reddit and X show that these breaks last a few seconds, although the length could change if Meta decides to officially roll out this new format.

An in-app message about the new ads states, “Ad breaks are a new way of seeing ads on Instagram. Sometimes you may need to view an ad before you can keep browsing.” While non-skippable video ads are a common feature on platforms like YouTube, this is a much more aggressive approach for Instagram.

It is especially notable because the company is testing these ads in the main feed rather than in Reels or Stories, where video ads are more common and, for now, still skippable.

Meta has not yet provided a detailed comment on this new ad format but confirmed to TechCrunch that the testing is underway. A spokesperson for Meta mentioned, “As we test and learn, we will provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes.” This suggests that the company is still in the experimental phase and is gathering data on how users react to these non-skippable ads.

This new ad format marks a significant shift in how Instagram delivers advertisements. If implemented widely, it could make ads much more intrusive for users. On the other hand, it could also be an effective way for Meta to increase ad engagement and revenue. Non-skippable ads force users to engage with the content, even if only briefly, which could lead to higher ad performance metrics.

The introduction of non-skippable ads in the main feed is particularly interesting. Until now, Instagram has kept its main feed relatively free from such aggressive advertising tactics, reserving video ads for Reels and Stories, where users are more accustomed to seeing them.

By moving these ads to the main feed, Meta is potentially disrupting the user experience in a space that has been traditionally more user-friendly and less ad-saturated.

Users’ reactions to this change will be crucial in determining whether Meta decides to make these ad breaks a permanent feature. If users find these ads too intrusive, it could lead to a backlash and even a decrease in user engagement on the platform. However, if the data shows that these ads effectively drive engagement without significantly harming the user experience, Meta might decide to keep them.

This test is part of a broader trend of social media platforms experimenting with new ways to integrate ads into their user experience. As advertising revenue remains a critical component of these companies’ business models, finding the right balance between ad exposure and user satisfaction is essential. Instagram’s experiment with ad breaks could set a precedent for other platforms considering similar moves.

For now, Instagram users will have to see if these ad breaks become a regular part of their browsing experience. As Meta continues to test and refine this new format, users’ feedback and engagement will likely play a significant role in shaping the future of advertising on Instagram. Whether this will lead to a more ad-heavy feed or prompt Meta to seek less intrusive ways to integrate ads remains to be seen.