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Meta Confirms Testing of Unskippable Ads on Instagram

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jun 5, 2024
Meta Confirms Testing of Unskippable Ads on Instagram

Meta Confirms Testing of Unskippable Ads on Instagram

Instagram is currently testing a new feature called “ad breaks,” which introduces unskippable ads within the app, a format familiar to users of the free version of YouTube. This feature, which includes a countdown timer, pauses user activity on the platform until the ad has been viewed, according to screenshots shared by users on social media.

This move is aligned with Instagram’s ongoing transformation into a more video-centric platform, as it has increasingly incorporated features such as Stories and Reels, transitioning from its original focus on still photography. Meta, the parent company of Instagram, confirmed the testing phase, noting that it routinely experiments with different ad formats to optimize value for advertisers.

A spokesperson for Meta stated, “We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers,” adding that further updates would be provided depending on the results of this test.

The feature was initially spotted by Dan Levy, an Instagram user who shared a screenshot on his X account. The screenshot showed the ad break in action, preventing him from scrolling past the ad, a function that he highlighted in his post. Following this, other users also reported encountering the ad breaks, and discussions about this feature surfaced on platforms like Reddit.

On Reddit, users discovered that clicking the info icon next to the ad break provides more details, explaining, “You’re seeing an ad break. Ad breaks are a new way of seeing ads on Instagram. Sometimes you may need to view an ad before you keep browsing.”

Concerns Among Users

This feature has garnered predominantly negative reactions from the community, with several users expressing intentions to disengage from Instagram should these ad interruptions become commonplace.

Moreover, there is a significant concern among users regarding whether the decision to test unskippable ads is driven more by a desire to boost ad engagement rather than enhancing the user experience.

Currently, Instagram has not disclosed specific details about the geographic scope of the testing or the exact locations within the app where these ad breaks are appearing, though some screenshots suggest they occur in the Feed during video viewing sessions. It remains unclear whether Instagram creators will have any influence over these ads’ placements.

As this feature remains in a test phase, the extent to which Meta might push forward with integrating these ad breaks into Instagram’s core user experience is still to be determined.

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Featured Image courtesy of bombuscreative/Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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