Instagram tests ads you can’t skip


Instagram has confirmed it is testing unskippable ads after screenshots of the feature spread across social media. These new ad breaks will feature a countdown timer that prevents users from browsing through more content until they view the ad, as per informational text displayed in the Instagram app.

This change would make the social network more like the free version of YouTube, which requires users to view ads before and during videos. It makes sense for Instagram to consider this approach, given that it has shifted over the years to become more of a video-sharing network, thanks to features like Stories and Reels, rather than just a place to share still photos.

“We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers,” a Meta company spokesperson told Truth Voices. “As we test and learn, we will provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes,” they mentioned.

The new “ad break” feature was initially spotted by Instagram app user Dan Levy, who posted a screenshot of the test to his account on X. The app stopped Levy from scrolling past the ad when it appeared, which he described as a “bonkers move.”

A follow-up post on Reddit explained that if you click the info icon next to the ad break to learn more, you’ll see a message that reads: “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.”

Other commenters confirmed they had also seen the feature at times. As expected, the majority of reactions were negative. Some people threatened to close Instagram if they encountered “ad breaks” like this, while others claimed they would stop using the app entirely. Additionally, commenters questioned if this decision was driven by a need to increase ad engagement at the expense of the consumer experience.

Levy’s post has since been shared by other accounts on X, like @howfxr and @Dexerto.

Instagram declined to say where in the app the ad breaks would appear and whether the feature was being tested globally. However, screenshots show the ad breaks appearing in the app’s Feed while watching video posts. It’s unclear if Instagram creators will have any control over the appearance of these ads.

For now, the feature is just a test, but it shows how far Meta is willing to experiment with the app’s core user experience in favor of increased ad revenue.

Sarah Perez
Sarah Perez
Staff writer. Previously, Sarah worked for over three years at ReadWriteWeb, a technology news publication. Before working as a reporter, Perez worked in I.T. across a number of industries, including banking, retail and software.

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