Instagram unveils unskippable ads | Fortune


Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram could be about to get a good bit more difficult as Meta is reportedly testing non-skippable ad in the social media app’s feed.

TechCrunch reports the ads are already showing up for some users. As you scroll down the page, you’ll come across what the site is calling an “ad break,” which locks scrolling and requires the user to watch an ad which takes a few seconds.

Unskippable ads are commonplace on YouTube, but this is the first time they’ve been inserted into a scrolling formatted social media channel. (Instagram has had ads in its Reels section for some time, but those remain skippable. The new ads are part of the user’s main feed.)

Users who click the information icon next to the ads see a message reading, “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.”

Reaction, predictably, has been negative among users who have encountered the ads.

“I hate this new ‘feature’ so much – it is so in your face and to me, feels like a terrible business decision,” wrote one user on Reddit. “The whole platform is already basically ‘soft ads’ that generate revenue based on people being on there for ages, consuming content without thinking too much about it all and now they’re forcing users to stop scrolling and drawing attention to the fact they’re on an app designed to sell them things. So far, I simply close the app as soon as an ad break pops up and if this continues, I’ll be unsubscribing.”

Instagram is hardly hurting financially. In April, court filings showed the Meta division already makes more money on advertising than YouTube. In 2020, the filings showed, Instagram made $22 billion in ad revenue, while YouTube made $19.7 billion. In 2019, Instagram took in $17.9 billion. YouTube earned $15.1 billion.

Instagram is responsible for roughly one-third of Meta’s revenues, though, which could be why the company is looking to boost that income.

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