Meta constantly works on evolving and upgrading its features to ensure their users have an enjoyable experience on their myriad applications. It has recently come to light that Instagram is working on bringing unskippable video ads to its feed. Will this move go down well with the users? Meta is currently testing the water and gauging user feedback before it rolls out this “Ad Break” functionality to everyone.

The company hasn’t officially said anything about ‘Ad Breaks’ yet, but it looks like the social media platform is forcing select users to watch 3-5 seconds of unskippable ads before they can resume scrolling. Apparently, it stops users from scrolling in the main feed of the app until they’ve viewed a video ad. Photographer Dan Levy shared an example of Instagram’s new in-feed ad on X.

Also Read: Is Meta Looking To Revive “Threads” By Paying Influencers Upto $5K To Just Post?

How It Works

The ad units appear with a timer at the bottom, and you can’t scroll past the ad till the timer runs down. You’ll actually have to view the entire ad before you can keep scrolling. So, these are essentially unskippable video ads in IG form. Instagram spokesperson Matthew Tye told The Verge that the company is trying out ad breaks and would provide updates if this test resulted in any formal product changes.

Instagram Meta unskippable ads video ad break feed

When Dan clicked on the ‘i’ button to see what Ad Breaks does, the official description said, “Ad breaks are a new way of seeing ads on Instagram. Sometimes you may need to view an ad before you can keep browsing.” Which, as expected, is not going down well with Instagram users. They find this feature unnecessary and frustrating, with many saying they will stop using Instagram if the platform decides to stick with the changes.

Users Are Not Happy

A Reddit user also came across this ‘Ad Break’ feature while scrolling through their feed. “As far as I know, this affects both stories and posts. When you’re scrolling through your feed, you’ll suddenly find your feed “hitting the bottom“, you won’t be able to go any further,” they said in a post on Reddit.

“A small thing at the bottom shows up saying Ad break, during this time you have to scroll up or down to find an ad and stare at it. Once you do a timer will start running from 6 seconds to 0. During these six seconds, you have to stare at an ad,” the Redditor added.

byu/FireCubX inInstagram

Instagram already shows sponsored posts and ads while one scrolls through their home feed or the Reels section. “We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers,” Tye says. But does it make for an enjoyable experience for a user? Probably not. We’ve already seen the public’s annoyance with YouTube’s unskippable ads before and during videos.

YouTube Ads

YouTube also shows unskippable ads on their ‘free’ version. These ads range from a few seconds to 30 seconds, with some even lasting up to a minute. It even expanded the unskippable 30-second commercials to its TV app in 2023. While those ads can be disabled by purchasing YouTube Premium, they are also the reason why people download ad blockers. The platform had to implement new measures to stop people from using ad blockers to let them through

Instagram Meta YouTube unskippable ads video ad break feed

Ads & Platforms

People don’t like being halted in their tracks and forced to view promotions for things they’re not interested in. It is still unclear if Meta will have an ad-free subscription if it rolls out unskippable ads on Instagram. One would think that digital ad targeting would have gotten so advanced by this stage but in reality, there’s no way to display the right ad to the right user every time.

So, you are going to get random promos blasted at you from time-to-time. Now, from a brand perspective, there are benefits like exposure, timed placement, etc. But for users, not so much. Instagram should definitely figure a smarter way to showcase ads because making the users stop scrolling to watch it is definitely not going to fly.