Instagram has recently confirmed that it is testing a new format of ‘unskippable’ ads, sparking a wave of user discontent across social media platforms. The feature was first noticed by Dan Levy, an Instagram user who shared a screenshot of the ad on X (formerly Twitter). According to the screenshots, these ad breaks prevent users from continuing to scroll through their feed or browse additional content until the ad is viewed entirely.

Unlike the typical Instagram ads that users can scroll past, the unskippable ads come with a countdown timer, compelling users to watch the entire ad before resuming their Instagram experience. This approach mirrors the advertising model used by YouTube, where unskippable ads play before or during video content.

“We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers,” a Meta spokesperson commented in a statement to TechCrunch. “As we test and learn, we will provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes.”

The confirmation from Meta aligns with Instagram’s ongoing evolution from a photo-sharing platform to one dominated by video content. Features like Stories and Reels have increasingly pushed video to the forefront of user interactions on the app. By implementing unskippable ads, Instagram aims to enhance its advertising value proposition to brands, potentially driving higher engagement and revenue.

The reaction from the Instagram community has been overwhelmingly negative. Numerous users voiced their frustration and irritation on platforms like Reddit and X, threatening to abandon the app if these ad breaks become a permanent fixture. “It’s a bonkers move,” Levy commented in his initial post, reflecting a sentiment echoed by many who believe the feature disrupts the seamless user experience Instagram is known for.

The exact scope of the test remains unclear. Meta has not disclosed whether these unskippable ads are being tested globally or limited to specific regions, nor have they provided details on the possible locations within the app where these ads might appear. Current screenshots show the ads interrupting the Feed while users are viewing video posts, but it is uncertain if these breaks will extend to other parts of the app, such as Stories or Explore.

For now, the unskippable ads are only in the testing phase. However, this move illustrates Meta’s willingness to experiment with its platform’s core user experience to potentially boost advertising revenues. As the company evaluates the impact of these ad breaks, Instagram users are left wondering how this change might alter their daily interactions on the app.

For more details, read the full article on TechCrunch.