Social media platforms like Instagram allow businesses to extend their reach and connect with a broader set of audiences. Since such platforms have a huge database, it is the ideal place for companies to showcase and promote their products and services. And the way they do so is through advertisements, which appear in users' feeds when they scroll through them.

Instagram, being one of the most popular social media platforms, is often the first choice for businesses looking to advertise their offerings. And so far, the ads have appeared in a manner that you can skip them by scrolling past them. Unfortunately, Meta is now testing a feature called Ad Breaks that will prevent you from doing so, much to users' dismay. Here is what the new feature is all about.

What are Instagram's New Ad Breaks?

Currently, when you scroll through your Instagram feed, you may come across ads for various products and services, such as apparel, tech products, software, and more. You can choose to view the ad, click on it to learn more about the product or service being advertised, or scroll past it to skip it.

However, according to the new format that Instagram seems to be testing (as per a Reddit post), you will not be able to skip ads by scrolling past them. These unskippable video ads will appear in your feed like they presently do but will have a timer at the bottom. You will have to wait for the timer to run out before you can scroll past the ad, which can take between three and five seconds.

“Ad Break” ie. unskippable ads now on Instagram
by u/notthatogwiththename in Instagram

Unlike the existing format, which incorporates ads into user feeds in such a way that there is negligible interruption, the new Ad Breaks will force you to stop and watch the entire ad until it is over. This new format can help Meta generate more revenue along with existing options like subscriptions and in-app purchases.

Users' Reaction and Issues with the New Ad Format

The new Ad Breaks can be beneficial for brands since they can ensure better ad timing and greater exposure, especially since despite the advancements in ad targeting, users are often shown irrelevant and random advertisements. Besides that, user feeds are now filled with AI-recommended content, often from profiles they don't follow. So, ads in their feed won't be particularly disruptive.

That said, the user experience will still suffer and the new format is expected to garner some backlash, just like YouTube's unskippable ads did earlier. Many people rely on ad blockers to block ads on that platform and other websites, and will likely do the same for Instagram too, once the new unskippable ads roll out.

Users have already started expressing their concern and dissatisfaction on forums like Reddit, and the move could backfire for Instagram if it forces users to leave the platform. Ad Breaks can disrupt the user flow and lead to lower engagement levels, and many users are already considering shifting to competing options like TikTok.

Instagram's new Ad Breaks is currently rolling out to a select number of users, which indicates that the feature is being tested before being made available to a wider audience. Right now we do not know whether Meta will be rolling out its new unskippable ads to everyone or not. Hopefully, user feedback will force the company to reconsider this move.