Unskippable Ad Breaks on Instagram

Last week, Dan Levy reported seeing a new ad experience in his Instagram feed. While scrolling, he was forced to stop. Then a timer started with the words Ad Break and he was forced to watch the video ad before scrolling again.

Ad Break

While unskippable video ads aren’t new for Meta, I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this in feeds before.

This Is A Test

Meta confirmed with TechCrunch that this is indeed a test:

We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers. As we test and learn, we will provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes.

So, yes, it’s just a test. It’s not clear if some advertisers have access to this special placement or if it’s being used in the background without them knowing.

Backlash vs. Reward

Backlash to this type of ad is a certainty (it’s already started), but it also wouldn’t be the first of its kind. Something similar exists on YouTube. Any impact to user experience would need to be countered by results to make it worthwhile.

And for advertisers, that’s what is most important. Will this ad unit lead to more and better results? We’ll see.