Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

Instagram is testing the “ad breaks” feature

Instagram is testing “Ad breaks,” a new feature that could significantly change users' in-app experience. This new feature means that users cannot view content without being exposed to ads for a certain period of time. Instagram spokesperson Matthew Tye stated to The Verge that they will provide updates in the future on whether this test will lead to a possible product change.

Many users on Reddit and X platforms reported that this new feature was tested on Instagram. Users stated that at some point while scrolling through stories and posts, the app forced them to stop and watch ads. During these ad breaks, there is a countdown timer on the screen, and users cannot continue viewing the content until this time expires.

There is a “Commercial Breaks” icon

When users click on the ad break icon to learn more about this new feature, Instagram says, “Ad breaks are a new way to see ads on Instagram. Sometimes you may need to watch an ad to continue browsing.” This message tries to explain why Instagram offers this new experience to its users.

byu/FireCubX inInstagram

Instagram already shows sponsored posts and ads in the main feed and in sections like Reels. However, inserting non-saveable content can be more disruptive to the user experience. Matthew Tye stated that they always test formats that can create value for advertisers and this new feature was tested for this purpose.

Advertising practices on other platforms

This step by Instagram is parallel to advertising strategies on other social media platforms. YouTube shows non-recordable ads at the beginning and middle of videos, and last year it added 30-second ads to its television app. TikTok and YouTube also place ads between short videos, but these ads can usually be skipped quickly.

Such ad breaks may affect users' loyalty and satisfaction with the platform. At a time when users are looking for an uninterrupted experience, forced ad breaks can have a negative impact. However, it is also true that it can provide higher visibility and interaction for advertisers.

This new feature of Instagram can be seen as part of the efforts of social media platforms to diversify their revenue models. While advertising revenues continue to be the main source of income for social media platforms, such innovations are important to ensure the sustainability of the platforms. Instagram will decide how this feature will be shaped in the future, taking into account user feedback.

Danish Kapoor