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Instagram's latest feature has users considering leaving the platform for good

Would you like to see an unskippable ad before seeing your friend's vacation photos?
By

Published onJune 2, 2024

Instagram stock image 12
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Instagram has introduced “Ad Breaks,” unskippable ads that interrupt users’ browsing sessions.
  • The feature appears to be in a testing phase, but negative feedback is already widespread on social media.

Instagram has recently begun testing a new feature called “Ad Breaks.” These unskippable ads interrupt the user’s browsing experience, requiring them to view an advertisement for at least 3-5 seconds before they can continue scrolling through their feed.

Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram, has always relied on ads to keep the lights on. You know those personalized ads that seem to know exactly what you’re interested in? That’s Meta’s bread and butter. Lately, however, it has been facing some challenges, like stricter privacy rules and the rise of TikTok. So, it’s trying out different things to make more money, like in-app purchases, subscriptions, and now, these unskippable Ad Breaks.

 

Instagram has always been pretty good at blending ads into our feeds. We’ve all become used to sponsored posts that look almost like regular content. They’re like “soft ads,” trying to keep us engaged without being too pushy. But these Ad Breaks are different. They’re like a little tap on the shoulder, reminding us that Instagram is, after all, a business.

Insta-Frustration

Meta has not officially communicated the inclusion of ad breaks, leading to confusion and frustration among users. Reddit and X (formerly Twitter) have become hotbeds of discussion, with users expressing their discontent and sharing their experiences.

  • One Reddit user, u/sus_pineapple_appt, expressed dismay, saying, “Thought I’ve been taking crazy pills for two days because this is currently happening with me… and goodbye IG. I have no need for that.” Another user, u/the-s-is-for-sucks, criticized the feature as a “terrible business decision” that could backfire by alienating users.
  • Similarly, u/HTM pointed out the negative impact on user flow and engagement. “Meta has top tier UX designers, did they not do any research on this before pushing it onto the public? It completely disrupts the user’s flow. Adding friction like this is probably the worst way to increase engagement on ads.”

Users on X are equally disgruntled. Rob Moses (@RobMoses) expressed intention to switch to TikTok due to the ad breaks, while yy (@ithastobeyeye) lamented the forced waiting time for ads, suggesting it might lead to reduced time spent on the platform.

Currently, the Ad Breaks feature appears to be limited to a small group of users, suggesting that Meta is conducting A/B testing to gauge user reaction and measure the feature’s impact on ad revenue. We’ll have to see whether the company will roll out Ad Breaks to all users or modify the feature based on feedback.

What do you think of Instagram's new "Ad Breaks"?

543 votes

While I haven’t personally encountered these Ad Breaks on my feed yet, I can certainly understand the frustration. Unskippable ads have a way of souring the user experience, as I learned firsthand when they started popping up before Facebook videos, ultimately leading me to cut back on my use of that platform. If the same happens on Instagram, it might just be the final nudge I need to fully embrace my ongoing social media detox.

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