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INSTAGRAM CONFIRMS TRIAL OF ‘UNSKIPPABLE’ ADS

Instagram is experimenting with non-skippable ads, confirmed by screenshots of the feature circulating on social media. These ad breaks display a countdown timer, preventing users from browsing further content until the ad ends, as shown in the app’s explanatory text.

This change could make Instagram more like the free version of YouTube, which requires users to watch ads before and during videos. Instagram has evolved from a photo-sharing platform to a video-centric network with features like Stories and Reels. “We’re constantly experimenting with formats that can deliver value for advertisers,” they noted. “As we continue to test and learn, we will provide updates if this trial leads to any formal product changes.”

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Instagram user Dan Levy first spotted the “ad break” feature and posted a screenshot on his account. The app prevented Levy from skipping the ad, which he called a “bonkers move.” A subsequent Reddit post clarified that clicking the info icon next to the ad break reveals a message: “You’re seeing an ad break. Ad breaks are a new way of seeing ads on Instagram. Sometimes you might need to view an ad before you continue browsing.”

Several other users confirmed encountering the feature, with most responses being negative. Some users threatened to quit Instagram if subjected to “ad breaks,” while others suggested stopping their app usage altogether. Commenters also speculated that this decision aims to boost ad engagement, even if it compromises the user experience. Levy’s post has since been shared by other accounts, including @howfxr and @Dexerto.

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Instagram has not disclosed where the ad breaks appear within the app or whether the feature is being tested globally. However, the screenshots indicate that the ad breaks occur in the app’s Feed while viewing video posts. It remains unclear if Instagram creators will have control over these ads.

Currently, the feature is in trial mode, illustrating Meta’s willingness to modify the fundamental user experience to increase ad revenue.

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