Get # Navigating Through Ads: Instagram’s Bold MOVE Towards Unskippable Content

In the age of screens, where competition to keep people’s attention is tougher than ever, Instagram has just taken a big step to a revolutionary change that could redefine how people use the app. However, what exactly does this ‘unskippable ads’ mean? And why is it so controversial? Let’s dig a little deeper to know the details behind this MOVE, and how it would impact the future of social media.

Understanding The Unskippable Ads On Instagram

Instagram’s tests of unskippable ads take the app one step closer to YouTube’s model, where you have to watch an ad before you can keep watching a video. Inside Instagram, the MOVE also signals a shifting at the strategic level: after the launch of Stories and Reels, which mimic the respective features of Snapchat, Instagram is starting to look less like a photo app and more like a video app.

The Mechanism of The Unskippable Ads

The novelty of this new unit lies in the manner in which it’s served – the video ad is coupled with a countdown timer that pauses a user’s ability to scroll down any further until the ad has been watched in its entirety. This novel monetisation tactic reflects a noteworthy shift in Instagram’s strategy to balance advertiser gains with user experience, an issue that the Meta rep spoke to TechCrunch about.

Users’ Initial Reactions

As first spotted by the Instagram user Dan Levy, the feature spread far and wide. That Levy thought the ‘ad break’ was something to be encountered, and that he would describe the experience as a ‘bonkers move’, gives us some significant hints as to the potential friction points of such features, from the user point of view. Other posts on Reddit also expressed more general negativity, and some users saying they would uninstall the app in protest.

The Advertisement Paradigm SHIFT

Increasing Ad Engagement At What Cost?

Ultimately, behind Instagram’s test of unskippable ads is the same question we’re asking about ads all the time: how much do the duration and format of ads affect the precarious balance between ad engagement and user satisfaction? While increasing engagement of ads could still be the rationale behind this strategy, the consumer backlash shows that it’s time to re-evaluate the means of reaching these objectives without alienating users.

Potential Impact on Instagram Usage

Granted, the impetus behind the slide was to boost engagement, and thus ad revenue, but the backlash was swift and profound – a reminder that there is a potential trade-off between monetisation and the user experience, and that Instagram needs to be creative about figuring out how to insert ads without hurting the core experience.

The Future of Ads on Instagram

Will Users Adapt?

Users also seem pretty adaptable when it comes to platform changes. When Instagram first made the change, some longtime users panicked, and others didn’t like the platform as much afterwards. But in the long run, they got used to it. Only time will tell whether this MOVE will be met with the same kind of easy adaptation or if it will prompt a wholesale shift in the way Instagram is used. One thing is certain: Instagram’s own attempts to experiment and potentially disrupt its ad strategy mark a turning point in the course of social media marketing.

A Test of Time

But for now, the unskippable ads seem like just a test, a step in the direction Instagram could eventually take when it comes to in-app advertising. It’s not clear if this feature will ever expand beyond its test markets or if Instagram might limit it to particular parts of the app – for example, the Feed when you’re watching a video post. Nor do we know how much control creators will get over those ads if they expand Instagram’s unskippable ads.

Exploring The Essence of The MOVE

Understanding MOVE

Fundamentally, the ‘move’ is a reflection of the realities of Instagram’s business model; that it is evolving to find new ways to interject unskippable ads into the experience of the user. This is not so different from other moves by digital advertising platforms as they constantly experiment with strategies to capture consumer attention and increase ad exposure. As a move, the advertising feature YouTube is experimenting with is about the next iteration of digital advertising: how to monetise without disruption; how to play with the fine line between the two.

Jun 06, 2024
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