Instagram is testing ‘unskippable’ ads that you can’t scroll past

Instagram is testing “ad breaks” that force you to stop and look at an ad for a period of time before you can continue scrolling. Several X and Reddit users reported seeing the feature, and Instagram spokesperson Matthew Tye confirmed to The Verge that ad breaks are being tested. Tye said Instagram would “provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes.”

One Redditor spotted the feature when scrolling through stories and posts. After a certain amount of scrolling, Instagram prevented them from going further until they looked at an ad. As shown in the screenshot, Instagram displays an “ad break” icon with a countdown timer that shows how long until you can start scrolling again.

When the user tapped the icon for more information about the feature, Instagram showed a message saying, “Ad breaks are a new way of seeing ads on Instagram. Sometimes you may need to view an ad before you can keep browsing.”

Instagram already displays sponsored posts and ads between the content you’re scrolling through, whether it’s your home feed or Reels. But sticking unskippable content between posts takes this to another level — and seems pretty disruptive. “We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers,” Tye says.

Aside from Instagram, YouTube also shows unskippable ads before and during videos. It even expanded unskippable, 30-second commercials to its TV app last year. Both YouTube and TikTok also slot ads between their shortform videos, but you can still swipe right past them.

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