Instagram gets more ads

A woman wearing a black t-shirt walks past a wall emblazoned with a shopping bag symbol and the Instagram logo.

Instagram already allows businesses to add post shopping tags to advertise products, but the app will also now allow more ads in the Explore tab and in user profiles.
Photo: David Dee Delgado (Getty Images)

If you’re tired of ads appearing in your Facebook or Instagram reels, on your page’s news feed, in apps shopping sectionsor on the screen behind the eyes when you sleep (not really, but you can bet it will happen eventually) get ready as Meta introduces new ways to offer advertisers your eyeballs while using its apps.

In a Tuesday blog post, the company announced that it is globally testing new ways for businesses to advertise with its short form video format Reels. Meta said they are launching an initial test of four- to 10-second skippable videos that play after a reel ends. The reels are supposed to loop, so once the ad ends, the video would restart. Meta said these “post-loop” ads will run specifically on Facebook initially, but the system can easily be transferred to Instagram if it proves effective.

Additionally, the tech giant said it will begin testing ads that will display horizontally at the bottom of Facebook Reels, which will include between two and 10 scrolling images. With Instagram, Meta wrote that it was increase the number of ads in the explore tab, which would make the sponsored posts appear inside the image tile within different thematic trends. Previously, ads only appeared on the Explore feed. The social media giant also mentioned that it is testing ads in some prolific user feeds once a user clicks on a post on the user’s profile page.

The company said it wanted to offer “the same personalized advertising experience it enjoys in its main Instagram feed” with these specific profile page ads. In an emailed statement, Meta told Gizmodo that while profile ads will appear on all non-teen public profiles, a small test group of based in the United States the creators will be able to get feedback to let ads play on their pages in the future. Creators who already have access to Instagram’s monetization tools can sign up, although the company added “we anticipate that the revenue creators can generate from profile feed ads will be additional and not a significant source of revenue.

The only way to disable profile ads is to make the account private, according to the company.

Showing ads at the end of videos is nothing new, but on short videos that are often designed to be watched multiple times, it could lead to even more people finding the whole “Reels thing” even more unpleasant than before. TikTok also has short video ads in the feed, in branded hashtag challenges, and on its For You page. Ads on the ByteDance-owned platform often appear between videos after you’ve scrolled through a certain number of videos, but not necessarily before a video has time to loop.

Although Meta emphasized his Q2 tax return from last July, which claimed that Reels’ engagement increased by 30% on Facebook and Instagram, recent reports based on internal Meta documents from August claim that Spools have very little engagement. Compared to its main rival for short-form video content, TikTok, the total number of daily watch hours for Reels is insignificant compared to the app’s users as a whole, according to the leaked documents. For its part, Meta claimed that the numbers cited in the report were old and incorrect compared to current engagement data, though they have yet to release any new data that could prove Reels are succeeding.

It was Meta’s own second-quarter earnings that showed the company had experienced a 1% drop in revenue for the first time in the company’s history. Marketers were spending less on advertising for Meta products including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. According Investopedia97% of Meta’s total quarterly revenue comes from advertising, based on previous quarterly earnings reports.

So it makes sense that the social media giant is doing its best to woo advertisers. Another tool it makes available is adding free songs from its music collection to the Ads Manager to help businesses create more video ads. This will allow advertisers to choose a song to play on their short video ads or let the program algorithmically choose a song based on the content of the ad.

There’s a segment of Instagram’s audience looking back fondly at the days before the proliferation of ads on the app. The said “OG appquickly gained popularity last month for removing ads and suggested posts from users’ Instagram feeds. Although the app has since been targeted by Meta and removed by the iOS App Store, it is still available on Google Play.