Instagram Is Testing Unskippable Feed Ads: Should You Try Them?

Meta is testing a new ad format within Instagram that serves users a main feed ad video before they can scroll further. These in-feed ads come with a timer and can't be skipped, similar to some YouTube ads. Of course, there are two sides to this coin: while we get increased ad exposure for brands, the new format might upset users who find mandatory viewing intrusive.

A Meta spokesperson noted that the format is being tested for its value to advertisers, with updates to follow if it becomes a formal feature. However, user response has been largely negative, with notable backlash on social media.

 

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(Speaking as a user, while I haven’t seen these ads on Instagram specifically, I’m no stranger to them on other platforms. I don’t see these ads as much of a disruption as other people might – it’s actually a nice break in my browsing that serves as a forced pause in what might otherwise be an endless scroll.)

So…if you have access to the new ad type, should you try it? I’d say yes, under these conditions:

You’re Using Them in a Full Funnel Strategy

First, take your overall strategy into account. If you’re either currently or planning to run top-of-funnel awareness campaigns, I’d lean towards testing this placement. Non-skippable ads are great for awareness since the viewer stays put until the ad is over.

This is prime real estate to build brand credibility and product awareness and to connect with the user on an emotional level to increase their recall when they hit a certain point in their user journey.

You Have Strong Creative

Second (piggybacking off of the previous point’s nod to emotional connection), make an honest assessment of your current creative assets and what you might be able to produce in the future. Since these ads are short, the creatives need to be impactful.

I wouldn’t recommend building a whole new set of videos just to test this ad type, but if you have compelling short-form video creative on hand already, I’d recommend testing.

You Follow Best Practices

Remember, non-skippable does NOT mean the user is forced to pay attention. Make sure your creative hooks come in the first 1-3 seconds of the video (the closer to the beginning, the better), you include a recognizable branding element or logo in the beginning of the video, and you can pack all the most important information into the first :15.

Again, I believe these are better suited for awareness than direct response, but you still need to ensure your CTA is clear and quickly digestible to capture folks who are ready to take action upon seeing your ad.



If you don’t have access to this ad type yet, your best bet is to keep tabs on marketing resources (like the JDM blog!) to see how it performs – and whether negative user sentiment makes it too risky to test.

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