Instagram tests unskippable video ads in main feed

Instagram is experimenting with a new ad format that prevents users from scrolling until they view a video ad in their main feed.

Why it matters. The move could significantly boost ad exposure for brands but risks alienating users who find forced viewing intrusive.

How it works.

New in-feed ads display with a timer.

Users can’t scroll past until timer runs down.

Essentially “un-skippable” like some YouTube ads.

Why we care. On one hand, this feature is a great opportunity for advertisers to get their ads in front of an audience that are used to seeing ads. But could it come at a risk of losing customers who will find their scrolling experience significantly disrupted?

The big picture. With half of users’ feeds now AI-recommended content from unfollowed profiles, Instagram sees an opportunity to blend in more ads without seeming overly disruptive.

Ad blockers. YouTube’s unskippable ads are often cited as a top reason people use ad blockers, suggesting forced viewing is deeply unpopular.

Between the lines. Instagram’s shift to Reels-heavy, algorithm-driven feeds may be paving the way for more aggressive ad strategies.

What they’re saying. A Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch:

“We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers. As we test and learn, we will provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes.”

The other side. Users are not thrilled. Photographer Dan Levy shared an example, sparking backlash in comments.