Now seems like the worst time to announce that more ads are coming to Instagram considering the backlash the platform has experienced over its increased focus on video content (via TechCrunch). But Instagram’s doing it anyway, which means we’re going to start seeing ads on the Explore tab and in profiles.
We already get ads when scrolling through feeds on the Explore page, but now, Instagram says businesses can put ads on the Explore homepage as well, which is the grid of photos and videos you land on when first opening the tab. If you’re curious as to what this might look like, Instagram provided an example that shows a large ad taking up a pretty big portion of the Explore grid.
The ad has a “sponsored” label along with the name of the account and a “learn more” button, so you can clearly see it’s an ad. Even still, it seems inconvenient to have it shoved in the grid like that, especially if all ads will be that size.
And if you thought profiles were safe from ads, think again. Instagram’s testing ads in the stream of photos you scroll through on someone’s profile. The platform says it’ll only put ads in “non-teen, public profiles” and that it’s rolling out a program to let “select” creators in the US earn money from these ads.
Off of Instagram, Meta’s looking to cash in on ads from Reels posted to Facebook. The company’s testing “post-loop” video ads that last anywhere from four to 10 seconds and start playing after a Reel has finished a single loop. Meta says users can skip the ad, and once they do (or the ad ends), the Reel will start playing again. It’s also experimenting with “horizontally-scrollable” image carousel ads that show up at the bottom of Facebook Reels. As someone who refuses to use TikTok and actually uses Reels to watch short-term video content (yes, I’ll admit it), I’m hoping these type of ads never make their way to Instagram.
Facebook’s revenue dropped for the first time last quarter, and Meta’s undoubtedly looking for more ways to make money. The company has already shown that it’s willing to go to great lengths to get ahead of other platforms like TikTok, even if it means defying users on Instagram and pivoting to video. Meta is also working on paid features across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, although it’s still unclear what this might entail.