Hurting From iOS Changes, Instagram Reels Starts Running Ads In Its Feeds

Instagram Reels ads

Photo Credit: Instagram

Instagram is testing ads in the Reels feed in several markets before a global roll-out.

Facebook is still pivoting its ad delivery strategy with the privacy changes made to iOS. That includes loading up Instagram, and the Instagram Reels feed with ads. These new ads will start appearing in India, Brazil, Germany, and Australia for now. Facebook hopes to expand the ad roll-out globally over the coming months.

Instagram Reels ads can be up to 30 seconds long and will look similar to Stories. People can also comment on, like, share, and skip the ads that appear in their Reels feed. Facebook’s revenue model is built around showing advertising to eyeballs – so the news should come as no small surprise.

But it seems Facebook is trying to strike a delicate balance between showing ads and annoying people. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said he wasn’t happy with the advertising feature back in January – so that’s why it’s not a global roll-out at this point. Facebook is also experimenting with sticker ads with partnered creators.

The idea is to allow brands to create stickers for people to share. They can also be tapped to buy a product, similar to Amazon’s failed Dash button concept. I’m not sure how many people are going to click a Facebook sticker to buy an album – but maybe it will catch on. Of course, Facebook is offering brands who take advantage of sticker ads a cut of the revenue generated.

Advertisers on Instagram Reels can select specific categories to place their ads in. This is Facebook’s first big push into allowing advertising alongside content. Advertisers use Facebook to target users based on their listed interests.

Facebook’s big push into advertising on Instagram comes after introducing several creator-focused features. Last year Facebook allowed creators to earn money directly from fans in several ways. It’s now experimenting with new audio concepts and premium membership products for creators.

Carolyn Everson, Vice President of Global Business Group at Facebook, says Reels momentum is gaining. Introducing ads to the platform is an “indication of how strong the momentum is for Reels.” But Everson has declined to share usage metrics for the feature Instagram lifted wholesale from TikTok.

At this point, every social media company under the sun has ripped off short-form videos. YouTube Shorts, Twitter Fleets, SnapChat Remix, and TikTok itself are little more than wholesale copies of Vine. It is interesting to see how short-form video is evolving, but once ads come into play, the experience is seriously diminished.