Instagram Tests New Ads Overlaid on User Stories


Instagram seems intent on trying out more annoying and intrusive ad formats, with the platform now testing new promoted prompts that are displayed within your friends’ Stories, driving viewers towards promoted apps.

Instagram Stories ad example

As you can see in this example, posted by 404 Media (I added the red arrow for clarity), the new pop-up ads appear overlaid on Stories from your friends, with a small CTA button to guide users through.

As reported by 404 Media:

The ads we’ve seen are for “Super Rumble,” a game for Horizon Worlds, Meta’s virtual reality platform. The ads pop up from the bottom of friends’ stories, which can create the somewhat surreal experience of being advertised a virtual reality game on friends’ posts where they are talking about political issues or world events.”

So the promotions may be limited to Meta-owned properties for now, with a view to linking potentially interested Instagram users back to its evolving V.R. experience.

Another example, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, shows the promos displayed above the Stories frame.

Instagram Stories ad example

IG users have been less than impressed by the new test, with many complaining about the fact that Instagram’s looking to insert ads into their friends’ content, disrupting the direct engagement experience.

And it’s not the only invasive ad format that Instagram’s working on, with the platform also trying out unskippable ads in the main feed, which stop you from scrolling till the video ad has played.  

Instagram unskippable ads

So why is Instagram looking to more disruptive ads?

Well, money, of course. And while users may voice their displeasure with the new ad formats, the proof, from Meta’s perspective, will likely be in the performance. If more users tap through to “Super Rumble”, or click on these promoted, unskippable ads, despite some negative comments, then it’ll likely roll them out, as another means to drive business performance in the app.

And even if users do say that they hate them, if they click on them at high rates, Instagram’s probably of the mind that they’ll get used to it, with the initial pushback dying down over time.

So while they may be annoying, they could also be the way of the future, especially if they end up outperforming other ads, and driving results.

So if you don’t like them, don’t tap on them. I mean, you, in isolation, won’t make much difference, but really, that will be the deciding factor, whether they are effective at driving clicks, or not.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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