Instagram Tests New Ad Breaks to Interrupt Scrolling

Instagram is testing "ad breaks" that pause scrolling to display unskippable ads.

  • Instagram is testing “ad breaks” that pause scrolling to display unskippable ads.
  • Users have noticed these ad breaks in stories and posts, with a countdown timer.
  • Instagram aims to drive more value for advertisers with this new feature.

Instagram is testing a new feature called “ad breaks” that pauses your scrolling to display an unskippable ad before you can continue. This feature was spotted by users on Twitter and Reddit, who reported seeing these ads in their feeds. Instagram confirmed the test via The Verge but has not yet made it a permanent feature.

Users have noticed these ad breaks while scrolling through stories and posts. After a certain amount of scrolling, the app stops and shows an ad break icon with a countdown timer, indicating how long you need to wait before you can resume. Tapping the icon for more information reveals that these ad breaks are a new way of seeing ads on Instagram, requiring users to view an ad before continuing to browse.

Instagram already includes sponsored posts and ads within feeds and Reels, but these unskippable ad breaks take advertising a step further. This move is clearly aimed at increasing value for advertisers, although it might disrupt the user experience. Many users have already expressed frustration with seeing numerous posts from unknown accounts before reaching content from people they follow.

YouTube also employs unskippable ads before and during videos, particularly in long-form content. However, Instagram’s approach with ad breaks in stories and reels, which are generally shorter, marks a significant shift in how social media platforms might integrate advertising into everyday browsing.