We get to use a lot of social media platforms for free but as we’ve all eventually realized, nothing is totally free. These companies need to of course have a source of revenue and the main one that they have is advertising. Facebook has come under scrutiny for ways that they make their users their “product” and use our data to help advertisers reach us in different places online. One of the latest products of Instagram, Instagram Reels will not be escaping ads as well as they will start showing ads already in between watching those Tiktok-like videos.
If you haven’t seen Instagram Reels yet, it’s the short-form video content that Facebook has added to Instagram, as a competitor to the popular TikTok app. It’s found within a tab in the Instagram app itself or in the Explore and your main Instagram feed as well. Since last year, it has been available globally to more than 50 countries. They haven’t released any numbers pertaining to this so we can’t really assess if it’s a success or a flop.
Earlier this year, they have tested out ads in Reels in several countries including Australia, Brazil, Germany, and India, and eventually expanded to other markets like the U.S and the U.K. They are now making it global or all markets where Reels is available. Basically, you’ll be shown ads when you’re viewing Reels, whether it’s through the tab, the Explore section, your Instagram Feed, and even Instagram Stories.
There’s a bit of a lifehack here though as the ads will only appear when you’re watching in full screen mode. When you’re just viewing them regularly, you won’t see ads for now. We don’t know if this will be a permanent thing. In case you like viewing things in full-screen, you just have to prepare yourself as you’ll see ads that can last up to 30 seconds interspersed within the different Reels. If you’re used to seeing ads in your timeline, this shouldn’t be a problem.
This is actually the second big monetization push of Facebook lately as they also announced that it will do trial ads in virtual reality experiences viewed through the Oculus Quest 2 headset. There were a lot of unhappy reactions to that so expect a bit of pushback with Instagram Reels as well.