Instagram is emulating its parent company Facebook by reportedly experimenting with inserting video ads in between Stories.
Facebook’s own plans were revealed earlier on Monday in a Recode report citing “industry sources.” The social network is believed to be testing mid-roll ads that will appear within clips after people have watched them for at least 20 seconds. The move is seen as a way for Facebook (and publishers) to make money from videos, which the company claims will make up 70 percent of all traffic on its platform by 2021.
Instagram, on the other hand, is planning similar ads for its Stories feature — the sharing function it copied from Snapchat in August. “Instagram is testing them now with select publishers and content creators,” an unidentified ad agency exec told Adage about the new ad format. We reached out to Instagram for a comment but did not immediately receive a response.
The photo-sharing app, which boasts 600 million users, claimed in October that Stories (essentially temporal slideshows of user-generated images and videos shared within the span of 24 hours) receive 100 million daily views.
The update is seen as an extension of Facebook’s own ad experiments as it looks for new ways to generate advertising, a factor of its business that it predicted would play a “less significant” role in generating revenue growth after mid-2017. That announcement (made during its third-quarter earnings call in November) saw its stock value decrease by six percent. Therefore it’s no wonder it’s trying to restore investor confidence with its new initiatives.
Users worried the changes may affect the viewing experience on Facebook and Instagram should keep in mind that pre- and mid-roll ads are ubiquitous. Both YouTube and Twitter utilize them in one form or another, and Snapchat began inserting skippable ads between Stories last year.
Instagram has not specified how much it intends to pocket from the promotional content, although Facebook is thought to be keeping 45 percent of ad sales (the same deal offered by YouTube).