In a surprise to no one, Instagram is testing ads in Reels


Instagram puts ads just about everywhere in its app, and now, they’re coming to Reels. The company says today it’ll start testing ads in its TikTok copy product in India, Brazil, Germany, and Australia. The plan is to then expand that group in the coming months. The ads can be up to 30 seconds long, like Reels, and will look similar to the ones you see in stories in that they’re vertical and full-screen. Unlike those story ads, though, people can comment on, like, view, save, share, and skip them in Reels.

The broader Facebook company also previewed its new sticker ads for Facebook Stories, which will be tested with select advertisers and creators over the coming weeks. The company announced them last month with the idea being that the stickers are just that, cute stickers, but that they can also be tapped to buy a product. Creators will get a cut of the revenue, and you can see an example below.

The ads in Reels comes as no surprise, given that Facebook’s business is built around them. It’s more unexpected that the company brought shopping to Reels globally before ads, but it’s possible Instagram didn’t want to turn people off from the format with consistent advertising wedged between actual content. Instagram head Adam Mosseri even noted he wasn’t “happy” with the feature yet, as of January.

With sticker ads, more people could become influencers, and product placement might look more organic than a clear brand shoutout that someone’s being paid to promote. In the sample mock-up, the sticker does note that it’s “sponsored,” but the font is thin and discreet — I expect people to miss that small disclaimer and also to possibly not know that the people posting them receive a kickback from any sales made.