Instagram announced Thursday it was adding ads to its short-term video service/TikTok competitor Reels.
According to CNBC, the full-screen, vertical ads will appear on a loop between individual posts, each running up to 30 seconds.
The social media platform launched Reels in August of 2020, allowing users to create brief video clips to share on Instagram with friends or in their public feeds. The company previously launched Shopping in Reels, another bid to compete with TikTok.
“When you go into Reels, you’re going to find the kind of creators who entertain you. And also to go and be in a mode of having fun, which is a bit different than maybe how you approach the feed on Instagram, or on Stories,” COO Justin Osofsky told CNBC in an interview this week. “I think brands are getting quite sophisticated in how they use new short-form video formats, including Reels, to tell their own stories. And then advertising is a natural opportunity for brands to reach consumers they want to reach.”
In April, Instagram announced new ways for creators to earn revenue, including a marketplace that matches creators with brands that fit their content.
As CNBC notes, Instagram has been upfront about TikTok’s role in the short-form video craze, going as far as to acknowledge last year that their platform was in a “catch-up phase.”
In terms of usage, TikTok is clearly a major force in the U.S. social media arena, with its adult users spending more time on the platform than Facebook’s adult users will spend time on Facebook. TikTok is also projected to have more GenZ users than Instagram, CNBC said, citing an eMarketer report.
But when it comes to advertising, Instagram’s parent company Facebook still comes out on top, with eMarkerter predicting it will make up a quarter of digital ad spend worldwide this year.
One possible roadblock to Instagram’s plans: Apple’s latest changes that make it easier for users to prevent advertisers from tracking them.
“Facebook has been outspoken about the changes, but Osofsky wouldn’t say what kind of impact the company is seeing so far with its ad tests for Reels,” the CNBC report says.