Less than a year after launching its TikTok clone, Instagram has started testing ads on Reels in countries including India, Brazil, Germany, and Australia. Notably, the TikTok-like feature of the app had been bereft of advertisements so far. Ads can run up to 30 seconds, and users can interact with them the way they would with organic posts (including skipping them altogether). Ads can also include “shop now” buttons, according to screenshots shared by the company. As is the norm, all the advertisements will be branded as “Sponsored” to let users know of their purpose.
In July last year, Instagram had unveiled its new format ‘Reels’ in India that allows users to create and share short videos. Reels and other short video platforms have seen strong growth userbase and time spent after the Indian government banned a number of apps with Chinese linkages, including popular short video TikTok. The monetisation efforts by Facebook would help the company tap into that opportunity.
In a blogpost on Thursday, Facebook said people are discovering and watching video in diverse formats across its family of apps, each offering distinct viewer and ad experiences.
“Today, we’re announcing new topic targeting options within Facebook In-Stream video, testing of Instagram Reels Ads and other ad experiences in Facebook Stories to help increase opportunities for brands to better engage with relevant audiences,” it added. India is among the biggest markets for Facebook. According to government data, there are 53 crore WhatsApp users, 41 crore Facebook users and 21 crore use Instagram.
A recent report by RedSeer had said Indian short-video platforms like ShareChat’s Moj, Dailyhunt’s Josh, MX TakaTak and others have managed to bring back 97 per cent of TikTok’s user base on the back of aggressive marketing and user acquisition by these platforms. Also, new users onboarded largely come from tier-II cities and beyond.