A month after removing visible ‘likes’ from posts, Instagram has announced another significant trial it will be conducting on users.
If you have a scroll through the Instagram app in its current iteration, you’ll struggle to get past three or four posts without encountering an advertisement or sponsored post. In Instagram Stories, the situation is fairly similar.
Instagram apparently has no plans to change this, as the company launched a trial earlier this week that will involve showing users two different advertisements back-to-back in Instagram Stories.
A spokesperson from Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, told Adweek that the goal is to see if back-to-back ads in the Stories feature provide a more seamless experience for users and to gather feedback.
The spokesperson insisted the company’s primary focus will remain on user experience, while the secondary focus is the platform’s value for advertisers.
A number of employees at Adweek commented on the fact that roughly 25pc of their Instagram feeds were advertisements, but Facebook responded: “We are always improving the ad experience. Ad load fluctuates based on how people use Instagram. We closely monitor people’s sentiment both for ads and overall commerciality.”
In July of this year, Instagram removed visible likes from users in Ireland and other regions. The company said that this was part of an experiment to see if it would change how users engage with the app, and if it encourages healthier habits among users.
The decision was met with disappointment and criticism among individuals who have forged careers for themselves as influencers on the platform.
A month prior to this, the company also made the decision to put advertisements on the Explore page of its app.
In a blogpost, Instagram said: “Today 80pc of people follow a business on Instagram, and Explore can help them find the next business or product that they might love. Brands are an important part of the Instagram experience for people.”
The company also said that more than 50pc of its users visit the Explore tab each month.
According to The Information, these changes are likely being made under pressure from Facebook. The publication reported that some executives at the social media company have voiced concerns that Instagram’s success is a threat to Facebook.