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Instagram tests forcing users to watch adverts

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Instagram is testing adverts that users cannot skip past.

The social media platform currently allows people to swipe or scroll past adverts that appear in its main feed of images and videos, as well as in its Stories and Reels feeds.

But it is now trialling a feature called “ad break”, which users say they can not flick past as usual.

Images shared online show a timer, which counts down to zero before normal functionality can resume.

“Sometimes you may need to view an ad before you can keep browsing,” the Meta-owned platform tells those who click for more information.

Instagram has confirmed to the BBC that a trial is underway.

“We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers,” it said in a statement, adding that it would provide further updates if the test resulted in permanent format changes.

In a subsequent statement, Meta said it was “always experimenting with new products and ad solutions in line with the evolving consumer trends and business needs.”

‘Ad dollars’
It remains to be seen if the trial pleases advertisers – but it certainly does not appear to have gone down well with users.

One person on Threads called the move “bonkers” – adding that it “seems like an aggressively pushy move to earn more ad dollars for Meta”.

Others have raised the prospect of boycotting the platform.

“We will simply not be scrolling,” said one X (formerly Twitter) user.

Meta is not the first big tech firm to force people to watch adverts.

YouTube is known for showing non-skippable ads to users watching videos on its platform or TV app who do not pay for its ad-free premium tier.

Advertisers can target YouTube viewers with 15 to 30 second-long, non-skippable promotional videos that appear before, during or after other videos if they want people to view their entire message.

They can also advertise using similarly non-skippable “bumper ads” – shorter videos of up to six seconds long – on YouTube videos.

Some users have responded by turning to ad blocking tools and browser extensions as a way around adverts that interrupt videos on the platform.

Google, YouTube’s parent company, is in turn trying to clamp down on ad blockers.

However it is not clear that forcing users to watch more ads actually helps companies’ bottom lines.

A study carried out by TikTok, published in January, suggested forcing viewers to watch adverts might actually lead to less engagement.

More than 70% of its participants said they were more likely to engage with the experience of an advert if there was an option to skip it.

(BBC News)

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No justification for coconut oil price hike – Coconut Development Authority

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The Coconut Development Authority has stated that there is no valid reason for a price increase of coconut oil in the local market.

CDA chairman – Prof. Roshan Perera has emphasized that there has been no tax hike on imported coconut oil.
Given the sufficient supply of coconut oil for domestic consumption, Prof. Perera asserted that any price increase is unjustifiable.

Additionally, a new regulatory program is being planned to control and stabilize coconut oil prices in the market, he added.

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Coconut oil price upped

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The price of a litre of coconut oil has been increased by more than Rs. 100, the National Consumer Front (NCF) has said.

NCF Chairman Asela Sampath said that the price of a litre of coconut oil has been increased by between Rs. 180 and Rs. 200. 

Accordingly, the current retail price of a coconut oil litre is Rs. 550.

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Registration compulsory for all money changers 

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The Central Bank has issued a notice making it compulsory for all money exchange institutions to be registered with the Central Bank and regulated by it. 

The CB order is in effect from 3 June 2024. 

The Central Bank states that all money changers who are currently not registered will now receive the opportunity to provide such services in a systematic and regulated manner. 

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