Facebook announced on Thursday that it will begin testing ads on its TikTok clone Instagram Reels in India, Brazil, Germany, and Australia as part of its effort to monetize the short-form video feature.
The company is hoping to cash in on its popularity in India, a rapidly growing social media market, where rival TikTok has been banned since last year. Other features, such as allowing content creators to share Reels videos on their Facebook accounts, will be tested in India, according to Facebook.
In an interview, Carolyn Everson, vice president of Facebook’s global business group, said that the introduction of advertisements is a “indication of how strong the momentum is for Reels.” Everson declined to provide Reels usage statistics.
Advertisements, like other content on Reels, can last up to 30 seconds, and users can choose to skip them, according to Facebook.
On Thursday, Facebook announced that advertisers will be able to choose which types of video content they want to advertise on, such as videos about children and parenting, animals and pets, or fitness and workouts.
This is Facebook’s most significant effort to allow brands to advertise alongside content subjects. Advertisers frequently use Facebook to target specific users based on their preferences.
“This is a big deal for marketers,” said Everson.
In the coming weeks, Facebook will begin testing sticker advertisements for Facebook Stories. Brands can create stickers for influencers to use in their Stories, and influencers will get a cut of any sales generated by the stickers.
The feature is part of Facebook’s effort to court content creators who are increasingly making money directly from fans and followers via platforms like Clubhouse, an audio chat app, and Patreon, a membership site.