The 2x2 Reels Multi-Advertiser Placement: Wtf?

Meta recently rolled out a new multi-advertiser placement type: 2x2 Reels Ads. This doesn't really help media buyers, and in fact, will turn out to be more of an issue than a blessing.

The 2x2 Reels Multi-Advertiser Placement: Wtf?
2x2 Reels Multi-Ad Placement: What's going on?

Sometime last week, Meta seemed to have introduced a new format for their ad placements. As a media buyer, you might be in for a confusing surprise.

What's this new update?

This new multi-advertiser format popped up on many people's Reels—4 videos, in a 2x2 grid. This is not a full-screen ad.

Check out this video that growth marketing genius Barry Hott shared, which shows how this placement looks:


This is what the new 2x2 multi-advertiser reels placement

At the outset, this kind of placement doesn't seem like it will do media buyers any good.

Here's Why It's A Problem

Let's go down the list one by one:

  • Lower Value of Impressions: A full-screen reels placement (even if it is multi-advertiser, where two screens are ads) are obviously far more valuable. You have way more of the viewer's attention; you have more real estate to work with. Here, being part of a 2x2 placement will count as an impression, but is it really of any value? That same impression is given to all 4 ads in the placement. So which impression (full-screen or 2x2) do you think has more value?
  • Increased Competition: Now that you'll be competing with 3 other ads in a smaller area of real estate for the same viewer, you will really, really have to stand out. Each video in the grid plays only for a few seconds before moving on to the next one. So that means that your intros have to be way, way more efficient at capturing attention. And that's not really an easy thing to do is it?
  • Reporting Issues: Like mentioned above, every ad in the placement will get an impression. This will lead to unreliable numbers, especially with CPMs. The CPMs will drastically reduce because of the placement, but does it really make a difference here? In this case, a decreasing CPM is working alongside a low-value impression. So it's not really a valuable metric anymore.
  • Increased Skipping Frequency: Online customers are now extremely cognizant of sponsored ads, which is why ad placements that don't abruptly interrupt their regular usage flow are super important. Additionally, ads that are more like actual content tend to keep the viewer's attention more. But this 2x2 placement makes it very, very obviously just an interruption to their flow. Further, by grouping these ads together in the above manner, customers will definitely only strengthen their ad-blocking tendencies — they will barely interact with any of the 4 ads in this placement. Again, at least with a full-screen placement, you have more real-estate to keep the viewer interested. But in this scenario, with very little maneuverability for an ad, there's little doubt that they'll just be skipped again and again.

Is This Available Everywhere?

Not as far as we can tell; it seems to have been rolled out only in specific locations, in a kind of test run, before launching it around the world.

This new placement has obviously irritated media buyers and advertisers to no end. They believe this is another case of Meta flexing its monopoly muscles, to boost spends on their platforms.

There has always been a debate about just how good and effective multi-ad placements in general are. Most media buyers are still unsure as to whether they really result in any kind of noticeable conversions.

And this new placement isn't doing much to convince advertisers otherwise.

For more, check out Barry Hott's long X post on the same.