How to Get Rid of those Annoying Instagram/Facebook Ads
Are you tired of seeing an excessive number of “sponsored posts” on Instagram? Do they seem like they don’t really apply to you anymore?
While sometimes advertisers can be super accurate, a lot are going the blast all route when it comes to pushing sales. I was seeing ads on Instagram every five images. FIVE.
I was fed up, and I decided to test a theory. If I changed my ad preferences, would it reduce the number of ads I saw on Instagram? Turns out, it does. And I’m here to show you exactly how to take control of what you’re seeing on social media from advertisers.
I should start this off by saying that I’ve worked in the advertising and marketing industry. In fact, I’ve been in this industry for years. I want the people I’m targeting to hear my message, but more importantly, I want them to actually WANT to hear from me.
There’s no point in an advertiser showing you the same ads over and over if you have no interest in what they’re advertising. It’s a waste of money and time on the advertisers part and it’s typically pretty annoying for the social media user.
While you can’t completely get rid of ads on social media, you can reduce it on some platforms and get more relevant ads on others.
If you do a quick google search, people suggest different ways to report Instagram ads to stop showing them in your feed, but that’s really only a bandaid to cover the problem. I’m going to show you how to actually get rid of the ads you don’t want to see and get to the root of the problem.
Facebook kind of hides how you manage your ad preferences, but once you find them, it’s super easy to manage what you see on both Facebook and Instagram. Because Facebook owns Instagram, your ads settings for both are controlled in Facebook. Ad preferences can be managed on a laptop or desktop, mobile web, or in the Facebook app.
I find it easiest to manage on a laptop/desktop, so the images I have display the desktop view. First, you need to find your settings. Login to Facebook and click on the little arrow on the upper right-hand side of your screen.
Once you have that menu open, scroll towards the bottom to locate the actual settings button.
Once inside the settings menu, you will have to do a little more scrolling to locate the button that says “Ads”. It’s not a very descriptive button, which makes it kind of hard to find.
You should finally have found the holy grail of ad control. Your very own Ad Preference Center.
This is where the process can get a little long and very eye opening. Facebook had been compiling this (mostly) useless information on me for years. Every dumb quiz I clicked on and every clickbait-y link indicated that I was interested in things that I simply wasn’t. I started at the top and worked my way through the categories.
Mine has already been mostly cleaned out, but I discovered that anything I had ever clicked on, even if it was only once, was documented and kept as something I was “interested“ in. There were really only a handful of things correct in mine, which you can now see below. (Please don’t mind my nerdiness.)
The ones I have removed show up as whited out. There will be a little “x” in the upper right-hand corner of each square that will let you remove anything you aren’t interested in. There are multiple categories of interests you will need to go through to get this completely cleaned out.
Since you can’t completely get rid of ads, I would suggest that you leave things you are actually interested in. This makes it easier for marketers to line up ads with your interests, plus it helps reduce the super random ads.
Wish.com, I’m looking at you. 👀
Next I moved on to “Advertisers You’ve Interacted With”. This one was 100% wrong for me.
It said I had interacted with car dealerships literally all across the country from Manhattan to California. I completely wiped mine for the sake of ease and time, but I would again recommend that you leave any shops or advertisers you actually want to hear from to avoid starting over with random ads. I think there were roughly ten advertisers I know I interact with that I would like to hear from in my list of hundreds. As you can see, I whited out all of the random crap.
The next section is completely up to you and what you feel comfortable sharing.
This is actually very useful information to advertisers that know what they’re doing with targeting, but some people might not be comfortable sharing that much. This section gives you some of your privacy back, if you want it.
You can control what advertisers see by using the little sliders on the right. The same goes with the “your categories” subsection.
The next portion gets pretty technical on the advertising side of things, so I’ll try to explain the options as best I can.
The first section is basically saying that if any of the partners that Facebook works with tracks what you view and where you go on the web, they can use that information to target you with ads.
The second section is similar, but it’s saying that it can use any information it gathers on you from any Facebook owned product (i.e. Instagram).
These first two sections are why people think Facebook is “listening in” on their conversations when they see something they’ve just talked about with friends and family. In actuality, it’s highly likely that at some point you have googled what you were talking about or searched for it on other social media sites, and Facebook is saying they use that information unless you turn it off.
The last section is actually the most annoying to me, personally. Have you ever seen an article or item and above it says “liked by xyz friend”? Chances are that friend never liked whatever product is being marketed there, and they are probably seeing similar things from you. I had always questioned those suggestions, because more often than not it really didn’t fit the person who had supposedly “liked” it.
If you’ve visited an ad’s Facebook page or taken any action on an ad, Facebook can then use that action to promote the product to others even if you wouldn’t have promoted it yourself.
You can turn all three of these off by clicking the selection on the right-hand side. You can choose to leave these on if you want super direct ads based on things you’ve actually looked at.
The final section gives you the option to hide certain ad topics for different periods of time.
I’d imagine this is for people going through certain hardships in their lives and helps them avoid potentially painful topics. Since I don’t really need to see alcohol ads and I’m not planning to be a parent anytime in the near future, I decided to permanently turn off ads related to those topics.
If you want to see ads on those topics, there really isn’t any harm in leaving them on.
And there you have it. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ve taken as much control as possible over your ad experience.
After removing all of the unnecessary information from my Facebook Ads Settings, my ads on Instagram decreased in frequency to one every twenty images, maybe. Sometimes they are spread out even more now. This is something you can, and probably should, update fairly often. Within one day of updating my preferences, there had already been two new “interests” added to my profile based on things I clicked on from friends. It’s an ongoing battle.
Let me know if this has helped you or if there is any other information you’d like to know regarding Facebook and Instagram ads in the comments below!
Update: I just scrolled through 106 instagram images before I hit an ad. Yes I counted. And yes it really works.