If you spend some time browsing through your Instagram feed, you're probably no stranger to seeing a few (or many) targeted ads pop up while you're doing the scroll. Unfortunately, there's no escape from targeted ads, but there is a way to switch up the content if you think that Instagram isn't actually targeting your interests. If you aren't liking what you're seeing, here's how to change your Instagram Ad interests to make your time on the social media platform a better one.
Over the past couple days, you might have seen some of your fellow 'Gram users posting lists of seemingly random things that the app has designated as their Instagram Ad interests. While it's fun to compare notes with your friends and see exactly how off-base Instagram's suggestions are, these oft-wild suggestions are also sent to influencers and third-party sites and used to populate your feed with ads — which may explain some of the weirder selections you've seen on there.
On June 1, journalist Eric Ginsburg tried to make a game out of the whole thing by showing fellow Instagram users how to find their supposed Instagram Ad interests. When I checked my own, I was surprised to see that almost everything on there was something I wouldn't even consider remotely in the realm of my interests (I have no idea what "Cosmote" is, I've certainly never googled Indian musician "Babbu Maan," and "figure drawing" and "physics" aren't really on my radar, if I'm being totally honest).
According to Instagram's help page, it comes up with its list of suggested topics through a few different methods:
We want to show you ads from businesses that are interesting and relevant to you, and to do that, we use information about what you do on Instagram and Facebook (our parent company) and on third-party sites and apps you use. For example, you might see ads based on the people you follow and things you like on Instagram, your information and interests on Facebook (if you have a Facebook account), and the websites and apps you visit.
Laughs aside, the whole point of targeted ads is to potentially see things you might like to look at, send to a friend, or purchase, so it's actually a win-win situation for you to update your experience.
First of all, I'd recommend taking a look at your Settings to see what Instagram has designated as your interests. To do that, all you need to do is head to Settings in your Instagram app, then select Security. Once there, you can opt to Access Data, then check your Ads tab. A list of your supposed interests should populate. You can also choose to look at a list of ads you've interacted with.
If you're generally OK with your Instagram ad experience, I'd recommend just choosing to target individual annoyances as they pop up. To get rid of individual ads you'd rather not see, all you have to do is select the three dots in the upper right hand corner of the post, and when prompted, choose to hide it from your feed.
Now, if you're someone who tends to like keeping more of your information private or you have a lot of ads that you don't want to see, I'd recommend heading over to Facebook to change your settings there. All you have to do is select your Facebook Ad Preferences, choose Ad settings, and then choose whether or not you want third-party sites and Facebook Company Products to use your information. If you choose to deny permissions to partners, you’ll only see ads based on information you've shared on Facebook, its affiliates like WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as specific businesses you've actually interacted with.
Now, if you choose to deny permissions to Facebook as a whole, you'll only see ads that are targeted to people in your general demographic based on factors like your age and education. Yes, it's a more vague ad experience, but it also guarantees more privacy if that's something that's important to you.
While you unfortunately can't get rid of ads altogether, I'd look through the different options to see what works best for your situation. Now, get back to scrolling and hopefully enjoy seeing more of what you actually want to see.