I’ve got a little secret: I haven’t seen ads in my Instagram feed in more than a year.
You’re probably wondering how that’s even possible. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure why it works, but it does, and here’s how you can (or at least try to) banish them from your Instagram feed as well. When I first started seeing ads or “sponsored” posts in my Instagram feed, I immediately knew it was a sign of worse things to come. What started out as a few unobtrusive ads in between posts eventually turned into what felt like a feed of just ads.
Om Malik, a partner at True Ventures, and the founder of GigaOm, said it best last year:
I have been contemplating if it is time to get Instagram off my home screen as well. Why? Because it has been infesting my feed with too many ads — and not just any ads but terrible ads. Video ads. Ads that make absolutely no sense to me. Ads that have less relevance to my feed and me than dumb follow-me-everywhere banners on the web.
Like Malik, I almost quit Instagram because of all the ads. But instead of leaving the land of beautiful photos (and lots of dumb memes — someone please stop all of the brain-cell-killing low-res memes!), I started “hiding” the ads. It didn’t matter how big or small the advertiser was. If a post had “Sponsored” below its username, I hid it and then reported it. It’s not against Instagram’s user terms to hide the ads. In fact, Instagram even details how to hide ads that you think aren’t relevant to you, are shown too often, or are inappropriate.
Here’s how you can hide ads.
On a “Sponsored” post, tap the “…” in the upper right and then tap “Hide This”.
Then, you’ll be asked why you don’t
want to see the ad
The instructions for hiding ads on Android should be pretty similar. If I remember correctly, I originally reported an ad as either not relevant or that it appeared too often.
These two options hid the ads I found annoying, but didn’t banish them altogether. So I started to report all ads as “inappropriate,” and once I did that for every ad I saw, after about a week or so I stopped seeing them entirely. My feed has been ad-free (so much that I had to take screenshots using a colleague’s ad-infested Instagram account because I couldn’t find any on my own) for a while now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The same “trick” seems to work on ads in between Instagram Stories, too. After hiding every Story ad and marking them as inappropriate, I seem to have banished them (for now).
Why it works is still a mystery to me. As of September 2016, Instagram had over 500,000 active advertisers per month, so it’s unlikely the platform ran out of ads to show me. And believe me, I’ve been looking for them — the other day I browsed through 200 Instagram posts in my feed and couldn’t find a single ad.
After telling a few colleagues about the “trick” they, too, started hiding ads and told me they’ve seen fewer ads since doing so.
I admit, I’m a real jerk for hiding all the ads and reporting them as inappropriate since Instagram relies on them to make money, but I’m not remorseful. The ads and how they’re obtrusively displayed suck — plain and simple — and ruin the app’s experience. Hiding the ads and somehow having them magically banished forever was the only way for me to make Instagram usable.