Wednesday, May 29, 2024

If you can’t stand ads on Instagram, you’re going to hate this update

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Instagram has been ruffling the feathers of many users as of late with how many ads and suggested posts it shows from unfollowed accounts. Despite the frequent criticism of the app’s near-constant ads, Meta announced in a recent blog post that Instagram will now feature an additional two new types of ads to clutter the feeds of all users.

One place where Instagram remained relatively ad-free was in the search results, as the app devoted that space entirely to directing people to the photos, reels, or other users that you’re looking for. Now, users can expect to see ads popping up in the search results — making the results a little more padded and a little less helpful.

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Meta claims that this is to allow businesses on Instagram to “reach people actively searching for businesses, products, and content,” however, it seems a little backward from a user perspective. If someone is searching for a specific business on the app, then the business’s account should already appear in the search results without the need for any ads. It’s still to be seen how it will all work in practice, but we can expect to see the search results ads soon, as they’ll be getting added globally in the coming months, according to the Meta blog post.

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While the search result ads seem like they might be making the user experience worse, the second new ad type, called “reminder ads,” is mostly unintrusive and won’t change much about how ads are already used in a user’s feed. Essentially, ads will show up as usual while a user scrolls the app, but ads for events will have the option to send users reminders via push notifications as the event gets closer.

In practice, it’ll work like this: a user might see an ad for an upcoming event that now has a banner on it that says “remind me.” If selected, the user will get three push notifications: one a day before the event, the next 15 minutes before the event starts, and the final one as the event begins. Because reminder ads are opt-in, they shouldn’t change much about how a user experiences ads on the app currently unless their addition means that even more ads will be flooding feeds.

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