This morning as I was having my morning coffee and casually scrolling through my Instagram feed of friends holiday parties, artistically shot snow scenes and tropical sunrises, when a photo of a coffee maker popped up.
My reaction was shift, “Wtf?? I unfollowed this brand. What is this doing here???”
And then it dawned on me. It was a Sponsored Instagram Post. Yes, I had just been served with an ad.
Instagram Curation Ruined
To put into context my reaction to seeing a coffeemaker in my feed – I am one of those people who have carefully curated my Instagram feed. I am very particular about who I follow and it is usually for one of three reasons:
- I really like you as a person
- I really like your photography / vision / how you see the world
- I like your brand and enjoy how you visually communicate your brand personality
The curation of my feed has been something I have worked on since first joining Instagram, so I most certainly noticed the bad catalogue quality photo of a coffeemaker from a brand I do not follow (for a reason I might add) in my feed.
To be honest, the unwelcome ad also felt like a bit of a violation. I had not realized until that moment, that I had become quite happily accustomed to the non-ad experience of Instagram. I had come to really enjoy having full control of what I saw in my feed and having this choice taken away from me did not sit well.
Conclusion: Ads in my feed? Umm no. No, thank you
This morning I have concluded that I do not like ads in my feed.
But, I really do not like ads of sub-par catalogue shots of a product I don’t want to buy, from a brand who is boring and unimaginative enough to take a shot from their flyer and cross-promote it on their “social media.”
And you know what Instagram? My experience is contrary to how you have positioned the introduction of advertising on your platform to be, and I quote:
“we’ve worked with a handful of top brands to draw creative inspiration from the community and create ads that were engaging and felt natural in people’s feeds.”
The ad I received most certainly did not feel natural or engaging. Had I seen an ad from a brand I do follow, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it and I probably would have grudgingly excepted the intrusion of ads into my feed. But, that would have been too logical right? Or not as “sellable” enough maybe?
But mostly, I am disappointed. I thought you had more creativity then this. More imagination and more of a desire to serve as a platform of inspiration.
I guess I was wrong, Instagram.
Because no matter how good your filters are (they do have a special ingredient in making any persons complexion look dewy and youthful) this mornings experience has soured my relationship with you.
I don’t know what I’m going to get in my feed anymore. It was only a coffee maker this time, but what will be next? Detergent?
Lesson here Instagram is to launch your new advertising platform slowly, like a soft breeze rather than a January night squall. Everyone likes soft breezes. They feel good. But, no one likes January squalls.