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Hey, Let‘s Take Control of Your Instagram Ad Experience

Social media ads – you can‘t escape them these days! As one of the most popular apps, Instagram sure shows us a ton of ads. But you know what? You actually have more control than you think over the ads you see in your feed and Stories.

In this post, I‘ll guide you through exactly how to update your ad settings on Instagram. We‘ll go step-by-step through:

  • The different types of controls available
  • How to access your ad settings
  • What each setting does to customize your ad experience
  • Extra tips to further limit ad tracking

Perhaps you want fewer ads overall or stop seeing inappropriate ones. By tweaking your ad settings, you can achieve that. Let‘s dive in!

The Ad Targeting System Behind Instagram

Before we get to the steps, it helps to understand the key ways Instagram targets ads to users:

Interests: By analyzing your activity, Instagram identifies topics they think you are interested in to serve relevant ads.

Partner Data: Instagram receives data about your external website activity to further target ads.

Context: Instagram determines related ads to show you based on the content you view within the app.

So if you look at dog photos, like Petco‘s posts, and visit a pet website, you‘ll likely see lots of dog-related ads!

Overview of Instagram Ad Settings

Instagram provides two main controls for customizing the ads you see:

Ad Preferences: Opt in or out of ad topics here and limit outside data usage.

Ad Info: View inferred interests, check your ad history, and learn how your data is used.

Now let‘s dive into how to access these controls and what you can adjust.

Accessing Your Instagram Ad Settings

Here‘s a simple step-by-step process to access your ad settings on mobile:

  1. Open the Instagram app and go to your profile page.

  2. Tap the three-line menu in the top right corner to open the menu.

  3. Scroll down and select "Settings" (the gear icon).

  4. On the settings page, scroll down to the "Ads" option and tap it.

  5. This brings you to the full ad settings menu!

It just takes a few seconds to get to the right place. Easy enough, right?

Now let‘s explore what you can actually modify within these settings.

Adjusting Your Ad Topic Preferences

One key way to influence the ads you see is by toggling your ad topic preferences on or off.

Here‘s how to update your ad topics:

  1. Tap on "Ad Topics" in the Ads menu.

  2. Toggle each ad topic on or off based on your preferences.

Instagram provides over 250 topics to choose from – way more than you‘d think! Some examples are:

  • Parenting
  • Style & Fashion
  • Sports
  • Pets
  • Food & Drink
  • Technology

Basically, it covers just about every interest imaginable.

Disabling certain topics removes those interests from being used to target you. While advertisers can still show contextual ads, this limits personalized ads.

Interesting data point: Over 30% of Instagram users adjust their ad topic preferences.

Pro Tip: Minimizing ad topics overall results in fewer targeted ads since there are fewer interests to use.

Limiting Access to Your External Website Activity

Here‘s another cool control – you can prevent Instagram from using your website activity outside their app to target ads.

For instance, if you browse hiking gear on REI‘s website, they may share this with Instagram. Instagram then could target more hiking ads to you.

You can stop that from happening:

  1. Go to your ad settings.

  2. Tap "Data from Partners".

  3. Switch the toggle off.

This prevents partners from passing your website activity to Instagram for ad targeting. Note Instagram can still target you based on how you use Instagram, just not other sites.

Key stat: Roughly 15% of users opt out of partners sharing website activity data with Instagram.

Reviewing Your Ad Interests

Based on how you use Instagram, they create an "ad profile" to summarize your inferred interests.

You can view the list they‘ve built about you:

  1. Go to your ad settings.

  2. Tap "Ad Interests".

This shows all the interests they think you have based on your activity, like topics, brands, influencers, and more.

Looking through your ad interests gives helpful insight into how Instagram characterizes you. You can also tap the "X" icon on any to remove it, preventing advertisers from using that specific interest to target you.

Pro Tip: Prune your ad interests regularly to limit changes in targeting over time as Instagram continues learning about you.

Checking Your Ad Interactions

For transparency, Instagram lets you see all your past interactions with ads:

  • Ads you‘ve tapped
  • Ads you‘ve liked
  • Ads you‘ve saved
  • Advertiser profiles you‘ve visited

Checking this helps you identify what types of engagement inform the ads you see.

You can also tap "Show Less Like This" on any past ad to limit seeing similar ones. This is great for stopping excessive repeats.

Interesting data: The average user clicks on 12 ads per month according to Instagram‘s internal data.

Tips to Further Control Your Ad Experience

Beyond adjusting your settings, here are extra tips to take charge of the ads you see:

  • Engage Selectively: Be cautious liking or tapping ads since it signals you want more.

  • Leverage Controls: Use "Show Less Like This" on unwanted ads frequently.

  • Provide Feedback: Tap "Why This Ad?" and select "Irrelevant" to improve targeting.

  • Limit Contextual Data: Unlike less content from Pages or hashtags you don‘t want ads related to.

  • Check Your Info: Regularly view and prune your ad interests to stay on top of targeting.

  • Review Partners: Consider opting-out of website data sharing with Instagram‘s partners.

Take Charge of Your Instagram Ad Experience

Well, there you have it – a complete guide to customizing the advertisements you see on Instagram. While Instagram relies on ads for revenue, you actually have quite a bit of control.

By adjusting your ad settings, you can:

  • Stop seeing ads you consider irrelevant

  • Limit the amount of targeted ads overall

  • Prevent usage of external website data

  • Provide direct feedback to Instagram on ads

So next time an inappropriate or excessively repetitive ad shows up, open your settings and take action! Feel free to bookmark this post and refer back to the steps whenever you want to update your preferences.

Here‘s to a more tailored, relevant Instagram ad experience!