- Instagram’s ads are so on point that I often find myself debating whether or not to actually buy the products I find there.
- Recently, I took the plunge and made my first-ever purchase of a product I discovered in my feed.
- I quickly realised the major downside of shopping on Instagram: Everyone around me likely sees the same products in their feeds.
If you’re like me, you’re constantly getting shown ads on Instagram that feel extremely well-targeted.
Right now, for example, I’m seeing in my Instagram feed an ad for Uniqlo (I was recently browsing the retailer’s site) and one for a workout app (I used a rival workout app earlier in the day).
Instagram’s ads are so on point that I often find myself debating whether or not to actually buy the products I find there. That’s not something most online ads actually get me to do.
Recently, I took the plunge and made my first-ever purchase of a product I discovered in my feed: a turtleneck sweater with a grid design.
The sweater was being sold by a brand called Chicwish, which I had never heard of before discovering it on Instagram. But the clothing I’d seen in its ads consistently caught my eye, and once I finally made it to the brand’s site, I was also intrigued by its reasonable prices.
The sweater in question was $US49.90 – not bad for a sweater made mostly of wool.
I read the reviews on the website, and most of the comments were positive. I didn’t have much to lose, so I made the purchase.
The sweater came fairly quickly – just in time for beginning of fall weather in New York City, where I live. So far, so good! I really felt as if I had discovered something new and unique.
A few days after it arrived, however, I wore the sweater to work and realised the major downside of my purchase.
Within 10 minutes of being at the office, three people stopped me in my tracks to tell me they loved my sweater and that they had been debating buying it after seeing it on Instagram, too.
I even noticed that a colleague of mine was wearing “The Sweater” in a company photo we had taken many months earlier.
So much for feeling like I had found something special. I may as well have been wearing something from a ubiquitous store, like Gap.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the sweater itself. It’s soft and warm. It feels substantial – not cheap. Plus, I think it looks pretty good, and I get loads of compliments whenever I wear it.
But I like to buy clothes from small brands and shop at boutiques where I can find things that everyone else won’t have. I’m not sure Instagram is the platform for discovering those unique finds.
This experience made me realise that even though Instagram might feel incredibly intimate and personal, the ads on the site are probably being shown on a vast scale, meaning that what you see is probably similar to what your friends, family, and colleagues are seeing, too.
I probably won’t be buying any clothing on Instagram anytime soon.
I reached out to Instagram to see if they had anything to say about how they target their ads. I’ll update this post if I hear back.
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