Instagram ads critique from a user point of view

Facebook has created massive opportunities for marketers. Its ad network is large (number of platforms and potential audience) and the company offers advanced targeting opportunities to make adverts as relevant as possible.

In this article I analyse a couple of ads I have seen on Instagram and share my first impressions. It’s always a good exercise to put ourselves in customers’ shoes because it allows us to see how we can improve ourselves. Sorry if you feel like I am being mean to these advertisers but I really wanted to share my honest opinion.


I didn’t do any research on any of these businesses (except 1 or 2) because the exercise is not to reverse engineer the tactic that was used but rather analyse my reactions from a user point of view.

I spend a lot of time on Instagram, mostly to get creative inspiration and test different tactics. Even if it is really annoying to see an ad every 4-5 posts, this week, I figured I might as well cease the opportunity and analyse my reactions to those ads. I thought I could learn something for my next social media ads campaigns.

I like to think of Social Media ads as the shortest pitch you ever have to make. You basically have 2 seconds to capture your audience’s attention and you are competing with lots of other advertisers out there.

The Instagram ad is not relevant

The guessing game by Yotpo

I still have no idea what the business is about. You have 5,000 five stars reviews? BRAVO 👍🏾! but what does it have to do with me?  As a former Yellow Pages’ employee, I know how important reviews are for businesses. I imagine that Yotpo’s mission has to do with capturing reviews for SMEs but I am still wondering what was the point of the ad.

My reaction to this ad: I scrolled down because I wasn’t in the mood to play that guessing game.

What could have been done to capture my attention (in a positive way)

I would have loved to see a video that tells a compelling story about what Yotpo is about and what the “5,000 reviews” means.

The ad targets the wrong people

OK this one is not 100% irrelevant because French is my first language. However, my Instagram is in English so I didn’t understand how I ended up seeing a French ad. For those who don’t understand French, rankingCoach seems to be digital marketing agency and they are promoting SEO services.

In addition to showing me the ad in the wrong language:

  • The date of the post was March 12. We are in August!
  • The image the company chose is totally disconnected to the message. At first I thought it was an ad for a restaurant or cooking classes.

My reaction: I clicked on the CTA and it took forever to load the landing page.

As a Digital Marketing agency, I would have expected them to do a better job. This ad really hurt their credibility in my opinion.

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  • Optimize website load time
  • Make sure you target people properly
  • Use images that are relevant to your business or to your message

The ad is too repetitive

I can’t remember how many times I have seen this ad. The ad itself is not a bad one. Fashion students would kill to get insights from DVF. My issue was that first of all I barely post fashion posts and I am not interested in starting a career in fashion. Above all I just got sick of seeing this ad.

My reaction: I ended up taking the only action I felt appropriate: hide the ad because I see it too often.


  • Review the caption to make it more engaging. Name dropping is not a sustainable tactic.
  • If you are planning to run the ad for a long time, make sure you change the visuals especially after 48K+ people have seen it.

Geofencing is always tricky

I live in downtown Toronto and I don’t see how a Mississauga ad is relevant to me. You would probably say that this is a real estate business so the location doesn’t really matter. It actually does when your caption starts with “Hey Mississauga!”.

Can we talk about that visual? It looks photoshopped, not realistic and incorporates the usual stereotypes of wealth and success in North America: a blonde woman with long hair + penthouse. The weirdest thing about this ad is the caption  😮. It sounds like a motivational / life coach message and is in total disconnect with the visual OMG 🙄 and overall, the ad looks schizophrenic.

Finally, I really don’t understand when people use hashtags that are not related to the picture. How is #Kids, #Difficult and #providing relevant hashtags to this post?

Real estate advert on Instagram

My reaction: I felt like this ad was to join a cult.

Recommendation: Hire someone who knows what he is doing after all you are rich!

Your Instagram ad is boring as hell

Today, there are so many graphic design tools that people can use to create amazing visuals for free. I just don’t get it when businesses think it’s ok to use boring and overused visuals on a platform like Instagram where people share crazy amazing pictures.

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My reaction: I felt like these ads were posted in 1999.

Recommendations: You seriously need Canva

Please, stop using buzzwords

If you read a lot of blogs, you are probably sick of  people using the same buzzwords over and over again. I personally will disregard (or block) anyone who uses the words “Growth Hacking” or “Social Media Domination” (or any kind of domination)😖.

Buzzwords can hurt your credibility

I am having a really hard time believing this advertiser’s credibility when it comes to “social media domination”. I am sure he has a lot of good points but this ad man 😥.

  • The eBook looks super boring
  • Social media is about building a community. I don’t understand the decision to add a picture of what seems to be the founder of DKL on the cover.
  • The number of likes that this ad received suggests that there are still a bunch of  copies of that book to give away for free 😂😂😂😂.

Social Media Domination Ad

My reaction: 😂😂😂😂

Recommendation: You need Canva and please stay away from buzzwords

Is everyone talking about personal brand?

This business offers photo editing services and social media support (whatever that means). The business idea is not a bad one but my  issue with is they make it sound like photo editing and “social media support” = personal branding. Personal branding goes far beyond editing pictures and a social media presence. And personally, I am not sure I see how the edited image below improves this girls personal brand.

My reaction: Still wondering what “Grow your online personal brand”? even means😕

Recommendation: Work on your brand story.

Be consistent

There is a serious disconnect between the company logo and the visual of eBook that is advertised. I wonder how a company with such logo can produce an eBook like that one. I came to the conclusion that they must have embellished the eBook for the sake of the ad. If I was interested in that eBook, I still wouldn’t have clicked on the CTA because the probability that the actual ebook is not as visually attractive as the ad suggests seems too high (based on the company logo).

Recommendation: Work on your logo.

Worst Instagram ad this week

The reason why this is the the worst ad I have seen, is that first of all they forgot to add a CTA and instead added a “Link in bio” 😱. This is such a rookie mistake!

In my next post, I will share a few Instagram ads that I actually liked. Let’s not be negative 😉


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