Instagram's ad platform launches: Here's how to hide those sponsored ads

After Instagram fell under Facebook's umbrella, the Instagram community - made up of more than 150 million members - worried that the popular photo-sharing app would become plagued by cumbersome ads.

And they were right - kind of. Instagram has officially launched an ad platform, but it wants to push out ads slowly so that users won't be overwhelmed by the change. But despite all the cautionary measures, some people just can't stand the sight of ads.

Fortunately, users do have some options available to them, including the ability to hide ads on Instagram. Read on to learn all about Instagram's ad platform, as well as what you can do to hide those pesky sponsored posts. 

What is Instagram's ad platform?

Facebook - as a public company - needs to grow and appease its investors. One of the ways it can tackle two birds with one stone is by launching an ad platform for Instagram. Facebook, which acquired Instagram in 2012, said it has big ideas for the future, and part of that is building Instagram into a sustainable business.

Instagram revealed last month that US users would soon see an occasional ad in their Instagram feed, though it emphasised that only a small number of "beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands" would roll out.

"Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands," Instagram wrote on its blog. "We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favourite magazine."

What will sponsored ads look like?

Instagram showed off a sample ad just last week (as seen above). The company said ads would appear as a typical photo or video, but users will clearly know when a photo or video is an ad.

How, you may ask? A “Sponsored” label will cover where the time stamp normally appears on photo and video posts. Users can simply tap this label to learn more about how advertising works on Instagram.

Who will post the sponsored ads, and why them?

Instagram said it is working with a "handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community." The first partners signed up include Adidas, Ben & Jerry's, Burberry, General Electric, Lexus, Levi's, Macy's, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood.

Naturally, Instagram said it wants to show ads from businesses that are interesting to its users. To do this, it is collecting information about what users do on Instagram and Facebook. Examples include tracking who users follow, the photos and videos they like, their interests, etc.

What was the first ad spotted?

The first ad has been spotted, and it's from designer Michael Kors (as seen atop). It’s a normal Instagram photo that dons a "Sponsored" label when surfacing in feeds, as Instagram promised. It looks as though the Kors Instagram account posted it around 12pm EST for all followers to see, though - because it's an ad - it is also appearing in the Instagram feeds of users who don’t follow the account.

Okay. So, how do you hide Instagram's sponsored ads?

Instagram has given users the opportunity to hide ads. Unfortunately, users cannot stop the ads from popping up in their feed; they can only hide ads individually. To hide ads individually, tap the "..." button below them. From there, you can provide feedback about what you didn't like. Not only does this remove the ad from your feed, but it also helps Instagram improve ads over time.

If you would like to know even more about Instagram's ad platform, check out the company's About Ads page.