But how many of the respondents could successfully identify ads from non-advertising content? So much content on IG is native sponsored now, users may be seeing hundreds of ads a day and buying based on that content, and yet have no idea that they’re actually being affected by a new kind of subtle ad product…

In other words, how are “ads” defined by this study, and is it only looking at ads from the advertiser’s perspective (i.e. ads paid for through the platforms’ ad-buying tools), rather than from the user’s perspective, which may include content screenshotted and reshared by users and thus not tracked as ads by the platform?

I ask because good ads that are made of interesting content should be inseparable from good content, presuming the targeting is good and the user preference model is accurate. An ad “seems more like an ad” if you notice it and think “ugh, that’s dumb!” or “ugh, why am I seeing that?!” Ad blindness therefore is more about people tuning out annoying, uninteresting, or irrelevant content in general than it has to do with advertising specifically.

Inventor of the hashtag. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Previously: Google, Uber, Molly (YC W18).

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