Let’s be honest, most people consider themselves a smart consumer of social media health and fitness ads.
If, like most of the world, you spend any of your time scrolling social media, you probably find yourself almost constantly on the receiving end of ads disguised as health tips and wellness facts. That’s right… we said disguised as health tips and wellness facts.
First of all, how is this content even making its way to your feed? Who are these so-called influencers? Did you ever actually ask to follow these accounts? If not, why are you now having to look at so many pics of their Apple Watches and oat milk matcha lattes? And who said they could advertise to you in your safe spaces of Instagram and Facebook? How is that allowed?
We understand the confusion
And when companies try to sell you on their products using health facts, it feels even wronger.
Over the last few years, ads have become an increasingly constant fixture on social media, notably Instagram. Influencers — particularly in the health and wellness space — partner up with brands to share pics and captions promoting their products. And the New York Times says that you should expect to see more influencer ads coming your way in the future.
According to Instagram (we’re going straight to the source!):
“The ads you see in your feed are targeted based on the content you typically scroll on the platform. The people you follow and the photos you like factor into that ad algorithm. If you’re seeing ads for health and fitness products — and full of questionable wellness facts — it’s probably because you’ve followed and liked other health and fitness content on your own.”
But let’s be real
That doesn’t make it any less annoying. And it definitely doesn’t make it any easier to figure out which products and programs are legit and which are… not.
Instagram advertising is big business (per Market Watch, the top influencer of 2017 earned $18 thousand per post in advertising revenue), which makes it that much more important that you feel confident with the purchases you’re making from those ads.
We want to help you see through all the promises and get right to the heart of the health tips and wellness facts that these companies are making… before you spend the money.
These five tips will help you be a smarter consumer of Instagram ads.
Learn about the brand… not just the influencer.
Influencers are influencers because people like them and want to do the things they do. That’s why brands partner with them! You can avoid playing blindly into this strategy by looking beyond these influencers and learning about the companies they’re working with.
If your fave reality TV celebs or YouTube stars are singing the praises of a product, don’t purchase right away (no matter how great their promo code is). Do some initial research on the company and see if the wellness facts on their site match the claims being made on the ‘gram.
Research, research, research.
If one of your fave Instagrammers is promoting a product, the company that makes it is probably tagged in the photo. Go check out their profile!
Once you’re there, ask yourself a few questions: Does the feed look legit? Are there a lot of followers? Are a lot of those followers engaging with the content by liking and commenting? Are new pics coming to the feed on a regular basis?
Next, hit up that Google search bar! Search testimonials on the company’s site and see if you can find reviews about the product on other sites. It might be easier than you think to find out if the item you’re thinking of buying can actually help you apply the health tips you’ve been seeing.
Think seriously about how they’re selling these health tips to you.
Everyone wants to feel great. Everyone wants to look great! Everyone wants to be healthy and strong and fit.
Then again, most of us know that getting those things doesn’t — and probably shouldn’t — happen easily or quickly. If an ad swears that you’ll lose a certain amount of weight after just a few days or that you’ll see an increase in muscle mass right away, that’s a red flag!
These just aren’t real wellness facts.
If brands seem to be relying on impossible guarantees to move their products, it might be because they don’t have something real to offer you.
Consider a product’s actual cost.
Great deals and promotions are a hallmark of social media ads… and we totally understand the temptation to take advantage of them. (After all, there’s nothing better than a real deal — like the full body workout we offer with our online yoga classes!)
Before you commit, though, take a sec to work out a company’s actual price tag. After a single affordable purchase, are you going to be sucked into something that’s totally out of your budget? Are you getting locked into a price monthly subscription after a single affordable month?
Read the fine print. Ask lots of questions. Be sure that a (seemingly) great deal doesn’t blind you to a long-term investment that you can’t afford to make.
Trust your instinct.
According to Psychology Today, there are plenty of cases where you really can trust your gut. Looking for relevant cues, comparing what you’re seeing IRL to what you might expect to happen, and considering plausible goals can all help you take your gut feelings and turn them into smart decisions.
This can be applied when you’re looking at social media health and wellness ads!
By the time you’ve followed the other four steps, you’ve probably already gotten some kind of instinct about whether or not it’s smart to buy based on the health tips offered in an Instagram ads. Trust your cues and expectations and consider how the products you’re seeing might actually support your health goals. You’ll know what to do!
It’s pretty, pretty likely that heavily-promoted brands will keep running similar offers, so you don’t need to hit the buy button ASAP. Take a little time! We’re willing to bet that those influencers will give you another chance before too long.
Do you know how to boost your immune system?