Please Unsubscribe

In a single day, you’re exposed to thousands of ads. From TV to billboards, to a plethora of online ads, advertising is a part of life. But, you can control many of the online ads you’re exposed to. If you don’t like the content you’re seeing you should (almost) always unsubscribe. Wait, why would a marketing company want you to unsubscribe from their client’s content? In this short article, we’ll answer that question, tell you why you don’t always want to click unsubscribe, and show you how to opt-out or block unwanted digital advertisements.

Say good-bye to unwanted email

Unsubscribing from an unwanted email newsletter is beneficial for both parties. If you’re not interested in the content you’re receiving, why would the business want to send you more? Now, you may think that businesses don’t care and are happy to spam you with ads in hopes that one would work. However, most businesses know this can be annoying and would rather you unsubscribe than develop negative feelings about their brand.

So why did you even get targeted in the first place? You might have opted in to a newsletter by willingly giving them your email. Companies often use incentives to get people to subscribe (such as getting a coupon).

But sometimes it feels like you get emails you didn’t even ask for. In those cases, the businesses may have implied consent to contact you. The most common example is by buying something from a company, they can assume you’re interested in their products. Implied consent has a lot of grey area that allows businesses to email you, as long as you can opt-out at any time.

Unfortunately, there is a third area where the sender can obtain your email. Some businesses buy bulk emails from third party vendors. New email laws prohibit this, but some people treat those like guidelines instead of laws. (For an easier-to-read summary of emailing laws, take a look at this article.)

With these new laws, every email marketing platform has to have a way to unsubscribe. You often see this at the bottom of the email. If it’s from a trusted sender, all you have to do is click that button and follow their steps to unsubscribe. However, if you don’t trust the sender, you shouldn’t click unsubscribe. Some senders replace hide links to malware or phishing scams behind the “Unsubscribe” text. Clicking unsubscribe from spam emails can have a number of bad outcomes.

Can I ``unsubscribe`` from digital ads?

Digital ads don’t have a nice, convenient button to unsubscribe. Digital advertising is a billion-dollar revenue generator, so why would they make it easy? But, there are workarounds on most of the popular social platforms!

Facebook

1. Click the three dots in the top right corner and select “Hide ad.”

2. Select “Hide all ads from the advertiser” or skip this and go to 3 to manage more advertisers

3. Click “make changes to your ad preferences” to manage information given to advertisers.

Screenshot of a paid ad on Facebook
Screenshot of the "Ad Hidden" popup on Facebook

Instagram

Instagram has a similar process as Facebook, but with less customizable options.

1. Tap the three dots in the top right corner and select “Hide ad.”

2. Select “It’s irrelevant” to see fewer ads like it.

Screenshot of the Hide and Report Ad
Screenshot of Instagram's "Hide Ad" feedback options

Twitter

1. Click the small arrow in the top right of the post.

2. You have options to block and mute the advertiser which will not let them show up on your feed. Or, click “I don’t like this ad” to limit similar ads on your feed.

Screenshot of a paid ad on Twitter
Screenshot of the paid ad options on Twitter

With email marketing and digital advertising being common practice, you won’t be able to completely eliminate them, but you can take steps to manage them.