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EVIL GENIUS

This is the most devious advertisement

  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

Advertising on the internet has always been a slightly nefarious game, with banner ads offering pills that doctors hate and “one weird trick” diets that somehow the US Food and Drug Administration doesn’t know about.

But a new advertisement popping up on Instagram might have them all beat:

This ad features a fake hair on the image, in an attempt to get people to swipe it away. On both Instagram Stories, and Snapchat, swiping up on an ad summons the advertiser’s website and will count as a coveted click-through for its metrics. While it might not lead to a sale, it’ll be a partial success for the advertiser, given how difficult it is to even get people to click on an ad in the first place. The average click-through rate on display ads across the web is a paltry 0.35%, according to the marketing company HubSpot.

A spokesperson for Instagram provided Quartz with the following statement:

This ad violated Instagram’s policies and was removed from future delivery in Stories several weeks ago. We also disabled the account from advertising on the platform again.

Correction: An earlier version of this post suggested this was a Snapchat ad, when the design is actually for an ad on Instagram Stories. 

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