What is an Instagram ad? Back when the company first announced it would be interrupting everyone’s photo feed with ads, Instagram said that brands would have to be “creative and engaging” in their approach. They’d have to fit in seamlessly alongside the never-ending stream of food shots, pet photos, vacation scenes, and newborn babies we all constantly swipe through. In a blog post, Instagram said, “After all, our team doesn’t just build Instagram, we use it each and every day.” And sure enough, the initial batch of advertisers stayed true to Instagram’s vision and delivered ads that looked like they belonged on the platform. They were actually photos — often pretty good ones. Instagram even gave the brands special tools that regular users still can’t access. Advertisers can make galleries, whereas you and I still have to post every photo individually like buffoons. Brands can also post 30-second videos. But normal humans? We’re still limited to half that length. And yet, even with all this special treatment, the quality of ads on Instagram is taking a very noticeable dive.