I Tried 5 Randomly Advertised Apps on Instagram, & Here Are My Thoughts

YouTuber Safiya Nygaard has made a name for herself by trying and reviewing different programs on the internet. One of my favorite series of hers, was “Buying the first recommended things from…”. In that series, Nygaard tested social media algorithms by buying the first items that showed up on her feed for each platform.

Personally, my IG feed has tons of advertisements that come through, but unlike Safiya, my ads are mostly for applications. This week I decided to test how my internet and social media activity is tracked by downloading the five recommended and advertised applications throughout the week.

Astral Coach

When this first showed up, I was very excited because I’m very into astrology and reading my horoscope. This app is based off of horoscope reading, but it looks like you’re talking to someone to get a more accurate reading.

Immediately when the app opens, I type in my birthday and get my horoscope for the day. Honestly, it looks pretty generic and the horoscope wasn’t that great, but that’s not what interested me in the app, so I let it go. I then headed to the palm reading section, which is what I was really interested in. The app gives you a full definition of a palm reading before you begin. Basically, it explains that a palm reading intends to reveal personality and character traits based on specific placement and curves on the human hand. By studying and interpreting the lines, we can learn about love, business, and health.

Here’s where the hustle begins. Take a picture of your hand and get ready to receive a palm reading… BOOM! But then I found out you need to pay a premium. Correct the “free” app hustles you and tells you that only premium members have access to this feature, but you can start with a free one week trial. Well, I accepted, then I still had to pay $8.99 to get the reading. Who do I look like a YouTuber with extra money?

After paying and submitting the photo, I had to wait 24 hours for an astrologer to tell me my results. Here are some of the responses:

From that point forward, every feature required an additional payment of $8.99 or $13.99. Overall, this was not a good start, and I found that the app is basically a large scam. 

Chapter Interactive Stories

I’ve seen the ad for this app multiple times on both my Facebook and Instagram which makes me think that this is very specific to me.

As soon as you open the app, you select a story, customize your character, and then begin playing. I chose the “Endless Summer” story, which was actually interesting and one of the few story choices not centered around romance. You can play this game for free and enjoy it, but for more success there are choices that require diamonds and the easiest way to gain those, besides gameplay, is by buying them.

Coin Space

Almost everyone has seen those ads for apps that let you play games or do surveys for money. When the video for this app showed gameplay resulting in Amazon gift cards instead of a normal score I was more than skeptical. I downloaded it though just to see how much of a scam it was.

I made $.35 the same day! So, may it’s not completely a scam. You don’t earn money for everything you do, that part is false advertising. As you play the mini games you earn redeemable points varying values of Amazon gift cards. I definitely wouldn’t use this as a source of income, but if you want something to do on the side then Coin Space isn’t the biggest waste of your time.

Hooked: Chat Stories

Different YouTubers have been sponsored by this app in their videos, so I wasn’t sure about how interesting it would be. Honestly, it’s called “Hooked” for a reason. All it asks is for you to choose what type of story you want to read, scary or romantic and then you’re in a story.

I was reading a story called “What’s Down Stairs?”, and it was actually really interesting, there were really only two negatives. The first, was that at some point in the story, middle or end, I was forced by the app to take a 30 minute break from reading. If I decided I didn’t want to take that break I had to become a subscriber aka pay money. The most irritating part, as you’re reading is that you’ll see cues for sound or images come up in the “text messages”, but you can’t view images or hear anything without subscribing.

As a college student, I don’t want to pay for anything, but I may go through with it just to know exactly what’s going on in these stories.

Fun Games For Free / Color By Numbers Coloring Book

The picture for this image was pretty graphic; a man was holding a woman at gunpoint. Immediately I got Grand Theft Auto vibes and was really confused by the “fun” description. Well, I clicked the install link and was actually taken to search results in the app store for multiple games and activity apps. I chose to keep the process simple and install the first one in the results list: “Color By Numbers Coloring Book.”

The only really annoying parts of this app is it asking you to become a premium member as soon as you open it, but after tapping the screen a few times that went away, and it never asked me again. Otherwise, it was your average "tap and color app," and I walked away with a cute picture.

As a whole, I don’t think all of the apps were a complete bust as far as interest level goes. The most irritating part was dealing with the push to “upgrade to premium” in order to really use the apps to the fullest. I think a lot of things show up on instagram feeds purely as paid material, but after this experiment, I realized that specific things we watch do play a part in what we see.