It may seem like comparing Facebook and Instagram’s ad platforms would be rather tricky, due to them being owned by the same organisation, but also because of their difference in style and content.

However, both of these platforms are amongst the most popular for ads, and content in general, so many people do weigh up the pros, cons and differences of these platforms in order to garner which one will be the best avenue for their business. Long story short, you guessed it, they’re different!

facebook app open facebook vs instagram advertising

Advertising on Facebook or Instagram will have different strengths and weaknesses, this much is obvious, instead of choosing which platform will have the best results, you should be choosing which platform will have the best results for YOU. Let us explain…

Advertising on Facebook

Facebook’s advertising options are incredibly well used by world-renowned brands and small businesses alike; it is the most used social media platform with over 2 billion users. It’s clear to see that this is where the majority of people are, however, this can result in a ‘small fish in a big pond’ effect, making it difficult to compete. Knowing your audience is important and we’ll get into that.

75% of internet-using adults, aged between 16 and 22, are Facebook users and 80% of internet users aged between 23 and 34 are too. Social media is monopolised by younger audiences in general, however, comparing the same stats (but on Instagram), we can see that the respective percentages are 59% and 38%. So, there is definitely a bigger audience, and a wider age range, on this platform; as you can see from the stats below.

facebook vs instagram advertising

Stats taken from emarker.

So, there’s no lack of people to reach out to with your ad content, however, 68% of people seeing brand’s ads on this platform claim to ignore these ads, even if they already follow the brand's page. So, it’s all about reaching the right people with your content and reaching them effectively. Facebook advertising has a good few objectives, including brand awareness, lead generation and traffic. These objectives are able to cater to imagery and video content, carousels and even their most recent addition - Collection Ads. What’s more, your ads are also running through the Facebook network, which includes Instagram. There’s no denying that Facebook’s Ads Manager is more comprehensive than Instagram’s app-based ads platform, with far more options for targeting especially. You can find out more about Facebook’s targeting in this infographic by Wordstream. But, what does it bring to the table in terms of results?

example of the facebook ads page facebook vs instagram advertising

More visibility (audience and demographics)
With a higher number of people on this platform and a wider audience range, there is more scope for brands looking to reach people with varying age ranges. If you’re focused on a middle-aged or older demographic (40+), Facebook is the place for you. If you’re focusing on a wider demographic in general, for example, 18 - 55, you are likely to have more luck on this platform or a combination of the two to reach the right people in the right places.

Linking on Facebook
As you may know, Instagram is very limited when it comes to links, with them being confined to ads or the bio on your profile (however, there is the option to use software link LinkTree to get more links out of your bio. This will replace your link with a LinkTree link and when it’s clicked on, it will take you to a page full of links to different places on your website that you can curate yourself). This makes the organic click through a little less likely, but with it being an alien thing to do on singular posts on this app, it can result in people not even thinking to do it on your ads; opting instead to head onto your profile and click the link there. However, on Facebook, your ad (as well as any organic content) is able to link anywhere you choose and on any post, making it easy to run campaigns and boosted posts in a format that people expect to be clicking on a link. Both organically and on ads, this is a bonus for this platform.

Higher CTR
Leading on from our previous point, ads on Facebook have the expectation of leading to somewhere else; whether that’s to buy, book or browse. So naturally and organically, Facebook is ahead on Instagram in this regard. However, generally speaking, the CTR on Facebook is higher than that of Instagram. The average CTR on Facebook, across industries, is 0.9%. However, on Instagram, it is around 0.52% (according to AdStage).

Advertising on Instagram

Instagram is incredibly visual and it’s a great place for brands to showcase their content. In fact, 80% of the 800 million Instagram users follow at least one business profile, and 200 million of those users are consistently checking in to see what their favourite brands doing. So it’s certainly worth having a profile and consistent content, even if you don’t have ads running.

However, Instagram is targeted more towards a younger demographic, with the main user base being aged between 18 - 30. This puts the content on Instagram geared more toward millennials, with strong visual content around industries like fashion, beauty and architecture. However, with this smaller demographic and audience, Instagram has managed to achieve a far higher rate of engagement, when compared to Facebook; which we will get to. However, one of the bigger downsides to this platform is their ad platform.

Their targeting and objective options are a lot narrower than Facebook’s and offer only 4-10 interests when targeting and less comprehensive location targeting. The budget and duration options are also a little more limited and operated through a sliding function. Shown below.

example of the Instagram ads manager facebook vs instagram advertising

Of course, this is done through the app and not through Facebook’s ads manager (as Instagram ads can be run through here as well by editing the ad placements. This is how we would recommend running Instagram ads. However, we are comparing the two platforms in this article), so there is likely to be a little more limitation. Though the targeting may not be as granular as Facebook's, this doesn’t hinder the positive elements…

More engagement
Instagram users are generally more switched on and engaged than Facebook audiences. A Selfstartr study claims that only 32% of Facebook users regularly interact with brands, compared to 68% of Instagram users. Overall, the study highlighted that brands receive 58x more engagement per follower on Instagram than Facebook.

Brand awareness
As this is a millennial filled platform, the generation that is now maturing and spending their money, you better believe this is the ideal place to showcase your products. 60% of Instagram users say that they use the platform to learn about a product or service, and 75% end up taking action, such as searching for a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post. In fact, one-third of Instagram users have used their mobile to complete a transaction. If you want to make people more aware of your brand, do it here.

Better for targeting younger people
This social media is used predominantly by the 18-30-year-old demographic, so it makes sense that if your product is targeting to this demographic, that this is where you would choose to advertise!

instagram app open facebook vs instagram advertising

Instagram VS Facebook

In conclusion, there perhaps isn’t necessarily a competition to be had between these platforms. Instead, they are more suited to different things. Instead of pitting the platforms against one another, find one that suits the objectives of your ads or use the platforms in tandem to create better results.

What result do you want from your social media efforts and how are you going to get there? If you’re interested in reaching a wider audience and getting traffic directly from the ad on your social media, you should try Facebook. If you want to increase brand awareness and engagement and feel your product caters to the tech-savvy millennial, try your hand at Instagram. You can even run it through the Facebook ads manager for a more targeted approach when it comes to choosing your audience and budget!

Overall, we would recommend creating a structured social media plan that allows you to utilise the benefits of both of these platforms. If you’re unsure about how to get started or you’re interested in working with us on your digital marketing, you can get in touch via the form below!

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