Based on conversations I have had with clients, I can take a pretty well-educated guess that there are readers who are looking at the headline and saying to themselves “Instagram marketing? Isn’t that the picture app? You can do ads in Instagram?”
If this sounds like you, take a moment to download Instagram to your phone and set it up. A great way to get started is to look up the top 100 Instagram accounts and follow the ones that pique your interest. I advise not necessarily importing all your friends from Facebook, as it can quickly become another feed of friends’ selfies. Pick out the friends who are interesting. Really tailor the experience to what you enjoy. Go on. I can wait.
Facebook acquired Instagram a few years back, and at first glance, it may seem that they have similar features. Both have stories that time out after 24 hours. This was Facebook appropriating some features from Snapchat. They both have messengers that you can use to communicate with friends, albeit Facebook Messenger has a much more robust and stand-alone interface.
When it comes to the actual interface, Facebook definitely has more to offer, with the news feed, side feeds, pages, groups and marketplace; the list of features within Facebook grows everyday. You can find ads in your newsfeed, on the sidebar, in messenger, and all throughout Facebook. Instagram has a much cleaner interface, with fewer avenues for advertisers to reach you, limiting it to the stories on the top bar, and to ads throughout your feed. Where Facebook ads can be a touch overwhelming, Instagram ads tend to feel closer to being like user generated content.
Facebook clearly has a larger market share reach with 2.07 billion monthly active users, according to the latest research from Dreamgrow. If your goal is to increase visibility, Facebook would be the platform to utilize. However, with 800 million active monthly users and 500 million daily active users, Instagram has a highly engaged user base. A Locowise study in March 2016 shows that Instagram had a 0.84 percent engagement rate amongst users of social media in comparison to 0.53 percent for Facebook. A study in 2015 by Forrester showed that user interactions with brands are highest on Instagram when compared to every other social network.
What it often comes down to with marketing is trying to reach your target market. Instagram boasts a younger user base, with 55 percent of young adults between the age of 18-29 on Instagram, and some of its users don’t even utilize Facebook.
Facebook attracts adult users from all age groups.
In looking at the data, a few trends begin to appear:
Instagram has better engagement among its viewers, with exponential differences in interactions with posts. Simply said, two almost identical posts between platforms (Facebook vs. Instagram) will perform 10 times better on Instagram, as shown in a recent study by Entrepreneur Magazine. Instagram is less saturated with marketing, so users engage with the existing ads at a much higher rate.
The larger user base of Facebook allows for a greater reach than Instagram, spanning most age groups. You are more likely to have much higher visibility across age groups with Facebook.
Instagram is a better platform for reaching the younger consumer base, with companies utilizing the creative aspect of Instagram to find success in reaching this target market.
So what is the right answer? Is there a right answer?
It all comes down to who you are trying to reach and what the goals of your campaign are. This is where knowing your customers’ profiles comes into play. You need to know where your target audience is based, their gender, interests, age, etc. Targeting is everything when making decisions about where to allocate your ad budget.
Facebook and Instagram are both easy to use when it involves running advertising and marketing campaigns. You can determine your audience, track your campaigns, find out how many people have been reached and analyze conversions. Facebook and Instagram use the same ad manager to create campaigns and monitor reach, engagement and user conversions.
Are you trying to reach the younger demographic? Instagram.
Are you trying to gain visibility for your product? Facebook, hands down. Looking for better engagement with your posts? Instagram for 10 times more likes on average. Trying to distribute information? Facebook allows live links to your blogs and your product pages.
The real answer is to test both avenues out. Don’t discredit one and put all your money into just one advertising basket. Since Facebook and Instagram use the same ad manager, it is easy to test out ad campaigns in each forum. Facebook offers a wide variety of options for displaying your ad, but tends to be a little saturated with marketing ads. Instagram is more limited in options but has more interactions with their customer base.
You don’t have to go big right away. Allocate $20 to each campaign and see what gets you results. Keep in mind that consumers are not seeing your organic posts as frequently anymore. This is a pay-to-play scenario when advertising on social media. The great thing is that it works!