Facebook and Instagram are undoubtedly two of the heaviest hitters in social media. If you want to reach your target audience and build your brand, there’s no better place to do it than these platforms.
That said, have you ever wondered who will win in an Instagram vs. Facebook faceoff?
At first glance, advertising on Facebook seems more enticing since it caters to a larger demographic. However, social media marketing is a complex numbers game, so you should not dismiss Instagram just yet.
You need more information to make the right choice. So, if you want to know which is best for brand building, read on.
To settle the Facebook vs. Instagram debate, you need to understand how they stack up against each other.
First, consider the numbers for Facebook:
Instagram, on the other hand, has one billion monthly active users. It also has a massive following by all accounts, although it’s not as impressive as that of Facebook.
That said, Instagram users are very engaged, as 68% of them visit the platform every day. There are also 500 million people posting on their Instagram Stories on a daily basis. In the US alone, 37% of all internet users are on Instagram. Given all these figures, it’s no wonder that around 77% of today’s marketers use the platform as part of their social strategy.
Facebook has been in the social media game longer than Instagram and has had around six years’ worth of head start. So it is only natural that more people are using it now.
However, the number of users does not tell the whole story, and we will look more into this in the next sections.
Before you launch any campaign, it is important for you to understand the characteristics of the people who buy your product or use your service.
What age group are they? Are most of them male or female? Do they come from specific locations?
Once you have this and other information, you can decide better what direction to take in terms of your marketing strategy.
For instance, when determining whether to use Facebook or Instagram for your business, you could start by looking at the type of audience that they serve. From there, it will be easier to choose one over the other based on which platform fits your target demographic better.
Instagram’s target demographic in terms of age is much more distinct.
As you can see, Instagram leans more toward younger audiences. So if your brand is designed for them, you might generate better results if you focus your marketing efforts on this platform.
Facebook does not target older audiences specifically, as it tries to be inclusive. However, compared to Instagram users, Facebook users are generally older.
If your product or service is meant for older consumers, you might be better off launching your marketing campaign on Facebook. In addition, note that older people are more financially independent and have more disposable income.
Aside from audience demographics, one of the first things that you need to focus on before kick-starting your marketing campaign is your brand objectives.
What exactly do you want to accomplish for your brand? What is your time frame for achieving this goal?
It is important to tackle these questions early on because your answers will have a huge impact on what platform you should use.
A big part of goal setting is knowing who your target audience is. Having a clear idea of what your ideal customer looks like will help guide all your ensuing marketing efforts.
Aside from that, you need to be as clear and specific as possible about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to increase lead generation or improve your conversion rate? By how much and when do you want to get this done?
Having realistic and measurable goals will make it easier for you to formulate a plan that is concrete, actionable, and, most importantly, effective.
Using the discussion in the previous section, if you want to penetrate the younger market, you might want to ramp up your marketing efforts on Instagram. Now, if you want to create a more widespread appeal and connect with different audience segments, Facebook is your best bet.
These examples are a bit of an oversimplification, but they show that things will boil down to your brand objectives.
Another reason why you should be as specific as you can in setting your targets is that it can help you gauge your marketing campaign’s performance.
For instance, if your goal is to increase your lead generation by 10% over the next six months, you should already have made some headway by the second or third month. Otherwise, you will have to look at the data and see where you went wrong, then make the necessary adjustments.
With this approach, you will be able to avoid wasting more time, energy, and marketing dollars on a strategy that does not work. Given how tough the competition is these days, getting the most out of all your resources would give you a much-needed edge.
It is important to note that when it comes to brand building, there are so many different things that you can do. Your choice will depend on your niche, what stage your business is in, what your standing is compared to your competitors, and a number of other factors.
Here are some examples of brand-building objectives:
Once you have set your goals, you will be able to decide whether you should use Facebook or Instagram, or both.
If your advertising budget is a bit limited, it is not a good idea to maintain a presence across all channels or social media platforms. If you do, you will spread yourself thin, and you will just end up falling short on all of your marketing campaigns.
In the end, it’s like you wasted what little resource you had.
A better option is to pick a platform that would give you the most return on your investment and focus most of your efforts there. And when it comes to marketing ROI, few other platforms can beat Facebook and Instagram.
The question now is, if you had to choose between the two, which one should you pick?
To help you make this decision, let us look at the advertising costs for each platform.
This year, the average cost per click or CPC for Facebook Ads is $0.97. It ranges between $0.80 and $1.10 for most industries.
If you think that this is a reasonable price point, you would be right. It is much lower than the average CPC for Instagram, which is $3.56. LinkedIn has an even higher CPC average of $5.26.
If you are looking for cheaper alternatives, Twitter and Amazon are your best options, with average CPCs of $0.38 and $0.89, respectively.
Here are the rates for other popular channels:
If you are not familiar with the term CPC, it is a pricing model where advertisers would pay every time someone clicks on one of their ads. It offers a simple but effective way for businesses and marketers to evaluate the efficiency of their ad spending.
Another way that you can look at advertising spending is with the cost per mille or CPM. It is the amount that an advertiser would pay for every one thousand impressions. CPM is a bit different from CPC because it focuses on ad views instead of clicks.
When it comes to this pricing model, Facebook and Instagram are neck and neck. Facebook’s average CPM is $7.19, while Instagram’s is $7.91.
Here’s a quick look at the average CPM for other major social media platforms:
Since CPCs are focused on clicks, they can help draw visits and increase your sales. However, with CPMs, you’re more concerned with having your ads appear on websites, which is a better approach for increasing brand visibility.
Either way, it is clear that Facebook is the better choice in terms of advertising costs. It has a much cheaper CPC and a slightly lower CPM compared to Instagram.
Some companies make the mistake of using Instagram the way they would use Facebook in the way they approach content creation. As a result, they are not able to maximise user engagement, which means that the ROI for their marketing efforts is a bit low.
First off, you could not use one platform to replace the other, as they are two very different animals. What works on Facebook would not be as effective on Instagram, and vice versa.
Before we dive deeper into their differences, let us first take a quick look at the different types of content.
Social media posts can be categorised into five primary types of content. Here are they:
The emergence of smartphones made it much easier for people to take pictures and videos. It doesn’t matter if they do not have the skills or experience. All they have to do is point the camera and hit the capture or record button.
Social media platforms, on the other hand, made it easier to share these types of content. Anyone with access to the internet can now upload a tutorial, how-to guide, or any other type of engaging video or image.
So it is no wonder that marketers today rate it as their most potent tool for reaching their social media goals.
Here’s a glimpse of how marketers value the different types of content in terms of marketing potential:
Based on these numbers, it is evident that videos are very effective when it comes to building brands. So it comes as a big surprise that they account for only 14% of all Facebook posts. The percentages of video posts on Instagram (11%) and Twitter (5%) are even lower.
That being said, 87% of all Instagram posts are images. For Facebook, it is a little over 71%. It means that while both platforms are visually-driven, Instagram is much more so. That is probably why 48% of today’s consumers like businesses to use it more for brand building.
So if you think that your target audience prefers a more visual style, then you should definitely shift your attention to Instagram. This is especially true given that Instagram has an assortment of tools that allow you to create both long and short-form videos more quickly. In addition, it offers more ways for you to test different styles and concepts.
Another reason why Instagram has the upper hand when it comes to visual content is that it has revitalised its live streaming capabilities. This is a very important development because live videos have gained traction during the pandemic, as shown by YouTube and Facebook.
What’s more, Instagram Stories continues to set the bar high, forcing Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Snapchat to follow suit. What sets Instagram apart is that it lets you turn Stories into Highlights in your profile.
When deciding between Facebook and Instagram, you have to consider a lot of factors. However, they all have one thing in common: they should lead you to where your target audience is.
It makes sense to focus all your efforts on the platforms where your ideal customers congregate since it lets you generate the most results. You attract the right kind of attention and create more leads, which means that you have more opportunities to convert visits into sales. Launching ads in places where your target audience won’t see them would be a big waste of your marketing resources.
That is why you identify your target demographic — so you can find out which platform to use. You also try to find out if they consume visual or text-based content, so you know where to find them.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that Facebook and Instagram behave differently as advertising tools. That is because Facebook’s audience targeting capability is much more robust than Instagram’s native targeting features.
Facebook has an array of audience-refining tools in its arsenal, allowing you to identify and pursue more potential customers. It is the go-to platform if you want to launch a highly-targeted campaign.
Between Facebook and Instagram, you have a bottomless well of potential customers, clients, and buyers. Therefore, it is best if you maintain a strong presence on both platforms.
If you have to choose between the two, you have your work cut out for you. Still, it is possible to identify which platform suits you better by analysing your target demographics, identifying your branding objectives, understanding what types of content your ideal customers consume, and weighing the costs.
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