Let’s be honest, 

social media marketing is a versatile, cost-effective and powerful tool to use for marketers and small business owners alike. It helps to reach the target audience, boosts sales, increases brand recognition, enhances conversion rates, boosts traffic to your website and even, improves search engine rankings. No wonder, then, that more and more businesses decide to include social media in their marketing strategies.

Now, whether you’re a beginner marketer or an experienced one, you may want to know on which platform to launch your social media campaign. After all, social media advertising can be expensive and to get the best results, you need to invest in the right ads on the right platform.

Facebook and Instagram: what do they have to offer?

Among all social media platforms there are two, which are the most interactive and so, can give you a remarkable ROI (return on investment): Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook, as you probably already know, is big. Actually, it’s more than big. Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has grown so much that the average number of daily users for June, 2018 equals 1.47 billion. Although it’s original mission was to help people stay in touch with their friends and family members, nowadays, it also helps companies reach their customers through advertising.

Instagram, on the other hand, is a younger platform. Launched in 2010, Instagram is the home for visual storytelling for everyone: artists, celebrities, teens, brands and others. After its launch, it immediately gained popularity and in 2017, had 800 million users worldwide.

In fact, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, seeing the rapid growth and success of Instagram, decided to buy it in April, 2012.

Now, it’s obvious that both platforms are great for advertising. However, would you be better off launching your social media campaign on one or both of them?

Let’s figure it out!

Facebook vs. Instagram: brand engagement.

Did you know that there are over 60 million Business Pages on Facebook?

Unfortunately, although many users Like or follow a FB Business Page, only 32% of them engage with brands on Facebook regularly by sharing content, leaving comments and asking questions.

The situation looks a bit better with Instagram. 70.7% of companies use Instagram for marketing purposes. Many created Instagram Business Profiles and advertise regularly. What’s more, 80% of users follow a business on Instagram and, as you can see above, 68% of them engage with brands on a regular basis.

Now, since Instagram has higher brand engagement, would you receive more views, shares and comments when posting every type of content or ad on Instagram rather than on Facebook? Interestingly, no.

Although Facebook has lower brand engagement, it gets over 8 billion daily video views. Instagram, on the other hand, does great with images. Thus, it is a good practice to invest in Video Ads on Facebook and Photo Ads on Instagram.

Facebook vs. Instagram: audience and targeting.

Facebook might not be the best social media platform in terms of customer engagement with brands, but, because it’s one of the oldest social media platforms and one that gained the biggest popularity, it has an enormous audience worldwide.

men and women from all age groups are active on Facebook. However, the most active users are 25-34 year old men.

Instagram, on the other hand, has a smaller audience. Statistics show that although both men and women use Instagram, neither both sexes nor all age groups are equally active. It occurs that Instagram’s main audience is 18 to 34-year-old men and women.

Thus, if you’re trying to reach women from younger generations, that is Generation Z and Millennials, you should advertise predominantly on Instagram. If your target audience is young men, then you have equal chances of reaching them on both social media platforms.

As far as older generations are concerned, they’re not so active on either platform. However, you’ve much bigger chances of reaching them on Facebook rather than on Instagram.

Facebook vs. Instagram: mobile-friendliness and mobile users.

Is Facebook much different when accessed via mobile app than via a Web browser on your PC? Not really. The only difference is in layout and overall design (after all, smartphones have much smaller screens than laptops and PCs). However, you can check activity as well as read and create posts both via mobile and desktop. Also, you can easily access Messenger from both devices. Thus, Facebook is perfectly optimized for desktop, laptop as well as mobile usage.

Instagram, on the other hand, lacks a desktop experience. It puts a number of limitations on users when they log in through a Web browser. For example, on Instagram you can’t easily upload photos, edit the existing posts or watch Instagram stories. It’s been created predominantly for mobile users to share interesting moments of their lives instantly.

Thus, when you want to do some advertising, on Facebook it doesn’t matter what device you use and how you access the platform. On Instagram, on the other hand, you have to do all via an app.

Facebook vs. Instagram: types of ads.

Is Facebook a better platform to advertise online than Instagram?

When you take a look at Facebook Ads Guide you can notice that there are many different types of ads available on Facebook. In fact, there are 11 types of ads you can choose from:

  1. Video Ads: recommended videos up to 15 seconds with subtitles.
  2. Image Ads: an eye-catchy image accompanied by a persuasive message.
  3. Collection Ads: a cover image or video followed by a few product photos.
  4. Carousel Ads: you can showcase up to 10 images (or videos) in a single ad, each with its own link.
  5. Slideshow Ads: video-like ads, which use motion, sound and text to tell your story.
  6. Facebook Instant Experiences/Canvas Ads: mobile-optimized ads that show all your videos, photos, carousels and product images in a single ad.
  7. Lead Generation Ads: capture user’s information.
  8. Offer Ads: allow you to create and extend timely discounts and promotions to your target audience.
  9. Post Engagement Ads/Boosted Posts: help you share information about your business with users.
  10. Event Response Ads: help you to promote events.
  11. Page Likes: can be used to drive your audience to Like your Facebook Page.

As you can see, there’s a variety of ads you can create on Facebook. However, although all can give you great results, there are a few that are the most engaging, give you a lot of space for creativity and can give you a remarkable ROI: Carousel Facebook Ads

… and Facebook Collection Ads

Now, what about Instagram? Can Instagram also offer you a huge variety of ads? As a matter of fact, not really.

There are only 4 types of ads for you to choose from on Instagram:

  1. Photo Ads: allow you to showcase your products through images.
  2. Video Ads: can be up to 60 seconds.
  3. Carousel Ads: users can swipe through up to 10 images or videos, each with a CTA button that connects them to your website.
  4. Stories Ads: full-screen ads in which you can share photos and videos with your audience.

As you can see, there are fewer types of ads on Instagram than on Facebook. Still, Instagram has something to offer. Let’s take a closer look at Stories Ads.

Did you know that Stories Ads are better than Feed Ads? A recent study proves that Instagram Stories have a 23% higher conversion rate than Feed Ads and have 78% more Clicks. Amazing, isn’t it?

Also, since Stories Ads are versatile, they give you a lot of space for creativity and allow you to launch many different types of social media campaigns, such as brand awareness, app instals, lead generation, traffic for clicks or driving sales. Thus, they are one of the best and cost-effective types of ads to use on Instagram.

Now, here’s the final question: which ads on which of the two platforms should you invest in?

I’m afraid that that depends on the type of your business and what you want to achieve in your campaign. Here’s a tip: read more about each and every type of ad and invest in those ads that best fit your current strategy.

Facebook vs. Instagram: costs.

How much do Facebook ads cost? Are they expensive?

Let’s be honest, no matter the platform, every social media marketing campaign is costly. Facebook Advertising isn’t cheap. Although the average CPC (cost per click) equals only £0.27 and CPM (cost per thousand impressions) £7.19, there are many factors that can influence the cost of your ads:

  • Ad objective,
  • Bidding type and amount,
  • Audience,
  • Ad quality,
  • Your industry.

Thus, in the end, you can pay much more than you thought.

Instagram Advertising isn’t any cheaper. Although the average CPC is £1.41 and CPM £7.91, the cost of ads are influenced by a number of factors ranging from your audience to your ad feedback.

Since the costs can be high, is it worth to advertise on any of the two platforms? Yes, it is. Remember, both Facebook, as well as Instagram ads, can give you a high ROI. But, in order not to go bankrupt with social media advertising, you need to be smart about creating and choosing ad types.

Here are a few tips that will help you to start your social media campaign on a budget:

  1. Spend your money on those ads that best fit your strategy (don’t invest in all of them).
  2. Make sure each and every ad you create has a purpose (don’t give too much for free).
  3. Treat social media advertising as an investment, not a cost, and expect a return.
  4. Target the right audience and narrow it down.
  5. Make a good use of hashtags.
  6. Invest in quality, not quantity. Wow your audience with your videos, images and pictures of your products.

Also, if it’s possible, hire a professional who’ll help you launch your social media campaign and guide you through it. I know what you want to say: it’s an additional cost. Yes, it is, but if you’re a beginner marketer who’s never done any advertising, ask yourself: will hiring a professional cost you more than trying to learn everything by investing in every type of ad and seeing how it goes?

Should you run your social media campaign on both platforms?

Why not? Both Facebook and Instagram have a lot to offer and can give you a high ROI. So, take advantage of both platforms! Remember, some types of ads do better on one platform and some on the other (like image and video ads). Also, you can decide to reach Millennials only on Instagram and older generations on Facebook. There are many possibilities and strategies you can use.