Instagram ads vs Facebook ads: Which is better for your business?

If you are Content Creator or Marketer, You must have asked yourself this million-dollar question.

Which is the best platform to promote our online content through Ads?

Facebook or Instagram? There is so much advice all over the internet so the answer is not really straightforward.

Here is the thing, if you have a limited social advertising budget but you don’t know where to drop it, you really need to read through this article till the end so that you can make a decision.

While the two platforms do have overlapping users, the specifics of interactions and demographics are still different.

There are various advantages to running on either platform or on both.

Either way, the same ad running on both platforms won’t yield the same results.

Breaking the components of an ad down will help you decide which one is best for you.

Before you dive into this article, you need to ask yourself a few questions that will help you determine whether it is worth promoting posts on Facebook and Instagram or not in relation to your brand or business.

  1. Which social media platform has a broader reach?
  2. What demographics do Facebook and Instagram cover?
  3. Which social media platform is more engaging?
  4. Which social media platform has more optimization options for advertising?
  5. Which social media platform is best for which type of goal?
  6. Is it a good idea to run Ads on both Facebook and Instagram simultaneously?



Facebook-vs-Instagram ads


Facebook and Instagram: what do they have to offer?

You already know that Facebook and Instagram are among the most interactive platforms and can really give you an amazing ROI.

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!


Ads management.

Both Instagram and Facebook ads can be managed through Facebook’s Ads Manager.

This single location for ad resource makes it easy for marketers to select multiple audiences and placements.

Campaigns are easily managed and results are downloadable.

On Facebook, the campaign manager has many options for objectives, ad sets, and ads.

You have a multitude of combinations to test out and plenty of ways to preview all the available ads.

On Instagram, the ads manager went for the simple-is-best route.

In just a few taps, you can have your ad set up with an existing post or story.

If you don’t want the nitty-gritty data and you just want the big picture with an easy interface, Instagram is the best ads management platform for you.

Along similar lines, if you are new to advertising for both platforms and you have existing audiences on each, test out the waters with Instagram first.

Once you have a grasp on how it works,  you’ll be more prepared to get the most out of the options on Facebook.


Types of ads.

There are various types of ads you can run on each platform.

For Facebook, 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.

Seems overwhelming right?

Don’t worry, just look for the type that is the most engaging, gives you a lot of space for creativity and can give you a remarkable ROI.

For example Facebook Carousel Ads and Facebook Collection Ads.

Like I said earlier, Instagram is more simple.

It has only 4 types of ads for you to choose from:

  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.

Have you ever thought of doing Story Ads?

Even though Instagram does not have a variety of Ads, they offer story ads that perform so much better than Feed Ads.

They 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 installs, 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.


Demographics, audiences, and targeting.

Looking at your existing demographics and audiences is important when it comes to choosing a platform to run your Ads.

What’s the difference?

Sometimes used interchangeably, a network’s demographic is usually in reference to its overall user base over billions of accounts.

The audience, though, is your own account’s followers that you have the ability to reach.

If you want to generate new followers or fans, then you’ll need to take a look at demographics because you need to make sure the people in your desired target audience are already active on that network.

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.

According to research, 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. 

Once you’ve determined that your target demographics for your ads exist, then you can execute your ad.

If you’re looking to gain engagement or interactions on the ads, then you’ll have to examine your audiences.

To have a successful ad with engagement, you need to have some existing followers or fans who will interact with your ad.

The easiest way to do this is to boost a post, which is accessible for both networks in your profile, no ads manager necessary.

In this particular case, both networks are tied in terms of ease of use.



Take a look at your existing content or your content budget.

What kind of content do you have? Do you have the ability to invest in more?

Are there videos or photos that were taken specifically for ad purposes or do you have mostly posts that you want to boost the visibility of?

Instagram and Facebook differ substantially on content types and interactions with them.

On Facebook, you have the option to advertise with multiple types of ads.

For Instagram ad types you won’t have the ability to make any in-caption links clickable.

Instead, you’ll need to use the call-to-action buttons to add a link.

When examining your content, also think about your goals. If the content doesn’t match your goal, then your ad isn’t going anywhere no matter how good the copy is.

Behavior on Facebook leans towards interacting with friends and family, sharing interesting links and informative posts.

More robust and shareable content such as blog posts, news articles or case studies can get attention on the platform.

On Instagram, the behavior is far more visually oriented. You have to think of creating compelling photos or videos first there before any other type of content.

News articles obviously don’t perform the best here unless they’re accompanied by an attention-grabbing image that helps tell the story.

If you have strong visual content to spare for ads, then Instagram will be your better choice. This network will also be good if you have the budget to spare for creating this kind of content.

If your content is more varied or includes more written content, then Facebook may be better for your business.



Having SMART goals is tied into almost every aspect of deciding where to run your ads.

If you don’t have clear goals in mind for your ads, then you need to stop and think about this before you continue further.

Without concrete goals in place, you won’t be able to determine metrics, the success of the campaign, or even figure out the targeting you want.

Facebook’s Ad Manager makes it easy to choose goals by having you select your objective from the get-go. This manages both Instagram and Facebook ads, though not all of these options are available on Instagram.

If you were to advertise on Instagram via the app, you do not have a choice in the objective. Keep this in mind when you’re pinpointing your goals.

Objectives like brand awareness paired with eye-grabbing content would perform well on Instagram.

Whereas, an objective like website clicks paired with a favorable news or review article would be better on Facebook.



The Industry you are in also determines whether to advertise on Facebook or Instagram.

Industries that favor visuals like food, fashion, and hip consumer products are stronger on Instagram for a reason.

If you already have an account on both platforms, take a look at your overall social media analytics to see which is already gaining the most organic type of interaction that you’re aiming for.

Getting more clicks on Facebook? Take that into account and create an ad similar to that type of content.

The industry you’re in also affects how much you’ll be paying for the ads.

More expensive products will need to have ads run multiple times for consumer awareness to help promote consideration of the purchase and move customers down the marketing funnel.

If the industry doesn’t have a strong presence on the network, then you might have less competition in advertising and therefore, a lower cost.

This being said, you need to have both a small industry presence and a high target demographic to aim the ad towards. If this doesn’t exist, then your ad won’t perform because the audience is too small for it to get any traction.


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.


Mobile-friendliness and mobile users.

Is Facebook much different when accessed via a 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.

Now, research shows that 95.1% of active user accounts access Facebook via smartphone, 31.8% via laptop and desktop, and only 8.8% via tablets.

As far as Instagram is concerned, hardly anybody accesses the platform via laptops and PCs. Most access it either via smartphone or tablet.

That means, if you want to launch your social media campaign on Facebook, you should optimize your content for mobile users.

As far as Instagram is concerned, you have no other choice but to make all your posts and/or ads mobile-friendly.



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.

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. Remember, just like each and every compelling blog post of yours should be accompanied by a link to your site in your author bio, and a CTA, so should your ads. It’ll increase your traffic and sales.
  6. Make a good use of hashtags.
  7. 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.



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.

Don’t be afraid to test out waters with various content types and objectives while serving the same audience.

The advantage of both platforms is the ability to tweak ads as they are running. Is a campaign going overboard on the budget?

Tone it down or end it early. Is one type of content performing better than another for an audience?

End the poorly performing ad.

Social media advertising success is a mix of planning, analysis and a little luck.

The strategy you used a year ago might not work today and the same goes for the future.

In addition, the networks are constantly adjusting their algorithms and advertising features.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Instagram’s targeting expand to be more like Facebook’s or to have new Instagram-specific options added.

And if reading this guide made you realize you need to reexamine your social strategy before you embark on paid ads, Contact Us so that we can help you get started in a new direction.



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