Facebook vs. Instagram: Where Should I Put My Ad Money?

man on phone checking social media

So you’ve decided to branch out into social media advertising. First of all, congratulations! With roughly 2.9 billion active users on Facebook and 1.4 billion active users on Instagram according to Statista, it’s no wonder why so many marketers and businesses invest in paid advertising on the platforms. While an organic social media strategy is a must-have, a paid strategy ensures that your message and presence is being seen by new potential customers.  

You may find yourself wondering which platform is going to give you the best results for your budget: Facebook or Instagram. While the two are both managed under Facebook Ads Manager, they have some notable differences. Here are three questions to consider when deciding whether to advertise on Facebook or Instagram. 

Who are you trying to reach? 

Facebook and Instagram may be owned by the same company but their user demographics are significantly different. For starters, Facebook’s audience skews older than Instagram’s. The largest age group among Facebook users is ages 25-34, while Instagram’s largest age group is ages 17-24. So, if you run a trendy apparel business, for example, Instagram might be your best bet. On the other hand, Facebook may offer more quality traffic if you are selling products marketed towards parents.  

What are your goals?  

Whether it’s engagement, traffic, or brand awareness, every online advertising campaign needs to have a goal. In fact, you can’t set up an Instagram or Facebook campaign without a marketing objective. Once you set a goal for your campaign, use that objective to inform which platform you place your ads on. According to Sprout Social, Instagram’s visual format makes it a great option for a brand awareness campaign. On the other hand, with more link based content, Facebook can be ideal for a traffic campaign. 

While one platform may seem more in line with your campaign objective, don’t be afraid to test your ads on both platforms. You might find that certain specifics of your campaign such as your business’s niche resonate more on one platform versus the other.  

What type of ads will you be running? 

Your choice in creative should also inform whether you decide to advertise on Facebook or Instagram. If your ads are more text-focused, you might benefit from trying Facebook ads first. However, if your ads rely on stunning images, Instagram may be the best placement for them. If you plan to use video in your advertising campaign, consider the amount of text in the video as well as the length. Search Engine Journal recommends Instagram for short-form video ads “with the goal of driving engagement.”  

There are so many different types of ads you can test. Start off your campaign with a healthy variety of creative and don’t be afraid to let ads run on both platforms in a number of different placements. The beauty of online advertising is you can always optimize based on the data as the campaign progresses. 

Online advertising, whether it is on Facebook or Instagram, isn’t one-size-fits-all. Much like social media, the advertising landscape is always changing. Even if you do land on a strategy that gets you the results you’re looking for, it’s only a matter of time until you need to rethink your approach. For online advertising solutions from professionals who know how to optimize for results and adapt to changes, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

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