Facebook vs Instagram: Which platform is better for your brand?

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Facebook and Instagram are among the topmost famous social media platforms on the internet ranking no 1 and no 6 respectively as the top platforms with the highest number of monthly active users. (MAUs). 

Facebook has the highest number of users and is one of the biggest platforms in 2020. With more than two billion users on the platform, Facebook is home to almost one-third of the world’s population. Not surprising since the platform has been around for almost two decades. 

Which is better: Instagram or Facebook? 

To understand what platform is best for your brand, you have to understand how each platform’s algorithm works. 

Facebook started as a family and friends platform. That means it priorities meaningful interactions with friends and close relationships boosting engagement within circles. 

This isn’t to say that Facebook doesn’t support interactions between brands and users. That wouldn’t be true in the least way. Facebook has a comprehensive analytics feature that allows marketers to promote content and place them right in front of audiences. It allows marketers to customize content for various placements across Facebook and Instagram alike, providing a synergy between both platforms. 

On the other hand, Instagram is a newer platform established in 2010. Ever since then, it has seen major success in the industry gaining over 1 billion monthly active users. 

Instagram is a visually driven platform. Unlike Facebook that supports virtually all types of content including long-form text, Instagram is more inclined towards videos and pictures. The platform allows you to share content ranging from short videos, photos, longer IGTV Videos. 

Choosing a platform for a business or brand depends on different factors including demographics, audience engagement, content type, promotion techniques. Understanding how these factors come into play enables you to refine your brand strategy.  

Audience Demographics

As of January 2021, 33% of active Instagram users were aged between 25-34 years old. (statista.com) Younger audiences between the ages of 18-24 have a slightly lesser percentage of 29.8%. 

And for Facebook, the percentage of active users of both genders summed up to 31.6% and younger audiences saw a percentage of 23.8%.

Both platforms have a pull of both millennials and Gen Z as well. However, an audit of both platforms shows that younger prefer Instagram for brand engagement to Facebook. According to a survey by Marketing Dive, 70% of Gen Z reported that they prefer brand interaction and getting new updates via Instagram, and Snapchat. Just 6% of teens named Facebook as their favorite social media platform. 

Five years ago, users aged between the ages of 12-34 made up 58% of active users. However, that number dropped down to 32% since 2020. This means the younger generation is drifting towards lighter, more playful, visually-driven platforms, which is exactly what Instagram is. 

Older audiences are in larger numbers on Facebook than on Instagram, with Facebook having 11.3% active users aged 55 and above. While on Instagram, that number is less than half the percentage. 

User engagement

It’s obvious that Facebook has got the numbers. But Instagram has the engagement. A study reported that brands see a median engagement rate of 0.09% engagement rate per post on Facebook compared to the 1.60% median engagement on Instagram. 

This means brands more often than not are more inclined to see greater engagement on their Instagram page. But this isn’t always the case. 

Let’s look at some real-life examples. Duolingo has 1.9million likes on its Facebook page and 409k followers on Instagram. 

Looking at this, the Facebook engagement on Facebook is meant to topple the engagement on the Instagram right? Wrong.



(Comparison between Facebook engagement and Instagram engagement)

Duolingo’s Instagram page consistently receives more engagement on Instagram than it does on Facebook. 

Similar to other pages like Burger King, Mad Over Marketing, Nivea and others. 

Instagram algorithm rewards engagement. When a post is shared on Instagram, it gains a lot of traction due to the quality of content. Instagram then resurfaces the content on users’ feed so that more it gains even greater engagement. 

Promotion & running campaigns 

Facebook and Instagram campaigns go together. Campaigns can be run across platforms simultaneously, featuring content that is unique to each. 

According to ADweek, as of June 2020, marketers can promote their Instagram content for the first time without having a presence on Facebook. Although it works in certain regions, it isn’t fully implemented worldwide. 

Normally, you would have to enable a Facebook ad account to run a promotion on Instagram. 

Another differentiator between both platforms is the analytics tool.  Both platforms feature an analytics tool that lets you monitor the performance of your content and promotions. However, Facebook has a more robust analytics tool that is more flexible than Instagram. 

Both platforms can run ads on stories and feeds with content that is native to each placement. 

Running contests is easily trackable on Instagram than on Facebook. Instagram supports hashtags effortlessly. You can easily create a unique hashtag for your contests and keep things on track. 

Content Curation 

Like we established earlier, Facebook is native to longer-form content such as blogs or long captions. It’s also very welcoming of videos, pictures, games—all of which serve as unique ways of engaging your audiences. 

Unique E-commerce tools 

Both platforms are quite similar but they do have unique features. 

Instagram shopping is a brilliant tool for E-commerce brands. It has features such as shoppable posts and shoppable stories, giving users the liberty of buying preferred items on sight. It also enables in-app checkout, explore shop and augmented reality that makes the experience immersive. 

(Instagram’s Shoppable Posts)

Each post can be tagged along with an influencer, boosting the engagement and influencing the buying behaviour of users. 

The Facebook version of Instagram shopping is Facebook marketplace. It is an explore page that displays items for sale near the user based on their location. However, this feature does not enable in-app purchase but provides an option to start up a conversation with the seller at that instance. 

Combining Instagram and Facebook 

Facebook can’t replace Instagram and vice versa. Both platforms have their unique advantages and strengths over the other. 

What’s important is understanding who your audience is. That way, you know where they can be found. 

In addition, instead of sharing the same content on Facebook and Instagram, it’s best to tailor your content for each platform to gain as much engagement, leads, and conversation as possible—all of which are crucial to the success of your overall online content strategy.

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Vivan Gerald