If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably been asking yourself the same question I have been lately. The question of which social media marketing platform, Instagram vs. Facebook, is the best social media for business in 2019. The digital marketing world is constantly changing, algorithms change, the way people engage is changing, and now social media itself is changing.
With all that change, it’s hard to keep up with what’s working and what’s not. To put my question to an end, I decided to dive into both social media platforms and have a closer look at each of their pros and cons. I looked at stats over the past couple of years for each platform, algorithms, business tools that each platform offers and the target audiences that are most frequently engaged in each platform. I’ve taken all this info and shoved it into this one helpful blog post so that you can make an educated decision on which, if not both, social media platforms are right for your specific business model.
Which Social Media Platform is better for digital marketing in 2019?
The sheer number of users on each platform is mind-blowing. Instagram stands at over 800 million monthly users and Facebook proudly takes the #1 ranking social media platform at a whopping 2 billion monthly users. Those numbers are undeniable pots of gold for online business owners. If you’re wanting to be seen online and engage with your audience, it only makes sense to utilize one or both of these platforms.
That being said though, maintaining a business is hard enough, if you can cut costs and save time anywhere, I’m sure you would. So, let’s dive in and see if you would benefit by using one platform over the other.
Comparing these two social media platforms, it’s easy to see that Facebook is still the dominating force for social sharing amongst friend groups. According to Statista.com “Facebook Messenger is the leading social networking app in the United States, with over 2.3 million downloads in the Apple App Store.” The platform has over 100 million users in the United States alone and still has room for growth. With the increasing number of Facebook business users and the capabilities that Facebook Messenger has over other app competition, there’s no doubt that Facebook is a strong competitor as a social media marketing hub. In fact, here are a few things that Facebook has implemented that other social media platforms have not yet implemented:
- The ability to create a Facebook Business Page
- Facebook Ads (arguably some of the best marketing ads in the digital marketing arena)
- Ad testing
- Facebook Messenger Chatbots
- Built-in performance measurement capabilities
- The ability to set Ad Budgets
Once you have a Facebook business page set up, the system automatically sends you reminders to stay engaged with your community of followers. Another thing I really like about Facebook business pages is that as soon as someone likes your page, they automatically become a follower, meaning every time you post, it will appear in their news feed. This is super helpful for growing your target audience and getting your page seen by the people who want your content.
Ever since Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, the platform has more than tripled its net worth. With over 1 billion users, it comes in a close second to the Facebook powerhouse platform. Instagram stands out for its customer engagement. According to Ad Expresso, “Instagram images get an average of 23% more engagement than their Facebook counterparts.” Brand engagement alone is more than 10 times higher than on Facebook. According to Instagram:
- 80% of users follow at least one brand on Instagram
- 70% of users look up a brand on Instagram
- 60% of these users saying they’ve discovered new products or services through Instagram
- 65% of top-performing Instagram posts feature products
- 30% of Instagram users have purchased products they discovered on Instagram
These stats tell a story of just how powerful Instagram can be for social media marketing for businesses. Instagram is a platform that makes it easy to find what you are looking for, see what a brand is all about, offer products or services using powerful imagery and ultimately turn leads into sales. The ability to gain customer attention through Insta-stories and the swipe up option has drastically increased e-commerce business as well. Hashtags have made it easy for businesses to attract a more targeted audience. With all of these capabilities, it wouldn’t surprise me if Instagram became the leader in Social Media Marketing for businesses in the next few years.
Target Audience Instagram vs. Facebook
According to Statista, Facebook’s dominating audience is men ranging from 25-34 years old. Instagram, on the other hand, has a dominating audience of 18-34-year-old men and women. Since Facebook is an older platform, there is also a larger presence of 40-60-year-olds.
Depending on your target audience, you can potentially utilize both platforms to gain attention, but if your audience is women ages 18-34, you would spend your time more wisely on Instagram rather than Facebook.
Brand Engagement Instagram vs. Facebook
With 60 million Facebook Business Pages, Facebook still takes the lead in the sheer amount of user marketing presence. Instagram, however, has 58 times more brand engagement over Facebook. Although there are a massive amount of Facebook business pages, only about 32% of them actually engage with their followers on Facebook. With that being said, however, when it comes to daily video views, it seems Facebook takes the lead with over 8 billion video views per day. Finally, since 2012, Facebook’s organic marketing has declined by 63% while Instagram has increased in organic marketing by 115%.
Those are pretty wild numbers. On one hand, you have an outrageous number of Facebook business pages and more video engagement. On the other hand, you have Instagram with fewer business pages, less video engagement, but overall more audience engagement through organic marketing efforts.
Algorithms Instagram vs. Facebook
A massive variable in each platform’s success is the algorithms. Facebook and Instagram social media platforms have both created algorithms to deliver content to their users. Instagram’s algorithms are largely influenced by relationship, interest and how recent the post is. Facebook’s algorithms are largely influenced by comments, reactions and sharing links via Facebook messenger. Below is a list of how each Social Media platform performs:
- Engagement: How many hearts and comments are on each post
- Relevancy: Post relevancy to the user
- Relationships: Users that interact with a particular account more frequently are ranked higher
- Timeline: Most recent posts are ranked higher
- Profile searches: Accounts that users search for consistently are ranked higher
- Direct shares: Posts from accounts the user directly shares with others are ranked higher
- Time spent on the post: The longer a user views a post, without scrolling, the higher the ranking
Facebook’s new algorithm
Facebook’s algorithm recently changed, affecting the visibility of many businesses that advertise through Facebook. The new algorithm is more focused around friends and family of the user now, meaning that posts from people that the user knows personally will rank higher on their feed than brands that the user may follow, but not know personally. Here is a list of how Facebook algorithms work:
- Engagement: How many likes, comments, and shares the post gets
- Encouraging engagement: If the post starts a conversation, it’s ranked higher
- Images and videos. Visual posts are ranked higher than just text-focused posts
- Bait is demoted: Posts that aggressively bait for likes, shares, comments, votes or tags are ranked lower
- Promotional posts are demoted: Posts trying to push people into buying a product/service or join a contest are demoted
While the new algorithm of Facebook might be beneficial in preventing fraud or scams, you can see how this could potentially create issues for online business owners trying to promote through the Facebook platform. Overall, if you are a business that promotes on Facebook, you need to ensure you are incorporating strong content and encouraging community engagement through comments, likes and shares organically. If you are doing this and can build a trusted name for your business, you shouldn’t be affected by the new algorithm.
Ads Instagram vs. Facebook
Lastly, let’s talk about ads. Advertising through Facebook is great because of the customization capability. Facebook also has a higher reach than Instagram as far as usage goes. According to Zephoria, “Mobile advertising revenue is reported according to Facebook to represent approximately 93 percent of advertising revenue for Q4 2018 up from 89 percent in Q4 2017.” In terms of the Click-through rate, Facebook has improved 9 times higher since 2014.
Instagram ads are reaching record high engagement thanks to the “swipe up” option for accounts that have over 10,000 followers. This gives the account the ability to post a photo or video to capture their audience quickly and include a simple “swipe up” feature at the bottom of the screen that will take users directly to a landing page/sales page/website, etc. The ability to engage an audience through Instagram stories and feed does wonders for e-commerce business through Instagram, especially in regards to brands that are visually appealing.
Overall, Instagram is better for:
- Brand engagement
- Direct marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Reaching a younger audience
- Spreading awareness
- e-commerce shopping
It should also be noted that Instagram seems to dominate industries with a high visual appeal, such as photography, interior design, fashion, and beauty. Influencer marketing has become one of the best ways to gain audience exposure over the last couple of years. Instagram accounts with a high following are often approached by brands to promote their product/service for an affiliate sale bonus. This is great for many business accounts because they get very cheap, sometimes free attention.
Facebook is better for:
- Older audiences
- Brand Visibility
- Distribution of Information
- Paid advertisements
- Sales Funnels
- Link Sharing
- video engagement
- Personal interactions
- Building a community
My best advice is to take note of who your specific target audience is. If they are young women ages 18-34, you might want to put most of your attention to Instagram. Otherwise, I recommend promoting your business via BOTH social media platforms.
When it comes to Instagram, make sure you are increasing your visual content, using similar filters for each image, using your Instagram stories and feed to engage with your audience and utilize hashtags to your benefit.
For Facebook growth, make sure that you are using your Facebook business page to engage with your tight-knit community as best as you can. Facebook makes it easy to get to know your audience on a deeper level, so use that to your advantage. Also, utilize Facebook Ads to target the specific audience you want. Be sure not to be too pushy on your sales posts or you might end up flagged as a fraudulent account. Lastly, try to use video marketing as a leading engagement tool on Facebook.
Either way, unless using both platforms is not benefiting you, stick with both of them. When comparing the two, there are multiple factors that can make one better than the other, but if you optimize your usage on each platform to the best of your ability, then you’ll ultimately gain even more brand engagement, customer leads and then sales.
I hope this post was helpful for you in your search for the best Social media platforms for business. Digital Marketing trends are constantly changing and adapting to demand. We will continue to do our part in making sure you are as updated as possible on the latest marketing information. If you have any questions, please leave us a comment or contact us. As always, if you are enjoying these posts and think they could be valuable to other’s you know, please feel free to like and share us through our Facebook and Instagram pages.