Even the largest companies want to be smart about their social media marketing budget. After all, who wants to throw money down the drain when they could’ve taken steps to ensure they were maximizing their Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)? If you’re a small to midsize company, chances are you’re being even more cautious about where you spend your advertising budget.

The largest social media platforms around (and with the best ad targeting capabilities) are Facebook and Instagram. These Meta-owned companies take the cake when it comes to social media advertising, so which should you choose? Let’s explore Instagram ads vs Facebook ads and see which factors you should consider before you start your next campaign.

Instagram Ads vs Facebook Ads, Which Do I Choose?

Before you start your next ad campaign, it’s important to know you’re choosing the right platform for your business. In a comparison of Instagram ads vs Facebook ads, is one better than the other? The answer isn’t black and white. Which platform has the lower Cost-Per-Click (CPC)? Which has better ad placement options? What about the Click-Through Rate (CTR) of Facebook ads vs Instagram ads?

Asking these questions and more will help you ensure you’re making the most of your social media advertising budget for your next campaign. To help make things a little more clear, let’s dive into:

  • Why you should run ads on Facebook
  • Benefits of running ads on Instagram
  • Choosing to run Facebook and Instagram ads together

Why You Should Run Ads on Facebook

Without question, Facebook is the largest social media platform on the planet. With over 2.9 billion monthly active users, the reach of Facebook ads vs Instagram ads leans in its favor. So what are some of the reasons you’d consider running ads on Facebook?

For starters, in a comparison of Instagram ads vs Facebook ads and their respective CTRs, Facebook wins with an average CTR of just over 3% compared to the 0.67% average CTR of Instagram ads. That doesn’t mean Instagram ads can’t be effective, but the data shows us that users are more likely to follow through when using Facebook ads. To achieve better CTRs, however, make sure you’re staying on top of Facebook ad targeting changes and creating top-notch campaigns to maximize Facebook ad performance.

While Instagram keeps evolving its ad formats and now supports ecommerce features, it’s important to consider how each audience utilized the platform before committing to one (or both). Instagram tends to be a space for visual inspiration, sharing experiences, and browsing ideas. Facebook, however, has shown itself to be a space where users are more likely to take action and convert. Consider this to your advantage as you’re building your Facebook ads funnel. While data supports that Facebook users may be more responsive towards the lower end of the funnel, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t also use the platform to your advantage to build brand awareness, as well.

Another factor to consider when comparing Facebook and Instagram ads is ad placement options. Currently, Instagram allows ad placement in the Instagram Feed, Stories, Explore, Reels and Shop. Facebook has a slightly more extended list of ad placement options on its platform, offering placement on: News Feed, Marketplace, Video Feeds, Right Column, Messenger Inbox, Facebook Stories, and Messenger Stories. While Facebook wins with the number of places to run your ad, it’s important to note that it doesn’t mean you should run them in all those places. Be smart with your placement to maximize your ad budget.

Last, though not least, a possible reason to choose to run Facebook ads vs Instagram ads is the potential audience. Not limited to being almost exclusively B2C like Instagram, there are plenty of B2B companies you can reach using Facebook ads. The likelihood that your audience is on Facebook regardless of who they are gives the platform an advantage for brands determining where to spend their social media marketing budget.

Benefits of Running Ads on Instagram

Just because Facebook wins when it comes to number of users and better exposure to a wider variety of customer types (B2C and B2B) doesn’t mean it’s the instant winner when considering factors for Instagram ads vs Facebook ads. With over 1.4 billion monthly active users, Instagram has a very healthy user base, as well!

Even with its lower average CTR compared to Facebook ads, Instagram ads have a high engagement rate of nearly 3.5%. Additionally, Story Ads have been shown to increase ad recall, purchase intent, message association, and CTR.

To that end, even though Instagram ads have fewer ad placement options, these ads are powerful. While Facebook ads are often ideal for imagery-based ads, running short-form video ads on Instagram with the goal of driving engagement has enormous potential for both brand awareness and conversions.

While it’s not strictly part of paid social media advertising, having an organic social media strategy is also crucial to your business. Organic reach for business pages has been on the decline for years on the Facebook platform. Continuing to lower, today’s companies should still maintain a consistent presence but are unlikely to see much engagement from organic posts alone. Conversely, a factor to consider when comparing Instagram ads vs Facebook ads is how Instagram ads pair with organic reach with more ease. Smart usage of imagery, hashtags, and captions yields higher organic reach potential for business on Instagram and could bolster ad campaigns.

Even though Facebook users have traditionally demonstrated more lower-funnel behaviors, Instagram users are quickly catching up. A recent study found that over one-third of Instagram users reported having made a purchase directly from an ad. The growing, immersive nature of ads on that platform could be a prime start to your Instagram ad success.

Running Facebook and Instagram Ads Together

Should you run Facebook and Instagram ads together? That depends on your business. There’s plenty of pros to both platforms that indicate running ads on both platforms is beneficial. Where Facebook has a wide audience, running Facebook and Instagram ads together may boost visibility by upwards of almost 25%. Since Instagram has better engagement and a growing audience with high purchase intent, using ads on both platforms to complement one another may be ideal.

If you’re having to be a bit more selective with your available ad budget, however, and need to pick just one, the important thing to do is pick the platform where your audience is. Other factors that may determine which you choose (if you have to choose Instagram ads vs Facebook ads) are how your target audience interacts with brands. Instagram is a visual platform, making it perfect if your business engages people with visuals better. Conversely, Facebook has tended to be a more community-oriented platform, so if your business is better at engaging that way, it may be the better solo option.

Every business wants to maximize the effectiveness of its social media marketing budget. Consider the factors we discussed as you debate between Instagram ads vs Facebook ads for your next campaign and see which makes the most sense for your business. Remember, building a complimentary social media ad strategy using both platforms could also be the way to go!

To be sure you’re making the most of your budget, consider professional Facebook ads management services who can leverage data and metrics from within Facebook Ads Manager to provide you real insights and make solid business decisions.

Published On: April 11th, 2022 / Categories: Social Media / Tags: , , /

About the Author: Tony Adam

Tony Adam is a serial technology entrepreneur, investor, and Fractional CMO. He is currently the Founder & CEO of Visible Factors a Digital Marketing Agency providing Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands, startups and large organizations services around growth and online marketing principles like SEO, Google Ads, Meta Ads, and Email/Lifecycle Marketing. Prior to Visible Factors, Tony founded Eventup, an Event Venue Marketplace and grew to 12 cities and over $1MM top line revenue in under one year. Throughout his career, he has worked with early stage startups, SMBs, Fortune 500 companies and high-profile brands including Yahoo!, PayPal and Myspace.
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