The Facebook Versus Instagram Debate for Marketing

Posted by Eyden Haze . on January 1, 2019

We will take a look at the two biggest social medium platforms; Facebook and Instagram and see which one would be a better marketing platform for your business.


Facebook owns Instagram but they operate as two separate distinct platforms.

Facebook has hit the 2 billion mark in active users.  More females than males use it mainly through mobile applications. Instagram has hit the 1 billion monthly active users mark. Like Facebook, more females than males use Instagram.

In-arguably, both Facebook and Instagram are very powerful social media channels. They give unlimited access to a large audience and are cheaper than using analog advertising channels like print and television.

It is important to understand what both sites offer if you are to align your marketing goals and reap maximum benefits. If you are to allocate a budget to spend on social media, there are certain things you may want to consider.

  1. Brand awareness

With its large user base, Facebook provides a good ground for increased brand awareness thus potentially more customers.  It also provides an exceptional platform for posting announcements and engaging with your customers making it a great point for customer service. You can put links that direct people to your website thus driving website traffic. You can also link blogs, articles, and videos from your website to Facebook.

Instagram uses visuals as its main push point. Video content has also grown with more users watching videos. It uses hashtags enhancing discoverability of the businesses. It also has Instagram stories and IGTV thus more opportunities for businesses to promote their brands. Instagram has unfortunately not reached a level where you can have clickable links that direct to your website, the user has to copy and paste the URL onto their browser.

  1. Market research

Facebook analytics is great for market research. It lets you know what competitors are doing giving you a chance to tailor your campaigns for a competitive edge.  You can also gather insights on those who visit your page for a better understanding of your audience. Instagram has the Business Account which has tools that help you understand your customers better.

  1. Targeting

Facebook allows you to target specific audiences with a focus on region, gender, age amongst other specifications. This makes it great for targeted ads. Instagram is dominated by a younger demographic and is perfect for brands that target young people. It may not be a platform to reach older people as they may not even be on Instagram.

  1. Growth

Facebook has been around since 2004. Some are of the opinion that Facebook has plateaued, it seems to be running out of new sign-ups, and its reach has actually gone down an alarming 60% since 2012. Though enjoying a wide audience base, most people will not see your posts unless you sponsor or boost them.

Instagram, on the other hand, seems to be enjoying an upward trajectory in growth. Since 2012 its organic reach has gone up by an impressive 200%.

Facebook has a wide reach but are the audiences engaging with the posts? They might not be especially because many people tend to ignore sponsored posts.  Engagement on Instagram is markedly better; users share almost 100 million photos and videos on a daily basis resulting in over 4 billion likes every single day showing a high engagement level. The value of a social media site is much more than just getting likes or acquiring fans. It is more about how people connect with your content.

Instagram has also provided a platform for influencers who are a great tool for brands to market their products. Use of influencers is especially popular for food, fitness and beauty trends.

  1. Competition

93% of marketers use Facebook while Instagram only has 36% of marketers. So should you clamor for space on Facebook? Yes, you do need to be on Facebook, the 93% cannot be getting it wrong, but you have a higher chance of the audience seeing your sponsored ads on the less crowded Instagram streets. Start-ups may want to consider using Instagram and let the more established brands fight it out on Facebook.

  1. Reach

Due to the large number of brands Facebook filters posts.  Instagram does not need to do this because of the low number of brands on their sites and can easily reach 100% of the followers.

  1. Valuable users

The average order value of an Instagram follower is $65 and Facebook $55. The engagement on Instagram is higher and may provide better value for you.  You can get daily auto followers for Instagram thus increasing your audience base.

  1. Set-up

Setting up both Facebook and Instagram business pages take time. You need to get people to like your page and to keep them constantly engaged otherwise you will have idle followers who add no value to your page. Consider training yourself on managing the page or hire someone to do it for you.

Both positive and negative feedback display in the pages on both Instagram and Facebook. Make sure you respond in a timely manner to any issues raised otherwise it can escalate to damaging levels.


Both Facebook and Instagram provide a powerful marketing tool. The fact that you have such a wide audience at your fingertips is a very good thing for businesses.  Ultimately whatever platform you use really depends on your product, marketing strategy, budget and target audience. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses and you need to be cognizant of what they are.

If your business is for products, Instagram is a good platform as you can take high-quality well-arranged pictures that will pull people to look at your page. Facebook is more content heavy and is, therefore, better for businesses that deal in services. You can also load longer length videos on Facebook than on Instagram which allows for a maximum video length of 60 seconds.

Choose the platform that gives you value, if you can afford it, have a company page on Facebook and a business account on Instagram each having targeted posts. That way you can reap the benefits of both platforms for your business.

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