Instagram vs Facebook: where is your time best spent?
Once upon a time, social media marketing was just about Facebook.
But now, businesses have more choices than ever when deciding which platforms to focus their efforts on for the best return on investment.
It’s no longer enough to be active on one platform – you need to think strategically and ensure that the right channels are chosen for your target audience and objectives.
Then you can decide where you should focus your social media marketing efforts!
Instagram vs Facebook: What Are the Similarities?
Despite their distinct functionalities and user experiences, Facebook and Instagram share several similarities that can benefit marketers and content creators.
Both platforms are owned by Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook Inc. This allows for easy integration of advertising tools and cross-platform campaigns through Facebook Ads Manager.
They both prioritize user engagement, offering features like likes, comments, shares, and direct messaging to build connections between users and content creators.
Plus, both platforms continuously evolve to meet the changing needs of their users, introducing new features and content formats to stay relevant in the competitive social media landscape.
Instagram vs Facebook: What Are The Key Differences?
Now we’ve looked at what’s similar, let’s look at the primary differences between Instagram and Facebook to help you make an informed decision about which one works best.
Instagram is known for its younger user base, with a majority of active users aged 18-34.
Just over 70% of users are under the age of 34.
On the other hand, Facebook appeals to a broader age range, with a significant portion of monthly active users aged 35 and above.
Just under one-third of Facebook users are aged 25-34, while around 60% of users are aged 25-54.
So, ask yourself: Who is your target audience? Instagram might be the better choice if you’re aiming for a younger demographic.
But if you want to reach a broader audience, Facebook could be the way to go.
Find more statistics at Statista
Type of Content Posted
Instagram is a visual platform focused on high-quality images and videos, whereas Facebook supports various content types, including text, images, and videos.
Consider the type of content you create and how it aligns with each platform.
Are you all about stunning visuals? Instagram could be your perfect match.
Are you looking for a more diverse content strategy? Facebook might be the one for you.
Interaction and Engagement
Through features like Stories and direct messaging, Instagram fosters a more personal and intimate connection with followers.
Facebook tends to be more community and social network-oriented, with features like Groups and Events.
Think about the level of interaction you want with your audience and how these features can support your goals.
Marketing Strategies and Tools
Both platforms offer robust advertising options, but Instagram’s integration with Facebook Ads Manager allows for more precise targeting and seamless cross-platform campaigns.
Additionally, Instagram boasts a strong influencer marketing culture, which can be a powerful tool for promoting your brand, product, or service.
Evaluate your marketing needs and determine which platform offers the tools that best align with your objectives.
Content Algorithms: How They Compare
Instagram prioritizes fresh, engaging content in its algorithm, while Facebook focuses on promoting meaningful interactions between users.
This means that Instagram may be more suited to fast-paced, attention-grabbing content, whereas Facebook rewards content that encourages conversation and community-building.
Instagram’s algorithm priorities
Engagement: Posts with higher engagement (likes, comments, shares, and saves) are more likely to appear in users’ feeds.
Relevance: Content that aligns with a user’s interests, based on past behavior, is prioritized.
Relationships: Posts from accounts that users frequently interact with (liking, commenting, or messaging) will be shown more prominently.
Timeliness: Fresh content is prioritized, so recent posts have a better chance of appearing in users’ feeds.
Profile Searches: If a user often searches for a specific account, Instagram’s algorithm may prioritize content from that account.
Time Spent on Post: The more time a user spends viewing a particular post, the more likely similar content will be prioritized in their feed.
Video Views: Videos that receive more views and longer watch times are more likely to be prioritized by the algorithm.
Check out 50 post ideas for Instagram.
Facebook algorithm priorities
Meaningful Interactions: Facebook prioritizes content encouraging genuine conversations and user interactions (comments, reactions, and shares).
Friends and Family First: Posts from a user’s friends and family are given precedence over posts from businesses or publishers.
Relevance Score: Content with higher relevance scores, based on a user’s past behavior and interests, is more likely to appear in their News Feed.
Engagement Bait: Posts that deliberately attempt to manipulate engagement (e.g., “like if you agree” or “tag a friend”) are penalized by the algorithm.
Post Types: Facebook considers the types of posts a user typically engages with, such as videos, images, or links, and prioritizes similar content in their News Feed.
Recency: Timely content is favored, so more recent posts have a better chance of appearing in users’ feeds.
Page Engagement: Pages with a higher overall engagement rate are more likely to have their content prioritized in users’ News Feeds.
Check out how to make engaging content for Facebook.
How Do The Platforms Function in Comparison?
As a marketer, it’s crucial to understand the functional differences between Instagram and Facebook to leverage each platform for your campaigns effectively.
While both platforms offer a range of features, their unique functionalities cater to different marketing strategies and objectives.
Instagram is primarily a visual platform focusing on captivating images and videos.
This makes it an ideal choice for brands that rely heavily on visual storytelling. Additionally, Instagram offers features like Stories, Reels, and IGTV, which provide various content formats for engaging users in creative ways.
On the other hand, Facebook supports a more diverse mix of content types, such as text, images, videos, and links.
This allows marketers to experiment with broader content strategies and foster community engagement through Groups and Events.
Some functional differences between Instagram and Facebook to consider include the following:
Content Format: Instagram emphasizes visuals, while Facebook supports a broader variety of content types.
Stories vs. Status Updates: Instagram Stories offer a more interactive and ephemeral content experience than Facebook’s status updates.
Community Building: Facebook provides robust community-building tools like Groups and Events, while Instagram focuses more on personal connections.
Influencer Marketing: Instagram boasts a stronger influencer culture, presenting unique opportunities for brand collaborations and promotions.
Advertising Integration: Instagram ads can be managed through Facebook Ads Manager, enabling seamless cross-platform campaigns and precise targeting options.
Shopping Features: Instagram has integrated shopping features, allowing users to discover and purchase products directly within the app, while Facebook offers Facebook Shops for a more centralized shopping experience.
How to Choose the Platform Based on Your Content Type
Choosing between Instagram and Facebook for posting your content depends on the nature of your content and the desired outcome.
Both platforms have their strengths regarding specific types of content, so understanding these distinctions can help you make the right decision.
The Facebook Page is generally the better choice for company news, as it allows for more in-depth information sharing and encourages discussions within the community.
Events are also best suited for Facebook, thanks to its dedicated Events feature, which enables users to RSVP, invite friends, and access event details efficiently.
Curated content, on the other hand, can work well on both platforms, depending on the format and target audience. Finally, image contests will likely thrive on Instagram, given its visual nature and user engagement with visually appealing content.
To summarize, here’s a quick breakdown of content types and the recommended platform:
Company News: Facebook is ideal for sharing company updates, as it supports longer text posts and encourages user interactions.
Events: Facebook’s Events feature makes it the go-to platform for promoting and managing events.
Curated Content: Both platforms can be effective for curated content, depending on the format (visuals for Instagram, diverse content types for Facebook) and target audience.
Image Contests: Instagram is the preferred choice for image contests, as its visual focus encourages users to engage with compelling imagery.
By considering the nature of your content and each social media platform’s strengths, you can strategically decide where to post and maximize the impact of your social media efforts.
Which Platform Has the Best Long-Term Prospects?
Regarding long-term prospects and social media presence, Instagram appears to have an edge over Facebook.
One of the main reasons is its continuous growth in popularity among younger demographics, who are more likely to be early adopters of new trends and technologies.
This positions Instagram as a platform with a solid future user base.
Plus, Instagram’s focus on visual content aligns well with the increasing demand for engaging multimedia experiences.
The platform’s continuous innovation, such as introducing features like Stories, Reels, and IGTV, demonstrates its adaptability and commitment to staying relevant in the ever-changing social media landscape.
Add that Instagram’s influencer culture presents unique marketing opportunities that can drive significant business engagement and conversions.
While both social media platforms do have their strengths, Instagram’s ability to resonate with younger users, change content consumption preferences, and make the most of influencer marketing makes it a promising choice for long-term success.
My Experience with Facebook vs. Instagram
Once upon a time, I ran an experiment with posting more on my Facebook page to expand my reach. My goal was to post 4 times a day – but I quickly became disheartened.
Almost every post was only liked by me and two friends, and sometimes one more person. That’s out of thousands of followers.
At the time, I had less than half the followers on Instagram.
The test: I posted the same graphic at the same time on Instagram and Facebook.
The bottom line?
2 likes on Facebook. 90+ likes on Instagram.
Instagram vs Facebook: Who’s the Winner?
In the battle between Instagram and Facebook, deciding which platform is the best choice for your business is not always easy.
However, understanding each platform’s features, content algorithms, target demographics, and marketing tools can help you make a more informed decision and maximize your return on investment.
Consider your goals and audience carefully before deciding which platform is right for you.
Check out this data-packed infographic from selfstartr.
What do you think? Who wins the battle of Instagram vs Facebook?