Differences between Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads

11 March 2021

If you are thinking to start advertising on social networks, two in particular probably come to mind: Facebook and Instagram.

If I guessed correctly, it’s not pure coincidence considering that they are the most popular social media platforms amongst users at a global level.

Then, the question is: What’s the difference between Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads? Which one should we choose? One of them or both? Keep in mind that both networks belong to the same person: Mark Zuckerberg, something that he reminds us with the sentence “From Facebook” on his different platforms. 

Since these two networks are the most popular in the world, the ideal would be that you know both well and learn the advantages and disadvantages that each of them bring. 

However, if you already know what they can offer, let’s review the differences between both in relation to advertising. Are you ready?

Relevant data about Facebook and Instagram

Before we get started, let’s check some interesting information about each of these networks.

Information about Facebook

According to an annual study about the use of social networks in Spain during 2019 elaborated by iabSpain:

  • Facebook becomes the most mentioned social network by internet users.
  • Facebook is the second most popular social network amongst users after WhatsApp.  
  • It goes down until the seventh position with regards to how it’s valued amongst users. 

Information about Instagram

Based on the same study mentioned above:

  • Instagram is the second most mentioned social network by internet users, only behind Facebook.
  • Instagram is the social network with the number of followers that has grown more during 2019, which puts this platform in fourth position.
  • It’s the third most valued social network, right after WhatsApp and YouTube.

Differences between Instagram Ads and Facebook Ads

Advertising to position your brand

Both can position your brand. However, since Instagram is 100% visual, you must take special care with the images that will display in the ad and also, make sure you include cosmetic details in the copy in line with your brand. All this will help to considerably improve your brand positioning .

I am not saying that you don’t need to share good images on Facebook, but Instagrams audience is pickier with the quality of the images.

On Facebook you can increase brand awareness with:

  • Newsfeed.
  • Instant articles.
  • Facebook in-stream videos.
  • Facebook video feeds.
  • Marketplace.
  • Facebook stories.

On Instagram, you can increase brand awareness with:

  • Instagram feeds.
  • Instagram stories.
  • Instagram explore page.

Advertising with photo

Facebook lets you create up to 6 ads with photo in different versions of an ad. On the other hand, Instagram only allows one image. Be careful don’t get it mixed up with a carousel, that I’ll talk about later. 

Advertising to increase your community

Both help you increase the number of followers of your account through advertising. The difference lies in the algorithms. The organic reach on Facebook is almost dead, I am not saying its not useful, but it is much more difficult to achieve organic reach on Facebook than on Instagram. 

Advertising with video

You will find a great difference here. On Facebook a video can last up to 120 minutes. In contrast, the duration of an ad video on Instagram can’t be longer than one minute.

Both networks, Facebook and Instagram are tied with regards to carousels. With both, you can upload between 2 and 10 images to your ad where you can scroll to see them all.

Advertising with Stories

On Instagram you can upload a photo or video with a maximum duration of 15 seconds. In the case of Facebook, you can make a video to loop with up to 10 images.

Advertising to drive more traffic to your website

Both social networks allow you to drive users from their platform to your webpage. 

In the case of Instagram, your ad must be remarkably attractive to encourage users to abandon the social network because those who are on Instagram at that moment are there normally because they want to see visual content. If you drive them to another site with more text or less enticing, they might lose interest immediately.

Selection of ad placement

In this case, I opt for Facebook. The reason is because this network lets you choose amongst a variety of options to place your ad in contrast to what Instagram currently offers.

However, it’s not always good to have many options available as is the case with Facebook. The user might go past your ad without realizing when they have too many options.

Variety of audience

If you are not sure about where your audience is, the safe choice will be Facebook. This social network is more mature and a big part of the population in developed countries are on Facebook, while we can’t say the same for Instagram.

There isn’t much competition for Facebook in this regard.

The way these platforms are used is different

The way users use each social network is very important, depending how they behave your approach on your ads will be different.

We can say about Facebook that is more personal, a place to connect with family and friends.

However, Instagram is a more modern app, where you can connect with people that you don’t know personally but you share interests and hobbies with. 

Advertising on Messenger

Facebook can’t be defeated in this area either, its messenger app is linked to the social networks, what allows it to include ads, something that Instagram can’t.

Conclusion about the differences between Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads

As you can see with this article, Facebook and Instagram are two social networks that belong to the same company but with a different target audience. The way users work with them differs as well.

In conclusion, both social platforms perfectly complement each other, the weakness of one is covered by the other, so at a global level, using both platforms for an ad or ad group is not a bad idea. 

So, did you know the differences between both platforms in regards to advertising? Can you think of another one? Please, let us know in the comment section.

Anniston Ward Anniston Ward , 11 March 2021


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