Facebook vs. Instagram Ads: Which Is Right for Your Business Goals?

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Entrepreneurs are often a mix of dreamers and pragmatists. The dreamer side believes in themselves and their business, fully envisioning large-scale success at every turn, while the pragmatic side understands that before large-scale anything happens, you have to keep the lights on. 

This means budgeting. And the best entrepreneurs are able to maximize every dollar spent because they make careful decisions. 

Placing your advertising dollars on Facebook or Instagram isn’t a decision that should be handled lightly.

Since you probably don’t have unlimited marketing funds, you can’t simply choose both. Because of those limited funds — a wrong choice can have real consequences — especially in the crucial early stages of growth.

There’s a lot of choices that go into selecting a platform for your advertising. That’s why we here at Carter & Custer have dug through the unique pros and cons of Facebook and Instagram ads so you can explore the most important choices like cost per ad campaign and the ad creation tools of each platform and more. 

Read on for a complete list of the biggest decisions you should consider prior to launching a social media ad campaign!

Match Social Media Demographics to Your Audience

Before selecting which platform to spend your advertising money with, you should first take a reflective look at your business.

Since you are not operating with unlimited funds, spending your money where more of your audience digitally frequents makes the most sense.

 Instagram continues to be primarily an image-based platform, and if your business isn’t photo-friendly, perhaps this isn’t the ideal platform for you. But that’s not to say only businesses selling a physical product should focus on Instagram. If there are visual ways to leverage your product or solution, you should go for it.  

However, you can’t forget that  you want to advertise on platforms your target audience uses. To do that, you need to understand your ideal customer personas thoroughly. That will help you determine if your current and ideal customer base leans toward Instagram’s demographics — i.e.,  young and willing to engage frequently. 

If your business has a broad appeal across genders, cultures, or age groups, Facebook may be better. We think that Facebook is usually a safe option to start because the data insights Facebook offers to paid ad buyers can help you better define your actual audience rather than your perceived audience.

Your Existing Content Is Important

Committing to a platform for your advertising is only half the battle.  

You will have better results and more consistent engagement if you also have a well-defined presence on the platform. It doesn’t have to be a massive following, but you should have enough posts and content to exude confidence in your product and industry. 

It’s less than ideal if your new advertisement leads back to a social media account created the day prior and had only one post.

Your existing content is also essential and can be used to create social media content to help give you a presence. You can run a simple test and post the same piece of content on Facebook and Instagram and see how your audience engages with it if they engage with it at all. 

This can be a measuring tool for choosing which platform your ads might have the most success. 

Building that social media presence can be challenging, but Carter & Custer can aid in defeating that stress. Our purpose-driven approach will help build your Instagram presence based on your brand, insight, and using your existing content.

Who Are Your Customers?

Despite Meta owning both Facebook and Instagram, the audience for each platform has some distinct differences. Take the time to understand your existing customer base and have detailed customer personas about those types you think would patronize your business. 

Facebook has the most expansive user base of all the social media platforms because they have the most daily users and are the oldest. You are likely to find at least some portion of your target audience within their demographics.

On the other hand, Instagram continues to skew toward a younger audience — the majority of their demographic is in the 18-34 range — and that hasn’t changed in the last few years. If your business is more likely to connect with a consistently younger audience, Instagram may allow you a more impactful reach.

The demographics for Facebook and Instagram do have some crossover thanks to broad reach of Facebook. If you want to really determine which platform will serve you ad best your customer personas need to be broken down beyond age, gender, and salary. 

Personas should include details about job type, family size, potential hobbies. All of this will help you get a better picture of who you want to speak to, and then you can choose a platform.  

Consider Your Available Time

It’s not a weakness to understand that your amount of available work time is finite. You have other business-critical tasks that require attention, so it’s worth it to include that in your decision-making process. 

Facebook’s ad manager has many useful tools and options for creating and deploying advertisements, and Facebook offers options to set objectives, campaign setups, and ad design templates. In short, Facebook’s ad manager is a one-stop shop for everything from planning to analytics.  

And all those options are great, but they can also be overwhelming. Even more so when time is limited, and you simply want to get a quality ad up and running. In that situation, Instagram may be a better option for you because you can have an ad placed with an existing reel or post in just a few button clicks.

Additionally, Instagram will give you big picture data, while Facebook provides more key insight into your ad placements. It’s important to note that Instagram and Facebook use the same account manager, but each platform has different analytics it provides the user.

If you want to reduce the amount of time plays in your decision, consider pre-building ad-related content and campaigns. That way, you already have ads ready to go and can deploy them as needed without much lead time.

What Are Your Goals?

When selecting your platform, you should think about the campaign’s goal. Facebook and Instagram are the two most visited social media platforms, and you’ll be scaling up in no time if you can make them work for your business. 

There are also different costs for each type of campaign you want to run on each platform. Campaigns focused on conversions tend to cost more, whereas growth campaigns with a broader reach intent regardless of the platform are less costly.

Envision what you consider a successful campaign before choosing the platform to run it on — that way, you’re not wasting advertising money on a campaign with an undefined outcome goal.

Variety Is a Key Selling Point for Facebook Ads

Facebook’s massive user base can be leveraged for your benefit, and Facebook’s powerful ad manager toolkit can be used to learn on the go about your customers and their preferences. 

Businesses in both the B2B and B2C space use Facebook, so you know there’s room for you to succeed here regardless of your business type.

Facebook also allows the widest variety of ad types. Typical photo and video ads are still impactful, but Facebook also offers carousel ads that feature several photos users swipe through and Messanger ads to help start conversations with current and potential customers. 

All of the ad types available to you have information about best practices and multiple templates to get you started located within the ad manager.

The variety of ad options that Facebook has pre-designed for you to essentially drag and drop your key assets into is astounding, and you can make a real impact with an ad campaign by leveraging those options to reach more of your target audience. 

When you take some time to layout a strategy of what you want to say and the best ad type for that message, you will see more beneficial results.

The Most Useful Facebook Ad Perk

 The Facebook Ad library is a uniquely powerful tool, especially when just launching your social media advertising strategy. The Facebook Ad library allows you to search, view, and gain insight from any advertisement currently running on the platform at your time of access.

It’s a complete social advertising education if you commit to engaging with it.

You can use it as a research tool to see what ads your direct competitors are running and their success rate. And by knowing he type of ads that run across your industry to see what tones and messaging connect, you can use that information to build out your advertisement plan.

The Facebook ad library also lets you search for current and old political and issue-related advertisements, which you can use to learn which issue-based campaigns historically have the most traction in your industry. 

All of this data will aid you in making better and more informed advertising decisions going forward. Even if you only use it for a while to learn more about prospects, competitors, and social media advertising that connects with your target audience before moving on to a platform that best suits you.

Actionable Benefits of Instagram Advertisements

Instagram continues to be the platform for younger demographics; they are more interested in engaging and likely to purchase from an unknown brand. 

Instagram users engage more with the content they see. Comments, shares, and even likes are higher than on other social platforms. The increased level of interactions makes Instagram an ideal space for organic growth and paid advertising. 

Nearly 1/3 of all users on Instagram have purchased something from the app. That means any given user of Instagram is farther down the funnel as soon as they log on than those on other social platforms, and they are more willing to purchase something they connect with while scrolling. 

Instagram also has a highly-effective recommendation algorithm that feeds users relevant products and other users and their content, and it’s an excellent platform for increasing brand awareness for that very reason. Instagram will find you new prospects without any additional involvement from you. 

The higher engagement rate and more active purchasers using Instagram will help provide an ongoing return on your advertising investment.

The Role Cost Plays in Your Decision

Even though Facebook and Instagram ads are both created and posted using the Facebook Ads manager, the platforms have different costs that you need to leverage against their value to you.

The benefits of each platform start to cancel out when the cost is too high, and the return on investment continually diminishes.

Recent data indicates that paid ads on Instagram cost more, most likely due to their demographic skewing younger. The cost-per-click on Instagram averages between .40 and .70 cents. However, Instagram also delivers the highest return on investment for pay-by-click advertising across popular social media platforms.

Facebook advertising may cost less initially, but its demographic typically takes a longer time to convert, and as a result, it may return less on your investment.

It’s up to you to determine the value of each platform as it relates to the goals of your campaigns. Spending wisely is a good approach, but you don’t want to always be afraid to pay for the potential of higher return, even if only in the short term.

Facebook’s Dynamic Ads Can Be a Game Changer

While it may offer less of a return on investment, Facebook wins out over Instagram by offering dynamic ads. These machine learning tools work exceptionally well if your business has a lot of products or service offerings that appeal to a wide range of people. 

Facebook Dynamic ads serve visitors products and services advertisements that look exactly like every other photo carousel or single image ad, except they are targeted to that person’s likes, interests, and demographic details. It enables you to advertise a product most likely to interest the site visitor without creating a hundred different targeted ads. 

This tool is excellent for two crucial reasons: it’s highly personalized and always on. Once activated, it constantly optimizes and delivers relevant products without your constant ad reconfiguration.

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