Have you ever wondered what’s the best platform to use for your social media marketing strategy? Truth be told, there are many platforms out in the world to help you do that. Yet, out of all the platforms, there is not one that dictates universal success for businesses. When it comes to bringing down the most used platforms in the world, though, there are two clear winners.
We’re talking here about Facebook and Instagram. These platforms are by far the most popular platforms used by digital marketers. Not to mention that they’re also the biggest platforms you can turn to.
There’s a battle going on, and we have Instagram vs Facebook as our fighters. On second thought, what worked a few years ago for Instagram might not work nowadays. And the same goes for Facebook.
There are also many questions about what’s the best platform out of the two. For example, should you base your digital marketing strategy on Facebook or Instagram? Some people say that Facebook is not that popular anymore and that Instagram has taken its place. Other people say exactly the opposite. So, choosing the right platform can become quite a hassle. Even more so when the opinions are all different in regards to this subject.
We’ll look into the differences and similarities between Instagram vs Facebook so that you can get a better understanding. We will also help you figure out which of these social media platforms are the best fit for your business. Are you ready to make your choice? Pick your fighter and let’s see what happens.
How Instagram and Facebook Work
Understanding how a platform works is vital for your business. Your marketing strategy will also have aspects that might be unique to a platform. It’s easy to think about Instagram vs Facebook as competitors, or anything else for that matter. Knowing how they work will help you extract the most important details about these platforms.
Similarities Between Instagram and Facebook
What is the first thing you can pinpoint as a difference between Instagram vs Facebook? Your answer could’ve been that one platform concentrates exclusively on video and image sharing. And it’s a very valid point, but there’s a catch. You can find the same feature on Facebook as well, so how does that differentiate them?
We’ve already mentioned a similarity: image and video sharing. This feature is available on both platforms. You can also share posts and Stories, leave a comment, or like someone’s post on both platforms. Alongside that, the possibility of adding a location on both platforms is also available. Last, but not least, you can also tag different people in your posts.
These are quite a few similar features.
Another similarity revolves around sending friend requests and follow requests. Or, even blocking someone, if the situation begs for it. Going back, friend or follow requests can be sent to anyone. From family and friends, up to celebrities. Once added to your network, you will be able to see their posts. You can also choose to follow shopping accounts, brands, or businesses.
And this brings us to the shopping aspect: both platforms have incorporated this. On Facebook, you will find it under the name of Marketplace. As a user, you can create a listing for almost anything you can think about. Different items, vehicles, properties, there is something on the Marketplace for everyone.
Instagram simply calls it Shop. Under this category, you can find the shops you follow first. There is also a category that recommends shops that would be suitable for your needs. And there’s even a wishlist you can start filling, straight on the platform!
So, let’s go through the similarities quickly:
- Image and video sharing feature
- Share posts and stories
- Leave comments and like someone’s post
- Add a location
- Tag people in your post
- Send friend requests and follow requests, or block someone
- Shopping features
It sounds like there is no difference up until this point, right? There is a catch, though. Or more catches.
Differences Between Instagram and Facebook
Instagram is mostly limited to visual content. Facebook, on the other hand, combines visual content with text as well. You’ve just tried imagining how adding just a block of text to Instagram (without the picture) would be like, right? This can be considered the main difference between Instagram and Facebook. You can’t post text on Instagram if you don’t have a visual cue.
Another difference is related to what you can do on Facebook: play. Again, this is a feature you might not think about straight away, but games are not available on Instagram.
Another aspect worth mentioning is the posting structure on both platforms. On Facebook, you can create albums for your pictures. On Instagram, however, your pictures aren’t placed in albums. Instagram Stories are the only ones that you can categorize as “Story Highlights.”
Last, but not least, we’ll talk about how desktop-friendly these platforms are. Facebook has the same features on all devices. You can post from a desktop, as well as a mobile phone. Things tend to change a bit when it comes to Instagram. While you can log in and view posts, you can’t post from a desktop device. Instagram is more tied to the mobile phone, and you can only post from it.
So far, these are the elements that have stood out the most in terms of differences. Let’s go through them quickly:
- Facebook allows you to post images, videos, and text, while Instagram only allows you to post visual content
- Facebook has a Games feature, while Instagram doesn’t
- You can create photo albums on Facebook. On Instagram, you can only categorize your Stories
- Facebook is both desktop and mobile-friendly, while Instagram is more mobile-friendly
Instagram vs Facebook Demographics
Instagram vs Facebook continues the battle when it comes to the key audience they serve as well. And knowing how many users and what age groups they’re a part of can take your marketing strategy to the next level. Demographics can give you a good idea of the direction you can take.
Because in the end, if you don’t target the right segment, you might waste important time and resources. Looking at different stats, Facebook users are usually ranging between 25-44 years old. Instagram changes the numbers a bit, going more towards the 18-24 group.
This can give you a good starting point when you’re struggling with an Instagram vs Facebook situation. Instagram is more popular among teenagers and young adults. And this is why the main content found on Instagram will be more oriented toward this category. It is also interesting to notice what the younger generations take an interest in. In this case, communicating through images and videos, rather than through long texts.
On the other hand, Facebook has some similar targets, but the age group ranges from 25 to 44. In this case, the trend goes more towards an audience formed of young adults. And it doesn’t stop there, as it can range to even older people. But the main focus of Facebook isn’t only image and video sharing. Facebook is an important player for businesses. An age group of 25-44 can give them a greater chance for exposure.
And if we’re talking demographics, we can also talk numbers. How many people use a specific platform can also help you choose. Facebook is by far the leader of the race, as it has 2.7 billion monthly active users. Instagram is not that far away from the race, though, as it’s experienced steady growth over the years. Nowadays, we’re talking about 1 billion users in regards to Instagram.
Instagram vs Facebook User Engagement
Facebook is usually the place to start for most businesses. We’ve mentioned that it has more than 2 billion monthly users. And this will also help you get the best out of your marketing strategy. But then again, the same thing seems to happen on Instagram. The numbers are not that different in the case of monthly users. And this platform can bring a lot of visibility to your business as well. So, what gives?
There’s no perfect formula behind the user engagement equation. It’s all going to break down to the platform your users are most used to. And, of course, the type of content you are going to concentrate the most on.
If your business is more oriented towards the visual component, go for Instagram. There is one difference that we can mention here between Instagram vs Facebook. Instagram is considered more attractive in terms of how its content is presented.
You open the application, see the images or videos, and either tap on them to like them or move on. This is a reason why your audience is likely to engage more with your Instagram content. Be it Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, or IGTV.
Talking about Facebook, the presentation is similar but still different. When you open the app, you can’t control the type of content you’ll see. The first post can be a piece of news, a video, an image, but it’s never one type of content only. If your audience is keener on reading a post or seeing some images between other pieces of information, you will lean more towards Facebook.
How you want to build and present your brand will also matter. If you’re targeting business owners, Facebook is your go-to for user engagement. That is because this social media platform is more flexible. You can engage your audience with a good text, as well as a jaw-dropping picture or video. If you say sales, you place yourself in the Facebook camp again. That is because you can also benefit from Facebook Ads to put together a great lead generation campaign.
Instagram is more suitable if you want to dwell on influencer marketing, for example. This social media platform allows you to be as visual as you want. And it also allows your audience to be there with you by using the Live feature. So, if you want to give your audience a glimpse of your life, Instagram will become your go-to.
Keep in mind that how users engage with your brand depends on a lot of factors like who they are, what they’re interested in, and what your business wants to achieve.
Know the Content
Instagram vs Facebook has gotten to the 4th round of the battle.
We know how the platforms work, who they’re addressing to and how they provide user engagement. But then again, there’s a bit of a catch with the type of content both social media platforms promote. Think about the following scenario – you have an image that you want to promote.
You end up choosing to do that on both Facebook and Instagram. But then you realize that the image has more success on a platform and less on the other. And you might be wondering why this happens since it’s the same image.
It’s important to mention that you can have the same content on both social media platforms. What makes the difference is how posting content works on Instagram vs Facebook. You can post one to three times a day on Instagram, whereas, on Facebook, things change a bit. The recommendation is to post around three times a week. So, cross-sharing might not be the best approach in this situation.
What is suitable for a specific platform might not be as much for the other ones. And this applies in the case of Facebook vs Instagram as well.
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Social media is a great place for marketing strategies and efforts. But when you have to choose between Instagram vs Facebook, there are quite a few factors to take into consideration.
Even if both platforms are similar in what they offer and how they behave, they are still different from each other. And this uniqueness asks for different strategies adapted to the platform per se. Another thing to consider is that both of them are ever-changing. Thus, strategies also have to adapt to any newly added features to each platform.
It’s also important to mention that this is not a discussion of Instagram being better than Facebook. Or vice versa. Each platform has its specific elements that make it more successful for a marketer. And the choice will depend entirely on the needs of the business in the cause.
If it were to be a discussion about Instagram vs Facebook: which one is better, it might lead to false hopes. Because what works for one business on Instagram will not work for the other business on the same platform. Your business might even benefit more if it uses both platforms, for example.
This is why understanding both platforms and always being in the loop will become key players for your marketing strategy.