Instagram Ads Vs Facebook Ads: Knowing The Right Pick For Your Business Strategy

It’s no news that Facebook and Instagram are the two most popular social media platforms on the planet with over half of the population currently having both apps installed on their phones.

As trendy and common as they are, there are several features as well as differences, and these differences are factors to consider when selecting the right advertising platform for your business.

Mark Zuckerberg purchasing Instagram for $1 billion looked like a bold move in 2012 because Instagram was basically a picture-sharing app.

Fast forward to 2021 and this move has become the catalyst for huge success but how exactly does it help with business franchises?

The Facebook vs Instagram debacle isn’t limited to just their ads, it’s a common debate in recent times with each social media platform having its distinct features that set them apart from each other. 

In this article, we’re going to be finding out the distinct features of Facebook ads and Instagram ads, the key elements that guide their effectiveness, their advantages, differences, and how these features go a long way in considering what platform to boost your business with

Instagram Ads Vs Facebook Ads: The Never-Ending Debate

Facebook currently boasts nearly 2.5 billion active users monthly, while Instagram has 1 billion monthly users, having grown 23% since 2019.

That’s more than one-third of the earth’s population, and the number of users is increasing daily.

In other words, unless your target customer is a Luddite (in which case you can stop reading) or lives in China, North Korea, or Iran (where Facebook and Instagram are banned), they’re either on these platforms or will be soon.

But don’t let the massive, global scale of social media scare you off. You can narrow the scope of your ad campaigns by gender, keywords, interests, and region.

So even if you are a local company that does business within a specific zip code, social media ads can help you find new paying customers.

Facebook is the better option for dropping curated content with write-ups that link an individual to a third-party business website, whereas Instagram works best with original content creation and the use of visual content to carry your customers along.

Facebook’s paid advertising is still quite effective, and it’s able to reach older groups than Instagram.

Facebook is also a better gateway to external sites or online stores because you can post links to any website.

But when it comes to direct customer engagement and building your brand identity, Instagram is the clear winner.

It also provides more direct access to the under 30 crowds, and with less competition.

Instagram dominates industries like fashion, beauty, interior design, architecture, photography, and celebrity news.

As you can see, Facebook is the clear option when it comes to reaching a bigger and wider audience but Instagram boasts of a bigger engagement rate per post.

For any business ad to be a success, you have to ensure that you’re not only targeting the right audience but are also able to reach them and get feedbacks occasionally in the form of engagements.

And this brings us to the three most important factors (the three wise men of Social Media advertising if you may add) to consider when advertising your business on social media: Reach, Engagement, and Demographics.


Reach, simply in its name, is the number of customers you can reach with your social media post.

Facebook, on average, boasts of over 2 billion users monthly while Instagram comes in at just over 1 billion.

There’s a vast difference in the reach and this presents Facebook as the clear option for business companies that deal in products with an appeal to the general audience.

The general audience includes both the young and old populace. 

Instagram makes up for this huge difference in reach by providing the element of specificity to business companies who are looking to attract a more specific audience.

In essence, Facebook is the go-to for the general audience, Instagram is best for reaching a target section of the general audience.


Engagement refers to the reactions of individuals to social media posts, including likes, comments, and sharing of such posts.

A vital factor to consider for business ads as well as one that goes a long way in determining the success rate of any social media marketing.

How attractive are your business ads? Can your content write-ups generate the much-needed buzz?

Are your visual contents creative enough to stir up a substantial number of engagements?

All these and more need to be done right to achieve the much-needed engagements.

One vital factor that affects the reach of Instagram or Facebook ads is the feature known as an Algorithm. 

What Is A Social Media Algorithm? 

Algorithms in social media platforms can be defined as technical means of sorting posts based on relevancy instead of publishing time, to prioritize which content a user sees first according to the likelihood that they will engage with such content.

This helps you navigate the social media platforms with relative ease because the posts you see are related to your activity and behavior on the app, not the hundreds of accounts you follow. 

Instagram and Facebook vary from each other when it comes to the algorithm in the following ways:

Instagram’s Algorithm:

Engagement. How many hearts and comments are on each post?

Relevancy. Are the post’s genres relevant to the user?

Relationships. Posts from accounts that the user interacts with more frequently are ranked higher.

Timeliness. More recent posts are ranked higher.

Profile searches. Posts from accounts that users search for regularly are ranked higher.

Direct shares. Posts from accounts the user directly shares with others are ranked higher, and the person who receives the shared posts gets a rank boost on their posts.

Time spent on post. The time spent actually looking at a post (not scrolling).

Facebook’s New Algorithm

Friends and family. Posts from people the user knows personally are ranked higher. This is important because it means posts from brands are demoted.

Engagement. How many likes, comments, and shares the post receives, factoring in time.

Encouraging engagement. Posts likely to start a conversation are ranked higher.

Images and videos. Visual posts are ranked higher and text-only posts are ranked lower.

Bait is demoted. Posts that aggressively bait for likes, shares, comments, votes, or tags are ranked lower.

Promotional posts are demoted. Posts trying to push people into buying a product/service or join a contest are demoted.

Also, Facebook checks text against known advertisements and demotes unofficial ads.


This refers to the type of people that engage in the use of a social media platform. This refers to the age bracket, geographical location, and interests. The most important demographic to consider is age. 

Researches have shown that most of the youth populace make use of Instagram as compared to Facebook which entails a much more general audience.

Teens and young adults between the ages of 16-24 are seen more frequently on Instagram than older adults. This usage is much more even when it comes to Facebook as just about the same number of older adults use Facebook as much as younger individuals.

The role this plays in business ads is very important because it determines how a company presents its ideas to the global mass based on its product line and target audience.

Instagram is the clear winner when it comes to reaching out to the millennials and members of Gen Z while Facebook is the traditional go-to for reaching the older masses. Therefore, demographics go a long way in tipping the scale for consumer reach.

Reach, Engagement and Demographics work together and are intertwined in the web of social media marketing.

The demographics (age, global penetration) determine the section of the social media globe the ads can reach out to and this reach inevitably determines the engagements in terms of number and frequency.


27% of all internet users find new products and brands to purchase from social media advertising.

One of the main reasons social media marketing is that effective is because social media platforms present relevant ads customized by user-curated preferences.

Facebook isn’t a replacement for Instagram and Instagram can’t replace Facebook.

You have to identify your audience, think about the type of content you want to publish and then find a happy medium. 

In the end, the question isn’t which social network is better.

The question you have to ask yourself is how can your company use each one, or both, to reach your audience and grow your social media presence.

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