Facebook Ads Vs Instagram Ads

October 20th, 2017 in Performance Marketing 3 minute read

Social advertising, when done right, can be a fast and rewarding way of reaching your target audience. Facebook and Instagram are two of the largest social media platforms and offer brands the opportunity to engage with new or existing customers using their detailed targeting options.

As Facebook now owns Instagram, creating ads for these networks has never been easier. Using the Facebook interface, you can select an objective, create a target audience and use creatives to produce ads to run on both platforms. However, this isn’t to say that Instagram should be seen as just another placement. These two platforms have different target audiences and ways of engaging with them, therefore you should have two different strategies when it comes to creating the ads.

Remember The Purpose

Studies have shown that people use Facebook and Instagram for different reasons. So, why would you create the same ads for platforms with different purposes?

Research has shown people go on Facebook to ‘satisfy need for connection and gain recognition’ whereas people go on Instagram to ‘relax and discover new content’. This makes Instagram a great place to run your Brand Awareness ads, as people on Instagram are actively searching for new products and inspiration.

By defining your objectives early on and researching Facebook and Instagram’s user demographics, their behaviour and the nature of both platforms you can discover what people want to see when, and then create optimised ads that will generate engagement and buzz around your brand.

Focus On Your Audience

After the objective, the audience is the most important aspect of your social ads. Before you even think about sending your ads out into the world you need to understand who you want to see your ads, and what message you want them to get from your brand.

Let’s have a look at the example of age. Targeting specific age groups when creating Facebook and Instagram ads is very straightforward, however it’s important to consider which platform will be most effective in reaching and engaging your specific target audience. Facebook has a generally young audience, with the largest age demographic between 25 and 34. However there is a spread throughout the ages, with a large number of active over 65s. On Instagram 90% of users are aged younger than 35. So, if your target audience is younger, maybe you should prioritise your advertising efforts on the millennial favourite – Instagram.

Think About The Visuals

Facebook and Instagram’s interfaces are different in a few ways. You need to take into account how your ads are going to look on each feed. With the rise of mobile social media usage people are processing information faster and faster, leaving little room for error – if people see an ad that looks out of place, it could damage your brand’s reputation.

A good example of this is with the ad copy. Instagram’s copy limit is restricted to 3 lines before the ‘read more’ cut-off appears, whereas on Facebook you can squeeze in a few decent chunks of copy in the main body text before this happens. Take a look at the below ads that we ran on Facebook and Instagram to promote our SEO & Outreach service.

Zeal-Media-Facebook-Ad-Example Zeal-Media-Instagram-Ad-Example

Another case would be with mobile-only Collection Ads, which allow you to creatively incorporate images, carousel, video and text. When clicked, they open up into a mini-site within Facebook. If you are wanting to take this immersive approach to social advertising you are going to have to stick with Facebook… for now. New features are constantly being rolled out across both platforms, so keep an eye out.


As tempting as it is to tick that ‘automatic placements’ button in Facebook’s Ads Manager or Power Editor, you might be missing a trick or two – not to mention wasting budget. The most important thing is to keep your objectives at the forefront of your mind and stick to the ‘bigger picture’. Really know your target audience and what social networks they are using to ensure your ads are reaching the people most likely to be interested in your brand. Then hone in on your creative skills to produce the most visually engaging creatives that sit well on the platform(s) you choose to use.

Want to know more about Facebook or Instagram Advertising or help with your social advertising campaigns? Get in touch!

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