Facebook Vs. Instagram: Should You Use One or Both

Facebook and Instagram are among the hottest social media platforms across the globe, with 2.32 billion and 1 billion monthly active users, respectively.

Given the immense popularity and audience size of these social networks, it can be tempting to spread resources across both sites.  

But is this the best strategy for marketers to effectively reach their audience?

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Let’s take a look at the data to determine whether Facebook or Instagram – or both – is the right decision for your brand.

Facebook: Big Audience, Big Changes

Without a doubt, Facebook retains the most massive audience of all social media platforms worldwide. In the U.S. alone, more than two-thirds of adults say they use the site.

(Source: pewresearch)

The social network also boasts the most advanced targeting options for marketers who want to advertise. For marketers, these facts are hard to ignore.

What brand doesn’t want to get in front of that many people? Not to mention, all the right people?

The numbers also show another side: Facebook usage among U.S. teens has dropped, with the majority of the younger generation spending time on YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Recently, a report suggested that  Facebook engagement is experiencing a gradual decline. While people are still using the platform, they are not spending as much time on it as they did previously.

(Source: socialmediatoday)

Then, there are the numerous scandals surrounding Facebook, from data breaches to privacy issues. (Regardless of these problems, users still seem to be logging on to their accounts.)

The Takeaway

Considering all this, should marketers use Facebook as part of their social marketing strategy?

While fewer teens are spending time on the platform than before, and overall engagement is down, Facebook continues to have the largest audience of all social media networks. Decreasing engagement is not considerable enough to abandon the site altogether.

Brands should have a presence on Facebook to legitimize their organization and reach their audience – whether organically, paid, or both.

Instagram: Growing Audience, New Opportunities

At one time, Instagram was labeled as the photo-sharing app for youth, but its audience is growing and diversifying. Today, 67 percent of 18-29-year-olds say they use Instagram, so it remains the platform’s most sizeable audience.

Thirty-seven percent of U.S. adults now use Instagram, up from only 10 percent in 2012.

(Source: pewresearch)

For marketers, Instagram can be an especially appealing venue, as 80 percent of users follow at least one business. Even more attractive – 60 percent of users seek out and discover new products on Instagram.

In short, users are starting to expect brands to have a presence on Instagram, and they want to be able to find their products there, as well.

Another primary consideration: Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all social media platforms. This trend has its advantages.

When it comes to advertising on Instagram, brands are voting with their dollars. By the end of 2019, Instagram will account for nearly a quarter of Facebook’s advertising revenue (since Facebook owns Instagram).

And it’s expected to keep on growing.

The Takeaway

Now that you have an overall view of where Instagram is heading, should you use it as part of your social media strategy?


While I think there are plenty of opportunities on this particular platform for some brands, I don’t see it as ubiquitous as Facebook (not yet, at least).

Before tapping into this newer social media network, I think it wise to understand your audience fully and whether or not they spend their time there.

If they do, it could be a precious space to reach your audience with the appropriate messaging. If not, it could be a waste of your resources.

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Final Thoughts

For brands with a diversified audience (older and younger generations), I can see Facebook and Instagram being a winning combination. Marketers can reach both audiences where they spend their time, with content that is relevant and effective.

If your brand’s audience is more focused (older or younger), then it may be best served with one platform or the other.

Lastly, if you still feel unsure, try out both platforms and do some testing. After all, the last thing you want to do is leave anything to chance. Learn more about social media marketing strategies and best practices with Simplilearn’s Advanced Social Media Marketing Training

About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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