Instagram vs. Facebook Ads–Which Should You Choose?

Instagram Ads vs. Facebook Ads - you might be wondering if one is better than the other, or if both warrant a place in your ad spend budget. The truthful answer is, as always, it depends! 

Since these two social media platforms are giants in their own right, and they’re both owned by the same parent company, you might be wondering if one is better than the other, or if both warrant a place in your ad spend budget. The truthful answer is, as always, it depends! 

Here’s a rough guide to clue you in:

Instagram: $0.20 - $2.00 (CPC) cost-per-click; $6.70 CPM (cost-per-mille or every 1,000 impressions)

Facebook: $0.26 - $0.97 CPC (cost-per-click); $7.19 CPM (cost-per-mille or every 1,000 impressions)

Note: Both social media networks only offer you a relevance score once you’ve hit 500 unique impressions. The algorithm can then use that data to estimate the expected engagement an ad may generate with your target audience.

Both social media platforms have a similar audience, to a point–Instagram is generally a better place to advertise for more specific demographics, especially when it comes to age of users. Facebook caters to a wider range of ages, whereas Instagram generally has a younger user base. Knowing which groups of people are likely to be interested in your company is a first step to deciding which platform to advertise on.

Another key difference: visual vs. written content. Instagram was born for images, and has since moved into video as well. Meanwhile, Facebook has historically prioritized written content. And unlike Instagram, Facebook allows for clickable/copyable URLs in post captions, which makes it far easier for would-be customers to interact with your post on their own terms. That can also have a bearing on the success of your ad campaign. 

Remember though, that literal cost isn’t everything–if you advertise for less overall, but do it on a network that doesn’t attract your target audience, that move alone could cost you more in the long run. Another important takeaway is that these numbers are only rough averages–the numbers are all over the place here. Higher or lower than average ad costs on Instagram or Facebook will solely depend on a whole host of other factors.

Much like with Instagram ads, Facebook has an ad auction too. The key parameters that will determine your final bid cost are your daily budget, whether you’re paying for views, clicks, or downloads, and the level of audience building you do via demographics, interest, and device targeting. Facebook then evaluates your potential ad’s bid, estimated action rates (or how likely it is that users will click, like, etc.), and the overall quality of the ad to determine an ad’s relevance to the chosen demographic. The ad with the highest total value wins the bid. Each factor is important, but one way to lower total cost is to ensure that your ad’s quality and relevance are top-notch. And one way to hit that target is to work with an experienced social media marketing team.

If you want straight numbers here, the quick answer to cost lies with you, the advertiser. You set your monthly budget with both Facebook and Instagram, and that could range from $50 – $500, or you could decide to allocate a lot more. Whatever the case, the total cost per month is determined by you and you alone. Once you’ve settled on a monthly sum, our PPC (pay-per-click) advertising team will find the best and most effective way to divide the funds between your chosen campaigns. This typically breaks down to a daily cost, based on your overall goals for the ad.

Just as with Instagram costs, Facebook ad prices vary per click ($1-$3), like ($1-$2), download ($5-$10), or 1,000 impressions ($1-$10). These averages cover the gamut, so don’t think you need to spend the most to gain traction with your audience. Your total cost per interaction can vary based on your target audience, your specific industry, your budget, and the quality and timing of the ad. 

You’ll find varying estimates of costs, with some asserting that advertising on Facebook is more affordable than it is on Instagram, but the truth comes down to your own budget and your own specific parameters. Focus on ad quality and don’t be afraid to test, and it will all come out even in the wash. And yes–it’s possible to get great results on any ad budget. Here’s one more thing to know: since Facebook and Instagram are advertising cousins, you can cross over and run Facebook ads on Instagram, and vice versa.

Should You Run Both Instagram and Facebook Ads?

Well, let’s look at your target audience. Instagram typically skews younger, but the reach is more limited. That being said, Instagram offers plenty of data and engagement in return and can be a great starting point for newer businesses who want to use high-impact visuals in their ads. If you’re looking to connect with folks who will buy your product, download your guide, or realize other lower-cost conversions, Facebook can help with that too. The granular targeting on Facebook is also worth noting if you already know precisely who you want to see your ads.

In the end, a two-pronged approach that integrates ads on both social media platforms can be your best bet, with studies showing an overall increase in campaign reach with lower CPM costs. As with countless other business decisions, when trying to decide if Instagram ads are for you, or if Facebook (or both!) might bring better yields, the answers lie in the details. And it’s those details that our social media marketing team just loves digging into. Get with us today to chat about your next social media ad campaign and see how our skill and expertise can elevate your efforts.

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