This week I want to share with you some research straight from Facebook HQ about the differences between Facebook and Instagram.

In a recent study called ‘A Tale of Two Feeds’, marketing science researchers at Facebook explored how various groups of people relate to Facebook and Instagram and explained what their research revealed about how people perceive and use these two social platforms on a weekly basis.

I often get asked ‘Do I have to use Facebook AND Instagram?’ or ‘What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram?’ and hopefully this will help clarify.

The first thing to realise is the sheer dominance of these two platforms right now. 2 out of every 5 mobile minutes in the USA is spent on Facebook and Instagram. And if you’re anything like me (which hopefully for your own sanity you aren’t!) you’ll find any free moment is taken up by hopping between your apps, and in my case that is email, Facebook, Instagram and Safari.

Many people identify as ‘Facebook’ people or ‘Instagram’ people and in my case from the point of view of which to use for your business, I am primarily a Facebook person which dominates in terms of lead generation, but Instagram comes a close second particularly for tribe building and ‘selling the dream’ which lots of businesses need to do as part of their strategy.

And the FB HQ research found that the two feeds have a lot in common such as: the key appeal of both feeds is to make a connection, people visit both platforms at similar times of day, people share content at a similar rate, however people have a different mindset on each platform.

In particular, they found that people are more likely to use FB to interact with close family and friends, whereas people use Instagram use it to share images with a broad range of people and connect with businesses.

Discovery on Facebook is about exposure to new ideas whereas discovery on Instagram is more about being inspired. Fun on Facebook is more about humour, and fun on Instagram is more about encountering the unexpected.

People surveyed who use both platforms more often agreed that Instagram surprises and delights them than Facebook. On the other hand, they were more likely to say that Facebook makes them laugh. Facebook empowers people, Instagram invites people to explore.

I’m glad to see that my own experience of both platforms fits with this research. I absolutely see Instagram as a place of positivity and inspiration, whereas FB is more about clear lead generation, the distribution of specific information and learning, and so therefore hitting the right people with the right offer.

What these findings mean for advertisers

If you want to get really granular, then using the findings from this research businesses can customise their approach on each platform to reach their target audience in the most effective way. This would mean different ads and difference creatives for each platform. 

However, when I’m running advert campaigns, I currently run the same content on Instagram and Facebook and after split testing, the only campaign that usually remains is the FB mobile one as the others are more expensive.

So I was super glad to hear that although advertisers can consider the unique culture of each platform in their ad strategy, the ultimate takeaway is that Instagram and Facebook are more similar than different. 

That means if you focus on strong creatives that convey your brand’s personality and strong copy that links to the creative, and constantly improving your ad targeting, you can then run one single ad strategy across both platforms. For the sake of all of our sanity….. YAY!


Join the discussion One Comment

  • Honest Mum says:

    Fascinating stuff, I spend more time on FB but do enjoy Instagram too and know both platforms are important along with Twitter and Pinterest of course, to raise visibiity and PR, and drive traffic for my blog.