The year 2020 has shown us that social media advertising is here to stay, and that allocating your budget to successful campaigns with a high ROI is more important than before. Many times businesses feel the return on print advertising can’t be accurately measured. The beauty of marketing via social media channels is the variety of insights provided that can be analyzed to continually improve your campaigns to achieve successful results.
Gone are the days where social media was solely for social interaction. In fact, research shows that 52% of all online brand discovery still happens in public social feeds (organic & paid). This suggests that the majority of consumers use Instagram and Facebook to investigate a new company before even visiting their website!
Build brand awareness and loyalty by engaging with your followers and curating a feed that gives consumers a feeling of trust and relatability. Of course this means understanding the algorithms and the importance of curating captivating content. Let’s break down common questions surrounding social media advertising.
What are the benefits of social media marketing?
Social media is proven to increase brand awareness, inbound traffic, conversion rates, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and most importantly is measurable and cost effective.
Audience Growth: Facebook v Instagram
Of all social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram are proven to be the most interactive and can produce the best ROI. However, the benefits of each are very subjective and depend on which features are being used, your industry, audience, and other factors.
- Facebook launched in February 2004, and introduced Facebook Ads in November of 2007. The platform was originally created to help people stay in-touch with family and friends and became an advertising powerhouse with the launch of Facebook Ads and Business pages in 2007.According to Statista, Facebook reported almost 1.79 billion daily active users and overall, daily active users accounted for 66% of monthly active users. This number continues to grow by 9% compared to the year before, despite the speculation that Facebook is “dying”.
- Instagram launched in October 2010 and is a younger platform focused on storytelling through images and now instagram reels and stories. Instagram ran its first ad in November 2013. By 2017, Instagram was averaging more than 2 million businesses with purchased ads, compared to Facebook’s 5 million.
- However, according to Statista, Instagram has over 500 million daily active users out of 1 billion monthly active users, making Instagram a powerhouse when it comes to audience engagement.
Audience: Facebook v Instagram
Facebook may not have the highest engagement, but because it is the oldest platform the audience is huge, with more than 2.45 billion monthly active users. Facebook differs from other social media platforms that show strong trends in users by age. The average age for a Facebook user ranges from 18-49, with little variance in between. However, Facebook is the most popular social network among seniors and the majority of the users are in the United States.
Of this 1.79 billion daily users, the ad audience reach for the U.S. is only 183 million people. This audience size has also seen a decrease in the past year from 3% to .4% - a fairly significant dip.
Instagram’s growth continues to be studied and monitored by marketers. In the United States, the network reaches over 37% of the population. The global audience is diversified, with only 11% of Instagram users represented by the U.S. eMarketer estimates 2020 will reveal a growth of over 5% in the U.S. compared and anticipates this number to continue growing at this growth rate.
More adults use Instagram than you would think, with 37% in 2019. The network is also significantly more popular amongst the younger generations. 67% of users are between the ages of 18-29. Here’s a breakdown from Hootsuite:
- 18-27: 67%
- 30-49: 47%
- 50-64: 23%
- 65+: 8%
Another important and interesting insight to Instagram’s audience is that the gender demographics are pretty even - 48% female and 52% male.
All of these statistics are important to research when considering your buyer personas. You should always analyze your business’s audience and design your strategy based on this information rather than the overall network statistics.
Brand engagement: Facebook v Instagram
It’s no surprise that consumers rarely engage with branded social content compared to all content on a social platform. A study by Forrester revealed that on six of the seven social networks, the brands studied had an engagement rate of less than 0.1%. So, between Instagram and Facebook, which platform has the highest engagement? Depending on the blog you read, you’ll render different results. According to the Forrester study, one platform stood out the most: Instagram.
Facebook launched Facebook Business Pages to support the Facebook Ads launch in 2007, and now has over 60 million business pages. 39% of Facebook users that follow Facebook Business Pages do so because they want to receive special offers. Interestingly enough, the average organic reach of a Facebook post is only 6.4% of the Page’s total likes. Statista reports that in 2019 the social network’s marketing spending reached almost 9.9 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of over 2 billion U.S. dollars from 2018. However, despite this level of spending, the engagement on Facebook with paid branded content is still under .1%.
A study by Merkle reveals that ad spending on Instagram is 23% higher than facebook. What is driving this shift in ad spending to Instagram’s platform? Story ads and higher engagement.
Types of Ads: Facebook v Instagram
Facebook offers Facebook Ads Guide for types of ads. These ad types include: Image Ads, Video Ads, Carousel Ads, and Collection Ads. Facebook provides thorough research where their teams explored the effectiveness of ads based on engagement, exploring text, timing, and format considerations. You can find some of this research here. Facebook’s targeting tools are considerable, and allow you to narrow down by purchase behavior, interests, location, demographics, Facebook communities, and more. You can create Core, Custom, and Lookalike Audiences for your ad delivery to increase relevance, thus leading to higher ad engagement.
Instagram ad types consist of feed posts and story ads. Both types look just like regular posts and stories, but are labeled with a “Sponsored” label and include a call to action button with options to send to your messages, website, Instagram profile, etc. According to AdEspresso, the average engagement rate for Instagram branded posts is 4.3%, compared to Facebook’s 1.5%.
The user experience for Instagram story ads shows most users don’t realize they’re seeing an ad play back to back, revealing a smooth experience that isn’t too interruptive. Additionally, because an Instagram story takes up the entire screen there is no competition with other content and when targeted correctly, the experience feels organic. Therefore, consumers are more likely to engage.
Both are measured by reach & impressions. Reach is the number of unique views on a post. Impressions are the total number of times a post was seen. Both metrics provide helpful insights to your ad performance and allow you to make adjustments to improve your ad engagement overall.
Cost: Facebook v Instagram
A study in 2019 found that the average CPM for Instagram is $5.14 per 1000 visits. While the average CPC for Instagram ads is between $.20 and $2.00. Compared to Facebook’s CPM of $5.12 and CPC of $.80, Instagram wins again in this category. This study is a broad estimation, and certain factors like your target audience will affect these costs. Let’s discuss a few factors that affect the ad costs.
- Ad Relevance - Facebook takes into account the relevancy of your ad amongst your selected target audience and factors this into the cost of the ad. Facebook and Instagram provide a relevancy score that changes while your ad runs. If you receive high engagement, your score will increase. If consumers are hiding your ad, your score will go down. A/B testing is a great way to determine what is relevant to your audience. Remember to only change one factor so that you receive concise data. Similar to a Google algorithm, the more relevant your content is to your target buyers and ad audience, the less expensive your ads will be.
- Target audience - If you are targeting a popular audience that is high-demand, the cost will fluctuate.
- Time of year - like any retail or sales strategy, the time of year will determine the cost of the ad. Popular times of the year, like holidays, will affect the ad cost.
- Ad Run Dates - Obviously, the longer you run an ad the more your cost will increase. The average ad doesn’t necessarily need to run for a long period of time. Assessing your impression and reach goals will help guide you to determine a reasonable ad length and price.