Facebook ads vs Instagram ads

When Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for approximately $ 1 billion (USD), the GAFA giant suspected that his sister platform was in full expansion and about to flourish beautifully. For the sake of simplification and profitability, Facebook therefore opened and transferred its processes to Instagram. That being said, the fundamental similarity between Facebook advertising and Instagram advertising is this: campaigns are managed in a single platform, the Facebook Business Manager.


Before getting to the heart of the matter, I would like to remind you that when we talk about social media advertising, we are directly talking about an advertising investment ($). So there is a fundamental difference between community management or social media management, organic posts appearing in the news feed and advertising on these social media.

Although several basic questions such as How to advertise Facebook or Instagram ?, How much does a Facebook or Instagram ad cost? or What is a good conversion rate for a Facebook or Instagram ad ? are on the lips of many beginners in the field, the present article will rather focus on the fundamental differences between the two platforms as well as the strategic thinking behind the media mix to be chosen.

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As for the similarities, we obviously note the campaign management platform. Inside the Facebook Business Manager, we find the advertising manager. It is through this tool that we build Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns. Only one operation differs: the choice of the platform placement.



Although the two platforms form a single entity, Facebook offers a multitude of placement to businesses wishing to invest in advertising. Some of the most popular are: Facebook Feed ad, Instagram Feed ad, Instagram Story ad and Instagram Explore ad.


 publicité Facebook Feed, publicité Instagram Feed, publicité Instagram Story/Stories et publicité Instagram Explore.



Almost all the campaign goals available in Facebook Ads Manager are available for both platforms. On the other hand, on the Facebook side, it is possible to create campaigns aimed directly at acquiring fans on the Facebook page, while on the Instagram side this function does not exist (yet).



Questions about the Facebook Ads pricing or the Instagram Ads pricing comes up regularly. On one side or the other, we invest in Mark Zukerberg’s entity (Facebook) under a pay per impression model, and not per click as is the case with a keyword campaign of on Google. That being said, the CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) may vary between Facebook and Instagram, depending on the competition observed on the inventory available to reach your target. It is difficult to generalize on the question How much does Facebook advertising cost?, although we notice at Rablab (Facebook advertising agency) CPMs oscillating between $ 4 and $ 8 on average.



One of the great advantages of investing in Facebook advertising or Instagram advertising is the notion of targeting. It is of course possible to target according to demographic data, but also according to interests or behavior data. Even more interesting, when you install the Facebook Pixel on a web property, you get to create remarketing audiences (Read: What’s the point of remarketing?) from site visitors, in addition to the engagement audiences made possible by the Facebook page and Instagram account. We usually call that personalized audiences or remarketing audiences. So, there is hardly any difference between Facebook advanced targeting and Instagram targeting.



The creative portion of social media marketing is essential for creating a good Facebook or Instagram advertisement. In addition to the creation aspect, we must think of advertisements in their context of consumption (and therefore often from a mobile, with a fairly fast scrolling and limited attention from the user). Ad formats can help improve the results of Facebook and Instagram campaigns, depending on the goals. Among the most popular, and which can be displayed on both platforms, we find Carousel Ad, Video Ad, Image Ad, Collection Ad, Story Ad and Dynamic Ad. In fact, the only format reserved for Facebook is Instant Experience Ad.



Why not focus on what catches more attention at the end of the day? To those who are wondering how to do a good Facebook ad or how to advertise on Instagram, sooner or later you will have to evaluate the results in order to decide whether or not your ads are doing well in relation to your account, your industry.

In order to demonstrate measurable outcomes and to be able to assess whether one or the other of the platforms would be more efficient, I brought out the data of 4 Facebook advertising accounts. To remove the seasonality bias, I have chosen to compare the statistics for the first two quarters of the year with these same quarters, but for previous years.


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Before moving on to conclusions, here is a little information on the 4 clients presented above, which are all online businesses:

Client A: products with low involvement, prices vary between approximately $ 10 and $ 80, female audience 21-44

Client B: medium involvement products, prices vary between approximately $ 20 and $ 50, female audience 23-39

Client C: low involvement products, prices vary between approximately $ 15 and $ 50, male and women audience 23-39

Client D: products with medium involvement, prices vary between approximately $ 20 and $ 50, men audience 25-44

First, we wanted to know if Facebook advertising seemed more effective or profitable than Instagram advertising, in general. According to the data, we observe very similar results, and therefore we could not draw any conclusion in this regard. Then, we wanted to compare the profitability of the Instagram platform over time with the Facebook platform. Again, with the data, we could not confirm any hypothesis. Finally, what we can clearly see, is that all these accounts have experienced a great improvement in Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) over these three years!


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In light of the points mentioned above, and the results observed, you are probably wondering which platform to prioritize. In my opinion, the answer depends on several aspects:


  • The business model and the activity sector
  • Does the nature of the product make it instagrammable? In other words, is it possible to present the product in terms of  “beauty” in the broad sense?
  • Does the quality of the creatives (images, videos) make it possible to design beautiful Instagram ads?
  • Where is your target located, based on their social media usage behavior?
  • How does the target use each of the platforms? Is it suitable to convert on an advertisement?
  • The available budget

At Rablab, we obviously take the time to think about the behavior of our target, in order to define the investments to be broken down according to the platforms. HOWEVER, no one has certainty before having substantial data, and therefore we TEST absolutely all our assumptions before committing ourselves in a single direction. My advice is: don’t assume anything, just test. Give yourself a 3-month horizon (one quarter) and invest your budget in 50/50 through both platforms and compare the results afterwards. We are therefore talking here about carrying out an A : B test with placement, in the same way as we do with advertisements or audiences. Finally, be sure to keep an eye on how often your ads run when budgeting changes. (Read:Ad frenquency and ad blindness)



Too often marketers see these two platforms as one medium, yet we use or consume them in completely different ways. There is no magic behind an advertising strategy on Facebook and Instagram. We always talk about good old marketing, of which understanding the target audience and their “media” consumption habits is a big part of it.

Ask yourself the question In what context will my advertising be consumed? it’s an excellent starting point for building a relevant and profitable social media marketing strategy.

Hoping that this article has enlightened you on the similarities and differences between these two giants that are Facebook and Instagram, and do not hesitate to contact us for assistance!

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