Facebook versus Instagram

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What’s Better? Instagram vs. Facebook

It’s very easy to confuse Instagram with paid Facebook ad marketing because Facebook paid ads automatically solicit you for Instagram. Pay attention when you are paying for ads on Facebook. One of the questions that you will be faced is whether you want to also run your campaign on Instagram.

Given this fact, many marketers assume that Facebook ad marketing and Instagram campaigns are pretty much one and the same. No, they’re not. There’s a tremendous amount of difference between these two platforms.

Facebook versus Instagram

Ignore these differences and, chances are, you are going to be throwing away good money. While it’s true that at a certain level they share quite a bit of similarities, it’s the differences that really impact your bottom line.

Instagram and Facebook Ads Marketing Focus on Targeting

First the good news. If you’re going to be marketing on these platforms, you can rest assured that they will do their best in targeting your audience members. This is amazing news. Seriously.

Gone are the days where you would identify potential advertising platforms and buy blind ads. These are just ads that the platform would publish, and it’s anybody’s guess whether you will get any clicks or, worse yet, whether the right people will click on those banner ads.

Instagram and Facebook use all sorts of sophisticated targeting technologies to try to get the right eyeballs in front of the right ads. Sounds great, right? Well, Facebook’s targeting system using interests is actually very, very sophisticated. It’s nothing short of technological wizardry.

In fact, Facebook is so great at targeting that they are able to create lookalike audiences based on certain audience’s past “liking” habits. It is no surprise that when people communicate with their friends on Facebook, they start seeing ads that seem to read their minds. That’s how sophisticated Facebook’s targeting platform can be.

To a certain extent, Instagram is also sophisticated, but it’s not quite there. Instagram uses targeted tags, which then show your ads when people look for certain hashtags. This technology is continuously evolving and its targeting success continues to increase. With that said, it may not be a good idea for certain types of advertisers to use Facebook.

Facebook is Great for Leads


If you’re looking to sell stuff on your Shopify store, you might have a tough time converting virgin traffic from Facebook into buyers. Seriously. If they haven’t seen your store before or if they haven’t interacted with your brand before, it’s going to be a tough sell. Your ads are just going to appear without context. Sure, they are tied to some sort of targeting system, but that’s not good enough.

It is no surprise that Facebook is generally used for lead generation. People would offer some sort of freebie or some digital incentive like a booklet, a cheat sheet, or even a piece of software. In exchange for that, people would enter their email address.

This is a premium platform for promoting services. People get to read the ad text and they can then make certain decisions. Not surprisingly, a lot of marketers consider Facebook ads as a great text content-based marketing platform.

This is great if you are promoting SEO services or you are marketing some sort of online MBA or training program. Unfortunately, if you have a Shopify store, Facebook ads may not be a good first option. It can be a great secondary option after you’ve done an extensive amount of marketing, but don’t start with Facebook ads.

Instagram is Great for Shopify Shops

The opposite is true for Instagram. If you have a Shopify store, you can market quite effectively on Instagram even if you choose not to pay one red cent for advertising. How can this be? Well, Instagram is a social media platform that enables people to share photos and videos.

Shopify and Instagram

It is a very visually centered. You can show different photos of your product line, different circumstances in which people use your products. Also, you can highlight the social proof inherent in photos of people using and interacting with your products.

You don’t have this capability with Facebook because Facebook only gives you one shot. You only get to show one picture. On Instagram, you can show many different pictures, and you can even present product videos. In other words, you get many bites at the apple.

Best of all, it doesn’t seem like you’re advertising because people are seeking out those photos specifically. They’re searching for certain hashtags and they’re looking to see those products presented in many different contexts and circumstances.

Instagram also enables you to go to your audience directly. How? Search for hashtags related to your product and look for accounts that target those hashtags. Look through the followers of those accounts and you would notice that these are targeted followers.

These are people who closely follow certain topics. If you follow them, some of them would follow you back. At the end of the day, you might get a long list of followers who are really interested in the products you have to offer.

The reverse is also true. By picking the right hashtags for your product photos and videos, you attract the right eyeballs. Again, these are people who are truly interested in what you have to offer.

Instagram is Great for Continuous Exposure

The big advantage Instagram has over Facebook is the fact that you get to hammer home your message through your content. If you sell tables and chairs, for example, your feed can just show all that content and you can bet that if you target the right hashtags, only people who are interested in those materials would find themselves on your account.


That’s amazing targeting because it’s self-filtering. People who are not interested, people who are just simply curious, they’re not going to be there. This is a low impact and continuous way of marketing. It is not spammy, it doesn’t attract unwanted attention, it is not blatant or flamboyant, but it gets the job done.

Best of all, Instagram’s continuous exposure of your brand materials enable you to sell through the KLT process. KLT works this way – for somebody to buy from you, they must first trust you. For them to trust your brand, they must first like your solutions. For them to like your solutions, they must first feel that you know what you are talking about.

You have to achieve some sort of minimal level of credibility and authority. That’s how it works. Know, Like, Trust and Buy. Without this process, people won’t buy anything.

When was the last time you bought something of value from a complete and total stranger? The bottom line is, people won’t buy from anybody they don’t trust. Instagram’s continuous exposure process enables you to hurdle this process.

The good news is, some people don’t require much persuasion. They can go through the KLT process almost instantly. They only need to show them a few pictures and they are sold. Other people require a little bit more persuasion. In fact, some people take several weeks, if not months.

Regardless of how your target audience members make their decision, Instagram gives you a free platform to use continuous exposure to push your products. Instagram also puts dollars in your pocket because you can use it for social proof.

You can strategically select your photos indicating some sort of real usage. In other words, instead of just showing a photo of that laptop computer that you’re selling, show an actual customer using the laptop computer or a screenshot of the person interacting with the product.

This tremendous ability to position your product in all sorts of settings and circumstances give you many bites at the apple, so to speak. You are able to get many chances at converting Instagram users into buyers.

The Bottom Line with Instagram and Facebook

Facebook can get quite costly if you’re going to use it for direct traffic. If you’re going to be using it for anything other than generating leads, it can be quite a tough call for you. However, if you know a lot of people from Facebook who are already visiting your website, if you install the Facebook pixel on your website, you can use Facebook ads for re-targeting.

For example, if somebody went to your Shopify store and they end up on the check out page, but they didn’t buy anything, you can call that person back through re-targeting. The Facebook pixel embedded in your Shopify store will trigger your ads on Facebook inviting the person to close the sale. This has been shown to increase conversions by up to 40%.  Not too shabby.

Instagram free marketing, on the other hand, is great for targeted branding, product marketing, and overall brand marketing. It makes for a great steady base of traffic, it is fairly targeted, and also exposes you to a wide range of marketing opportunities like brand alliances and influencer marketing.

Don’t confuse the two. They have their own distinct set of advantages as well as areas of improvement.

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