Why Choose Facebook and Instagram

As smartphone use explodes and shopping on mobile increases, it makes sense to advertise on Facebook and Instagram because they are mobile-friendly social networks that people actively and regularly engage in. It can be an effective marketing weapon because of the sophisticated targeting options available, based on the information people provide about themselves, and also allow the advertiser to provide more sharable and engaging content such as videos.

Still the biggest social network, Facebook offers the most data and targeted ads options for businesses. You can share text, videos, link to your website and talk to customers. Worldwide, 58% of users are aged 18-34 and 16% are aged 35-44. Instagram is very visual, featuring a lot of curated or stylised images, so it’s good for promoting aspirational lifestyles and brands.

Worldwide, 59% of users are aged 18-29 and 33% are aged 30-49, while 68% of users are female. Out of all the big channels, Instagram has the highest engagement rate. Both are more effective for B2C campaigns.

According to the latest stats, 62% of Irish people have a Facebook account and use it daily, while 41% are on Instagram of which 65% use it daily. But the main difference is that Instagram use here has steadily grown since 2016, while Facebook has stagnated and use is dropping among teenagers.

The Different Kinds of Ads

To advertise on both, you need to set up a Facebook business account. Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) shares the same functions when it comes to targeting and tracking. Once you post on one, you’ve the option to post the same thing on the other channel.

Facebook offers four types of ads: Marketplace Ads, Sponsored Stories, Promoted Posts and Native Ads. Native Ads look the similar to posts from your friends and can be the most effective. According to this study, people looked at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads while 32% said they would share a native ad with friends or family, versus just 19% for display ads.

On Instagram there are Photo Ads, Video Ads, Carousel Ads, Stories Ads and Collection Ads. You can advertise in three ways. The easiest is Within the App – promoting posts you’ve shared on Instagram. Ads Manager uses the same tracking tools as Facebook. Or, if you’re short on time or need help, Instagram Partner helps you with buying ads and sourcing creative. You should spend some time deciding which of these ads will work best for you, even AB testing some and tracking the results.

A Strategy for Success

1 Define your goals: Are you a new business looking to drive traffic to your website, do you want to grow your audience or raise brand awareness, or maybe you want to promote specific products or one-off events, increase sales, or encourage mobile app downloads? Your goal will help you to decide on your message, audience and call-to-action.

2 Target your audience: What are you selling and to who? You can target men, women, age, location, behaviours and interests. For example, if you own a bridal shop then you’d target women, location, age and most importantly any status change from single to engaged. But what if you’re more general, like a pizza shop? You could target by location but after that you might get too specific. For online retailers, there are also opportunities to target potential customers, recent customers, repeat customers and lapsed customers on both Facebook and Instagram.

3 Eye-catching copy and images: You must use an image or video that grabs people’s attention. Remember they are just casually scrolling through their feed seeing hundreds of images and videos. You will need a headline, some copy and a strong call to action. Facebook will look over your copy before approving your ad so that it doesn’t break any rules. For more information on what works, check out Facebook’s Creative Hub or Instagram’s blog for examples.

4 Optimise your budget and bidding: Like PPC on Google, Facebook and Instagram work like an auction so you have to bid for advertising space against other advertisers. If you bid too low, your campaign may not get enough exposure to achieve your goals. But by increasing your bid, you have a better chance of outbidding your competitors, but will still pay the lowest amount possible.

5 Get testing: According to Facebook: “Making changes to your bid, targeting and/or creative are better ways to improve performance” then just increasing your budget. This testing process can be confusing and frustrating – and where the experience of a marketing agency can come in handy saving you time and money.

Lastly, something to bear in mind. Advertising on paid search (PPC) and social media generate different types of traffic. In general, the PPC audience that arrives to your site via Google search are often actively looking to buy, while Facebook and Instagram users are more often browsing and therefore further from making a purchase. A comprehensive marketing strategy will cover both options.