Facebook vs Instagram: Which Is Better For Ecommerce?

Social media is one of the best avenues to engage with your audience, and increase your customer base.

With Facebook boasting 2.85 billion users worldwide, and Instagram boasting one billion users, this audience is too important to ignore when growing your ecommerce business. 

But how to determine which platform is more important? Where should you focus your attention, and money, to bring in better results?

Let’s find out.

The Omnichannel Approach

Omnichannel marketing is a powerful approach to marketing and, in essence, means having a strong presence on all channels where your audience might find you. Whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, or even Google, the Omnichannel approach helps you serve your audience whenever they need it.

And there’s more to Omnichannel than just sending a message: “Our store is so important that we’re present everywhere.”

When you have a strong presence wherever your target audience might try to find you, you can convert more. People decide to buy at wildly different moments in their buyer’s journey, so when you’re always present with valuable information and good products, it’s easier for them to pick you.

That’s why an Omnichannel approach is the best marketing strategy you can have.

And it’s why both Facebook and Instagram matter. The best ecommerce stores will have a strong presence on both. However, without a dedicated team of professional social media marketers, that might be hard to pull off. The budget for ads is also limited for any company.

So how do you know which one to prioritize?

Facebook Vs Instagram in a Snapshot

One of the biggest differences between Facebook and Instagram is the demographics of both platforms. Younger users tend to spend more time on Instagram, while Facebook is a great place to target people over 30.

Content is another big factor. Facebook is a mix of stories, images, text, videos, and ads. It’s easy to open someone’s Facebook profile and find a lot of information about them. Instagram, on the other hand, is much more focused on moments, illustrated through beautiful images.

That’s the gist of it.

But let’s dig deeper.

Facebook At A Glance

Of Facebook’s active users, most are at least 20, if not 30 or even older. That’s a good thing if you’re looking for people with more disposable income. But it’s not a good thing if your audience is younger.

Facebook is also a lot more flexible in the content you can share. Long blocks of text don’t usually do well on Instagram, but they can get really viral on Facebook (if the information you provide is valuable).

Engagement is also lower on Facebook when compared to instagram. In fact, this study from 2019 found that people engage with Instagram posts at double the rate they do on Facebook. 

Instagram At a Glance

While Instagram’s userbase is smaller than that of Facebook, it still has a huge user base. Demographically, most users on Instagram are younger than 30, which makes it a perfect place for people that want to target a younger audience.

However, the content on Instagram is not as varied. While large blocks of texts or personal stories could catch on in particular niches, Instagram is all about capturing moments in crisp, beautiful images. Right off the bat, this can be the difference that helps you choose the best platform for your store.

If your products can be highlighted in innovative ways (visually), Instagram is a great platform to engage your audience. On the other hand, if the strength of your product lies more underneath the ”hood”, Instagram might not be the best choice.

For further tips on Instagram marketing from Hootsuite, check out this incredibly useful article

Understand Your Audience

The easiest way to make a choice between Facebook and Instagram for your business is to see where your audience spends most of their time. A survey, or a quick market research can reveal this information. 

If that’s not something you can afford, there are workarounds. For example, if you already have a site up, you can look at Google Analytics traffic sources. If most of your social traffic comes from one platform, focus more on that.

Lastly, you can make educated guesses about where your audience spends their time. For example, if you’re selling streetwear to 25 year olds or younger, Instagram is probably where they spend most of their time. If you’re selling high-end baby products, you’ll be looking to target slightly older people, with more disposable income. In that case, Facebook is a safer bet.

Tie Everything Back To Your Product

While your audience can be a huge factor in what you decide to spend more on (Facebook or Instagram), your product can be just as important.

For example, let’s say you’re selling handmade products. Instagram is a great place to highlight your products. If you manage to take product photos that put your products in an innovative light, you can impress your audience through great presentation.

On the other hand, if you’re selling products that don’t have creative visual characteristics, or products that don’t rely too much on their design, Facebook could be a better choice. It’s easier to send information about the product in that medium, without relying on aesthetics.

Paid Ads Targeting

Another important aspect on how you’d want to focus social media campaigns is based on ads targeting. While you refine your targeting a lot on both platforms, Instagram can leave you with fewer choices. For example, not a lot of young people have the two accounts linked. Even when they do, the information available on either account is limited. That way, with Instagram ads you can only rely on cookies or interests based on the pages they follow.

By contrast, Facebook gives you much more control over who sees your advertisement. Since Facebook users tend to give their life story to the platform (how old they are, where they work, what their interests are), you can have a marginally more honed targeting on Facebook.

What The Data Tells You

Everything we talked about are general points about Facebook, Instagram, and how they work. However, to truly understand which is better for your Ecommerce platform, you’ll need to look at your own data, and experience.

To do this, follow the traffic you get from social media through Google Analytics. Understand where your audience is coming from, and what they’re looking for in your products. But don’t be content with traffic.

You might be getting a ton of views on your site from Facebook. That just means your Facebook campaign is working. But if most of your conversions are coming from Instagram, you should still double down on the latter.

The main point is this: both Facebook and Instagram are mediums to promote your products. But if you want to know where to expend more resources, you’ll need to:

  • Understand your audience, and where they spend more time.
  • Understand your product, and what it does best.
  • Analyze your data, to see which platform needs your attention.

We hope this article is helpful as you continue your journey toward ecommerce success!

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