Digiday+ Research deep dive: Brands are still on Facebook, but they’re spending a lot more on Instagram

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Brands and retailers have almost no choice but to be on both Facebook and Instagram in today’s social media landscape. But that doesn’t mean they have to spend the same amount on the Meta-owned sibling platforms.

According to a Digiday+ Research survey conducted in the first quarter of this year among brand and retailer professionals, Instagram is the clear winner between the two when it comes to marketing spend — and that’s because it drives conversions and branding in a big way.

Digiday’s survey found that pretty much all brands and retailers are active on Meta’s platforms, with Instagram edging out older sibling Facebook. Ninety six percent of brand and retailer pros said their companies currently use Instagram, while 93% said they’re using Facebook.

This makes the Meta platforms the top two social media channels among brands and retailers by far. The third-place platform is currently used by just short of three-quarters of brands.

Digiday’s survey also found that sales and engagement are brands’ and retailers’ top measurements of success for both Facebook and Instagram, although by a slightly higher margin for the latter. Twenty-nine percent of brand and retailer pros said their main measurement of success on Facebook is commerce or sales, and 23% said engagement. Meanwhile, 31% of brands and retailers said commerce or sales measure their success on Instagram, and 29% engagement.

One big difference between the sibling platforms is how brands and retailers view clickthroughs as a measurement of success (or not). Clickthroughs are brands’ and retailers’ third choice for measuring success on Facebook: 19% of brand and retailer pros said this is their main measurement of success on the platform. Just 6% said that clickthroughs indicate success on Instagram.

Digiday’s survey found that, when it comes to brands’ and retailers’ marketing spend, almost all said they include Meta’s platforms in their budgets, again, more so on Instagram than Facebook. Eighty-nine percent of brand and retailer pros said at least a very small portion of their marketing budgets goes toward Facebook, while 93% said Instagram gets at least a very small portion of their spend.

So there’s not a significant difference in how many brands and retailers are spending money on both of Meta’s platforms. And Digiday’s Q1 2024 survey results are on par with those of past surveys. But it turns out there is a significant difference in how many brands and retailers are spending a large portion of their marketing budgets on Facebook and how many are doing so on Instagram.

The long and short of it is that brands are spending a lot more on Instagram this year than on Facebook.

More than a third of brand and retailer pros (36%) said in Q1 2024 that they spend a large or very large portion of their marketing budgets on Facebook. Admittedly, that seems like an impressive amount. Especially considering less than a quarter (23%) said the same just six months ago.

But it’s less impressive when we look at the same data for Instagram. More than half of brand and retailer pros (54%) said in Q1 2024 a large or very large portion of their budgets goes toward Instagram. What’s more, that’s significant growth on the 33% who said the same in Q3 2023 and Q1 2023 (and even further on the 21% who said so throughout 2022).

The difference between the two platforms when it comes to big spending is likely because Instagram blows Facebook (and all other social platforms, for that matter) out of the water when it comes to driving conversions and branding, according to brand and retailer pros. Instagram came in at the top of the list for both among all social channels, Digiday’s survey found.

Forty-one percent of brand and retailer pros said Instagram is the best social channel for driving conversions, while 29% said the same of Facebook. Believe it or not, that 29% puts Facebook in the No. 2 spot among all social channels. When it comes to branding, 55% said Instagram is the best social channel. Just 12% said the same of Facebook, putting the platform in third place (with YouTube).

https://digiday.com/?p=536582

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