Digiday+ Research: Instagram wins over Facebook for role in brands’ holiday marketing

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

The holiday season isn’t just a time for gatherings and sales, it’s also a time when brands kick marketing into high gear. But brands differ on how they use each marketing channel during the holidays — even when it comes to sibling social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, Digiday+ Research found in a recent survey of 48 brand professionals.

It should come as no surprise that Digiday’s survey found that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram platforms came in at the top among the marketing channels brands have used so far in 2022 (tied also with influencers). Ninety-two percent of brand respondents said they have used both Facebook and Instagram for marketing so far this year.

When it comes to how brands plan to utilize these platforms heading into the holiday marketing season, very few respondents to Digiday’s survey said that the Meta platforms will fall in importance to their holiday marketing plans (only 17% of brand pros said Facebook will become less important during the holidays, and 15% said so of Instagram). But there is a clear difference in how brands plan to use Instagram over Facebook during the holiday season.

Half of brand respondents said Facebook’s importance will remain the same as they move into holiday marketing. But an even higher percentage (54%) said Instagram will actually grow in importance during the holiday marketing season. In fact, the only channel that will grow more in importance than Instagram is TikTok, which 60% of brands said will become more important to their holiday marketing plans. Meanwhile, only a third of brand pros said Facebook will grow in importance during the holiday season, which puts the platform at the bottom of the list of marketing channels based on holiday growth.

It does make sense that a channel that already carries signficant importance to brands’ marketing plans would likely not gain much importance heading into the holidays since it’s already up there — as in the case of Facebook. However, it’s notable that Instagram, which usually goes hand-in-hand with its Meta sibling, has been important for brands’ marketing throughout the year and will still gain even more importance heading into the holiday season.

It’s worth noting here that there was also a difference in how important Facebook and Instagram were to brands’ holiday marketing plans last year. Fifty-eight percent of brands that responded to Digiday’s 2021 holiday survey said Facebook was very or extremely important to their company during the 2021 holiday season, while 68% said Instagram was very or extremely important.

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