Facebook Advertising and the Instagram Trap

December 5th, 2016 Posted by Advertising, Blog, Content, Facebook, Global, Instagram, Marketing, Social Media No Comment yet


This is a short post to warn you, in case you haven’t noticed, of the Facebook-Instagram Trap. I don’t know if anyone has coined the term before, but I’m probably not the first one to notice it.

Here is the thing, you did your homework, you spent time crafting and testing the most relevant audience for your ad. You created and used an image to promote your message. You built your ad, and then you noticed that Facebook now allows, and encourages cross posting/promoting on Instagram. So, you went ahead and selected the “Instagram placement” option. You ran the ad, and watched the results pour in.

One of the first things to notice is the huge difference in reach and engagement when you break down the results by platform. The rate can be as high as 80%/20% Instagram over Facebook, on both metrics. It is shocking. While Instagram is a great tool to create awareness, and, for some clients, actual reach and engagement, Facebook is still better, mostly if you want to redirect your audience to a specific URL. If you think this is not so, I encourage you to look into Instagram own stats, and see how little real engagement there is when compared to most Facebook ads. The platform is very promising, but when it comes to this, it is not quite there yet.

Then, and this is perhaps one of the most frustrating things, you have the apparent inaccuracy of targeting on Instagram. You start to receive notifications of people reacting to your ad on Instagram, and off you go to see who these people are, and…shockingly, many if not most of them are not your intended audience. I can understand that the spam accounts that plague the platform are impossible to avoid. However, if you are, for example, promoting a local USA client to a local USA audience, why is it being shown to legit accounts in Vietnam or India?

There is no available explanation for that. Is it that the audiences do not transfer correctly across platforms? If that were the case, then you wouldn’t have that 20 % of accurate targeting. It would be all completely wrong. It does not make sense. It must be something else.

Perhaps, and this is a very remote possibility, Facebook transfers all your audiences over to Instagram regardless of which account you are using at the time. Perhaps what we are seeing is the overlapping of all those audiences across platforms and accounts.

If that is the case, and even if it isn’t, I hope that someone at Facebook has also noticed this, and is working on a solution. Until then, until that solution is developed and implemented; we should be aware of the problem, and adjust our expectations accordingly.

If you have any comments on this, don’t forget to hit me with them. Ciao! Until the next post.

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