This Report Based on the Analysis of 137K Social Media Ads Shows Whether Facebook or Instagram Ads Perform Better

Social media advertising is both the pain and the gain of any brand that wants to succeed in today’s digital world.

The possibility of reaching a whole new audience in a matter of minutes, which is the power of social media ads is a package deal. It not only raises your brand awareness but also the opportunity of increasing your sales and improving your ROI. And for that, you must pay a price.

Because we’re talking about real money put on the table for the social media ad campaigns you’re running, it goes without saying that for this part of the marketing endeavors, optimization is key.

Recently, the team from Socialinsider has put together a Facebook vs Instagram ads study, based on 137,228 social ads and dug up some major discoveries for the process of ads optimization. The full report covers a range of elements, but here are some highlights from the larger data set.

1. The average ad spend increases more and more year after year

If before the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the online promotional tactics brands used to adopt, some parts of the marketing budgets were allocated to different types of activations or events, in the current times this is kind of impossible to happen.

Leaving aside the natural tendency of increasing the ads budgets as time passes, since the social media platforms become more and more powerful, nowadays brands have all the more reasons to direct all of their marketing budgets into online and spend more money in online advertising.

What doesn't come as a surprise is that Facebook has the largest ad spend, given the fact that it is, after all, the oldest and the largest social media platform, let alone the very first one that introduced paid advertising.

Therefore, the ad budgets invested in Facebook are doubled than the ones that are directed towards Instagram.

Besides that, what is certainly curious is that the ad spend increase, from 2020, till mid-2021 was actually greater for Instagram.

So far, brands seem to have increased their ad spend by 7,16% for Facebook and by 8,69% on Instagram.

Certainly, the most beloved social media platform nowadays is Instagram, for both users and brands, that seek to increase their brand awareness and promote their business and increase their sales.

The reason brands seem to be more into Instagram ads than ever may be due to the younger audience the platform succeeds in drawing in, and having the digital natives in their corner is something every brand desires.

Since Instagram starts to be on the business’ focus for paid advertising, it will be very interesting to see how Instagram ads perform and what results do they generate, which we’ll cover in a bit.

2. Facebook ads: lower on costs and higher on results

So you’ve heard Instagram is one of the trending platforms, where most of the engagement is and decided to throw your money in the game - in Instagram ads, to be more specific?

Although it is a logical judgment, due to the mysterious ways in which the Facebook and Instagram algorithms work, Instagram ads are actually more expensive, so it may not be the best idea to bet on them.

With an average CPC of $1.09, Instagram ads have a double price compared to Facebook ads, where the average cost per click has a value of $0.49.

Still, this would not be a problem if Instagram ads would have a greater success rate than Facebook ads.

But with an average click-through rate of 0.68% for Instagram ads, compared to 3,06% average CTR, which is on Facebook, wouldn’t you want to make a change of scenery for your social media ads strategy?

Of course, it all comes down to your audiences and business objectives.

However, as a brand’s ultimate goal is to increase sales, which can be a direct outcome of driving traffic to your website through social media ads campaigns, relying on ads that successfully convert, like Facebook ads, for example, is certainly the smartest move.

3. Instagram stories: a greater click-through-rate for a lower cost

Optimizing your ads is not only a matter of platforms but also of placements on that platform chosen.

Starting your Instagram ads campaign, you may be tempted, as most brands do, to invest in the very first feature Instagram introduced, which is the feed.

Since Instagram feed and Instagram stories are the two main Instagram ad placements businesses focus on, a brief comparison between their costs should be helpful.

As Instagram feed has an average CPC, of $1.86 and CPM, 0f $7.27 and Instagram stories average values of $0.66 for CPC and $3.50 for CPM, it looks like those brands that had a story-first ad strategy may have succeeded in reducing the amount of money spent by half while having great results altogether.

How so? Well, besides having a lower cost, the Instagram story ad type is the one that has a higher click-through rate.

Therefore, it’s no wonder that small row of stories from a user’s Instagram interface is populated with stories more and more.

Let’s not forget that on Instagram people absolutely love stories. Which makes it even a greater reason for a brand to shift their Instagram ads strategy towards that.

4. Facebook stories: the highest cost per click and the lowest click-through-rate

Instagram ads have started to gain more and more popularity, as the platform detached itself by far in terms of great engagement rates. But in the end, Facebook is the place where a great part of the marketing budget is directed towards. Even now, when the platform is flooded with ads and the competition for a place in the user’s feed has become fiercer than ever.

This comparison between Facebook and Instagram ads has shed some light on the poor efficiency of the story type of content on Facebook. If on Instagram the story ad is the one rocking it, on Facebook, the situation couldn’t be more different.

While having the lowest click-through rate (0,09%), the Facebook story as ad placement has the highest cost per click ($0.55).

Talking about efficiency, on the other side of the spectrum, there’s the Facebook feed, which has the highest click-through rate (4.69%). And so, a smart move that brands do is to choose this ad placement as the primary one when investing most of their Facebook ads budgets.

So, whenever an ad campaign with a conversion objective will land on your lap, remember Facebook feed is the best ad placement for traffic.

One last point worth mentioning is that Facebook video feeds take the second place for the most converting ad format, therefore emphasizing how important video content is nowadays and the impact it has on social media consumers.


With so many brands turning to paid social media advertising to increase their sales and improve their ROI, you gotta make sure you juggle paid marketing budgets as well as you can.

If your paid advertising initiatives have the purpose of generating quality leads and customers, you need to know what every type of ad can deliver on each platform in order to obtain the results you’re dreaming of.

All in all, as a final conclusion, you should remember this: Facebook ads are great for generating traffic, while Instagram ads are better for increasing brand awareness.

Previous Post Next Post