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“A watershed moment for the business”: Instagram sees 20x more interactions than Facebook, and a bigger audience

The total audience on Instagram has surpassed that on Facebook globally for the first time, according to a new report. 

The Social Media Trends Report for Q4 2019 by Socialbakers, which provides AI-powered social media marketing services, focuses on the organic performance of top 50 brands on Instagram and Facebook. It gets into details like audience size, audience insights by age and gender, and the distribution of interactions across industries.

Highlights for publishers

“Instagram is more popular than the “blue app””

Instagram had 3.57B impressions in the last three months of 2019, compared to 3.47B on Facebook. In the previous quarter, Facebook had 3.46B impressions compared with Instagram’s 3.42B. However, for the top UK brand profiles, Facebook still has a marginally bigger audience. 

Moreover, the total interactions on Instagram were nearly 20x that on Facebook. So, even though the top 50 brands published more posts on Facebook, the engagement on those posts didn’t reach the numbers that Instagram was able to achieve.  

While the report covers a snapshot of the two Facebook-owned platforms’ audiences, any indication that Instagram is more popular than the “blue app” would be a watershed moment for the business. 

Omar Oakes. Global Technology Editor at Campaign

“Instagram’s impact for brands comes as no surprise,” says Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO, Socialbakers. What was intriguing is that despite efforts to attract consumers during the holiday period, post interactions for both Instagram and Facebook were lower in Q4 2019 than Q4 2018. 

According to Ben-Itzhak, “the significant drop in engagement during the holiday season,” was unexpected. He says, “this is a warning sign that brands require a deeper understanding of which types of content their audiences find compelling, and an agile method to get that content in front of them.” 

Perhaps publishers can look at the services category on Instagram for inspiration. The wide-ranging category which includes conference and event organizers, lawyers, accounting services, hairdressers, car repairs, IT services and weight-loss courses, jumped by 66.7% compared to Q3 2019.

The overall distribution of content in terms of post types was similar to the previous year. Instagram saw a small but noticeable trend of images going downward while video and carousel posts increased throughout the year. On Facebook, image posts were most common averaging 70.2% of all posts from brand pages throughout the year. They were followed by video which averaged at 16.8% of all posts in Q4 and 16.3% across 2019.

Viewers are more likely to complete a vertical video

According to Socialbakers data, 70% of videos on Facebook brand pages are shot horizontally. Viewers, however, are more likely to complete a vertical video (less than 30s) than horizontal (29.9% vs. 22.2% respectively). When it came to longer videos, the first 30s of vertical videos were completed 16.4% of the time, and horizontal ones 13.4%, compared to 14.9% and 12.5% for medium-length videos. Across the board, vertical videos performed better than horizontal videos.

Women make up the majority of the audience

Coming to demographics, women make up the majority of fans and followers of brand pages on both platforms. They represent 56.4% of the audience engaging with brands.

On Instagram, 58% of brand page followers were female, including the majority of every age demographic. On Facebook, women made up 56.7% of the total audience of page fans, although there were slightly more men in the 18-24 age demographic. Overall, the biggest audience by age on both platforms was 25-34, followed by 35-44. These two groups made up 63.9% of all followers on Instagram and 60.8% of Facebook page fans.

In all of the age groups, women made up the majority of the audience.

Further, advertisers continue to boost their ad spending on both platforms. While Facebook still leads, Socialbakers’ data indicates the growing importance of Instagram. Ad spend on Instagram Stories increased by 40% from the previous year (91% over the last two years) to reach 10% of the platform’s total ad spend at the end of Q4. In comparison, spending on Facebook Stories grew by just 0.4% of total spend on the platform. Most of the ad spend (58%) on Facebook went to its news feed. 

More details are available in the report which offers an in-depth look into advertising across both platforms, the continued rise of influencer marketing, and usage of the Stories feature. 

It can be downloaded from Socialbakers:
Social Media Trends Report

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