Instagram now matches Facebook on audience size for brands


The Top 50 brands on Instagram now have the same audience size as the Top 50 brands on Facebook, but the Facebook News Feed still commands 60% of ad spend, according to new research.


The study, from Socialbakers, found that the use of #ad by influencers has grown 33% since Q2 2018.

The Socialbakers Must-Know Social Media Trends report for Q2 2019, highlights changes in the social media landscape, and therefore affecting the business marketing plan.

Key findings include:

• More than 60% of all ad spend is still allocated to Facebook News Feed even though marketers have increased their overall spend on Instagram
• The Top 50 brands on Instagram now have the same audience size as the Top 50 brands on Facebook – but Instagram generates greater user engagement
• Posts using #Ad increased by 33% compared to Q2 2018, reflecting the growing investment in influencer marketing
• Instagram Carousel is the leading format for organic interactions, but is only used 15-18% of the time
• Advertisements are seen on mobile devices 95.1% of the time, and viewed only 4.9% of the time on desktops – shifting the marketer’s focus towards campaigns allowing engagement through their mobile devices

The report reflects the current state of social media, highlighting changes in marketers distributing their ad budget as audience engagement across social media channels changes too.The report also shows Facebook News Feed taking up the majority of a marketer’s ad spend and the continued surge in influencer marketing, with the use of #ad growing by 33%.

“The Q2 2019 data suggests that those marketers who aren’t putting most of their efforts into paid social media optimisation, benchmarking, and maximising cross-channel visibility, are falling behind,” said Socialbakers CEO, Yuval Ben-Itzhak. “The importance of closely monitoring and optimising your paid strategy across channels and ad accounts is clear, as you delve into the numbers about what’s performing well and where there’s still potential for the future.”

Audience sizes on Instagram catches up to Facebook, with Instagram generating higher engagement

Audience size for Instagram and Facebook (measured by the number of followers on Instagram and Page likes on Facebook) was nearly identical for the top 50 business profiles analysed. This is a key milestone for Instagram and points to how critical the platform is becoming for brands. While the audience sizes are identical, the majority of the user engagement happens on Instagram. Instagram performs best for Fashion and Beauty while Facebook News Feed continues to lead for brands in Ecommerce and Retail.

Additionally, over the past year, Instagram’s interactions remained steady. Meanwhile, median interactions for Facebook posts are just -3.3% behind where they were in June 2018.

More than 60% of ad spend is allocated to Facebook News Feed

Although marketers have been increasing their spend on Instagram, more than 60% of all ad spend is still allocated to the Facebook News Feed. Instagram Feed comes in a distant second at 20%, and the rest of the top 5, including Instagram Stories, Facebook Suggested Video, and
Facebook Instream Video combine for about 10%.

The Socialbakers report also shows that around 30% of paid ad spend is being invested in non-performing content that earns a C or D on post quality (an average to below average score determined by the Socialbakers AI).

While MarTech and AI are helping businesses better invest their budgets into the most appropriate content – the Socialbakers AI scored 62% of posts as an A+ or A, indicating that there’s still room for improvement. With the inundation of data and lack of direction, it’s important to have a tool to help choose the best path forward and avoid unnecessary budget waste.

Missed opportunities for organic impressions

Based on nearly 50,000 Instagram brand profiles, Carousel is the leading format for organic interactions, at more than 120 per post. Yet, Carousel is used only 15-18% of the time. Similarly, based on more than 140,000 Facebook brand profiles, Live is by far the platform’s leader in interactions, but is utilised in only 4% of posts.

The data indicates that by utilising a more popular format, brands can avoid wasting resources on posts that won’t resonate with their audiences. As the numbers demonstrate, there is ample untapped potential with Instagram Carousel and Facebook Live. This represents an easy opportunity for marketers to boost their content engagement.

Influencer collaborations gain momentum, use of #Ad grows a healthy 33%
The number of Instagram influencers affiliated with brands who made posts using #Ad increased by 33% in Q2 2019 compared to Q2 2018. It’s a giant leap and doesn’t take into account the influencers who are required to, but sometimes don’t, include #Ad on sponsored posts.
“For marketers who need to know where to best invest their ad spend, make higher converting ad placements and take on top-performing influencers, the data in our Q2 trends report can lead them in the right direction,” added Socialbakers CEO, Yuval Ben-Itzhak. “More than ever, it is critical for brands to use data-driven insights to build smarter social media strategies that capitalise on the latest trends and opportunities.”

The complete Socialbakers Must-Know Social Media Q2 2019 Trends Report with supporting graphics is available for free download.

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