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Facebook & Instagram Overlap: How Are Advertisers Spending on the Social Giants?

Facebook & Instagram Overlap: How Are Advertisers Spending on the Social Media Giants?

Through August 2022, more than 64k companies have promoted nearly 77k brands on Facebook and Instagram (both owned by Meta), collectively spending more than $14.2b.

To put Meta’s advertising stranglehold into perspective, Twitter’s ad revenue in 2021 was just over $5b, while Snapchat’s was a touch over $3b. 

With the exception of TikTok, which could generate $12b in ad revenue by 2026, it’s hard to imagine Meta relinquishing control of the lion’s share of social advertising budgets. 

Still, advertisers remain at a crossroads when deciding where their ad dollars should go inside Meta’s walls. 

Should they go with Facebook, the undisputed leader in social advertising?

How about getting in front of Millennials and Generation Z on Instagram?

Do they blaze their own trail and get the best of both worlds?

Here’s how advertisers spent on Facebook and Instagram through August 2022.

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In Facebook We Trust

The numbers make it clear that Facebook is still on a pedestal.   

Through August, 48k of the 64k companies—that’s 72% of them—only bought Facebook ads. (For comparison, 10% of advertisers only bought Instagram ads, while 18% bought a mix of both.) 

The number of Facebook-only advertisers doesn’t tell the entire story, but it does show that Facebook still reigns supreme. 

In an evolving social world, Instagram has the upper hand given its popularity with younger generations—70% of 12-to-34-year-olds use it.

But with nearly 3b monthly active users (MAUs) and the most mature ad tools available, many advertisers still trust Facebook.

Despite this, Meta appears to be seeing the writing on the wall—that the future is with other platforms, namely, Instagram and TikTok. 

Proof of that is Meta’s announcement that ads are coming to Facebook Reels; Reels, of course, being Meta’s response to TikTok. 

Not only that, but the announcement said that creators would get a share of the ad revenue. 

This development perfectly illustrates Meta’s go-to-market strategy: Introduce features that appeal to younger generations, give advertisers access to this inventory and open the door to the growing creator community.  

As Meta looks to reestablish Facebook, especially with Millennials and Generation Z, innovation will continue to flow—and that’s great news for everyone involved, including advertisers. 

Facebook & Instagram Are Safe Havens for SMBs

As big as Facebook and Instagram are—they have about 2.9b and 1.2b monthly active users (MAUs), respectively—they aren’t abandoning small-to-medium businesses (SMBs).

In fact, their commitment to SMBs is stronger than ever—a welcome fact for the nearly 57k companies that spent less than $1mm on Facebook and Instagram. 

  • In June, Meta introduced the Meta Pro Team—an expansion of Facebook Marketing Experts that provides complimentary live support to businesses.
  • In July, it launched Small Business Studios, a virtual and in-person initiative to support SMBs, including an online training hub and workshops.
  • Finally, in early October, Meta rolled out Pages to make it easier for small businesses to connect with their customers.

Combine this constant innovation aimed at SMBs with mature yet easy-to-use ad tools, and both Facebook and Instagram will remain safe havens for advertisers that don’t have as much to spend. 

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t attracting advertisers with deep pockets, too. 

Notable names that spent between $1mm and $10mm include Greenies (Mars’ dog treats), John Deere, Klarna (payment technology), Merrell, 1-800-FLOWERS and Ashley Furniture

While Facebook and Instagram will undoubtedly continue to woo SMBs, their unparalleled reach and proven ad tech mean they’ll remain a staple for the biggest advertisers. 

The Perfect Recipe: Facebook + IG

There’s a growing contingent of advertisers investing only in Facebook. Still, they only represent a fraction of Meta’s ad revenue—the 48k advertisers who only bought Facebook ads accounted for just 9% of the ad spend on these platforms.

In reality, the big bucks came from advertisers investing in Facebook and Instagram. 

Case and point: The 12k advertisers who went with a mix of Meta’s platforms were responsible for 87% of the $14.2b ad investment.

Nearly 75% of this spending came from advertisers in five categories: media & entertainment, retail, apparel, technology, and services. 

With the exception of apparel advertisers like Nike and Pandora that leaned heavily into Instagram, advertisers in these categories spread their love fairly evenly between the platforms, ranging from 52% to 56% on Facebook and 45% to 48% on Instagram.

For example, of the $3.5b invested by media & entertainment companies, including website advertisers like Brainjolt and Enphase Energy, nearly $2b went to Facebook, and $1.5b went to Instagram.

At the same time, retail advertisers, including Bridesblush, J. Crew, Amazon, Overstock, Publix and Signet Jewelers, spent $1.3b and $1.2b on Facebook and Instagram, respectively. 

The ubiquity of this 50-50 strategy shows how big brands look at Facebook and Instagram as check-the-box platforms.

In contrast, advertisers with less to spend are defaulting to the safety of Facebook. 

While that’s a logical strategy given Facebook’s standing in the social world, Instagram is just as proven. Neglecting it could be leaving opportunities on the table—and a straight line to the Millennials and Generation Z, who hold all the buying power.

Meta’s Feeling the Heat

For the first time since launching out of Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm in 2004, Facebook—now Meta—is feeling the heat.

After losing users for the first time ever, Meta’s series of unfortunate events continued with the closing of one of its NYC offices in the wake of cutbacks and a hiring freeze.  

On top of that, Facebook’s stock fell by $232b—the longest one-day value drop in stock market history. 

With everything seemingly going wrong in Meta’s world, the social media giant is pulling out all the stops to regain its footing. 

One of those moves is bringing more ads to Instagram, including the potential for augmented reality ads, which Meta recently started testing. 

Meta announced that it’d also start allowing advertisers to run ads on the Explore home page and in profile feeds. 

While Meta is walking down the only path available—one to make more money—doing so with increasing ad loads is a dangerous game. 

In an online world already jam-packed with ads, Meta will have to find the right balance between revenue and a great user experience. If it does, users and ad dollars will follow. 

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