Facebook VS Instagram: Which Gets Better Engagement?

March 10, 2015

At the end of 2014, Facebook announced they were once again altering the algorithm for business pages, in an effort to deliver content to fans that is less spammy and more targeted. While many consumers welcome this change, it is yet another challenge companies need to figure out and work with in order to make their content seen. The ongoing challenge of getting decent Facebook engagement has led many businesses to devote less time there and more time to other channels, mainly Instagram. Today we look at two brands with large Facebook and Instagram followings and explore the different ways the channels are being used, engagement on each platform and overall which is working better for them. Facebook vs Instagram for business, who’s the winner? Let’s find out.

Compare Nike Running


Nike-Insta-postsFollowers: 1.7 million

Likes on three recent most recent photos (at time of writing): 63.4K; 61.4K; 60.6K

Comments on three most recent photos: 846; 333; 211


Nike-FB-postsPage likes: 3.1 million

Photo likes on three most recent posts: 2,498; 4,512; 5,068

Comments: 12; 25; 13

Shares: 27; 84; 58

For Nike, Instagram is clearly the winner in engagement, even though the fan count is a little lower there. Instagram is all about community and connecting with others who share the same passions (that’s why the hashtag rules there!), and running is a big one that Nike has been able to capitalize on with this dedicated Instagram feed. Also note that the photos found on the Nike Instagram channel are different from the content on their Facebook page. Exclusive, different and real-life content wins.

Compare The Honest Company


Honest-Insta-postsFollowers: 228K

Likes on three recent most recent photos (at time of writing): 3,725; 3,589; 7,310

Comments on three most recent photos: 38; 61; 207


Honest-FB-postsPage likes: 1.1 million

Photo likes on three most recent posts: 3,524; 7,984; 12,078

Comments: 60; 141;95

Shares: 258; 1,392; 996

For The Honest Company, the level of success isn’t as clear as it is for Nike Running. In fact, while their Instagram engagement is good, Facebook engagement is higher and the channel that appears to still be working best for them. Exploring their content on both channels, much of it is designed images. Facebook is definitely the place for that, and could explain why people aren’t responding to it as much on Instagram. From an outside look it’s inconclusive whether or not Facebook advertising has anything to do with this reach. If Facebook advertising in play this could alter the results dramatically when comparing against organic reach. Instagram advertising is only available to large brands with big budgets so if instant paid reach is what you need, Facebook is the way to go.

Who Wins?

Clearly, there isn’t one right answer that can apply to every company. If your brand lends itself to lifestyle images, ones that don’t need to be designed or overly staged, then Instagram will do well for you. In our two comparisons, both running and home/baby are topics that most people think of as easy content. Yet it may be challenging for The Honest Company, since sharing images of children is always a little trickier than say, sharing photos of running, the outdoors and shoes.

There were a number of businesses explored in this case study where Instagram was NOT working as well for them (we usually don’t like to call out brands, but one with room for improvement was Procter & Gamble). Their photos on Instagram are marketing focused, not lifestyle-oriented, and Instagram’s fans tend to be younger (18-30ish), and don’t respond to that kind of content in that arena. Instagram is a place most brands need to be, no doubt. BUT only when used by an employee who understands the channel, it’s users, the company culture and how to translate that culture and products into a real-life, authentic story (with a huge focus on artsy and aesthetics).

If your brand would like help telling their story on Facebook and Instagram, reach out!


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1 Comment

  • Reply Instagram or Facebook? | francisbrandblog October 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

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