Philip Ellis
News & Views
Instagram brand engagement surpasses Facebook

Consumer engagement with brands is up to 4 times higher on Instagram than on parent network Facebook, according to research unveiled by SocialBakers last week during their Engage conference in Prague.

The study, which examined more than 144 billion engagements from both platforms, found steep divides in how consumers interact with different account categories. For instance, Facebook still leads engagement with news and media, which makes sense, as it remains a primary source of news for a significant portion of millennial consumers. Media accounts are the top performing channels on Facebook, followed by community groups, celebrities, and entertainment.

Photo and video sharing app Instagram, conversely, is not a news-led platform, which explains why brands and influencers are thriving there. Brands fare incredibly badly on Facebook (up to 12 times worse than media accounts), but on Instagram they enjoy between 3 and 4 times the engagement rate.

“It is hard to say exactly, but one thing this suggests is that Instagram’s simple engagement mechanism — double-tap to “heart” a photo — helps the app keep engagement ratios high,” speculates Stewart Rogers at VentureBeat.

Celebrity accounts are the undisputed rulers of Instagram, though, getting 3.8 more engagement than Facebook. Of course, as Instagram’s parent company, this is all still good news for Facebook.

And it doesn’t necessarily mean that brand marketers need to ditch Facebook entirely; rather, they should become Insta-ready too.

“I definitely would not advise moving spend away from Facebook—it has too much scale and reach,” says Jan Rezab, founder of SocialBakers. “It’s that they should start putting more emphasis on Instagram. Look at it less as just a photos platform and more of a conversion platform play.”

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