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The 4 Biggest Differences Between Facebook & Instagram Ads

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The 4 Biggest Differences Between Facebook & Instagram Ads

So you want to advertise, but you’re not sure which of these two mega social media platforms is “best” for your business.

Well, to be honest, no matter how much your budget is… who your audience is… or what you’re offering… 

The answer is BOTH… and IT DEPENDS.

This article will explain why as well as give you the 4 biggest differences when creating your ad on both platforms.

Now in case you didn’t know, Facebook & Instagram are owned by the same parent company, which now goes by the name Meta. 

As a marketer, this is great because it makes advertising on both platforms super easy. Meaning, if you want to run both a Facebook ad and Instagram ad, you can get your ad on both platforms with just a few extra clicks (see below)… and possibly some minor tweaks to what your ad says and looks like (more on that in a moment).

Let’s get clear on why “BOTH” is the answer…

Whether you’re new to social media advertising or you’ve been advertising for a while, it’s in your budget’s best interest to TEST any new offer or messaging on both platforms.

When you test both, every time you launch a different campaign, you will see that the results you get per platform will vary and are affected by many different factors:

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  • Time and day you launch
  • Who your ad gets shown to first (even if you’re targeting the same audience)
  • Season
  • Competition
  • Ad Spend

That list could go on and on. And “the algorithm” is a tricky thing that can’t exactly be mastered because of it’s unknown and uncontrollable factors.

You see, if one platform was better than the other, everyone would be using that one!

And if you’ve heard that “your audience” may be on one over the other… you need to throw that thought out the window.

According to statista.com, “Facebook has roughly 2.93 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter of 2022” and “is the most used online social network worldwide”.

Instagram, on the other hand, has roughly 1 billion monthly active users.

BUT… no matter who your audience is, your targeting options are selected in Ads Manager the same EXACT way for both platforms… using the same EXACT data.

It could be true that MORE of your audience is active on one of the platforms, but they’re definitely on both and that should not be your big deciding factor on where to put your ads… especially if you have a smaller ad budget.

What a smart marketer will do is test their ad on both Facebook and Instagram, review the results, and if one platform strongly outperforms the other, then you can move all or more of your ad spend over to that one.

In other words, using that data you collect is why the answer is also IT DEPENDS. So…

STEP 1: Test BOTH platforms

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STEP 2: DEPENDING on the results, decide on continuing with one or both

But here’s where things get a little more complicated.

Facebook ads and Instagram ads have several “placement” options! You saw about half in the gif above, but there’s really about 2 dozen of them. 

EXPERT TIP: If you’re just getting started, just focus on mobile Feeds & Stories. After you start seeing results you like, then you can test other ad placements.

Now there are definitely more than this, but the biggest Key Differences to be aware of when running a Facebook ad Vs Instagram are:

Video Length

Meta is always changing the rules on how long a video ad can be per platform and placement. The company does recommend running shorter videos, under 30 seconds. HOWEVER, take that recommendation with a grain of salt. Longer videos can still do very well IF they have a good HOOK (first few seconds that draws in your viewer), and is also helpful, entertaining, or both. That being said, I recommend going shorter when possible & keeping it under 2 min so you can run your video on both platforms without any issues.

Video & Image Ad Dimensions

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Again, this isn’t just a difference per platform. It depends on your ad placement. You can easily look up all the recommended aspects per placement (also shown while you’re creating your ad). But if you don’t want to bother with different dimensions for different placements, the most universal and best optimized ratio for your content is going to be either a 1:1 or 4:5 ratio with a 

resolution of at least 1080 x 1080 pixels.

Text Length

The written portion of your ad has limits on Instagram – with the maximum being 2200 characters and the “recommended” max being only 125 characters. You may hear that having shorter ad copy a.k.a. shorter text in your ads is better. On Instagram, I’d agree shorter is usually the way to go, but again… that’s not always true or necessarily often true. Don’t be afraid to hit that maximum if you’re a killer copywriter. Based on millions of dollars of data that I’ve seen, short and long text can perform equally as good, especially on Facebook. The biggest factor in how your text performs is how compelling and well-structured the writing actually is.

EXPERT TIP: Add an extra space between sentences. Use bullet points to make it look less overwhelming. Make it sound conversational (like you’re talking to a friend).

Text Location

On the Facebook News Feed, the primary text is above the button and video/image. On Instagram’s News Feed it’s below the button and image/video. And on Instagram Stories, it’s below the video but above the button. So if you’re directing someone on where to click, then make sure you navigate them appropriately by writing out “Click the button above” or “Click the ‘Learn More’ button below the video” based on your ad placement.

It is important to note that Stories and Reels are quite different from News Feed ads and can be run without any post text at all. 

If we wanted to dive into all the differences between all ad placements, this article would be at least 5x as long… and would probably just confuse the heck out of you.

So for now, I hope this helped you understand the key differences, the importance of testing your ads on different placements, and not limiting yourself to just Facebook or just Instagram ads!

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6 martech contract gotchas you need to be aware of

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6 martech contract gotchas you need to be aware of

Having worked at several organizations and dealt with many more vendors, I’ve seen my share of client-vendor relationships and their associated “gotchas.” 

Contracts are complex for a reason. That’s why martech practitioners are wise to lean on lawyers and buyers during the procurement process. They typically notice terms that could undoubtedly catch business stakeholders off guard.

Remember, all relationships end. It is important to look for thorny issues that can wreak havoc on future plans.

I’ve seen and heard of my share of contract gotchas. Here are some generalizations to look out for.

1. Data

So, you have a great data vendor. You use them to buy contacts and information as well as to enrich what data you’ve already got. 

When you decide to churn from the vendor, does your contract allow you to keep and use the data you’ve pulled into your CRM or other systems after the relationship ends? 

You had better check.

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2. Funds

There are many reasons why you would want to give funds in advance to a vendor. Perhaps it pays for search ads or allows your representatives to send gifts to prospective and current customers. 

When you change vendors, will they return unused funds? That may not be a big deal for small sums of money. 

Further, while annoying, processing fees aren’t unheard of. But what happens when a lot of cash is left in the system? 

You had better make sure that you can get that back.

3. Service-level agreements (SLAs)

Your business is important, and your projects are a big deal. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a prompt response to a question or action when something wrong happens. 

That’s where SLAs come in. 

It’s how your vendor tells you they will respond to questions and issues. A higher price point typically will get a client a better SLA that requires the vendor to respond and act more quickly — and more of the time to boot (i.e., 24/7 service vs. standard business hours). 

Make sure that an SLA meets your expectations. 

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Further, remember that most of the time, you get what you pay for. So, if you want a better SLA, you may have to pay for it.


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4. Poaching

Clients and vendors alike are always looking for quality people to employ. Sometimes they find them on the other side of the client-vendor relationship. 

Are you OK with them poaching one of your team members? 

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If not, this should be discussed and put into writing during the contract negotiation phase, a renewal, or at any time if it is that important.

 I have dealt with organizations that are against anti-poaching clauses to the point that a requirement to have one is a dealbreaker. Sometimes senior leadership or board members are adamant about an individual’s freedom to work where they please — even if one of their organization’s employees departs to work for a customer or vendor. 

5. Freebies

It is not unheard of for vendors to offer their customers freebies. Perhaps they offer a smaller line item to help justify a price increase during a renewal. 

Maybe the company is developing a new product and offers it in its nascent/immature/young stage to customers as a deal sweetener or a way to collect feedback and develop champions for it. 

Will that freemium offer carry over during the next renewal? Your account executive or customer success manager may say it will and even spell that out in an email. 

Then, time goes by. People on both sides of the relationship change or forget details. Company policies change. That said, the wording in a contract or master service agreement won’t change. 

Make sure the terms of freebies or other good deals are put into legally sound writing.

Read next: 24 questions to ask ABM vendors before signing the contract

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6. Pricing factors

There are many ways vendors can price out their offerings. For instance, a data broker could charge by the contact engaged by a customer. But what exactly does that mean? 

If a customer buys a contact’s information, that makes sense as counting as one contact. 

What happens if the customer, later on, wants to enrich that contact with updated information? Does that count as a second contact credit used? 

Reasonable minds could justify the affirmative and negative to this question. So, evaluating a pricing factor or how it is measured upfront is vital to determine if that makes sense to your organization. 

Don’t let contract gotchas catch you off-guard 

The above are just a few examples of martech contract gotchas martech practitioners encounter. There is no universal way to address them. Each organization will want to address them differently. The key is to watch for them and work with your colleagues to determine what’s best in that specific situation. Just don’t get caught off-guard.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


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About The Author

Steve Petersen is a marketing technology manager at Zuora. He spent nearly 8.5 years at Western Governors University, holding many martech related roles with the last being marketing technology manager. Prior to WGU, he worked as a strategist at the Washington, DC digital shop The Brick Factory, where he worked closely with trade associations, non-profits, major brands, and advocacy campaigns. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He’s also a Certified ScrumMaster. Petersen lives in the Salt Lake City, UT area.

Petersen represents his own views, not those of his current or former employers.

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