Instagram overtakes Facebook’s audience for first time despite lagging in ad spend

Instagram has officially overtaken Facebook in audience size for the first time despite falling well behind in terms of advert spend.

Facebook has now been surpassed by Instagram, which it bought in 2012, in terms of audience size based on the profiles of the world’s 50 biggest brands.

According to a new report from Socialbakers, total interactions on Instagram were also nearly 20 times larger than those on Facebook, meaning that despite the top 50 brands posting more regularly on Facebook engagement rates were far higher on its subsidiary image sharing platform.

“The writing has been on the wall for some time, but now it’s official. When it comes to the top 50 biggest brand profiles, Instagram has a larger audience than Facebook,” Socialbakers’ chief executive Yuval Ben-Itzhak said.

“That development was not a surprise. What was unexpected in Q4 2019, however, was the relative decline in engagement during the holiday season. This is a warning sign that brands require a deeper understanding of which types of content their audiences find compelling, and an agile method to get that content in front of them.”

READ MORE: TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are “the future of ecommerce”

In the final quarter of 2019 fashion brands, Instagram’s most successful industry, saw engagement rates drop 19.4 per cent.

Facebook’s most successful sector Ecommerce also saw interactions drop 9.6 per cent over the three-month period.

Despite outpacing Facebook in both audience and engagement, Instagram still fell well behind in terms of advert spend.

Facebook’s feed accounted for 58.3 per cent of total advert spend during the quarter, while Instagram Stories reached 10 per cent of total ad spend for the first time, representing a 40 per cent year-on-year increase.

In 2019 Facebook’s Marketplace also saw advertising spend grow more than 80 per cent, while Instagram’s Explore advertising spend rose to 1.32 per cent of the platforms total.

Influencer marketing continues to show stellar growth, with the number of influencers using #Ad rising by 90.5 per cent in the final quarter of 2019.

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