Should I run my ads on both Facebook and Instagram?

Claudio Santori May 24 2016 12 PM | 3 min read

One out of every five minutes we spend on our phones is on either Facebook or Instagram.

One out of every five minutes… Are you still advertising on TV but not on Instagram?

When we launched Instagram campaigns in September 2015 there was a lot of learning involved. As a new network, all of our clients (and our team) had to learn the best practices and, frankly, Instagram’s result weren’t as strong as Facebook’s at the time. Some clients began to abandon Instagram, while others weren’t able to spend the budgets they planned for Instagram as delivery wasn’t always stable at low CPAs.

But that was so 2015.

Since the introduction of Placement Optimization, things have changed. Here are the top three reasons you should be advertising on Instagram:

1. Ease

It’s now extremely easy to run campaigns on Instagram. You can simply turn on Instagram as a placement and run your campaigns on Facebook Mobile Newsfeed, Audience Network and Instagram, for example. And if you don’t have an Instagram account you can still run Instagram campaigns using your Facebook Page. It couldn’t be easier.

2. Performance

Using Instagram as added placement will decrease your CPA in Facebook placement.

Sometimes Instagram impressions are cheaper than Facebook impressions, and vice versa, but you can’t manually optimise which media to use on a user level every minute. Thanks to Placement Optimization, however, you don’t have to. You can target Facebook and Instagram together, and Facebook delivers your ads in the placements that give you the lowest CPA available throughout the day.

In March 2016 we ran a few tests with our clients and, overall, we saw convincing results when Placement Optimization was turned on. CPA while using Placement Optimization, with Facebook and Instagram in the same ad set, was always comparable or lower than CPA using either Facebook or Instagram alone. It worked both for Mobile App Installs and Website Conversions.

If you’re running a campaign with one of these objectives, you should definitely edit your ad sets now to give Placement Optimization a try:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Mobile App Install
  • Page Post Engagement
  • Website clicks
  • Conversions
  • Video View 

3. Reach

Turning on Placement Optimization means an incremental and efficient expansion of your reach. We didn’t just see better CPAs, we saw a significant increase in conversions due to better reach, with Placement Optimization delivering and spending the entire budget every day while maintaining a lower CPA. Expanding your reach is just one click away.


How to run your own test:

Create a campaign and clone it twice, changing only the placements in each campaign: one with mixed placements, one with Facebook only, and one with Instagram only. See the graphic above for a visualization.

Create an Ad Study with two groups of equal size:

1) 50% to Placement Optimization study group: 

Mixed placements campaign (50% of total budget)

2) 50% to Manual Facebook/Instagram split study group:

Facebook only campaign (40% of total budget)
Instagram only campaign (10% of total budget)


The budget split between the two campaigns in the second study group is a matter of guessing, and depends on the relative sizes of the audiences (not all Facebook users are using Instagram) and the effectiveness of the ads. Removing the need to guess is precisely what mixed placement is solving.

There are enormous opportunities for Instagram advertisers. This is just the beginning of the journey and it’s all about learning and testing.


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Claudio Santori

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