Why is Instagram and Facebook so popular

Facebook vs. Instagram

Is Facebook really dying and Instagram the new star of the hour? Should you be active on Facebook or rather Instagram, or should you use both? What are the pros and cons of the platforms? We will address these and other questions in this article.

Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012 for just under $ 1 billion. For a long time Instagram was more of the little stepsister in the Zuckerberg house. At the time, the platform primarily addressed people who valued high-quality photos and, compared to Facebook, was much less interesting for most users. But how does it look today?

In June 2018, Instagram cracked the 1 billion active users mark. Of course, that's nothing compared to the 2.234 billion Facebook users. However, if you take into account that Facebook (especially among those under 30) has recorded decreasing user numbers for the first time since last year, whereas Instagram is growing by around 200 million users annually, one understands the assessment that Instagram - based on active users - Facebook will overtake it by 2020.

With 2.3 million accounts in Austria, Instagram is definitely an important channel to reach the target group. The younger target group under 30, in particular, is increasingly migrating from Facebook to Instagram. While Facebook is far from dead, it can be of interest to pretty much any company to serve both channels.

Monthly active Facebook users from 2016 to 2018 (in millions)

Source: https://www.hso.digital/blog/%C3%BCberholt-instagram-facebook-1

Monthly active Instagram users from January 2013 to June 2018 (in millions)

Source: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/300347/umfrage/monatlich-aktiv-nutzer-mau-von-instagram-weltweit/

Number of Instagram users in Austria in selected months from 2016 to 2019 (in thousands)

Source: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/512380/umfrage/instagram-nutzer-in-oesterreich/

The differences: so the same but so different

If you now deal with Instagram as a channel, many things appear similar at first glance. In the details, however, they are often quite different. That is why we have provided you with an overview of the most important functions and the differences and similarities.

The functions: Facebook vs. Instagram


First of all, the most important difference for marketers: You cannot assign clickable, external links to your posts on Instagram. Compared to Facebook, of course, a major disadvantage, as you cannot easily bring users to your blog article, online shop, website, etc. As a marketer, traffic to your own website and thus conversions is certainly a primary goal for the use of social media channels.

There is only one possible link on Instagram - and this is at the top, in the profile description. That is why you often see contributions that advertise a special campaign and refer to the “link in the bio” in the description.

General posts on Instagram that have a link are only possible via paid advertising, but more on that later.

A small remedy are services like www.inkr.ee. This allows you to insert a link in the bio, which then displays further links as clearly arranged buttons on the page that opens.


You can see hashtags almost everywhere. These became popular through Twitter, and later also Instagram. Hashtags (in German "rhombus") should basically function like keywords and help to find interesting content. And that brings us to the most important difference.

Hashtags are very important on Instagram to expand reach and get new followers. Many users use the hashtags to specifically search for new posts about their interests and thus discover new content. For some time now it has also been possible to follow not only users but also hashtags themselves.

In principle, up to 30 hashtags are allowed for a post on Instagram. For a long time, this maximum number had to be fully used in order to achieve the greatest range. Recently, however, there has also been the opinion that you should limit yourself to 3 to a maximum of 10 hashtags, as this brings the best range. However, there are different opinions and sometimes heated discussions. In the end, everyone can test it for themselves and see whether they generate the most likes and followers with a few hashtags or with the full 30.

In any case, an important basic rule is not to just choose very general hashtags. Things like #success or #happy etc. usually don't make much sense. If you start entering a hashtag, you can see suggestions and the number of posts for this hashtag directly in Instagram. You should make sure to choose hashtags that really fit the topic and tend to have fewer posts. The chance of catching the right target group and of being seen is therefore much higher. In addition to the 3-4 niche hashtags, you can use 1-2 of your own branded hashtags for your company, as well as 1-2 general, large hashtags to top it off.

And what does it all look like on Facebook? Well, hashtags basically also work on Facebook - but only in theory. This function was subsequently added by Facebook and never really accepted by the users. You can click on hashtags in posts and see similar posts, but this is rarely used. Facebook users also do not search for new content using hashtags. Various studies also show that Facebook posts have a better reach and interaction rate if they don't have hashtags.

In this case, the clear conclusion: definitely hashtags on Instagram, but you can save them on Facebook.


Videos perform best compared to all other post types. So it's no wonder that this is not an unimportant topic. While videos of any length can be posted online on Facebook, they are limited to 1 minute on Instagram. So if you produce videos for your social media channels, you definitely have to take this into account.

A somewhat newer function on Instagram is “Instagram TV”, which now also allows longer videos on Instagram. If you open your IGTV channel, you can put videos of any length online here. The video is then displayed in your own feed for 1 minute, followed by the notice that you can watch the entire video on IGTV.

This is where Facebook clearly scores with its greater flexibility. If you use both platforms, you have to either generally limit yourself to 1 minute in video production or produce 2 variants of the videos.


Another discipline that Instagram has mastered much better is the stories. These posts, which automatically disappear after 24 hours, were the reaction from Zuckerberg to the then new Snapchat function, which users used with great enthusiasm. Since Instagram and Facebook also introduced this function, Snapchat has been going down rapidly.

While stories are very actively used on Instagram, this function is less popular on Facebook. Similar to the hashtags, the integration of the stories on Instagram is simply more harmonious and intuitive.

However, there is one important difference - on Instagram you can only insert links in the stories with 10,000 followers or a verified account. Using the "swipe up" function, users can be directed to external pages via the stories. On Facebook, this is possible in the stories regardless of the number of followers. In order for this to work, however, you must not enter the story function directly, but must use the normal field for the status update. Before sharing a post, you have the option of whether the post should appear in the feed or in the story (or both). If you select story here, you can share a post including a link as a story.

Conclusion on the topic of stories: On Instagram, these are a good way to reach your target audience and expand your followers. If you have linked your Facebook and Instagram accounts, you can also publish them on Facebook at the same time, which basically doesn't hurt. However, in most cases it is not worth the effort to create specific stories for Facebook.

Interaction with posts

While you have been able to choose from numerous reactions on Facebook for some time, there is only one on Instagram, namely the heart (Like). You can easily share every post on Facebook - a good thing for marketers who like to see their posts reach more people as a result. There is no equivalent function on Instagram. Although you can send posts as a direct message to one or more people or share the post in your story, this does not come very close to reshare on Facebook.

Here, too, there is theoretically a workaround, because it is possible to copy Instagram posts via a separate app and then share them on your feed, but this is relatively cumbersome and is rarely used.


Since the organic reach on both Facebook and Instagram is already severely limited, there is no avoiding the placement of advertisements if you want to achieve your goals as a company.

Since Facebook and Instagram belong together, ads can be placed centrally from the Facebook advertising account for both platforms. Here you now also have the option of assigning a link to your advertisement on Instagram.

[Good to know]
It is important that you have linked your Instagram profile to your Facebook page. If this is not the case and if you choose Instagram as the placement for the ad, a new Instagram profile is automatically created in the background. This can lead to a proliferation of Instagram profiles for your own company.

Conclusion: Instagram and Facebook are basically very similar, but there are differences in the details that you should be aware of in order to have the greatest possible success. The use of Facebook and Instagram is recommended for every company, as more and more users are migrating to Instagram and this platform continues to grow very strongly.

Do you need help implementing your social media marketing? Contact us, we will be pleased to advise you!