It’s been a difficult few years for Facebook on the advertising front and the tech giant has had to respond by reducing the amount of ads users see in their feeds. This causes obvious problems for advertisers, many of whom are now spending less on Facebook ads and placing more of their budget elsewhere.

With Facebook ad spend stalling, Instagram’s growth continues to boom and many in the industry expect the company bought out by Facebook could even overtake it as a key advertising platform. So is Instagram where you should be placing more of your social ad spend in 2019?

Instagram’s booming ad spend

Last year, a report from Merkle revealed that ad spend on Instagram was growing at four times the rate of Facebook – 177 percent (year over year during Q2 2018) compared to Facebook’s 40 percent.

            Source: Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report for Q4 2018

Impressions were also up by 209% over the same period and the cost per 1,000 ad views (CPM) dropped by 10%.

Things have only gotten better for Instagram advertisers since early 2018 as well. According to AdStage’s Paid Media Benchmark report for the third quarter of 2018, click-through rates (CTRs) are increasing while costs per click (CPCs) are dropping – and the report also found CPMs are continuing to reduce.

While Facebook is still trying to navigate its way out of fake news and ad targeting controversy, Instagram advertisers are finding it costs them less to get their ads seen and clicked by more users.

When you look at these numbers, it’s difficult to resist the pull towards Instagram and a growing number of advertisers are making the network a priority.

Should you spend more in Instagram advertising this year?

The first question you need to answer before moving any ad budget over to Instagram is whether your audience is there to begin with. Facebook and Instagram are similar in many ways but you’re not going to get the same audiences on both networks.

Facebook still has the larger user base with more than 2.3 billion people around the world still using the social network. However, numbers appear to be falling and the social giant reportedly lost 2.8 million US users under the age of 25 in 2018 alone. Meanwhile, Instagram is attracting more people with its 600 million-strong user base in 2016 growing to 800 million by September 2017.

Forecasts now suggest Instagram could overtake Facebook in total user numbers by 2020.

User numbers aren’t the only things to consider, though. Facebook users are older on average than their Instagram peers and this is a crucial factor in targeting the right audience. Are you going for social-savvy baby boomers and millennials or targeting the younger generation Z, which is now coming of age?

You might be targeting both (which is fine) and you’ll still find many users are still highly active on both networks.

At the same time, Instagram is better suited for certain types of campaigns than Facebook. While both networks are great platforms for travel brands, Instagram still has the clear advantage here due to its visual nature – and this is the case for many industries, thanks to the network’s visually engaging nature.

This is something else you’ll need to consider: which network is most effective for the kind of ad campaigns you’re running.

The good news, if you decide to move more of your ad budget over to Instagram, is it’s a relatively simple transition. The two platforms enjoy all of the same ad formats and excellent targeting options. So, instead of simply investing more into Instagram, you can easily explore the option of replicating your best-performing Facebook ads in Instagram and optimise from there.

As long as you’re confident you can get more from your ad spend on Instagram, experimenting with your distribution makes sense in 2019.

With Instagram’s key stats looking more impressive with every quarter, it’s only natural that advertisers rethink their ad spend. Meanwhile, the family relations between Facebook and Instagram not only make it an obvious transition, but also an easier one to make.

So the only question at this stage is: will you be spending more on Instagram ads this year?