By Bob Hutchins


Instagram-Header-image-300x300Okay, “battle” might be kind of misleading. Even “decimation,” which literally means to destroy or kill one-tenth, doesn’t quite get at it. When it comes to click-through rates on Facebook and Instagram, Instagram is…annihilating… Facebook in the contests of CTR and engagement.

If you’ve been advertising on Facebook for at least six months, you may have noticed your “Total Reach” figures taking a nosedive that looks something like this (no, not one of my clients):

Facebook Metrics


The Shift From Facebook to Instagram

As you observe the gradual decline of Facebook’s organic reach, you may have thought to yourself, “How ‘bout that Instagram?” This would be some good thinking. Forbes reports (via Think Tank) that Instagram “boasts 15 times more engagement than its parent company [Facebook], and more than Twitter or Google.” That was February. Things are only getting better.

In May 2014, engagement and conversion rates on Instagram are still red hot. Last week, Marketing Land reported on the findings of Nate Elliott of Forrester Research. By studying three million user interactions on 2,500 posts from top brands in Q1 of 2014, Elliott discovered that Instagram had a per follower engagement rate of 4.21%. Take a look at his graph to see how the other social media “giants” stand up:

Forrester Research

What Is It About Instagram?

Good question. Forrester makes the argument that Instagram is killing the engagement competition for a few reasons:

  1. Fewer marketers are using Instagram than other networks. 58% of marketers are on Instagram, compared to 94% on Twitter and 82% on Facebook. Naturally, less competition is going to translate to more opportunity. (Of course, as more marketers catch on, this will change.)
  2. Secondly, Facebook is purposefully suppressing brand exposure in News Feed. Instagram does not have any regulations in this arena. (Again, that’s for now.)
  3. Lastly, Instagram has a younger median age (27 years old), which may account for why users are more likely to interact with brands.

“How Can I Get In On the Action?”

If you aren’t using Instagram for business, I’d encourage you to give it a shot. Sign up, let your audience know you’re there, and get ready to post. But first – want to know a secret? You’ve got to have that creative eye to make it happen. If you don’t have “the eye,” hire one. Studio and stock photos are a no-go on Instagram. Social media agency Laundry Service reports (via AdAge) that these slick pics actually don’t produce nearly the same engagement rates as original “non-glossy pictures shot outside of a studio” – the agency’s description of what an “Instagram photo” should look like.

In their study, Laundry Service learned the following about click-through rates on Instagram:

  • “Regular” photos (i.e. stock/“glossy”) saw a 2.35% CTR.
  • “Instagram-style” photos (defined above) saw an 8% CTR.
  • Connecting ad performance to sales, Laundry Service saw conversion rates increase by 25% – based on data from 100 million impressions and 15+ advertisers.

What’s Your Experience With Instagram for Your Organization?

Do you find you have better engagement and conversion rates on Instagram? What kind of posts work for your brand? What posts don’t? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

Author: Lauren Hunter

Lauren Hunter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of ChurchTechToday and Christian Media Magazine where she encourages churches to better use technology and media to improve every aspect of ministry. An entrepreneur by birth, she is constantly looking for new ways to author and create for God's Glory. Hailing from Northern California, Lauren writes from the heart at and is also a musician, poet, wife, and mom to four great kids.