How To Market Your Shopify Store: Instagram vs. Facebook

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Victoria, founder/brand marketing expert at VictoriaEcommerce.

Both Instagram and Facebook offer high returns on paid advertising campaigns for ecommerce brands.

Despite recent changes to the Facebook algorithm, Facebook the ad behemoth shows no sign of slowing down (quite the opposite). And Instagram is playing catch up, fast.

It’s in your ecommerce brand’s best interest to roll with any platform changes and make the best use of your ad dollars on both Facebook and Instagram.

This post will draw some comparisons between the two platforms, offering you tips on how to maximize your marketing spend for your Shopify ecommerce store.

Getting Your Audience Targeting Right With Ad Personas

The decision on how to split your advertising budget between Instagram and Facebook will be largely dependant on your brand and your core demographics.

Younger demographics tend to flock around Instagram, and it’s a pretty safe bet to say that people aged 40+ are spending time updating their Facebook pages.

However, this natural age-split is not set in stone. In many cases, ecommerce brands from both ends of the spectrum can do equally well on both platforms.

Start by defining audience personas to help you decide.

Personas are a snapshot of your ideal customer, and building out good customer profiles using Facebook data will help you not only better spend your Facebook advertising budget, but your Instagram and content marketing budgets too.

And remember that you may have several types of ideal customer for your brand, so you may need to run a wide range of ad groups to meet all the different requirements.

For instance, if you sell camping equipment, you may attract holidaymakers with young families, but you may also make lots of sales to men who are interested in fishing and extreme sports..

Step One: Head to Facebook Audience Insights.

Step Two: For persona building, start from the top and type in a broad topic interest, eg. ‘Camping.’

Step Three: Explore the six different graphs to bring up data scraped from user information.

These tabs include:

  • Demographics
  • Page Likes
  • Location
  • Activity
  • Household
  • Purchase Behavior

You may find that a search for ‘camping’ will show graphs with a higher engagement coming from male Facebook users. Take note and type in further interests to narrow down your persona characteristics.

Step Four: Facebook will also pull up various worded descriptions of suggested characteristics. In this example, under ‘Demographics’ and ‘Job Title,’ you may find that a number of veterans like camping and outdoor activities. This insight may encourage you to offer service discounts or target ad sets to military audiences.

Take particular note of the ‘Purchase Behavior’ graphs. From here, when it comes to targeting ads, you can select audiences that may be in the process of purchasing a related product. In the case of camping, this might be a pickup truck or full-size SUV.

Instagram also has a wealth of persona targeting insights. However, to draw this data out, you will need to get more granular with your research and combine Instagram with Facebook to make the most of both.

Gather common gender, location, and a demographic hints from Facebook Insights, and use a tool like SocialRank to help you visually list your most valuable Instagram followers.

Useful followers include profiles with lots of brand activity in the form of Likes and comments. Using the tool, you can sort your list of high-ticket followers in seconds. From here, you can create a selection of profiles to read and take notes from.

You will need to qualitatively analyze things like the camera filters your top users prefer. You can also list the types of products they buy, and any other relevant interests you can glean from their photos. Don’t forget to look at the little details they use, like emojis and hashtags.

With Instagram, audience persona building may take longer, as you will need to dig in with more qualitative audience insights. However, from doing this necessary research, you can get clues on post styles and captions to make your ads more appealing to Instagram audiences.

Using Niche Influencers

Instagram has made influencer marketing the booming industry it is today and is often the go-to platform for Shopify store-owners looking to collaborate with influencers.

Influencer campaigns are a fantastic way to promote your ecommerce brand. They allow you to utilize people power to drive traffic to your shop.

There are niche stars for every industry imaginable, and they can all be sourced from many of the top social influencer marketplaces.

Some large accounts have over a million followers, and some niche interest accounts have followings in the couple of thousands. Dedicated marketplaces make influencer marketing an affordable option for ecommerce brands of all sizes and types.

Check out the feeds of potential influencers for a few weeks. Make sure they haven’t cheated their way to Instagram fame. Ensure you’re happy with the quality of their content overall. Take special note of their branded shoutout posts, as your brand will be treated in a similar way.

There are apps to help you make the most of influencer marketing campaigns. Pixel Shop is Shopify-powered all-in-one campaign app. You can use it to develop shoppable links to ad to influencer and user-generated content.

Pixel Shop will also allow you to embed shoppable links within your Facebook ads and hook them up with your Shopify store, allowing you to see useful analytics data.

Video Advertising & Stories Posts

Despite the fact that Facebook also hosts Stories on its platform, Instagram Stories has a more significant share of the Stories game with 250 million daily users.

Instagram is clean and uncluttered in its appearance and its Explore tab offers a user-friendly interface to help people discover new content. For brands that don’t want to miss out on invaluable free engagement opportunities, make a Story post every 24 hours.

Stories content can also offer swipe-up links to product pages; they are an excellent means for promoting money-off deals.

Word of caution: you should try to use direct promotion posts sparingly, and instead see Stories as a brand awareness platform.

Develop narrative structures within your clips (a ten-step countdown or a How To post is a good start). You could also offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of life at your brand’s HQ.

Courtesy: Shopbrando

This sort of content builds consumer trust, helping you become an authentic ecommerce brand. You need to be fearless and present in front of the camera lens in order to keep up with the competition.

Use live and long-form video (Instagram now lets you post up to one-minute clips) to create infomercials of your products. Product demonstration posts don’t have to be boring, and they can be used for eye-catching boosted ads elsewhere.

Think of ways you can tell a story with your products and how they’re used each day.

Here, Linus Bike uses a short clip of a man heading off to the beach with his bike and surfboard. Videos like this send a low-key advertising message within a simple narrative structure.

A post shared by Linus Bike (@linusbike) on

Details Of Paid Campaigns

Testing suites like AdEspresso offer examples of Facebook Instagram ad setups that work.

For Facebook, one point to note is the popularity of products set on white backgrounds. The clean aesthetic has been found to draw many people in.

With Instagram, however, white backgrounds can sometimes come off as a little ‘samey’ looking. With Instagram product posts, you have free reign to make your product images compelling.

Further, with Facebook advertising, you can also choose to double-up on your paid advertising content. For instance, underneath a product demonstration video, you can also post a shoppable gallery of the items mentioned.

Doubling-up posts gives brands the opportunity to cut out multiple steps of the buying cycle.

Take a look at some of these creative Facebook carousel examples for inspiration.

Marketing your Shopify store on Facebook and Instagram takes time and concentrated effort. The content of your adverts has to be tailored to suit audience and platform needs. Pick up on the styling and aesthetics that bring in the highest levels of engagement for your store.

Your Opinion