Facebook recently made some big moves to bridge the gap between its user bases on Facebook and Instagram.
Things like allowing Instagram Stories to be posted to Facebook and Facebook Canvas being used in ads for Instagram Stories are just a few ways that Facebook is using both platforms to increase overall user engagement.
At first glance, this might seem counterintuitive—most social platforms focus exclusively on growing their own user bases and containing user activity within their platforms, not bolstering another’s—but since Facebook owns Instagram, it actually makes perfect sense.
Each platform has its strong points, and these recent changes show how Facebook and Instagram can help each other instead of cannibalizing one another’s users. This looks like a win for both platforms and a way for Facebook to leverage the relevance and user behavior of Instagram to supplement some soft spots.
Here are a few reasons why Facebook has ramped up its efforts to create synergy between the two platforms and how it will impact the influencer marketing industry.
Why the collaboration?
As a platform and now a public company, Facebook is under intense pressure to show continued user growth. This has become increasingly difficult as Facebook must work to combat several challenges, such as maintaining growth (large companies struggle to maintain their growth rates as they are forced to work harder to find new markets where they can to continue to grow and reach more potential customers) and losing users to new platforms, especially with younger generations using other platforms like Snapchat.
The launch of Facebook Stories reflects an attempt on Facebook’s part to leverage Instagram’s relevance and its younger user-base to continue maintain steady growth for its core platform.
Most influencers are more invested in Instagram than Facebook, so this type of integration could lead to an increase in influencer marketing dollars being spent on Facebook instead of exclusively on Instagram.
More content leads to better content
With the merging of Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, Facebook gets access to more fresh content. In turn, this will likely increase engagement rates on Facebook, because users will have a wider range of content to engage with.
Furthermore, an increase in quantity of content typically leads to an increase in quality of the most visible content. For example, the top student in a class of 10 is in the top 10th percentile, while the top student in a class of 100 students is in the top first percentile. The more content contributed to the platform, the higher the quality level of the top content. The better the content, the more likely it is to be shared, thus increasing its reach and driving additional engagement.
While Facebook Stories is not performing as well as the company likely hoped it would, integrating Instagram Stories content—which performs very well from an influencer marketing standpoint—means it can still provide Facebook users with the Stories experience while eliminating the need for additional content creation within the Facebook platform.
Could this be a sign that Facebook will likely give up on its own Stories production feature and instead rely entirely on Instagram to source that content? We can only wait and see, but my gut tells me it is quite likely.
Consolidation of the user experience
It doesn’t make sense for users to create the same content on multiple platforms. For example, someone looking to capture a live moment will not do so on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook—they’ll just capture it on one. However, once someone captures that moment, there’s a good chance they’ll share it on multiple platforms. Sharing an Instagram photo directly on Facebook is something consumers have been familiar with for years.
A recent report shows that users under 25 spend more than 32 minutes per day on Instagram, and users 25 and over spend more than 24 minutes per day on the platform, which is very impressive when compared with top competitors like Snapchat.
As the market grows and users spend increasingly more time on Instagram, Facebook will most likely adapt its own platform where it needs to and integrate the things that work so well on Instagram into Facebook.
Consolidating the experience could help strengthen both platforms and keep users active across the board without requiring them to create separate content on each platform, which is a tax to the user.
I expect to see more moves that serve to consolidate the user experience and eliminate fragmentation as all social platforms continue trying to retain and grow their user bases.