Instagram and Facebook marketing: how to divest. Now.

No, seriously: it may well be time to figure out how to divest from Instagram and Facebook marketing. Over the years, the general marketing hearsay has been to use social media, particularly to

Instagram & Facebook: image of Facebook logo
Image: Meta

advertise on Facebook and Instagram. But as with anything, there’s a shelf-life. And as it so happens, the era in which Instagram and Facebook reign as royalty over the marketing space, is over. Or at least, is soon to be.

Some context

It wasn’t long ago — even within the past decade — when people (adults in particular) were confused as to what Instagram and Facebook were. Now, 73% of 30-49 year-olds are using Facebook.

While this may show signs that traditional social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are growing and becoming steady, it’s important to note that by the time the slower generations catches up to the mainstream, the new technology and trends are already making headway. In a similar fashion, traditional social media marketing (think affiliate marketing and influencers) has already seen its golden days.

Charles Ngo, thought leader in affiliate marketing with 75,000+ readers a month, says “Affiliate marketing isn’t dead yet, but it’s past its glory days. For the vast majority of people, it’s not worth entering the affiliate marketing industry in 2021.”

Affiliate marketing

That’s not to say affiliate marketing is dead. Not at all. In fact the stats say that affiliate marketing spending in the U.S. has been steadily growing. Affiliate marketing also accounts for 30% of sales for advertisers, and is responsible for 16% of eCommerce in the U.S. and Canada. Globally, the industry is worth $12 billion.

So when we say divest from Instagram and Facebook, we’re not saying you should cancel them completely. Chances are you’ve successfully grown your business in the past years using them, and it’s not worth giving it up. But what we are saying echoes Charles’ thoughts: the golden age is over. And it’s worth paying attention to the smaller players in the industry.

Instagram & Facebook: image of a businessman checking sales on his cellphone
Image: Envato

Start spending on small networks

What happens when the smaller players in the field start to catch momentum, and become the stars of the industry? Saturation. As it stands, social media marketing is saturated with affiliate marketing, and will continue to saturate.

For audiences, this becomes boring. We grow tired of seeing the same things, the same way products are presented, the same way the influencer praises the sponsored products. It’s starting to feel a bit methodical, even a bit insincere, if not downright fake. And when things become insincere, that’s when you really start to lose an audience. It’s no surprise then that consumers may be more receptive to advertising on smaller networks, like TikTok and Pinterest.

Thinking TikTok et al

These newer platforms (TikTok in particular) have found a way to capture people’s attention. The content is fresh, entertaining, trend-setting, inspiring, and most importantly, the content is genuine. It’s the average Joe who’s making entertaining TikToks, not the supermodel influencer. That makes it so much easier to connect with the content. Not everyone is a supermodel, but most people certainly have a chance to do a simple TikTok dance and get millions of likes. What’s also nice about these smaller platforms (heads up, TikTok won’t be ‘small’ for much longer) is that there simply aren’t as many ads on them. A breath of relief from something like Instagram — an ad every 5 posts.

Aim high for 2022 and beyond

So what this means is that advertising on smaller platforms might be the way to go in 2022. A Nielson study commissioned by Snapchat found that Snapchat ads had more reach than TV ads, and led to greater awareness and purchase intent. A Pinterest Business study showed that ads on Pinterest had higher ROI and cheaper conversion rates than ads on other social networks. If these haven’t sold you, French beauty brand MAKE UP FOREVER generated more than 11 million impressions and 10 million video views using a TikTok ad campaign.

Final thoughts

There’s a shift that’s happening in the marketing industry, and as per usual, it’s good to stay ahead of the crowd.

If traditional social media marketing is reaching a saturation point, and marketing with Instagram and Facebook is starting to become less effective, then it might be time to pay more attention to smaller networks. Divest from the big players, invest in places that aren’t so saturated. But it’s also about more than just saturation, it’s about using these smaller platforms because they connect with audiences in genuine, creative and inspiring ways! In any case, wherever you market, we wish you the best in connecting with your audiences in meaningful ways.

Good luck for 2022!


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