Instagram had a larger audience than parent company Facebook among the top 50 brand profiles worldwide in Q4 2019, while total interactions on Instagram were nearly 20 times larger than those on Facebook, new research has revealed.

According to Socialbakers, a social media measurement firm headquartered in the Czech Republic, Instagram recorded 3.57 billion impressions in the final quarter of last year compared with 3.47 billion on Facebook.

That is one of the headline findings in the company’s Q4 2019 Social Media Trends Report, although Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of Socialbakers, said the development was “not a surprise” because “the writing has been on the wall for some time”.

However, he added: “What was unexpected in Q4 2019 was the relative decline in engagement during the holiday season. This is a warning sign that brands require a deeper understanding of which types of content their audiences find compelling, and an agile method to get that content in front of them.”

Specifically, the Socialbakers report found that relative post interactions for both Instagram and Facebook during the holiday season were lower in Q4 2019 than a year ago.

And looking at interactions over the fourth quarter, it emerged that fashion, the top industry on Instagram, decreased by 19.4%, while e-commerce, the top industry on Facebook, declined by 9.6%.

“This may indicate that brands need to get smarter about the content they post and focus on top quality content in smaller volumes to increase engagement,” the report said.

But bucking the downward trend, Socialbakers found that the services category saw a 66.7% jump in engagement on Instagram over the same period.

Meanwhile, the report said that women comprised the majority of fans and followers of brand pages on both Instagram and Facebook, representing 56.4% of the audience engaging with brands.

And importantly, women were also more active mentioning and interacting with brand pages in the key marketing demographic of the 25-34 age group.

Finally, the report said that the influencer marketing trend shows “no sign of slowing down” after finding the number of influencers using #Ad (or the local language version) in their posts shot up 90.5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter.

Sourced from Socialbakers; additional content by WARC staff