written by
Florian Weber
Florian Weber
Global Trends

Social Media: Brand building vs. Performance Channel

Social Media: Brand building vs. Performance Channel

Social media can be used for a wide variety of purposes and is changing rapidly at the moment. Whether for social selling, content marketing or customer support - social media provides the perfect opportunity to reach out to a specific target group and to build up a brand.


ompanies can use social media in mainly two respects: on the one hand as a channel for a successful brand building and on the other hand as an efficient performance channel. Of course there are overlaps among them. Using social influencers across the different platforms is as meaningful to build up a brand as well as it is for performance purposes.

Listed below is an overview of how the various channels use certain strategies. This is what they have to offer:


The social media giant Facebook, founded by Mark Zuckerberg, is one of the biggest social media channels with 1.71 billion active users monthly. In addition to creating a private profile or a corporate website to share photos and videos, it provides companies with a wide range of tracking and analytics options. Facebook user feeds feature lots of commercial advertising and shopping tips. All of these aspects indicate that Facebook places greater emphasis on performance rather than just being a brand building tool.


No other social media channel (except for Snapchat) is changing so rapidly as Instagram does at the moment. The Facebook subsidiary excels with a user engagement 58 times higher than the parent company and even 120 times higher than Twitter. It has about 500 million users worldwide, from which 300 million are active every day. In Germany there are about 9 million users.

You can’t really say that Instagram is strictly used for brand building or performance. It does give companies the option of building their brand. Instagram places great value on esthetic content geared to appeal to a wide audience. For fashion, beauty or food companies, brand building means the attractive presentation of high-gloss images. Most companies rely on the use of particularly strong and appealing images and less on performance. But especially by linking influencer images to other brands the performance aspect comes into picture. It will be accentuated even more, when – if you can trust latest reports – Instagram will integrate a new function called phototags in the next months, which will direct users to the respective webshop when clicking on the photo. Further the company already rolled out a new feature that allows clickable links in the stories.


Twitter is yet another channel for brand building, which can also be used as a performance channel using links. It is used by different actors, such as companies, organizations, media, celebrities or politicians. Companies can advertise their tweets as well as linking them, which enables both strategies. Analytics tools are also available to measure performance.


Youtube is the primordial mother group of all influencer channels. Meanwhile there is a wide range of active opinion leaders that often present brands and products in their videos. Although the main focus of the channel is on a visual versatility for brand building, video links or using the info box to link to certain products or websites also offer a lot of potential as a performance tool.


Snapchat’s main focus is directly on the brands. Using Snapchat as a performance tool by linking, tracking or analyses is limited, since photos and videos posted on Snapchat are deleted within 24 hours and there is no function to count followers. Snapchat can still be used as performance tool to a small extent using Snap Ads. When companies buy ads they can create filters or a video of a brand or app appears that leads the user directly to the app store. Snapchat has the most minimal focus on the performance aspect, which differentiates it from all the other social media channels. But the Snap company is working on it: Recently Snapchat announced they are going to collaborate with different companies like Nielsen to better verify the impact of their Ad formats in the future. 


Pintrest, in contrast to Snapchat , is a much stronger performance channel since the pins are linked to websites. Brand building is also an option here, when companies “pin” or present their own brand products or create a blog. 

Wrap up: In summary, it is safe to say that most brands use social media for building up a brand as well as a performance tool, as indicated in the presentation of the individual channels. Only Snapchat is an exception, since  there are not many options of applying it as a performance channel. Even though companies can set brand and corporate filters to use Snap Ads for advertising, sharing links and forwarding to company websites is limited. This makes Snapchat more suitable for brand building. But as the newest trends show also Snapchat is going to develop its app more towards a performance channel in future.