If we’re talking about getting the most for your money (which we totally are. You should check out our other posts in the series.), hands down social media is the front-runner in the cheap online advertising realm.
It can be a great use of your money online, sure, but even in the grander scheme of things, social media advertising costs coast past traditional advertising avenues. In fact, Facebook advertising alone costs less per thousand impressions than any type of paid advertising out there according to Moz. So if you are already investing time in your business’ social presence online, it’s probably about time you started to consider investing some ad budget in it, too.
First things first! How much does it cost? Well, a variety of factors determine how much you will pay for a social media action (any social interaction: a comment, like, share, click, reply, new follow, or retweet.) Those factors can really be narrowed down to a single, though pretty complex, concept: your audience.
Who You’re Targeting
Your audience may be expensive! The higher the competition to reach your target demographic, the more expensive your ads will be. For example, when targeting men between the ages 25-54 your cost per action will be significantly lower than a cost per action for women between the ages of 25-54.
Make sure you also accurately target your audience. Your cost per action will be higher if your ads aren’t resonating with the audience you are trying to reach. There’s a reason why Facebook introduced Ad Preferences giving users the option to hide ads or click the option of “I don’t know why I am seeing this ad.” Remember: There’s nothing worse than receiving an ad for wedding planning or baby clothes when you are happily (or even bitterly) living the single life.
What You’re Targeting
Are you going after a customer or a company? Typically, based on our own clients, advertising costs tend to be cheaper for B2C advertisers than for B2B. If you’re a B2B business there, don’t despair! You can still get a ton of traction for your money. Let’s take a look at an ad campaign run across Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin for thirty days with slightly varying budgets:
Linkedin, the most popular B2B social network out there, has a cost-per-action (CPA) light-years higher than either Facebook or Twitter for the same ad. And yet their cost-per-impression (CPI) is the lowest.
Even though the cost is high, however, for a B2B advertiser, those few clicks may hypothetically have been more qualified–or valuable–than all the actions combined on Facebook or Twitter in actually driving business, while the engagement garnered by the other networks’ ads might have exclusively boosted brand sentiment. Meanwhile, Facebook boasts fewer impressions, but there was a higher probability that anyone who saw the ad was going to perform some sort of action on it, which is what we love to see.
Removing Linkedin from the equation for a B2C ad campaign highlights Facebook’s low CPA even more:
Promoting posts is also an extremely cost-effective way to get more engagement on your content. We’ve seen CPA on B2B posts this month performing between $.70 – $1.24 and between $.06 and $.58 for B2Cs.
If you are working with a limited social advertising budget, consider starting with ads on Facebook. They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to set up. However, be sure to keep you target audience in mind when selecting an advertising platform. A little experimentation might be necessary to find which platform resonates best with your target audience. Just because Facebook is a frugal medium doesn’t mean it will be the most effective for your marketing goals if not used correctly.
TL;DR: You’ll get more user actions for less money with Facebook advertising than any other social network.
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