How Much Should You Spend on Facebook Ads?

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facebook ads performance chart How Much Should You Spend on Facebook Ads? You have an active Facebook Page and you’re ready to start investing in your success. But how much should you spend on Facebook ads?

It’s a question I get often. And the easy answer is that there’s no easy answer. It could be close to nothing and it could be many thousands of dollars per month.

But I know that answer doesn’t help you. So let me break down a bit the types of expenses you should be considering.

Increase Relevant Page Likes

I list this first because it’s the most important part of your Facebook sales funnel.

Cold sales are incredibly difficult on Facebook. But I’ve found insane success when selling to people who have chosen to see my content in their News Feeds.

So your priority should be increasing the pool of relevant people who will eventually be interested in buying your product or service. That means increasing your relevant Likes.

“Relevant” is the key word here. Don’t go out looking to see how inexpensively you can get Likes by focusing on irrelevant countries. Yes, you can get insanely cheap Likes, but they won’t lead to more business.

The cost of relevant Likes certainly will depend on your brand and industry. If you are a recognized brand in the entertainment industry, for example, it’s going to be easy. If you are a new law firm, however, it’s going to be tough going.

In general, I say to expect to pay anywhere from $.20 to $1.00 per relevant Facebook Like. The truth is that the less you spend, the lower your Cost Per Like will be. As you begin exhausting your “ideal” audience and upping your budget, success rate will go down.

So here is a basic starting point for what to expect, based on your budget. And keep in mind I’d suggest not spending your entire budget in this area. But if your budget is under $100 per month, you should focus it almost entirely here.

  • $100: 200 Likes
  • $500: 750 Likes
  • $1,000: 1,250 Likes
  • $5,000: 5,000 Likes

Again, these are very rough estimates that will depend on many different factors.

Read This: The Secret Process to Increasing Facebook Likes

Promoting Posts

For my business, I will promote posts that drive people to my blog. The priority here is increasing traffic to my website.

However, some brands may not have that priority. They may want to make sure that more Fans see their content, but website traffic isn’t the focus. They want more engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc.).

You do this with “Promoted Posts.” I put quotes around this one because I do not want you confusing this with the “Boost Post” button. Do not use that.

This is a matter of promoting your posts with two main goals:

  1. Reach Fans in the News Feed who were missed organically
  2. Reach relevant non-Fans in the sidebar

You may want to reach non-Fans in the News Feed as well, but that’s just not how I roll. Particularly in this case. All I care is that I reach my Fans first. Reaching non-Fans in the sidebar is very cheap and makes for a very small part of the budget.

How much you spend here is largely dependent on the number of Fans you currently have. My goal when promoting posts is to reach my Fans in the News Feed once.

I run these ads four or five times per week and run them for a day at a time. When I do this, I only expect to reach about 20% of my Fans with my ad.

I’d consider this a good starting point. If you try to reach 100% of your Fans, you’re going to start annoying people. This way, only 1/5 of your Fans are seeing ads from you every day.

I’ve found that I can expect an Optimized CPM of close to $5. It could be more or less, but that’s a nice round number to start with.

So with these two things in mind (20% reached and a $5 CPM), following is what you can expect to spend to reach 20% of your Fans in the News Feed with an ad, based on the size of your audience…

  • 500 Fans: $.50
  • 1,000 Fans: $1.00
  • 10,000 Fans: $10.00
  • 25,000 Fans: $25.00
  • 50,000 Fans: $50.00
  • 100,000 Fans: $100.00

This is one post, of course. I wouldn’t promote more than one post per day. But I’d recommend promoting at least one post per week.

As I mentioned, you can also target non-Fans — and I recommend focusing on the sidebar. I’m finding CPM is usually under $.03 for an audience of 400,000 when targeting the sidebar only.

So for a single promoted post, you may do the following with a $.03 CPM…

  • 5,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $.15
  • 10,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $.30
  • 100,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $3.00
  • 250,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $7.50
  • 500,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $15.00
  • 1,000,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $30.00

I make non-Fan reach a very small part of my budget, but you may increase it if you choose.

Note that there are some assumptions baked in here. That $.03 is going to be dependent on competition. And since I don’t typically focus that much on non-Fans, I am assuming that the CPM will continue at the same rate as you up the impressions. But you will very likely need to increase your target audience size to retain that CPM.

Read This: Facebook Promoted Posts: A Proven Strategy to Target Fans and Non-Fans

Drive Website Traffic

I considered including this within Promoted Posts, but it’s definitely a different focus.

What I’m referring to here is Domain Sponsored Stories. These ads drive traffic to my website by generating ads out of user shares to it on Facebook.

Projecting cost on this is a little more difficult. I tend to see CPM anywhere between $1 and $4. I target mainly non-Fans with these ads, but a very targeted group with specific interests.

So your CPM here is going to depend on the size of your audience. But my ultimate goal is to keep Cost Per Link Click under $.20. I’ve even seen it under $.10, but I think a reasonable goal here is $.20.

Of course, this type of ad will only apply to those with decent website traffic. I get more than 150,000 page views per month, and I spend $5 per day on this.

Here are some expectations on costs:

  • 10 Link Clicks: $2.00
  • 50 Link Clicks: $10.00
  • 100 Link Clicks: $20.00
  • 500 Link Clicks: $100.00

These are some very general numbers here that are going to vary wildly based on the size of your target audience and frequency. For example, if you hit the same people repeatedly, success rate will drop.

Read This: How to Get 13 Cents Per Click with Facebook Domain Sponsored Stories

Promote Products and Services

If you still have budget left over, I recommend promoting products and services. That includes, but is not limited to:

  • eBooks
  • Webinars
  • Physical and Virtual Products
  • Business Services
  • Newsletter Sign-up

As I’ve mentioned before, my focus is mostly on Fans here. This is my sales funnel. The more I expect from the customer (email address > low cost item > high cost item), the harder it is to get non-Fans to convert.

The first tool I use is Conversion Tracking. I create ads targeted at mainly my Fans promoting a relevant product or service. That ad will drive either to a Facebook tab or a landing page on my website.

Another tool I’ve had success with is FBX. This allows me to reach anyone who has visited my website with a Facebook ad. Like Fans, these are users who are more likely to convert.

Fan and non-Fan costs will remain about the same as before. You are essentially promoting a post, whether published or unpublished.

  • 500 Fans: $.50
  • 1,000 Fans: $1.00
  • 10,000 Fans: $10.00
  • 25,000 Fans: $25.00
  • 50,000 Fans: $50.00
  • 100,000 Fans: $100.00
  • 5,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $.15
  • 10,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $.30
  • 100,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $3.00
  • 250,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $7.50
  • 500,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $15.00
  • 1,000,000 Non-Fan Impressions: $30.00

The true tale of cost vs. success here, though, will be cost per conversion.

FBX, of course, is different. This is done through an approved third party (like PerfectAudience or AdRoll) and serving ads will depend on your website traffic. I tend to see about a $.35 CPM for sidebar ads (I’m still testing News Feed).

So you can expect something like this (there tends to be about a $25 weekly minimum):

  • 71,429 Impressions: $25.00
  • 150,000 Impressions: $52.50
  • 500,000 Impressions: $175.00
  • 1,000,000 Impressions: $350.00

Read This:

This is a Start

You don’t need to use all of these advertising methods. And there are certainly others you can take on as well. But for anyone curious about what they could or should be spending, this will be a nice starting point.

Anything else you care to add? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Jon Loomer

Jon Loomer is a digital marketing consultant with a unique perspective on social media. He was introduced to Facebook in 2007 while with the NBA (back before Pages) and has been using Facebook for business ever since. Stay in touch by liking his Facebook Page (Jon Loomer Digital).

  • Betsy Baker

    Jon, this is awesome! Thank you. :)

  • Joanna Gasdogas

    Thanks Jon. Can you clarify why you don’t suggest doing “Boost Posts”. I used it once ($5), and it did increase my likes on a post. What are your thoughts?
    I am also running an ad now for page likes. I am at 860 fans and I have only paid around $60. My cost/like has been averaging between .08-.14 cents. I find that the longer you leave your FB ad running, the more FB lowers your cost per like and your OCPM (mine is .60 right now). Is it absurd to want to get .02 cent likes? That’s what I am aiming for eventually. Thanks, Joanna

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hi, Joanna. The Boost Post button doesn’t allow you to target or optimize the way promoting a post with Power Editor can. So you’re ultimately throwing money away with that button.

      Regarding costs per like, this is highly variable based on geography. My main focus is in the US, UK, Canada and Australia — more expensive countries. If you are focusing outside of that, it will be less. And if the brand you are promoting is easy to like, you also may have more success.

      Otherwise, I’d be wary of a very low Cost Per Like. My first question would be regarding the quality of those likes.

      • Joanna Gasdogas

        I’m only advertising in the US, and I have a highly targeted market (I think).

        • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

          What is the brand/product/service?

          • Joanna Gasdogas

            I will have to share that with you privately. I am taking your Power Editor course, so I’m sure we can keep in touch that way. Thank you for your replies. Sincerely, Joanna

  • https://corp.wishpond.com/ Nick @ Wishpond

    Great article Jon! I love the results you’ve shared.

    Our company has had a lot of success using Promoted Posts (using Power Editor) to promote our ebooks. Right now we’re getting ~3% CTR on our Promoted News Feed Posts. It can be hard to get the hang of Facebook Ads coming from Google’s intent-based world. But once you find your audience niche, the sky’s the limit for adding targeted leads to your sales funnel.

    And you’re right that getting a non-fan to convert directly to a signup is more difficult than turning them into a fan first, but if you keep your content offer targeted, it’s easy to get a positive ROI.

    One question I have.. What size of audience do you generally target with your ads?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hey, Nick! The size of the audience depends. Obviously, I’ll target my Fans only sometimes, and in those cases we’re looking at somewhere between 5k-15k. For non-Fans I’ll typically target somewhere between 100k and 500k.

      Speaking of ROI, have you seen my case study on this?

      https://www.jonloomer.com/2013/08/21/facebook-ads-roi/

      • https://corp.wishpond.com/ Nick @ Wishpond

        I just read it now – those are incredible results you received from the Fan-targeted Ads. And it’s direct payback from keeping your Fans engaged, as you can see from the stark contrast of non-Fan targeted ads.

        Any Social Media/Community Manager looking for a bump in their budget should print that off and show it to their boss immediately!

  • Lina Cardenas

    Jon, this is AWESOME information. My question is somewhat related. Hope you can answer or point me to a good resource. Do you know the costs to target FB ads in specific cities and/or or run ads in certain zip codes within cities? Is that even possible?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      It’s really tough to say, Betsy. So much goes into that. The country and city definitely matter. As does the competition for those eyeballs. Look at it this way: The price goes up as the number of advertisers looking to reach a particular group of people increases. That’s how pricing is done.

      In general, too, the smaller the audience the more expensive it’s going to be. But that’s not always the case.

      My advice: Try it out and see what happens!

  • Liz Hartley

    Your insights are so useful. I’m a huge fan. Thanks Jon!

  • Kimberly

    Super informative, thanks Jon, much appreciated. K

  • Tracy Wisneski

    Great information. Thank you! On another note, it would be very helpful if you included a pinterest button in your shares. I’m finding that it’s easiest to collect (and easily access) informative articles by pinning them to boards.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hi, Tracy! If you hover over a photo, a pin-it button appears.

      • Tracy Wisneski

        Great! I see it now. Thank you. I’m not a crafts person, so I ignored pinterest for a while, but recently noticed that the ability to pin articles by subject it very helpful. (I did post your article on FB too, but it’s easier to find again on pinterest.)

  • Kimberly

    Thanks for this really informative article Jon. I have a question, I’m still stuck on CPM vs optimized CPM optimized for likes, but I’m guessing from my reading off your site that your preference is for optimized CPM?

    I was trying the CPM option, as the average cost per like I was getting on optimized CPM was above $1.80. However my results show consistent frequency above 4.0, so I’m guessing paying way too much for the ad bid…FB suggests around $.50, but if the frequency is this high should I bid more like $0.20, and do so via the optimized CPM option?

    Your insights greatly appreciated here.

    Kindly, Kimberly

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hi, Kimberly! My preference is for whatever works best. I’ve found that tends to be Optimized CPM but it’s not always the case. Feel free to experiment with both.

      If the frequency is too high, I’d instead focus either on lowering your budget or increasing the size of the audience. I wouldn’t consider 4.0 particularly high, though, unless it’s 4.0 every day.

      • Kimberly

        Much appreciated, excellent advice, will put to good use. Thanks Jon!

  • Rose-City Floor Hockey

    I’m quite new to advertising on facebook. I think I have a different prerogative than you have outlined here or discussed in the comments, but it all seems too much for me. See, being a sports league, all I am looking for is a chance for a “cold sale”. What should I be spending? Any help on what I should focus on?

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