How to budget paid social media

How much should you spend on paid social media campaigns?

One of the questions we get asked most often is “How much do I spend on paid social media?” Meaning mostly Facebook and Instagram.

There are a couple of things to understand about how we charge and why we charge the way we do.

Traditional media costs vs. social media costs

So the classic advertising media was marked up once 15% because once we sent the ads off to the magazines and they printed them, the work was done.

That’s not how social media works.  The campaigns have to be managed, so the first thing to understand is that when we run a paid social media campaign for people, we’re managing it on an ongoing basis.  Depending on the amount of data, that may be daily, weekly, monthly, whatever, but someone has to pay attention to the bidding, the click-thus, the analytics, etc. on an ongoing basis for the life of the campaign. The smarter and more experienced your manager, the better your results. Our in-house social media manager, Jay Lundeen, is Blueprint certified by Facebook  in strategic planning and buying, which is the highest level of training.

Do you have the visual assets you need for a paid social media campaign?

The next thing you need to think about are the assets that you have to put into your ad – do you have photos, do you have videos, or do those assets need to be found, bought, shot, created? Or do you have them in-house? That’s another expense you need to consider in your budget.
These days we use single images, multiple stills, dynamic product shots, as well as long and short form videos to create a variety of campaign structures to be tested. We’ll run a long-form video and retarget single image campaigns to anyone who watches at least :10. Or we’ll set up a dynamic product campaign that changes what the viewer sees each time.

The goal of your paid social media campaign affects the set up and budget.

When it really comes down to it, cost depends on the goals that you set.

So, if you’re looking for awareness, that’s one goal price, because we’re going to set up and manage for straight impressions.

If you’re going for a conversion of some sort, that’s usually more expensive. For example, we ran a Facebook campaign for the Fulbright Association, and with the goal of building their email list of scholars. We were able to grow the list 367% and we were able to drive the cost down to under 5 dollars per conversion.

The more specific the goal, the more difficult the goal, like getting someone to give you an email or actually getting someone to get to your website and make a sale, obviously the higher the cost is going to be.

Your target affects you paid social media budget.

And then the other thing that’s going to affect your budget is your target. Social media allows us to target amazingly specifically, if you need left-handed redheads who like to play croquet, we can probably find that for you! But if you need “all women 18-64” that may be too broad. Consider narrowing by geography or interest.

Your competitive sector also affects your budget.

There’s also a competitive field within the target that you’re trying to reach, and that’s going to affect the pricing, because the bidding is more competitive in some categories. Gold jewelry, for example, is wide open and wildly competitive.  Croquet mallets for lefties is less competitive.

So how do we budget?

So every time we do a budget for someone it is customized, according to your goals, your assets, how long you need to run it and how much management it requires.

Here’s a link to How We Charge.