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What Should I Be Budgeting for Social Media Ads?

Most businesses realize that social media isn’t a trend, and that it’s not really optional. Your customers and the public will be talking about your brand on social media, so being an active part of that conversation is important. It’s also a great way to strengthen a reputation with your existing customers, and find new ones.

But with more and more content vying for space in the news feed, and more competition in “the algorithm” paid social media is a smart and affordable way to make sure your content is being seen by your ideal customers.

So in this article, we’re going to help you answer the question, “What should I be budgeting for social media ads?”

For most small businesses, Facebook and Instagram are the easiest places to start. And since they’re both owned by Meta, there are features that allow you to automatically share content from one platform to the other, share video stories, etc. There are so many other ways you can explore paid social media with Twitter Ads, Snapchat Ads, TikTok Ads, and more. But for this article, we’re going to focus on Facebook and Instagram budgeting.

The easiest way to get started with paid social ads is to boost the content you post on your page.

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that clients who serve a more localized audience in a 30-50 mile radius should be spending $10 per day on boosting content. And content that is boosted for 5 days or more will perform better per dollar than content boosted for shorter periods of time. So a quick guide to get started might look like simply boosting one of your Facebook posts every fifth day for $10 per day for five days in a row. That’s a total budget of $300 per month, but you could leave some gaps between boosts and spend as little as $200 per month and still see consistent page follower growth and post engagement. When you boost a Facebook post, you also have the option to place that boost on Instagram as well, which is an easy way to cover both platforms with the same spend.

If creating content on your page is hard to keep up with and you’re just wanting increase awareness for your company, get traffic on your website, increase video views, sell products, or start messenger conversations, you can place ad campaigns from the Ad Center on your Facebook page (it’s easiest from a desktop computer). The spend for an ad campaign could be fairly similar ($10 per day) for a local audience. Or for a more regional audience (example: 5-state area) you would want to increase that budget to $20-30 per day. For a national audience, you might want to be closer to $40-50 per day.

NOTE: Targeting five states is cheaper per state than targeting one state was – and that’s because you’re giving the algorithm more people to show your ad to, making it more successful per dollar spent.

A few other factors to keep in mind…

  • Size of Your Audience -- Another factor that determines your daily ad spend is the size of the audience you’re targeting. For example, if you sell a product that would appeal to anyone that likes ice cream, that’s a very broad audience and may require a higher spend if you want to reach all of the people that like ice cream. On the contrary, if you sell a software that caters to engineering firms, your ads need to reach a very specific group of people with more detailed targeting so the same dollar spend may go a little further.

  • Cost of Your Product -- One other variable to consider is the cost of your product and how low the barrier to entry is for purchasing your product or service. In the ice cream example, trying a new brand of ice cream is relatively low cost and low risk, so converting your ad followers may have a lower barrier. For the engineering software example, that requires a potentially expensive and time consuming decision that effects a lot of people, and therefore may require the person seeing your ads to see it numerous times before they act on it. If you sell an inpulse buy, social media ads will be more successful early on. The higher priced your item is, or if you sell a service as opposed to a product, it may take more time to see results but stick with it! Consistency is key.

  • What Your Ads Look and Sound Like -- Maybe the single most important factor in determining how successful your boosts or ad campaigns are is the graphics you use and the way you write your captions. And no, we can’t teach you how to be a graphic designer in this blog post, but what we will say is – design matters. Fonts matter. Canva is a great workaround, but it’s not an automatic checkmark for good graphic design. With your captions, be interesting and write the way you want to read it. Talk to the person you’re selling to, and ideally describe their problem and how they can fix it with your product (avoid blatantly selling or talking directly about the benefits of your product).

If that isn’t confusing enough, just know that there are no perfect answers, because Facebook (and every social platform) change constantly. So the best advice we can give is to just get started, try things, and see what works! Make a plan, stick to it for at least 30-60 days before making decisions, and record your results as you experiment with different ideas. Over time, you will figure out what your audience responds to the best, and which audiences are the most ideal to target on social media. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions. The Mavens are always here to help.


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