Winning the Internet

What’s it cost? Facebook ads

After a great run, the Winning the Internet blog has been retired. However, you can still keep in touch with New Media Mentors here.


We’ve been digging into some of the most common new media marketing tools and special projects and breaking down the costs for each. Our hope is that these posts will make your life a little easier when you’re working on your budget, or thinking about trying something new.

Today we’re talking about Facebook ads – those simple image and text ads that appear on the right side of Facebook. Ex:

Netroots Nation 2011 Facebook Ad - Wacky Register

The cost of a full-fledged Facebook ad campaign will vary dramatically, depending on a couple of key variables broken down below. However, in my experience, most organizations can get a feel for Facebook advertising for $200 – $400.

Experimenting with Facebook ads

If you’d like to experiment with Facebook ads, but don’t want to break the bank, why not start out with a modest budget like the one suggested above, and build from there? Create the best ad you can and target it to a very specific group. If it performs well, expand your audience and your budget. If it doesn’t, discontinue the test or make adjustments.

Breaking down the cost of ads

The most common way to pay for these kinds of ads is by click. Most organizations like this because they only have to pay when someone actually clicks on their ad. According to a recent survey, the average cost of a Facebook ad is $0.80 per click. Ads that lead to Facebook pages and apps are slightly cheaper, at $0.70 per click, while ads that lead to external pages tend to be more expensive, $1.08 per click.

The true cost of your Facebook campaign will largely depend on two other factors: audience and click through rate.

Powerful targeting is what makes Facebook advertising truly unique. You can target ads to everyone in the country, focus in on people with a particular interest, target fans of your page, etc. One of the secrets to keeping costs down is to really think through the targeting for your campaign and to make sure you’re only showing your ad to people who are likely to be interested in it (that way you don’t waste money on clicks that don’t lead to petition signatures, or your ultimate goal – whatever that is). You can target your ad when you set it up with Facebook’s ad tool.

The click through rate is also important. This is essentially the percentage of people that actually clicked on your ad when showed it. A recent survey found that advertisers that did not work with an agency had an average click through rate of 0.038%.

The key thing to keep in mind here is that more compelling, better-targeted ads have a better click through rate. Developing strong creative that works well in a tiny format is critical. Not every image or topic will work well. Things that are shocking or unexpected tend to work best.

The great thing about Facebook advertising is that it’s easy to scale up or down. If you’ve got a very modest budget, Facebook advertising can still pay off as long as you nail your targeting and develop a compelling, noticeable ad.

About Melissa Foley

Melissa is the Director of Training and Mentoring for Netroots Foundation and New Media Mentors. She aims to use her MBA + nonprofit background to teach organizations to use new media tools strategically.


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