We all know that Facebook has turned into a pay-to-play platform for small businesses. For us, it’s not even a social network anymore, it’s an advertising platform. Despite our moaning and groaning, that’s perfectly OK, because social media advertising is really just a new marketing opportunity for us small business owners.
Before we dive into a Facebook advertising budget, let’s first look at social media ad spending in general. BI Intelligence predicts that U.S. social-media ad spend will reach nearly $14 billion in 2018, from just $6.1 billion in 2013. That is tremendous growth in five years!
However, there is a little supply and demand problem: Prices are increasing as performance and targeting improve, while ad loads (that is, the number of ads any given platform supports) stay the same.
Do not be discouraged, though. There are three great things about Facebook advertising:
- It’s still much less expensive than traditional advertising (more on that below).
- You can tweak your ads and targeting levels as often as you like.
- You will know immediately if your ads are working, because people will either click on them, or they won’t.
Here’s how to put together a Facebook advertising budget:
- Set measurable goals
This is the very first thing you must do, because without a goal that you can measure, you’ll have no idea if your ad is working. Do you want to more Facebook fans, email subscribers, trackable sales, app downloads? How many? What is your timeline?
- Narrow down your target market
The most effective way to target people is by geographic location and interests. Luckily, Facebook has very robust data on their users, because we like to share so darn much on the network.
- Decide your reach
Your reach, or the number of people you target, will affect your advertising budget. It’s OK if you’re not sure what kind of conversion rate to expect, because you can set different levels of targeting and a daily budget.
- Figure out timing
Do you know when your target market is most likely to be on Facebook? First thing in the morning, or late at night? Monday through Friday, or on the weekend? Again, this is something you can play with, but do some research ahead of time to get a better idea of timing.
- Look at what your competitors are doing
If your competitors are actively running Facebook ads, keep in mind that competition will drive up cost. Remember, there are only so many ad spaces to go around!
While you’re poking around your competitors Facebook Pages, take a look at what kind of content is getting the most engagement (especially shares, since likes and comments are not showing up in News Feeds anymore).
- Set aside money
Here’s where it gets fun, because now we’re going to talk about hard dollar amounts. Please keep in mind that these are just estimates, because there are so many factors that go into pricing: competition, timing, geographic location, etc.
Plan to spend about $10 per day on Facebook advertising. Even if you multiply that by 365 days, that is not a lot of money, but think about how many sales it would take to make a $3,000 annual budget worthwhile for you. Probably not many.
I’ve got just one caveat for you:
If you worked hard to build a nice community on Facebook, buying Facebook ads can be a great part of your overall marketing strategy. However, if you do not already have a robust Facebook community, go into this with eyes wide open – it might be a tough (but not impossible) slog for you.
Got any other questions about Facebook advertising? I’ll do my best to answer!
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