The UK Business Owner's Guide to Social Media Advertising Costs

The UK Business Owner's Guide to Social Media Advertising Costs

The UK Business Owner's Guide to Social Media Advertising Costs



Tuesday, 20 June 2023

20 June 2023


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      Table of Contents

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        Let's face it – as a business owner with big dreams and a budget to watch, you're always looking for great ways to get your brand noticed.

        That's where social media advertising comes in.

        If used correctly, social media can open up a whole new world of opportunities for you and your business!

        Why Social Media Advertising is Your New Best Friend

        It seem daunting, especially for small businesses that don't have cash to burn.

        But when done correctly, social media advertising is cost-effective and has many advantages.

        It lets you get straight to the point - selectively picking who sees your ads, making sure you're precisely targeting the right crowd for your brand.

        How Does Social Media Advertising Work?

        Now, you might be wondering how this all works. It's all a game of strategy and placement, like a digital chess match.

        Firstly, you set your budget and target audience. Then, the social media platform marches your ad onto the right squares, where they'll have the most impact.

        Here's where it gets interesting.

        These platforms work with an array of data, helping them show your ads to those most likely to take interest. That means you're not splashing your cash on folks who'd rather be elsewhere.

        Breakdown of Social Media Advertising Costs

        When it comes to parting with your hard-earned cash, knowing where it's going is essential.

        Let's dive into what makes up the costs of social media advertising.

        Factors effecting Social Media Advertising Costs

        At Plug Social Media, a bunch of things are factored in when it comes to the cost of one of our social media advertising campaigns:

        • Ad Objective: Your goal for the ad. We identify whether you're looking for brand awareness (a polite hello), website traffic (a friendly nudge), or conversions (a firm handshake)? Different goals may require different amounts of your budget.

        • Target Audience: We look at how precise you're willing to go when it comes to targeting an audience. The narrower your audience, the more you might pay.

        • Quality of Ad: Social media ads cost more the longer they take to craft. We offer cost-effective solutions for business owners of all sizes!

        • Social Media Platform: Each platform also has its own way of tallying up the cost of ads.

        Breaking the Code: Social Media Advertising Cost Terminologies (CPM, CPC, CPL, etc.)

        Some social media platforms operate on a pay-per-click (CPC) basis, others go for cost per thousand impressions (CPM), and a few use a mix.

        If you feel like you've landed in alphabet soup with all these acronyms, don't worry!

        Here's a breakdown:

        • CPM (Cost Per Mille): Cost per every thousand eyeballs on your ad.

        • CPC (Cost Per Click): Cost per every tap of a finger or click of a mouse on your ad.

        • CPL (Cost Per Like): Cost per each thumbs-up or heart on your ad will cost you.

        • ROAS (Return on Ad Spend): Spent £200 and got £1,000 in sales? That's a 5x return on your spend.

        Getting familiar with these terms might be tricky at first, but it's essential for mastering your social media advertising strategy.

        Major Social Media Platform Ad Costs

        Now, let's look at the biggest hitters of the social media advertising world.

        Each social media platform is a unique beast with its own quirks when it comes to advertising costs.

        1. Facebook Ad Costs

        First stop, Facebook - the granddaddy of social media platforms. Well, ones that count anyway (thanks for the memories, Myspace.)

        Advertising on Facebook is a bit like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean - there's a vast audience out there, and it's pretty good at washing up on the right shore.

        Cost-wise, it's a mixed bag.

        It depends on your objective, your target audience, and the quality of your ad.

        #2. Instagram Advertising Costs

        Instagram is Facebook's trendier sibling. Instagram is all about visuals.

        So, if your brand is highly visual, aesthetically pleasing, and can grab the user's eye, you might just find your audience here.

        • CPC: Ranges from $0.50 to $1 per link click on average, but in highly competitive industries, like apparel, it may go up to $3.00 per click. The overall average is around $3.56​

        • CPM: Average in 2023 is $7.91.

        In terms of costs, Instagram usually falls a bit higher than Facebook. But hey, paying a bit more to hang out at the cool kids' table might just be worth it!

        #3. Twitter Advertising Costs

        The land of hashtags and character limits (sort of. Elon has switched things up a bit.)

        Twitter is the social media platform equivalent of a bustling café, filled with conversations you can join to get your business noticed.

        When it comes to Twitter, you've got a few options for advertising, each with its own cost.

        #4. LinkedIn Advertising Costs

        The suited-and-booted professional of the social media world.

        If your business is all about B2B services, or you're targeting a professional crowd, LinkedIn is the place to be.

        • CPM: Average of $6.59​. However, the cost of social media ads on LinkedIn can vary depending on a range of factors including the target audience and campaign objective.

        • CPC: Average of $5.26.

        LinkedIn can be a bit pricier than the other platforms, but remember, you're in a room full of professionals here, and they might just be willing to pay a little more for your services!

        #5. TikTok Advertising Costs

        The new kid on the block, TikTok is a vibrant platform where creativity, fun and a dash of silliness reign supreme.

        TikTok’s ad costs can be a bit on the higher side. The prices can make you wince, but the results can be worth it.

        But remember, TikTok's user engagement is sky-high. So, even if it feels a little pricey, it's worth considering for the returns.

        6. Youtube Ads Costs

        YouTube has a few ad formats, each with its own price tag.

        Remember, YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google - so the audience potential here is huge!

        The Cost of Creating Show-Stopping Social Media Ads

        You've got the social media platforms figured out. Awesome! Now, let's talk about the actual ad creation process.

        The kind of ad you choose can play a significant role in how much you end up paying.

        1. Video Ads

        Video ads can captivate your audience in a way that simple image or text ads often can't.

        Yes, they might come with a higher price tag, but the level of engagement on social media and return on investment they offer can make it worth splashing out on.

        Now, creating a video ad isn't just about hitting record on your camera. It's a process that often involves several stages, each with its own costs.

        Let's break it down:

        1. Scriptwriting: Every great video starts with a solid script. It's like the backbone of your ad - it determines what you'll say, how you'll say it, and what visual elements will accompany your message. While you can do this in-house, hiring a professional scriptwriter can elevate your ad to the next level.

        2. Storyboarding and Planning: This is where you visualise your script. It's like a comic strip of your video ad, showing what each scene will look like. Depending on the complexity of your ad, you might need a professional storyboard artist.

        3. Filming: It's time to bring your story to life! The filming stage can include costs for hiring a videographer, renting equipment, and securing a location.

        4. Actors: Unless you're planning on starring in your ad, you'll likely need to hire actors. Costs here can depend on the experience of the actor and the length of the shoot.

        5. Editing: This is where the magic happens. Your raw footage is transformed into a polished ad. Editing can involve adding music, voiceovers, special effects, and more. Unless you've got some serious skills in this area, you'll likely need to hire a professional editor.

        All these elements contribute to the overall cost of your social media ads.

        But remember, while they may require a larger initial investment, well-executed videos can yield high engagement and conversion rates, making them a valuable tool in your social media advertising arsenal.

        2. Dynamic Ads

        These ads automatically personalise their content based on the viewer. A bit like a choose-your-own-adventure book, but the adventure is chosen for you.

        The cost here isn't about the ad itself, but mostly about the technology that powers it.

        Here's the breakdown:

        1. Data Collection: The secret sauce of dynamic ads is data. The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your ads to their interests and behaviours. Here, the cost is tied up in collecting, managing, and analysing this data. You might need specific tracking tools or a customer relationship management (CRM) system to help you with this.

        2. Ad Creation: Instead of creating one static ad, you're creating a flexible template that can be filled with various images, text, and other content. This process could involve costs for graphic designers and copywriters who understand the dynamics of, well, dynamic ads.

        3. Ad Management Platform: To run dynamic ads, you'll need to use an ad management platform like Facebook's Dynamic Ads or Google's Dynamic Remarketing. These platforms often charge based on the number of impressions or clicks your ads receive.

        4. Technology and Tools: As I mentioned earlier, you're basically paying for the high-tech wizardry that powers these ads. This could include costs for artificial intelligence or machine learning tools that automatically personalize your ad content.

        3. Bumper Ads

        Remember those bumper ads on YouTube we mentioned earlier?

        They're short, snappy, and unskippable.

        Creating them can be cheaper than a full-blown video ad, but the catch is making them impactful in just six seconds.

        It's like a quickfire round at a quiz - speed is of the essence, but you've got to get it right!

        1. Scriptwriting and Storyboarding: You've got six seconds to make an impact. This might seem like a blessing for your budget at first glance, as it could mean less time and resources spent on scriptwriting and storyboarding. But remember, conveying a compelling message in such a short time can be challenging and may require a touch of creative genius.

        2. Filming and Editing: Again, the brief duration of bumper ads can mean fewer filming and editing costs. But remember, quality can't take a backseat. You need crisp visuals and clear audio to get your message across effectively, so you may need to bring in professional videographers and editors.

        3. Ad Spend: As for the cost of actually running your bumper ads, it's typically calculated on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis. This means you'll pay for every thousand views your ad receives.

        4. Creating Impact: The real trick - and sometimes the hidden cost - is making your ad impactful in just six seconds. You might need to invest a little more in a creative team who can distil your message into a memorable, ultra-short ad.

        So while bumper ads can be a more cost-effective alternative to full-blown video ads, they still need a dash of creativity and strategic planning to get right.

        Managing Your Social Media Advertising Budget

        Alright, we've got our hands dirty with the nitty-gritty of ad creation costs.

        Now, it's time to talk budgets.

        Much like going grocery shopping with a list, having a well-planned budget can keep you from impulse buys and ensure you get the most out of your money.

        Importance of Setting a Realistic Social Media Ad Budget

        We all dream of having an endless wallet. But in reality, most of us have a budget to stick to. It's the same for social media advertising.

        Having a realistic budget is like knowing exactly how much pocket money you've got.

        It helps you plan better, avoid nasty surprises and ensures you can afford the goodies you've set your eyes on.

        Plus, with a clear budget, you can measure your ROI more effectively, making sure your ad spend is working hard and giving you the returns you're after.

        Understanding and Implementing Ad Spend

        Understanding ad spend is about as crucial as knowing the rules of a game of Monopoly.

        It's all about the amount you're willing to pay for your advertising on a platform

        Let's break down the key aspects of understanding and implementing ad spend:

        1. Setting the Budget: You need to decide how much you're willing to invest in your social media advertising. This should take into account all costs - from ad creation to platform fees.

        2. Choosing the Platforms: The social media platform(s) you choose can significantly impact your ad spend. Each platform has its own cost structure, audience, and ad formats. Do your homework on each platform's average costs before making your decision.

        3. Deciding on Bidding Strategy: Each social media platform typically has its own bidding system for ad placement. You'll need to decide whether you want to pay per click (CPC), per thousand impressions (CPM), or per action (CPA).

        4. Targeting Your Audience: Narrowing down your audience can help you spend your budget more efficiently. By targeting the right demographics, you can get the most bang for your buck.

        5. Monitoring and Adjusting: Keeping a close eye on your ad performance is crucial. If an ad isn't performing as expected, don't be afraid to adjust your strategy and budget accordingly.

        Without a clear grasp of your ad spend, you're going to struggle the deeper you get into an social media ad campaign!

        Managing Monthly Ad Spend

        Managing your monthly ad spend requires regular check-ins, adjustments and most importantly, staying within limits.

        Social media marketing ad campaigns have many advantages, but without managing your budget correctly it can all be for nothing.

        When setting your monthly ad spend, consider your overall advertising goals, the performance of your campaigns, and the typical cost of social media ads on your chosen platforms.

        Here's some tips:

        1. Set Clear Advertising Goals: Just like you would teach your pet tricks, train your ad spend towards achieving specific goals. Whether you're looking to boost brand awareness, increase conversions, or engage with your audience, your goals will guide your budget allocation.

        2. Regular Performance Checks: Keeping an eye on your campaigns' performance is crucial. Is your video ad fetching the desired engagement? Is your Facebook ad fetching the right audience? Regular check-ins help you understand what's working and what's not.

        3. Know Your Platforms: As mentioned, social media ads have have their own price tag based on the platform. Understanding the cost structures of your chosen platforms will help you allocate your monthly budget effectively.

        4. Stay Flexible: Just like you might adjust your pet's diet based on its health and activity, be ready to adjust your ad spend based on your campaign's performance and business goals. Remember, you're the boss!

        Remember, it's not set in stone! As you get more insights and data, don't hesitate to tweak and adjust. You're the boss, after all!

        Comparing Digital Marketing Services and Costs

        We've journeyed through social media platforms, ad types, budgets, and optimisation strategies.

        Now, let's take a quick detour to look at another critical aspect: the social media advertising cost of specific digital marketing services.

        These services can include everything from creating your social media strategy to managing your social media accounts.

        In-House Marketing Costs

        Deciding whether to manage your social media advertising in-house or hire an agency can feel a bit like standing at a crossroad. Both paths have their advantages and costs.

        Running social media advertising in-house gives you total control, but it also means more responsibility and time commitment.

        It could end up being more expensive than it seems at first in the long run, if you're not an expert.

        For an in-house team, imagine it as a DIY project. You'll need:

        • Salaries: This includes the pay for your social media managers.

        • Tools and Software: Social media tools, scheduling software, and other digital resources to streamline your efforts.

        • Social Media Training: Utilise social media training services to bring yourself or your staff up to speed on any new social media tools or strategies they'll be working with.

        • Ad Spend: The actual budget you'll allot to run the ads.

        Social Media Marketing Agency Costs

        On the other side of the coin, hiring social media marketing agency is like opting for a professional decorator.

        Our cost-effective approach takes into account:

        • Expertise: The accumulated wisdom, insights, and best practices the agency brings to the table.

        • Tools: We use our own tools and software to manage and track your campaigns.

        • Creative Development: We handle creating your ads, from brainstorming to execution.

        • Account Management: We oversee your account and ensure campaigns are on track.

        • Ad Spend: We make sure your budget works for you, whatever it might be.

        Remember, the cheapest option isn't always the best. Like a poorly planned DIY project that ends up being a money pit, going for the lowest cost without considering value can end up costing more in the long run.

        Always factor in the potential returns and convenience when weighing up your options!


        You've made it! We've navigated the dense jungles of social media advertising costs and come out on the other side.

        But before we wrap up, let's revisit the most important discoveries from our journey.

        Key Takeaways on Social Media Ad Costs

        • Social media advertising costs vary greatly based on factors like the platform used, ad format, audience targeting, and more. It's like planning a trip—the destination, accommodation, and activities all affect the cost.

        • It's essential to have a budget for your social media advertising and manage it well. A little bit of financial discipline can go a long way in achieving your marketing goals!

        • Optimising your social media ad campaigns can boost your ROI. Think of it like getting the best seat on the plane for the same price. It just takes a bit of knowledge and planning!

        • Whether you choose to manage your social media advertising in-house or hire an agency depends on your resources, skills, and objectives. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer here!

        The Future of Advertising on Social Media Platforms

        The world of social media advertising is as changeable and exciting as a rollercoaster ride.

        With new social media platforms emerging and user preferences constantly evolving, it's an adventure that never gets boring.

        For small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, social media offers endless opportunities to connect with customers, build brand awareness, and drive growth.

        We hope you've gained some valuable insights and feel more confident navigating social media advertising cost.

        So, keep exploring, keep learning, and most importantly, enjoy the ride!