When entering into the world of online ads, one of the first question many people want to know is ‘how much will the ads cost?’. The reality is that in the world of online advertising, ads cost as little, or as much, as your budget allows. The real question for many businesses becomes: ‘what will my results look like for x amount of money?’ – and that can sometimes be awkward to ask.

So, I’ve created an infographic to show what kind of results you might see for various marketing budgets. Below, I’ve pulled together some industry standard figures to compare what your results might be if you invested $500, $1000, $5000 or $10,000 as your ad spend.

But, before we start, it’s useful to understand a little bit more about why these figures should be taken with a generous portion of salt when comparing to your future campaign…

Understanding Facebook ad costs

Ad buying types

There are two main buying types for Facebook ads: CPM and CPA. One refers to the number of impressions the ad delivers (CPM), and the other charges based on the action people take (CPA) – for example, clicking a link, installing an app or purchasing a product.

If you want people to see an ad to raise awareness for a product, the cost will be very different to if you want people to take an action (like click on a link). You might spend $8 for 1000 people to click on an ad, or $2 for someone to click on an ad: these can really impact your final ad costs when you scale these out for a campaign. Your objective is essential.

Selling or subscribing?

Driving traffic to your site isn’t the same as people taking action on your site when they get there. Current studies suggest that 13% of people who visit a well-designed site convert, for example, sign up for a newsletter.

If our goal is to get 100 newsletter subscribers, we might think at first that we need to send 100 people to our website. That’s not the case. If only 13% of people will convert as per the industry standard, if we send 100 people to our site, we will only get 13 newsletter signups.

So, if you want 100 newsletter subscribers, you should not send 100 people to your site. You need to send 769 people to your site.

And that is only if your website is well designed and has a 13% conversion rate. Your website might have a higher or lower rate – your website analytics will reveal this data.

Ad costs fluctuate

Like the economy, ad prices fluctuate. They change over time, based on the time of year (ie. a crowded Christmas marketplace) and the audience you’re targeting (are they niche or in demand?).

This also changes based on industry: it’s much easier to convince people to check out an ad for fashion, than for finance. And, it depends on what country you live in.

For this post, to simplify things, I’ve chosen the average ad costs for Q4 of 2017, from the USA, as my reference point.

Carving Michelangelo

Ads don’t run at their cheapest cost when they first launch. It’s the process of optimizing the ads by refining the targeting, placements and audiences which make ads them cost-effective. The first few weeks or months of a campaign is just simply learning about your audience and what they respond to and refining this.

While the data below suggests that $500 might get 642 visitors to your site: remember that this is based on a scenario where ads have been refined and optimized over time. The first few weeks of all campaigns involve testing, learning and refinement.

So when you’re planning a budget for a brand new campaign or audience, you need to add a leeway of a few hundred dollars in a learning phase as the start of the campaign before you start seeing your best results.

Your campaign

For many businesses, your campaign might be a lot more complex. You might show a trailer, then retarget that audience to RSVP to an event, and then push people to a site to buy. Each step has a different objective, so you need to plan your targets and objective for every step of the campaign, and then work out your costs.

Related Article: Find out how Rachel leveraged retargeting techniques to pinpoint her client’s key engaged audience, resulting in a 161% Return On Ad Spend. Read more…

Your data will be different

Your audience might be in a really crowded marketplace. Your site might be brand new and your landing page might not have 13% conversion rate. It might be coming up to Valentine’s day, so ad costs have skyrocketed. Your ad costs will not be exactly the same as the chart below – that’s a given.

This chart is a tool to give you some context on how much online ads cost, but this will not be exactly the same for your business.

This is just a primer to give you some food for thought, to help you understand what your results might be if you spent $500 on an ad, or $10,000.

So, with that said, let’s check out the infographic…

INFOGRAPHIC: How much will my ads cost?


Where did I get my data from?

  • $7 as average CPM: https://adespresso.com/blog/facebook-ads-cost/
  • 0.90% is average CTR: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/02/28/facebook-advertising-benchmarks
  • 13% as industry standard CTR for websites: https://blog.wishpond.com/post/113433369138/landing-page-benchmark-report-conversion-rates

Want to work with Rachel?

Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.

She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.

She is based in Sydney, Australia.

Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.