How to Plan Your 2015 Paid Social Media Advertising Budget

January 7, 2015

social media budget

Many businesses use social media to grow awareness and customer loyalty. But for many, “social media increasingly means paid media” as David Berkowitz states in Ad Age. In 2015, Facebook will favor paid ads over organic posts, and Twitter, Instagram, and others are right there with them. Evaluate your 2015 marketing budget. Does it include enough for paid social media advertising?

How much is enough? That depends. Ask yourself these key questions to determine how much to budget.

Who Are You Trying to Reach?

Where are they? Be where your audience is. Find out demographics by social network with Pew Research Center’s Social Networking Fact Sheet. You can view the full report here.

How many do you want to reach? Factor in the number of people you want to reach. If you’re not sure, create a test ad on the network of your choice. Set different levels of targeting and a daily budget to get a rough estimate.

How Much Are Your Competitors Engaged with Social Media?

Are your competitors testing the waters of social promotion, or are they swimming the English Channel? Competition will drive up cost because of the bidding structure most social networks utilize.

Are there times of year when competition is fierce for your audience’s attention? For example, B2C retailers advertise heavily during the holiday season. Whether or not you’re in the same business, you’ll need to fight harder for audience’s attention.

What Else Are You Doing?

What’s your ROI on your different marketing activities? Use your budget to drive the ad strategy that works for you, as recommended by Entrepreneur.

How does social promotion fit into your overall business strategy? Spend your budget wisely. Use social promotion to help achieve your objectives.

Tips for a Successful 2015

  1. Set measurable goals that support your business strategy.
  2. Focus on networks you’re already established on.
  3. Be flexible, review the numbers to see what’s working, and what’s not.

Still Hungry?

If you’re looking for hard numbers to crunch, here are starting budgets I recommend for the top three social networks. These are based on a small business looking to reach a targeted audience in one or two metropolitan areas with average competition.

Run your ads when your audience is most likely to be on the social network. I recommend advertising 365 days a year for the greatest impact. Repetition is a key factor in successful advertising. However, if you’re B2B, you may choose to advertise only on workdays to stretch your dollars. Either way, I’ve included annual budgets for both strategies here.

paid social media advertising

Surprised? It’s easy to see how much more affordable social marketing can be compared with traditional media outlets. Keep in mind these numbers are a rough estimate of what it takes to get started. You know your business better than anyone, so set your budget using your know-how and the key questions above.

At the end of the day, you’re in charge of your budget. Social promotion is a great way to reach a specific audience, with a relevant message, in an interactive way – without breaking the bank. Use it to strengthen your brand, nurture your customer relationships, and reach new customers.

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Photo via Flickr user Chris Potter
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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.