20 Oct '21


Facebook & Instagram ads: what does £10 get?

If you’re getting started with Facebook & Instagram ads, the first question you might ask is “what can I expect to get for my money?”

At Feed, we have crunched the numbers for you, using our database of posts and ads. As you might expect, there’s a pretty big variation across the board for ad results. This article gives you an idea of what might be considered typical.

We’ll take a nice round number and look at what you might expect to get for spending £10 (~$14 at the time of writing). If you have a daily budget of £10 for ads, this is what you might expect to get each day.

We looked at averages across Feed ads and non-Feed ads for a fairer metric of success (not-so-humblebrag: Feed’s ads outperformed users’ other ads by 3–10x 💅) to come up with a range of what might be considered ‘typical’.

These results are intended to be a guide of what’s typical: your own results might be significantly different and that will be affected by all kinds of factors like your industry and the price of your products.

The people using Feed are generally individuals and small teams - creators, musicians, small businesses - which gives you an idea of the type and size of profiles these benchmarks are relevant for.

Ad results

By ‘ad results’ we mean things like cost per engagement (how much it costs you on average to get an engagement - see below) or cost per click (average cost to get someone to click an ad).

These sorts of metrics mostly relate to ads that are geared towards (i) reaching new people and (ii) re-engaging people who have heard of you, but who might not be customers or fans yet. In marketing / marketing funnel speak, (i) would broadly equate to “top of funnel” and (ii) to “middle of funnel”.

So what do you get for £10?

In terms of reach - how many unique people your ads are reaching - the range is 2,500 – 4,000 people reached for a £10 spend (£2.50 – £4 CPM, cost-per-mille or the cost of reaching 1,000 people).

In terms of engagements - things like video views, comments, likes, shares and clicks - the range is 200 – 1,600 engagements for a £10 spend (£0.006 – £0.05 cost per engagement). Admittedly this is quite a big range, but averages across Feed and non-Feed ads do tend to vary significantly.

For clicks, £10 might result in 25 – 100 people clicking through to your website (£0.10 – £0.40 cost per click).

(N.B. Here we’re talking about outbound clicks - which means clicks to a website or destination outside of Facebook or Instagram)

So what does this actually mean, in human terms? Well, if you’re spending £10 per day, you might expect to reach ~3,000 new people, of which ~900 might engage and ~60 click through to your website.

You need to get people to engage if you want to retarget them - which lets you continue the conversation and get more posts in front of them. This is the best way to get more followers on Instagram, get people visiting your website and/or sell more products in the long run. We wrote about why retargeting is important in more detail here.

There are quite a few factors that explain the variation in people’s ad results. A few important ones include:

  • Type of post. Our data suggests that natural-feeling, organic content is what people really want - rather than anything that looks too much like marketing. In fact, you might expect to see ~2x better results from more natural, lo-fi content compared to the more sales-y stuff.
  • Video versus image. Video posts outperform on average, especially at getting people engaging with you.
  • How much testing you’re doing. If you promote a single post, there’s a smaller chance you find something that really works. As you test out more content, results generally get better.
  • The stage you’re at. When you’re starting out, ad costs can be higher as you’re relatively ‘unproven’. Don’t worry though - that will change as you grow!

Follower growth

It’s tricky to get reliable numbers about the impact of advertising on follower growth, mainly because Facebook doesn’t report them in a straightforward way. It’s also problematic to attribute a follower to any one ad when they will probably have seen a few ads from you before they make the decision to follow.

That said, we can look to trends and patterns in our data. On average, people see a 50–100% uplift in growth in periods where they are running ads at this sort of level of budget.

So if you were growing by 20 followers per week without running ads, you might expect that to increase to 30 or 40 per week when you are running ads.

This isn’t super reliable data science - there are likely to be multiple factors that explain this figure - but it does give an indication of the uplift people see when they are running ads versus periods where they are not.

Importantly, this effect compounds over time and grows exponentially - so the hypothetical difference in in your follower count between spending £5-10 a day on ads versus not spending at all gets bigger and bigger each week you continue spending (or not spending!).

Return on ad spend

ROAS varies a lot across profiles, and is quite difficult to predict based on simple metrics like the size of your following. Really, it’s more about how many people in the following are willing to spend money on your products.

We’ll be writing a more detailed article about average ROAS, breaking it down across a number of factors like industry and profile size... so watch this space!

Remember... cheap doesn’t always equal good

Importantly, cheaper ads do not necessarily equal better ads.

One example is running ads to a global audience, a broad set of countries and/or using a wide variety of interest targeting. Metrics like cost per click or cost per engagement might be really low for these ads. The results can look great on the surface, but drill a little deeper and you might find these are just vanity metrics.

Are these people ever following you? If so, do they look like real people or fake followers? Even if they look like real people, are they going to be important for your business?

Your goals can help you decide what to do. If you’re ultimately after more product or ticket sales, or you’re building up an audience of people who will stream your music, then it may not make sense to target cheap engagement where - realistically - you’re not going to get any true customers or fans. By “true” we mean people who are willing to spend money or time to support you.

Results improve with time and budget

When you’re running Facebook & Instagram ads, they tend to learn and improve the longer you run them, or the more you spend (two sides of the same coin).

Many people in our dataset have been running ads for extended periods of time. If you’re just starting out, it may take a bit of time for your ads to optimise and results to settle down.

This also depends on the type of ad you’re running. Engagement and video view campaigns generally learn quite quickly (results are cheap, so Facebook the data it needs relatively quickly). With conversion ads, you may have to spend more to generate enough purchases or sign-ups for Facebook to learn.

It depends on your campaign objective

When you set up a Facebook campaign, you choose the goal of the campaign and Facebook will optimise towards that goal (read more in our beginners guide to FB & IG ads).

For example, Traffic campaigns are optimized for clicks. They will generate a lower cost per click but higher cost per engagement than an engagement campaign, which is optimised for… 🥁 … engagement. Conversions in turn are more about ROAS, or cost per sign-up.

So just be aware that the campaign goal should define which ad results you are paying attention to.

Can Feed help?

If you’re struggling to get results like these, it could be for a number of reasons - but key among them is your ad setup and optimization.

If you’d rather focus on the other parts of your business, and leave the setting up and optimising of ads to Feed’s intelligent algorithm, then Feed could be for you!

All you have to do is keep doing you on social media and posting as normal.

Feed runs in the background, working out which of your posts get the best response, and leans into the content that works.

Sign up to try it out: app.tryfeed.co/join

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