The goal of most of your Facebook ads eventually ends up being getting more likes on your page. You want likes on your posts, but to do that, you need followers. You want people to click through to your website, but the people most likely to do that are your followers, so you want to grow your followers.
Facebook, of course, wants to charge you for the privilege of having followers. They do this by decreasing your organic reach and making paid reach more enticing, so ads are a more beneficial option.
You can’t buy likes directly through Facebook. You can only buy them through a third party service, and even then, you need to make sure of the quality of your service. If you’re finding 10 likes for a penny, you’re probably playing with Bangladeshi bots and you won’t see any benefit from their likes.
Through Facebook, you can only “buy” likes by buying traffic to your page and hoping your page is attractive enough to keep them around. The three methods you can use to do this are sidebar ads, news feed ads and mobile ads. Each will have a different audience and a different view of your page, and so each will have a different cost per like.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what the cost per like you’re going to pay for your fans will be. I can give you numbers that other people have calculated for their own accounts, but they can vary wildly. Some businesses report spending less than $1 per fan. Others spend closer to $2 per fan. Some have cheaper costs but pull in far fewer fans, while others have expensive costs but pull in way more fans.
Of course, there’s also the value of an individual fan. Some businesses get more out of a fan than others. Oreo calculated that their average fan is worth a bit over $75. Walmart’s average fan is worth over $830. It all comes down to what you sell and how frequently you sell it.
The cost per fan can also grow the more you invest. Initially, your $100 might get you 75 fans. Dump $1,000 in, though, and you’re not likely to get 750 fans; you might only get 600. Your audience is finite, as is your reach, and only so many people in a given time frame are going to like your page. You need to monitor your ad spend and see when it begins to taper off, so you know when to cut off your spending due to diminishing returns.
General Trends and Advice
Look back to the three types of ad placement. Each of them will vary drastically in terms of audience reached and conversion rates.
Mobile news feed ads are by far the highest cost, but they also have an extremely potent audience. More than half of all Facebook traffic is mobile, so a mobile ad can reach an extremely large audience.
Desktop news feed ads have been growing, particularly because they’re so similar to normal news feed posts today. They’re not slathered with sponsorship flags or warnings.
Sidebar ads are by leaps and bounds the lowest in terms of click rates. However, they are also insanely cheap by comparison. Where you might spend $7 per thousand impressions on a news feed ad, or $8 per thousand on mobile, you’re spending no more than a quarter on sidebar ads. Not a quarter of that; a quarter, 25 cents.
Depending on your optimization, you might expect to pay anywhere from $0.50 to $3.00 for each page like you receive, depending on numerous factors. This is an average increase from a few years ago, when the Wall Street Journal reported the average cost at a hair over $1.
Optimizing Conversion Rates
There are a whole host of ways you can optimize your ads, so they bring in more converting users for a lower price.
- oCPM – This is Facebook’s specific optimized cost per thousand bid structure. It’s actually a very well designed algorithm that stretches your bids and budget as far as they will go. It takes a lot of the work out of your hands and gives you, by default, the best results you can get out of the ad you put in. However, just like any algorithm, if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. Optimize other factors and let the oCPM do the work for you.
- Audience – How precisely are you targeting users? It might not cost much to advertise to an audience of millions, but you probably won’t actually reach all of those millions. Your bids can only be stretched so far. It’s generally a better idea to narrow down your audience targeting as much as possible, based on demographics you learn from your existing audience. You can do this in part by targeting a lookalike audience made up of your existing audience, to advertise specifically to people who are just like the people who already watch your page.
- Copy – What you say and how you say it is just as important, if not more so, than the placement of your ads or the content of your page. You need to say something in just a few words that attracts users and gets them to click through your ad. You then need to make your landing page – probably an unpublished post made through the Power Editor – compelling enough to convert those visitors to followers. There’s no guaranteed method to accomplishing this goal; you just have to experiment with different styles and types of copy, and hope you stumble upon success. It can help to see what your competitors are doing, if they’re doing something right.
- Images – The images you use to accompany your ads are important as well. On one hand, they need to stay within Facebook’s 20% text rule. At the same time, they need to stand out enough from the rest of Facebook that they don’t get lost in the shuffle. Displayed in the sidebar, they’re easy to lose amongst the other suggestions Facebook displays. Use vibrant colors, non-blue colors, and interesting or compelling subjects. Happy women and pets work well, if you’re not aiming at a specialized field that wouldn’t suit them.
- Placement – Testing your ads in various positions will help you figure out which position is best for a given ad. Run each ad in each position for a few days or for a fixed budget and monitor the results. Split test and optimize ads for their positions.
- Duration – Even the best ad in the world will only work for so long before users get tired of seeing it. The greatest Superbowl commercials get tiring after three months of seeing them every 20 minutes. You can’t afford to throw money into the same ads month after month; users will start to ignore them.
Optimize your ads, to it costs less per impression, so you can earn more impressions and thus a higher number of conversions. Optimize your landing pages, so your conversion rate goes up, so those impressions convert to more followers. Every change you make for the better lowers your cost per like.