A couple years ago on Facebook, if you got an ad click for $0.30, you would be getting real bang for your buck. Now based on a recent report from AdStage — “Q3 2017
Paid Search and Paid Social Benchmark Report” — those days of cheap clicks are gone. With more and more brands entering the space and creating endless amounts of content, every business is competing for attention. According to this study, the lowest CPC is $0.86 and the highest is $8.63 among the most popular digital channels. This data arms us as an agency to recommend the best channels per campaign objectives to help our clients get the most ROI.
Download the report here
So what’s the average CPC for social channels? Here’s a rundown from the study:
Facebook Messenger: $1.27
It certainly is not cheap anymore to run paid advertising, especially on social channels. Here are some real-life examples of how you can use this data to better serve clients, especially clients with small budgets.
Avoiding the Rabbit Hole
A startup business with an app as its only product wanted us to run A/B testing with $100 on Facebook. With such a small budget, we convinced them to run brand awareness ads (much cheaper, big results) instead, but they wanted to shift to Facebook “download app” ads exclusively. That’s a very focused, complicated ad that can have a high cost per download. In hindsight, being able to tell the client in the very beginning that the average cost per click on Facebook was $1.52 (on web click ads alone) would have made the client reconsider his budgeting right away instead of us going down a rabbit hole with $100 to prove it to him.
Small Budget, Don't Split Channels
We initially recommended that a client new to social media only run Facebook ads since their budget was very small. But they wanted to run simultaneous ads on FB and LinkedIn. It turns out, their LinkedIn ads didn't do super well because they didn't have the money to properly scale. Plus, based on this report, LinkedIn CPC is extremely high compared to Facebook. There is no need to spread out the budget across channels unless the budget is big enough. Having that CPC data in your back pocket can confirm strategy recommendations and steer a client away from a poor decision.
Help Clients Trust Your Recommendations
For an e-commerce client, we were given a solid budget for social ($2,000/month) that allowed us to create multiple campaigns to drive certain objectives. However, the budget was still small for their objectives. Their main goal was to increase their fans, so that was the focus and we grew their base from 3k to 15k in 4 months. The flip side of their main goal, was that not much was left for e-commerce (bookings). CPC was surprisingly low, but their cost per rental was extremely high in a niche market, meaning we had to get more money to remarket, retarget to fans in multiple ways. We told them this, but they didn't have more money to spend. We were between a rock and a hard place. After a few months of this, and a constant battle, the next move was to spend the entire budget exclusively on bookings. We were never given the chance. We did everything right. We pivoted as needed based on each month's results, however telling the client the industry average CPC from the start would have given this client more trust in our recommendations.
Don’t Recommend a Channel Just to Recommend It
We were competing for a company’s business. In our initial talks, they wanted to advertise on YouTube, but had very little video content. Of course, we could have built out a YouTube campaign, but with a CPC of almost $9 and poor video content made YouTube a bad channel to kick off a video campaign. Alternatively, we recommended Facebook.
The moral of the story is if brands want to compete in digital advertising they must pay to play. They say content is king, but the average content — even if it’s good — still needs to be backed by some dollar bills to break through the content noise. By understanding the ballpark numbers of what it costs to play on each channel, we can recommend best practices to our clients.