HomeMarketingWhat is the cost of social media advertising? Network ad spends and prices explained

What is the cost of social media advertising? Network ad spends and prices explained

In today’s digital landscape, social media advertising has become a critical component of marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes in the UK. With an array of social platforms at our disposal, it’s important to understand the cost associated with advertising on these social media networks.

This article offers a comprehensive breakdown of social media advertising costs, focusing on major networks and various campaign types.

Understanding the basics

Before delving into specific costs, it’s important to grasp the basics of social media advertising. These platforms typically offer a pay-per-click (PPC) model, where advertisers are charged each time a user clicks on their ad. However, other pricing models, such as cost-per-impression (CPM) or cost-per-engagement (CPE), are also common.

Costs per social network

Below is a detailed data table outlining the approximate advertising costs for various social networks. These figures are indicative and can vary widely based on factors such as industry, target audience, ad quality, and market competition.

Social NetworkAverage CPC (Cost-Per-Click)Average CPM (Cost-Per-Mille/1000 Impressions)Notes
Facebook£0.50 – £2.00£5 – £10Highly dependent on target audience and ad quality.
Instagram£0.70 – £2.50£6 – £12Higher engagement rates may lead to increased costs.
Twitter£0.50 – £1.50£6 – £9Costs vary based on ad format and campaign goal.
LinkedIn£2 – £5£6 – £15Higher due to professional, niche audiences.
TikTok£1 – £2.50£5 – £10Emerging platform with evolving cost structure.
Social media advertising costs


  • CPC (Cost-Per-Click): The amount you pay each time a user clicks on your ad.
  • CPM (Cost-Per-Mille/1000 Impressions): The amount you pay for 1000 views of your ad.

These costs are subject to change and can be influenced by various factors including the time of year (with prices often higher during peak advertising periods like holidays), the specificity of the target audience, and the type of content being advertised.

Facebook advertising costs

As one of the largest platforms, Facebook offers a versatile advertising space. The average cost-per-click (CPC) on Facebook in the UK can range from £0.50 to £2.00, but this varies greatly depending on the industry, target audience, and ad quality. CPM on Facebook can range from £5 to £10.

Instagram advertising costs

Often linked with Facebook, Instagram tends to have slightly higher costs due to its higher engagement rates. The average CPC can range from £0.70 to £2.50, while CPM can range from £6 to £12.

Twitter advertising costs

Twitter offers various advertising options, including promoted tweets and trends. The average CPC can range from £0.50 to £1.50, with CPM averaging between £6 and £9.

LinkedIn advertising costs

Known for its professional network, LinkedIn’s advertising costs are typically higher. CPC averages from £2 to £5, with CPM ranging from £6 to £15.

TikTok advertising costs

As a newer platform, TikTok is rapidly growing in popularity. Its advertising costs are still emerging, with CPCs typically ranging from £1 to £2.50 and CPMs from £5 to £10.

Social media advertising cost per campaign type

Below is a data table that provides examples of the costs associated with different types of social media advertising campaigns. These figures are approximations based on averages and can vary depending on specific circumstances such as industry, target audience, and market conditions.

Campaign TypePlatformCost ModelAverage Cost
Brand AwarenessFacebookCPM£6 – £10 per 1000 impressions
InstagramCPM£7 – £12 per 1000 impressions
TwitterCPM£6 – £9 per 1000 impressions
Lead GenerationLinkedInCPC£2 – £5 per click
FacebookCPC£0.50 – £2.00 per click
E-commerce SalesInstagramCPC£0.70 – £2.50 per click
TikTokCPAVaries based on acquisition
Event PromotionTwitterCPC/CPM£0.50 – £1.50 per click / £6 – £9 per 1000 impressions
FacebookCPC/CPM£0.50 – £2.00 per click / £5 – £10 per 1000 impressions
Social media campaign costs

This table should be used as a guideline. Actual costs can vary based on specific campaign settings, the quality of the advertisements, and real-time bidding dynamics. For precise budget planning, it’s advisable to consult directly with the social media platform or a digital marketing professional.

  1. Brand Awareness: These campaigns, aimed at increasing visibility, generally use a CPM pricing model. Costs can vary significantly based on the chosen platform and target audience.
  2. Lead Generation: Aimed at collecting potential customer information, these campaigns can be more expensive, with costs depending on the value of the targeted leads.
  3. E-commerce Sales: Campaigns driving direct sales often use a CPC or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model. Costs can be higher, depending on the product value and conversion rates.
  4. Event Promotion: Promoting events typically uses a mix of CPM and CPC models, with costs varying based on event type and target audience.

Factors affecting social media advertising cost

Several factors influence social media advertising costs:

  1. Target Audience: Specific demographics or locations can increase costs.
  2. Ad Quality: Higher quality ads with better engagement rates can reduce costs.
  3. Time of Year: Costs can fluctuate during peak seasons like Christmas or Black Friday.
  4. Bidding Strategy: Manual vs. automatic bidding can impact costs.

Understanding social media marketing costs

Social media advertising offers a flexible and effective way to reach target audiences, but understanding the costs is crucial for budgeting and strategy. Costs vary widely based on the platform, campaign type, and numerous other factors. By staying informed about these variables, UK businesses can make more strategic decisions in their social media marketing efforts.

FAQ about social media advertising cost

What factors influence the cost of social media advertising?

Target Audience: Specific demographics or locations can increase costs.
Ad Quality and Content: Higher quality and engaging content can lead to better performance at lower costs.
Time of Year: Advertising costs can be higher during peak seasons like Christmas or major sales events.
Bidding Strategy: Choices between manual and automatic bidding can impact costs.
Competition: In more competitive sectors or markets, costs can be higher.

How is the cost of social media advertising typically calculated?

Social media advertising costs are often calculated based on the pay-per-click (PPC) model, where you pay for each click on your ad, or on a cost-per-impression (CPM) basis, where you pay for a certain number of views (impressions) of your ad.

Why do advertising costs vary between different social media platforms?

Costs vary due to differences in audience demographics, engagement levels, ad formats, and overall competition for ad space on each platform.

Can I set a budget for my social media advertising campaigns?

Yes, most social media platforms allow you to set daily or campaign budgets to control your advertising spend.

What is the average cost-per-click (CPC) for social media advertising?

The average CPC varies by platform, but it can range from as low as £0.50 on platforms like Facebook and Twitter to upwards of £2.00 on more niche platforms like LinkedIn.

Are there more cost-effective times to run social media ads?

Advertising during off-peak times or non-holiday seasons can sometimes be more cost-effective, although this can depend on your target audience and industry.

How does targeting affect advertising costs on social media?

More specific targeting often leads to higher costs, as you’re trying to reach a more defined and potentially less accessible audience.

Is it more expensive to advertise to certain demographics?

Yes, advertising to certain demographics, especially those with higher purchasing power or those that are heavily targeted by other advertisers, can be more expensive.

Can the type of content in my ad affect the cost?

Yes, different types of content (like video vs. static images) can have varying costs due to differences in engagement and production values.

How can I reduce the cost of my social media advertising?

– Improve ad quality to increase engagement, refine targeting to reach a more relevant audience, and experiment with different content types and scheduling to find the most cost-effective approaches.

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