With a user pool of close to a billion, Facebook is a valuable marketing tool for businesses–and not surprisingly, a potentially expensive one. Advertising on the internet has always been on both ends of the scale, with small ventures getting by on a few dollars a day and others investing hundreds of thousands. But the amount of competition on Facebook means that you have to pay a premium–in time, effort, and mostly money–to set yourself apart.
So how much does it really cost to market on Facebook? It depends on how you’re going about it. For instance, if your goal is to get subscribers, you can expect to pay around $1.07 for every person who likes your page. This takes into account the advertising that gets people to like: ad space, ad time, copy, and images.
It’s not as simple as that, though. The more popular you get, the more expensive it becomes to maintain that level of popularity. A page with over 300,000 likes can therefore cost well over $320,000 to keep up. This is why it’s important to think of conversion: without making sales, you can’t afford to keep those fans coming. For the most successful businesses, the returns are more than worth it.
What about the pay-per-click system, which is used by about half of the companies in North America? Many companies use this in addition to free self-made fan pages. Here, the cost varies by industry. According to Flowtown, a social media marketing firm, healthcare advertising is the most expensive, followed by Internet products, telecommunications, and financial services. Travel and e-commerce are among the cheapest. This could be a result of the number of bidders in a particular industry–the more competition there is for a spot, the bigger the bids become. The prices range from 31 cents to $1.27 per click, which, when scaled up to the thousands, ends up being a big investment.
The next important question is perhaps how to get your money’s worth. Maximizing Facebook’s marketing value requires a good understanding of market behavior. People like pages because they get exclusive access to information, incentives (discounts and freebies), interesting content, and interaction from the company itself. In other words, you don’t want to be just spewing out sales talk. Put as much effort as money into building a community and creating a feeling of belonging, and you’ll end up with a much more valuable fan base.