How Much Should You Spend on Social Media Advertising?

With the festive season well and truly upon us, and covid still hanging around like a bad smell, there’s never been a better time to market your products online.

It’s as simple as that.

And while SEO and building a social media community can be successful methods to do this, they do take time, meaning putting some money behind your efforts and investing in some Facebook and Instagram marketing, is a key way to short circuit the work and get some results fast.

Which is exactly why we’re going to run this beginner mini-series to social media paid marketing in time for Christmas!

And first up, we’re tackling the all-important issue of cost, because we know, as a small business, this is going to be a huge issue to consider when deciding whether to go ahead with paid ads.

So let’s crack on with our expert advice about how much you should spend on your Facebook and Instagram marketing…

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A Quick Word about FB & IG Marketing

Although there are many different social media platforms you can pay to advertise with, B2C marketing strategies (that’s business to consumer) are likely to focus on Facebook and Instagram marketing.

And one of the reasons for this is that both these platforms are owned by the same company, making it very easy to market across both networks at once, or to compare and contrast your efforts on each platform against the other without it taking up a lot of time.

It goes without saying that these networks are of course huge too!

For this reason, we’re drawing Facebook and Instagram together here when it comes to this social media mini-series, and using them as the primary platforms when it comes to our beginners guide on how to get started.

The next point to note is that, in order to get the best from your paid advertising on both these platforms, you’ll need to ensure you have your business set up with a business page and profile on both IG and FB and that both of these are successfully and correctly connected through Facebook Business Manager.

You’ll also need to have an ad account set up, so that you can purchase paid advertising, and you will need to have a product or service to sell, as well as a range of visuals to market it with.

We discuss all of these topics and more across our paid social media advertising mini-guide, but right now we want to focus on how much you should spend on your Facebook and Instagram marketing.

Ad Creation Budget

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The key thing to remember when it comes to allocating a budget for your social media marketing is that there’s likely to be 2 components to this spending.

The first is the time it takes to create the ad.

This includes deciding on the product or service you want to promote, collating high-quality images, and potentially crafting an offer or deal around it too.

Next you have to consider the copy for your ad (that is the text), as well as who you want the ad to target and using which platform i.e. Instagram or Facebook or both… and within this, whether you want to advertise in peoples’ feeds or stories or both!

You also need to decide what sort of ad you are running, namely what action you want people to take from your ad i.e. are you trying to generate clicks through to your website, leads such as the collection of email addresses and phone numbers, or engagement to help spread awareness of your brand.

And all this needs to be factored in before you start designing the visual of your ad – that is to say the image or video.

If you’re new to this process, then we highly suggest using Canva for these purposes, as this great software will make your life much easier thanks to its perfect dimension-sized images and multiple fonts as well as graphic design templates!

Of course if you are using an agency, like Social Puffin, to help you with your social media advertising, all this will be worked into the costs of their work.

However, even if you’re creating the ad yourself, you’ll need to remember that this part of the campaign takes time and that your hourly rate should be factored into the costs here.

Ad Spend Budget

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The second part of the cost of advertising on social media is the actual ad spend i.e. the amount of money you want to put behind the ad to help disseminate it.

These are the funds given directly to Facebook or Instagram through your ad account, and are calculated either as part of a daily budget or an overall ad spend.

In general, we recommend beginners start with a daily budget here – ensuring that your ad runs for only a short fixed amount of time.

For example, if you set a daily budget of £3 and run your ad for 1 week, then your total ad spend will be £21.00.

As a rule of thumb – and a point we think it’s worth making here – we always suggest running your ad with a low daily budget in the first instance to check how well it is performing first.

Once you’re seen some success pointers with this low budget, you can then go ahead and increase the daily budget to a higher amount if you want to run the ad for longer or to garner greater success.

Remember to always set an ad spending limit on your Facebook / Instagram ad account so that you don’t overspend in case of any errors, because remember, these platforms will keep taking your money as long as you keep giving it to them!

With an ad spending limit in place, Facebook Business Manager will notify you when you’re getting close to the parameters you have set and will stop running your ad once this limit has been reached.

To continue running the ad, you can simply reset the limit or extend it for a higher amount, but it’s a very useful tool in keeping track of your spending, especially as a small business with limited funds and not always enough time to keep track of them!

Considering ROI

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But now we come to the crucial question – namely what should that daily ad budget amount to?

And the answer here will wildly depend, because the really important thing to keep track of in your social media advertising is your ROI, or your Return on Investment.

And whether you are seeing a return will, of course, depend not only on how many sales you are making, but what the value of those sales is too.

In simple terms, if you are selling a product that is valued at £5.00 and you spend £10.00 on your ad budget and receive 2 sales, then you’ve broken even.

If you make 3 sales from this ad budget, then you’ve made a profit and it’s worth continuing to invest this amount, or more, because it’s helping you to generate a greater income.

If you’re not achieving 3 or even 2 sales, then you’ll need to revise your strategy because, to put it frankly, the money you are ploughing into your social media marketing is not offering you a good ROI.

Quite simply, your social media advertising is not generating greater profits for you.

This is the most straightforward answer to the question of how much to spend, but it is, of course, dependent on all sorts of smaller factors too.

Not least the ad creation budget, which needs to be factored in and which is often calculated over a longer period of time, especially if it feeds into your more general social media strategy.

You also need to think about the community and following you already have on social media.

If this is good, your engagement is good and your brand awareness is high with a good level of integrity, then selling your products through social will be easier, you because you already have good name and level of trust in this forum.

If you’re new on social media, don’t have a large community or following here however, or you are a relatively unknown brand or have low engagement rates, then it may prove harder for you to sell products on these platforms.

In this case, you may have to allocate a larger budget to a campaign at the start in order to gain better results in the future.

You will have to build things up before paid ads will really work for you.

Because let’s not forget, social media is a slow burner. It takes time to build up a following and community here – quick successes are rarely the norm and it certainly pays to remember that.

But pay it does, in the long run, so you just have to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint!

And this very much needs to be considered in your budgeting for a campaign too!


So there it is, our beginner guide to what you should spend on your social media advertising.

We hope you’ve found this information useful, but please don’t hesitate to drop a note in the comments box below if you have any further questions.

Otherwise if you need guidance or help running or managing your social media adverts across Facebook or Instagram, we are here to help.

Just drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get straight back to you.