Three advertising experts share their tops tips on how business owners can control their social media advertising costs and keep their budgets in check.

Advertising on social media has never been easier. With the click of a button or the completion of a simple step-by-step form, your business can get in front of your target audiencein just a matter of moments. But as simple as the process may be, managing your social media advertising costs isn’t always that straightforward.

You spend a lot of time planning your campaign, setting it up with appropriate targets and collecting the data once you launch. But to help ensure you’re getting a good return on your investment, you can’t set it and forget it—ongoing oversight is key.

But there’s more to maximizing your ad budget. For ideas on how to get more out of your ad spend, I reached out to three social media advertising experts and asked for their top tips for managing social media advertising costs. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Look at your spend as an investment, and expect a return.

Colin McGuire is the CEO of Boomn, a full-service customer acquisition agency that works with large consumer brands and TV personalities, and specializes in performance-based direct-response marketing.

He suggests reconsidering how you think about social media advertising costs.

“Treat your social media advertising budget as an investment, not a cost,” he says. “When you treat it like an investment, you’ll expect a return out of it.”

Identify the goals and objectives first, choose the right channels for that message to live on and build content for that before spending a cent on promotion.—Miles Marmo, co-founder, Agency Squid

One way to better control your social media advertising costs is by setting very specific goals. Then you can try reverse engineering your social media advertising plan to achieve them.

“Unless you’re using your advertising spend to create general brand awareness, set a goal for your cost per lead, cost per customer or cost per email capture,” he says.

2. Realize all channels are not created equal. Make sure your content matches the channel.

Miles Marmo is the co-founder of Agency Squid in Minneapolis, a hybrid business consultancy/creative execution shop.

Marmo says that one of the biggest mistakes a company can make when advertising on social media is using the same content across channels.

“If the content doesn’t work with the channel, it becomes a wasted and inefficient spend,” he says.

Marmo has a suggestion for how business owners can get the most out of their dollars.

“Identify the goals and objectives first, choose the right channels for that message to live on and build content for that before spending a cent on promotion,” he says. “The more customized that piece of content will be, the more efficient the spend becomes.”

3. Set caps, check your metrics daily and be strategic with content.

Mike Street is a senior digital strategist and consultant for Burrell Communications, an advertising agency based in Chicago that focuses on transcultural audiences.

Street believes the key to controlling social media advertising costs takes a combination of the following:

  • setting biding caps,
  • reviewing your metrics daily and
  • using a combination of content and targeting capabilities.

First things first: On Facebook, he suggests adding a bidding cap to your ad spending. That way, you won’t spend more than you’ve allocated.

If you are using Facebook’s automated bidding process, you can log into your ad account daily to do a conversion health check. In a recent audit of an account spending $250K monthly, Street saw that an ad’s conversion cost was $25 one day and then $600 another day.

“You have to pay full attention to how Facebook is spending your money and make sure that the ad is converting in the price range that you want,” Street says.

If the spending starts to get out of control, consider pausing that ad and launching a new one, testing again with refreshed targets.

There’s another way you can help maximize your spend, and that’s with your content, Street says.

“Video is great for awareness, but isn’t really good at converting traffic,” he says.

Before you launch a campaign designed to convert to sales, consider running an awareness campaign. To help with social media advertising costs, Street advises launching your ad campaign with a 15- to 30-second video. Then, you can retarget the people who watched more than 10 percent of your video. You can use an image ad that has a compelling offer for your product. Image ads have a better conversion rate than video ads, according to Street, and you’ll have a warm audience for your ad.

Experimentation can lead to successful social media ad campaigns. Different products and brands can have widely varying experiences. The ways you can combine campaign strategies, creative concepts and audience segments is virtually limitless.

But one thing that is finite is your budget. So it’s important to monitor your social media advertising costs closely and make adjustments along the way. Doing so can help you get the most out of your dollars. These ideas can help you discover ways to maximize your budget.

This article first appeared in

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