Social Media Advertising Costs Comparison [Best of 2021]


Introduction - Social Media Advertising Costs

Social media advertising is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to market your business, but how much do social ads really cost? In this article brought to you by Stiddle, we will dive into the costs associated with each of the top social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube) to help you decide which ones to use.

Breaking Down the Costs


Facebook hosts 2.6 billion users, making it one of the best places to advertise. One of the best aspects of their cost structuring is that there isn't any minimum amount that you have to spend (except for some specific ads). Whether you want to spend only a dozen dollars a week or thousands, Facebook will give you the option. Additionally, the average CPC is around $0.27. You can either set a budget for a specific campaign or set a budget for all of the campaigns you are running.

Costs are broken down into two categories: your budget and your results. Your budget is based on how much money you are willing to spend on ads per week while the cost of results is calculated on your bidding strategy. The bidding strategy determines how much Facebook will bid for you in ad auctions, and if you need help calculating an appropriate bid, Facebook will help you.

But what is an ad auction? An ad auction occurs when Facebook must decide which ad to show to a user and a bidding war ensues between companies. The winning ad is based on three characteristics: how much a company bids, how likely the user is to engage with the ad, and whether the ad is of good quality.


Instagram is owned by Facebook so running ads on both platforms are similar. The average CPC is between $0.50 and $2, and the price will vary depending on the industry. For instance, fashion is one of the most expensive industries to advertise on Instagram.

Similarly to Facebook, Instagram doesn't set a minimum price for budgeting, and the costs vary greatly on your marketing campaign's success. Additionally, Instagram uses a bidding process calculated on similar metrics to determine which ads to display to a targeted user.

One of the appeals of Instagram over Facebook is that engagement is much higher on Instagram. In fact, there is ten times higher engagement with a brand on Instagram. However, this also means that advertising is more expensive on Instagram.


As is characteristic of all social media advertising, the costs of running ads vary depending on the budget you set. The minimum daily spending is $5, and you can specify a budget for a day as well as for the entire lifetime of your marketing campaign.

The greatest factor in costs for Snapchat comes from goal-based bidding. This allows businesses to optimize their ads based on what actions they want users to take whether it be downloading an app or purchasing a product. Advertisers much select a bid goal (i.e. what they want users to do) and a bid strategy.

Snapchat offers three bidding strategies: auto-bidding, max bid, and target bid. Auto-bidding is when Snapchat sets your bids for you based on your budget, target audience, and ad set duration to optimize your results. Max bids set the maximum amount you are willing to spend while trying to achieve the most effective cost per action (CPA). Lastly, a target bid is a soft mix of the two where Snapchat bids on your behalf while trying to keep your CPA at or below the budget set by the final day of your ad campaign.

Subscribe to our newsletter


On Pinterest, brands advertise through Promoted Pins. Companies must set their maximum budgets and bids, specifically for CPC, CPE, and CPM, respectively, cost-per-click, cost-per-engagement, and cost-per-mille (which means cost per one thousand views/clicks). The minimum allowances are ten cents for CPC and CPE and $5 for CPM.

Pinterest offers three different types of campaigns based on various goals. The first goal is awareness, which chargers based on CPM. The engagement campaign means that brands are charged on CPE on Promoted Pins in the form of repins or clicks. Finally, the goal of increased website traffic means that brands are charged on CPC; however, they are only charged when users click to go to your website, meaning you aren't charged for repined pins.


Companies on LinkedIn, like on other social media platforms, set budgets for daily ad spending, the total budget, and the price per bids.

In regards to the pricing on specific ads, it depends on your campaign. One campaign type is through sponsored content ads, where you can be charged based on CPC or CPM. Another is through text ads, which have the same billing options. Lastly, you can do message ads where direct messages are sent to users, and you are charged based on the successful delivery of each ad (CPS or cost-per-send).


There is some debate about whether YouTube is a form of social media, but assuming that it is, it is one of the most successful and penetrative platforms ever. Since YouTube is owned by Google, you use Google Adwords to advertise on it. Google Adwords uses the same bidding strategy as other social media platforms to maximize value for both users and businesses. On YouTube, the average cost of reaching 10,000 viewers is $2,000.

The ads that YouTube offers are display ads, overplay ads, skippable video ads, non-skippable ads, bumper ads, and content cards. Display ads, which appear next to a video, can be as low as three cents a view. Overlay ads appear over videos at the bottom. The most popular ads are TrueView ads, referring to skippable and non-skippable ads. For skippable ads, you are only charged if users watch the whole ad. Lastly, bumper ads are short clips that last up to six seconds and are charged on CPM.


Thanks to the many social media platforms, marketers have many options when it comes to budgeting their money and making their ad campaigns successful. Knowing the right platforms to use and the right ads to purchase will help you and your small business share your brand and make the right impression.

Stiddle - aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected marketing experts.

Looking for other marketing articles and tutorial guides? Checkout our recent Facebook Ads Tutorial Guide below!

Checkout Stiddle's Facebook Ads Guide Tutorial HERE

Weekly newsletter
No spam. Just the latest releases and tips, interesting articles, and exclusive interviews in your inbox every week.
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! You're now subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Scale Revenue with Better Customer Data
Talk with an expert today!
Book a Demo

Related Posts

Office setting

UX review presentations

How do you create compelling presentations that wow your colleagues and impress your managers?
Drew Cano
11 Jan 2022
5 min read
Man working at desk

Migrating to Linear 101

Linear helps streamline software projects, sprints, tasks, and bug tracking. Here’s how to get started.
Phoenix Baker
11 Jan 2022
5 min read
Man pinning images on wall
Software Engineering

Building your API Stack

How do you create compelling presentations that wow your colleagues and impress your managers?
Olivia Rhye
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

PM mental models

Mental models are simple expressions of complex processes or relationships.
Natali Craig
11 Jan 2022
5 min read
Desk with computer
Software Engineering

Our top 10 Javascript frameworks to use

JavaScript frameworks make development easy with extensive features and functionalities.
Orlando Diggs
11 Jan 2022
5 min read