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Social Media Ads Cost Breakdown: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and More

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Money often costs too much” — and as marketers, you probably agree. Though we all want to create jaw-dropping ads destined to go viral, the truth is few of us have budgets large enough to make our Times Square ad dreams come true.

There is an upside, though: social media advertising is pretty affordable for growing brands, especially if you know how to stretch your limited resources. But if you’re wondering whether Facebook or Instagram will give you a bigger bang for your buck, or how much it costs to launch a TikTok campaign, this one’s for you.

Social media advertising costs will ultimately depend on the competitiveness of your keywords, industry, and target audience, but we’re here to answer some of your questions with a general comparison of how much ads cost across platforms. 

How Much Do Facebook Ads Cost?

Facebook ads are a pillar of most ecommerce brands’ marketing strategies, so it’s no surprise that this platform is also one of the most competitive. 

How Facebook calculates ad quality 

Similar to other platforms, Facebook determines ad costs via an auction. The algorithm relies on factors such as ad quality and estimated engagement to select which advertiser has the winning bid. 

Most platforms use two metrics to calculate costs: cost per click (CPC) and cost per mille (CPM) — the latter referring to the cost per 1,000 impressions. 

Though there are numerous variables that may impact your Facebook ad cost, research suggests the average across industries is $.44 per click and $14.40 CPM. If you’re using lead ads, the average cost per lead is $5.83 — if this number seems impossibly high, remember: If you nail your audience targeting, your cost may drop dramatically. 

Pro tip: Facebook ad costs can fluctuate throughout the year — during extra-competitive time periods, such as Black Friday, CPCs can double or even triple. 

How Much Do Instagram Ads Cost?

While Instagram falls under the Meta (Facebook) umbrella, the costs are noticeably different. Instagram ads cost around $0.20-$2.00 on average per click, while CPM averaged $6.70.

For the best engagement rates, check out Instagram. 

Instagram is known for its high engagement rates for both organic and paid content, which is why ads on the platform are cheaper than Facebook. In fact, one study estimated images on Instagram see 23% more engagement than when shared on Facebook. 

How Much Do TikTok Ads Cost?

TikTok may be the new kid on the block — the platform launched its formal advertising program in 2021 — but how do its costs compare to others? To start, TikTok's CPC on average is $1 and CPM $10, according to Business of Apps.

However, similar to other ad platforms, you need to select either a daily or lifetime budget when you advertise on TikTok. Be aware: the platform has minimum budget requirements to ensure your ad is delivered continuously:

  • Campaign level minimum budget: Both daily and total budgets must be at least $50.

  • Ad group level minimum budget: Daily budgets must exceed $20, and lifetime budgets are calculated according to the minimum daily budget multiplied by the length of your campaign. 

As more brands run TikTok ads, there have been some learnings around their cost. As the platform continues to grow, there will be even more opportunity to learn and implement strategies that return.

How Much Do Pinterest Ads Cost?

Pinterest, a must-have platform for visual brands, offers relatively affordable ad pricing, regardless of your campaign goal:

  • For boosting online engagement, you can expect to pay $0.10-$1.50 per click

  • For building brand awareness, you can expect to pay $2-$5 per CPM

  • For driving site traffic, you can expect to pay $0.10-$1.50 per click

However, like the others on this list, Pinterest uses a bidding model for ad placements — the more competitive your industry, keywords, and target audience, the more you can expect to pay. When thinking about how much Pinterest ads cost, don’t forget to factor in the price of creating the visual elements. 

For more on Pinterest ads, check out this guide

How Much Do Twitter Ads Cost?

Compared to other platforms, Twitter’s power as an advertising vehicle is questionable at best. While Twitter ads with links have enjoyed a higher CTR than other social networks (2% compared to 0.72% on Facebook and 0.94% on Instagram), the platform’s recent leadership instability has created trust issues and driven some major advertisers away.

The value of Twitter ads comes from just how affordable they are. Twitter doesn’t offer much in the way of dynamic ad formats. Instead, advertisers have the following options:

Much like the other social platforms, Twitter uses an auction model with bids for ad engagement. If a person engages with your promoted tweet or account (by clicking, replying, retweeting, or giving it a favorite), you’ll pay money. Promoted trends require placing bids to appear at the top of the “trends” list, but the required amounts are much higher: so much so that it just isn’t feasible for most small businesses.

How Much Do LinkedIn Ads Cost?

LinkedIn ad costs are, like all other platforms, based on the type of purchased activity and the ad auction. You place competitive bids to show your ads to LinkedIn users. Depending on the type of campaign you want, your willingness to bid, and your target audience, ad cost can vary. Ads can take the form of sponsored posts, text ads, brand awareness campaigns, and even private messages sent directly to members’ inboxes.

At a basic level, the average costs break down as follows:

  • $5.26 per clicked ad in a sponsored post

  • $6.59 per 1,000 impressions

  • $0.80 per paid message sent

How Much Do YouTube Ads Cost?

Because Google owns YouTube, advertisers must use the AdWords network to build their campaigns. And like any other AdWords campaign, bids dictate specific costs. That means it’s difficult to nail down a specific dollar amount per ad. But we can still estimate your YouTube advertising cost.

Most YouTube ads’ average cost-per-view is between $0.10 to $0.30, and the views that you generate count toward your overall viewer count. The average cost to reach 100,000 viewers is roughly $2,000.

Make the Most Out of Your Social Media Ads Budget Across Platforms

Nobody wants to pay more than they need to. If you tweak your campaign right, you may benefit from reduced advertising costs while still experiencing a high return on investment (ROI). Here’s how:

  • Make sure to choose the right campaign objective. 

  • The narrower your target audience, the better results you will gain. 

  • Use retargeting campaigns to focus on brand-aware shoppers or existing customers. 

  • A/B test your ad creative, placements, formats, and platforms. 

  • Use AdRoll's social media advertising tool.

  • Think outside the box when it comes to ad creative. 

  • Make your landing page as seamless and relevant to your ad as possible. 

  • Use an all-in-one marketing platform (like AdRoll) to deliver an omnichannel marketing experience to shoppers via multiple touchpoints — this will provide you with more data to help you optimize your campaigns. 


Creating and budgeting for social media ad campaigns is often complicated, but you’re not alone. The following questions frequently pop up when talking about social media ads.

What factors affect the cost of social media ads?

In addition to the social media platforms themselves, the cost of advertising on social media can vary based on:

  • Targeted audience

  • Ad budget

  • Bidding strategy

  • Type of ad

  • Length of campaign

How do social media platforms determine the cost of ads?

Social media platforms use a combination of strategies for pricing ads. Most companies institute an auction format. As advertisers bid on keywords, audiences, and types of ad placements, the highest bid amount earns the ad placement. Other factors play a role, including CTR and CPC.

What is the average CPC for social media ads?

According to a study from CRM platform Nutshell, the average CPC of social media ads can range from $0.38 to $5.26 per click

How do I set a budget for social media advertising?

Before you jump into setting a budget, research ad platforms and their different features. This helps determine an effective, reasonable budget. Maximizing your budget means planning out goals first before you press the launch button. Choose the right goal for your campaign. This will influence the types of ads you run, their frequency, and cost. Monitor your ROI and make necessary adjustments. You’ll eventually find an ad strategy that’s the right fit, and then you’re off to the races.

Are there any hidden costs associated with social media advertising?

It really depends on what you view as a hidden cost. For the most part, social media ad cost can fluctuate based on who the highest bidder for a given audience or keyword might be. But other costs you may not have considered when dipping your toes into social media advertising can include the cost of producing content assets like graphics, videos, or landing pages. A third party that manages your social media ads may take a certain percentage of your ad spend, but that’s not necessarily a hidden cost.

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