June 12, 2020

Online Advertising Costs In 2021

Updated March 26, 2021

Over the years we often have clients ask us to evaluate advertising solutions both online and offline. This request puts us in an interesting position because it gives us visible access to the typical costs and results of a variety of marketing mediums for a particular industry vertical. And that access has shown us something we found really interesting: online advertising is very inexpensive compared to offline advertising. We’re talking about the difference between pennies to dollars. The average cost to reach 1,000 people with online advertising Ranges from $3-$10, while the average cost to reach 1,000 people with traditional/offline advertising is $22 and up.

vs-01

Our Measurement: CPM

Measuring the raw efficiency of marketing can happen in a number of ways. One of which is to combine a quantitative measurement, such as Cost Per Thousand (CPM), with a qualitative measurement, such as how qualified a prospect is, to better determine the full impact of the impression. For example, 1,000 impressions from your target audience is much more valuable than 1,000 impressions from random people who may not be interested in your product, service, or idea.

How Much Does Online Advertising Cost?

Like traditional offline marketing, online marketing has a number of different mediums to engage with prospects. Based on our own research, we’ve found that the average cost of online advertising to have a cost per thousand impressions of $3-$10 and an average cost per click of $1-3.

We researched average industry costs for every major online advertising platform and broke it down by average CPM and cost per click (CPC):

ONLINE ADVERTISING IS COSTS IN 2021

PlatformAverage CPCAverage CPM
Google Search Ads$2.32$38.40
Google Display Ads$0.67$3.12
Facebook Ads$1.35$8.60
Instagram Ads$3.56$8.96
Twitter Ads$0.38$6.46
LinkedIn Ads$5.26$6.59
Pinterest Ads$1.50$30

The biggest factor that will affect the cost of online advertising is the industry you’re in. Some are much more competitive than others. The average cost per click for most verticals is $2-$4, while more competitive industries like lawyers, insurance, and loans can cost $50 per click!

GOOGLE ADVERTISING COSTS

GOOGLE SEARCH ADVERTISING COSTS (Formerly AdWords)

The average benchmark cost per click is $2.32.

Advertising costs on keywords for the exact kinds of services your business performs can range significantly. Ads on search results are advertising to prospects at the exact moment they’re looking for information on products/services that your business sells. Not only are we seen by those prospects at a CPM of $38.40 ($38 per 1,000 viewable impressions), we can also reasonably assume that we’ll get about 30 of them to visit our site and turn a few of them into leads or sales. 

GOOGLE DISPLAY ADVERTISING COSTS

Advertising on Google’s Display Network is very inexpensive when viewed within the CPM lens. We find that display campaigns average $0.50 – $4 CPM, with an average of $3.12. With a more general awareness goal and less targeting, CPM’s can be driven to incredibly low costs. The average CPC on display network campaigns is $0.58.

YOUTUBE ADVERTISING COSTS

Advertising on YouTube through Google Ads is typically done on a Cost Per View (CPV) basis, so it’s a bit tough to compare on a CPM model. At an average CPV of $0.10, you’re looking at about $100 per thousand VOLUNTARY ad views. And CPM for the first 5 seconds of the ad could be $9.50 or less depending on how great (or terrible) your ad is. Youtube ads average a $3.21 CPC.

Social Media Advertising Costs

FACEBOOK ADVERTISING COSTS

Facebook allows for a daily budget or a lifetime budget for advertising. That said, the minimum budget is $1.00. Using Facebook’s advertising platform allows you to advertise on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and the Facebook audience network.

On average, advertising on Facebook costs marketers $1.35 Cost Per Click (CPC) and around $8.60 CPM, depending on how broad your target audience is. Facebook advertising costs are very flexible, Facebook Ads have become a great option for online advertising. The platform offers exceptional targeting options, which helps your advertising dollars go further by reaching the right people.

INSTAGRAM ADVERTISING COSTS

Instagram Ads are managed via Facebook’s ad platform and offer an impressive way to reach your target audience. The average CPC for Instagram ads is $3.96 and the average CPM is $8.96. That being said, Facebook ads typically perform better for campaigns focused on traffic and clicks, while Instagram typically performs better for campaigns focused on impressions and reach. Both platforms are great to advertise on and both should be considered as a part of your digital marketing strategy.

TWITTER ADVERTISING COSTS

Advertising rates on Twitter are really dependent on what type of campaign you choose. It can range from $0.50 per engagement to all the way up to $200,000 per day for promoted trends.

While promoted trends provide huge exposure and awareness in a short amount of time, the price is costly, but can be worth it as it guarantees placement in the Trends section for an entire day.

For those who don’t have the $200,000/day budget, there are two other options:

  • Promoted Tweets. The cost for which can range anywhere from $0.49 per click. Keep in mind this price is dependent on targeting. The average CPM is $6.46.
  • Promoted Accounts. The cost can range from $2.50 to $4.50 per new follower.

LINKEDIN ADVERTISING COSTS

LinkedIn allows both CPC and CPM advertising, but is more costly than other online platforms and requires a larger daily budget to be effective.

Depending on your targeting criteria and competition on LinkedIn, CPC can start anywhere from $2.00 to $5.00 or more, which is quite high compared to other social networks. The industry-wide average CPC is $5.26.

For CPM, LinkedIn charges per 1,000 impressions. We’ve recorded an average CPM of $7.85 for LinkedIn Ads.

OFFLINE/TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING COSTS IN 2021

We’ve found that the typical cost of offline advertising ranges from $22 and up to reach 1,000 people. The cost per thousand impressions will vary based on the locations you advertise in, as well as the mediums you’re using.

The following are some rough industry averages for CPM in the offline and outdoor advertising world that give great insight into the costs of offline marketing:

PlatformAverage CPM
Billboard$13-22
Radio$10-20
Magazine$140-$1,300
Newspaper$10-45
Direct Mail$500-1,000
Network TV$20-30
Super Bowl$36 (4 million dollars, reach 111 million people)

Keep in mind that you’ll have to add that qualitative measure of effectiveness to the average cost. A billboard will reach a lot of people who give it 1/4 second of attention, whereas an average Super Bowl ad is 30 seconds long and plenty of the people who watch the ad are looking forward to it. Some forms of offline advertising like direct mail allow you to reach a very specific audience, where more general forms of advertising like a network TV commercial are intended to reach a larger, more general audience.

CONCLUSION: ONLINE ADVERTISING ISN’T EXPENSIVE

In summary, online advertising is much less expensive than offline advertising. Online advertising also has benefits such as: 

  • Highly customizable creative options
  • Options to pay for user actions like clicks, calls, or downloads
  • Flexible minimum ad spend budgets and daily budget control
  • Advanced targeting options powered by machine learning
  • In-depth performance measurement 

For advertisers with smaller budgets, we typically recommend starting with online advertising. However, offline advertising can still be highly effective with the right strategy in place.

Want to get in on the online advertising action? Get in touch with us to talk about your Online Advertising Strategy

Know What’s Next
from Top Draw