2017 Facebook Advertising Report: Budgets and Benchmarks


Four million businesses actively advertise on Facebook — 30 times more than on Twitter and eight times more than on Instagram.

That’s one incredible source of ad revenue for Zuckerberg. But for businesses seeking to stand out on Facebook, that’s a whole lot of competition.

New research indicates just how hard it is to keep pace with increasing Facebook advertising costs.

2017 Facebook Advertising Index: Budgets and BenchmarksDOWNLOAD NOW

Pressure to prove ROI of Facebook advertising

The decline of Facebook organic reach leaves businesses between a rock and a hard place: continue posting organically and accept that you’ll never reach more than a fraction of your audience, or re-allocate resources to ensure that Facebook ads deliver ROI.

But lack of clarity into competitor advertising strategies makes it impossible for businesses to understand where they stand on Facebook.

Underperforming organic content has opportunity costs. But underperforming paid content takes hard marketing dollars down the drain with it too.

To help marketers make sense of the advertising landscape they’re up against, we used the TrackMaven marketing analytics platform to analyze over 90,000 Facebook ads — including both dark posts and boosted posts — to find the average budget for Facebook ads, as well as benchmarks for reach, impressions, and interactions.

The findings in our 2017 Facebook Advertising Index provide marketers with a baseline to understand Facebook advertising costs, build their own Facebook ad budgets, and measure performance.

First, let’s cover the distinction between Facebook dark posts and boosted posts.

Facebook dark posts versus boosted posts

Facebook dark posts — which are also called unpublished page posts — are Facebook ads that don’t appear on a business’s Facebook page. Instead, they appear in the news feeds of Facebook users based on ad targeting.

Boosted posts are ads that appear publicly on a business’s Facebook page. Businesses can sponsor published posts with advertising budget to extend their reach.

In our research, we discovered a few major discrepancies in the application of dark posts and boosted posts in businesses’ advertising strategies. Here are five key takeaways:

Facebook advertising budgets and benchmarks: 5 key takeaways

1. Businesses put more budget and promotional time behind dark posts than boosted posts on Facebook.

Businesses put more budget and promotional time behind dark posts than boosted posts on Facebook.

At $776.75, the average total spend per post for dark posts is nearly twice as much as that for boosted posts ($389.00). Additionally, the average dark post is active for 42 days, nearly double the duration of the average boosted post (27 days).

2. Dark posting is a strategy employed by businesses with larger average Facebook audiences.

The average Facebook page likes for businesses with active dark posts is 845,086. The average Facebook page likes for business actively boosting posts is 592,797.

3. Boosted posts see over nine times more organic reach and seven times more organic impressions than dark posts on average.

Because businesses put more spend behind dark posts on average, they garner higher total reach and impressions on average. But because boosted posts see higher engagement — and in particular, shares — than dark posts, they reap a greater percentage of organic reach and impressions than dark posts.

4. Boosted posts get more interactions than dark posts.

The average boosted post on Facebook gets 643 total interactions, while the average dark post on Facebook gets 559 total interactions. Interactions are defined as likes, shares, comments, or reactions.

The average number of shares per post is the biggest differentiator in engagement between dark posts and boosted posts on Facebook. Boosted posts see 73.21 percent more shares than dark posts on average.

5. Link posts are the most common post type for Facebook ads, while link posts are the most common post type for organic Facebook posts.

Eighty-four percent of dark posts and 87 percent of boosted posts are link posts. In contrast, photo posts are the most common post format for organic Facebook posts, accounting for 55.9 percent of posts.

Download your free copy of the 2017 Facebook Advertising Index for a comprehensive set of benchmarks for Facebook advertising budgets and performance.

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