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The cost of advertising on Facebook

As an indie game developer it’s very difficult to juggle time between development and marketing, so I decided not to spread myself too thin. I wanted to focus on just a few social networks to promote our upcoming game, The Forbidden Arts. I decided on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. With nearly 2 billion users, Facebook was a prime choice and should be a no brainer for anyone wanting to promote their business or services on a social network.

Once I got started with Facebook and began to build a following for the game I realized how expensive Facebook promotions actually are. This isn’t meant to be a deterrent from using Facebook. Quite the opposite. I value Facebook quite a bit and we intend to use it as one of our main sources of marketing in the future. This blog is intended to shed some light on our experiences with such costs, and how we run effective campaigns.

I decided to run a test for this Blog. I posted a promotional image to the Forbidden Arts Facebook page.

Before I ran this campaign we had a total of 3,109 followers. At first thought, one might think that nearly all 3,109 followers will have the opportunity to see our post, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Facebook does limit the visibility of posts, so If you want the majority of your followers to view your posts you have to pay Facebook to increase visibility. Facebook has a great advertising solution that is very user friendly, but does not come at a cheap price.

I posted an image of one of the characters from the game and wrote a small caption to accompany the image. After a couple of days I reached the end of the organic reach, resulting in 219 organic views, and 3 likes for my post. It was time to boost the post and start a campaign.

The budget I choose will directly affect how many followers my post will be able to reach. I chose the $10 budget because it was obviously the most cost effective, and this was strictly for testing purposes. You might notice that the reach caps at 650 potential followers because of the countries I’m selecting for the campaign. We have followers in dozens of countries and I’m not choosing all countries, only a select few, thus limiting the potential reach. You may ask why I do this? Since the ad has a caption in English, I’m primarily targeting English speaking countries such as the U.S. and U.K. and I wanted to give a fairly straightforward example for this Blog.

I paid the $10 and published the campaign with a duration of 24 hours. When the campaign ended the following day I viewed the results. The $10 I spent bought me 35 reactions (Likes/Loves), 1 comment and 3 shares. I reached 470 people and had 59 engagements.

I think it was $10 well spent and achieved the higher end of what Facebook estimated I could achieve with a $10 advertising budget. Before the campaign I only reached about 200 people and received 3 likes, so this was a nice jump.

There are various factors of a campaign that can achieve different results. The main idea is if you have a great ad with an eye catching graphic and statement, then you can probably expect better numbers than if you post a boring text statement with no graphic to accompany it. I think Facebook is a great way to build and reach a fan base but you have to be willing to shell out some cash to do so.

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