What $25,000 Buys In Digital Advertising
Let’s say you’re running for Congress. In this super committed and zealous era of Trump, you’re about to raise $100,000. Your campaign manager and a stranger in a THIS the article instructs you to spend a quarter of that on digital advertising. So the next question is, what can you get for $25,000?
In the digital world, actually a lot.
Produce professional videos
These days, it’s all about video. And rightly so. Well-produced videos generate more engagement and better conversion rates than any other user-generated content. Ideally, you don’t need anything longer than 15 or 30 seconds. In fact, paying for ads with a video longer than 30 seconds is like setting fire to your hard-earned campaign contributions in the office parking lot.
Now, the cost of professionally produced videos varies widely. But for $25,000, you can expect to film, produce, and edit between two and five videos. Keep in mind that you can use a single video across all ad platforms, and you can share and re-share it organically.
You can also cut costs by hiring your friends and supplementing the professionally filmed footage with your own videos, images and music. Additional savings come from limiting the number of filming locations, interviews, edit series, amount of b-roll, etc.
Show your ad 3 million times on Facebook
Let’s say you’re showing up in a congressional district with 5 million people and for the purposes of this article, you’re going to advertise to each of them. Assuming an average CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) of $6-$8, your $25,000 could net you between 3-4 million impressions. If you increase the frequency with which your ads are shown, you can increase ad recall, the likelihood that people will remember your ad three days after seeing it, and further strengthen your brand image. Based on these calculations, you can send your ad to people an average of 1.5 times during the campaign and still reach around 2 million unique people.
You can design your campaign around list acquisition ads and rebuild your email list. The ideal CPA for new email addresses is around $2 per email, but can be as high as $5 per email. This means that for $25,000 you add 12,500 and 5,000 emails respectively. Even though your CPA is closer to $10, you still added 2,500 new emails to your list.
Reach 2 million people on Instagram
The CPM for Instagram is a bit higher, so you’ll reach fewer people here with your $25,000 than you will on Facebook. But assuming a $7-$9 CPM and $25,000 to burn, you can still hit between 2.7-3.5 million impressions.
If you show your ad to each person 1.5 times, you reach between 1.8 and 2.3 million unique people. Why run Instagram ads when Facebook gives you more for your money? Because you’ll need a cross-platform strategy that captures people who only use Facebook, as well as people who solely rely on Instagram.
Show your ad 2 million times on Snapchat
Snapchat Discover video ads have an average CPM between $8 and $12, which means your twenty-five thousand would deliver between 2 and 3.1 million impressions.
Or create a Snapchat Geofilter that covers your district for the 30 days leading up to the election at a cost of around $5 per 20,000 square feet. Do you want it to cover your entire district? With $25,000, you can probably swing it.
Get nearly 9 million display ad impressions
The average CPM rate for display ads is $2.80. So your $25,000 will buy around 8.9 million impressions through display ads. Plus, ad buyers and DSPs can show your ads on every website imaginable.
Spread them out over a few months or cram them into the few weeks leading up to Election Day. Experts estimate that people now need to see your digital content 15-20 times before you get lodged in their brains. For your $25,000, you can ensure that 600,000 people see your ad 15 times.
Send a video ad over 8 million times
As you can imagine, serving video ads costs more than serving display ads, but not as much as you might think. With $25,000, you can still run a video ad about 8.3 million times. Since your theoretical district only has 5 million inhabitants, you can broadcast your ad to each person several times.
Stream 3 months of digital radio ads
You can run ads on Spotify or Pandora that combine a 30 second audio spot with a banner ad and secure over 500,000 impressions. Or, stick with a standard banner ad, which has a lower CPM, and you’re looking at over a million impressions. Depending on the size of your constituency, you can run radio ads continuously for 3 months before election day.
Turn your campaign office into a Pokemon GO gym or PokeStop and, at an average cost of $0.50 per visitor, you can bring in 50,000 people to battle other players or collect eggs and PokeBalls as you go. as they learn more about your campaign. Have them sign up for a volunteer quarter before they play and you’ve killed two birds with one app.
The key is to find a combination of these strategies to ensure your content is in front of the right people, at the right frequency, and on the right platforms. It may seem a bit like shooting in the dark. But with a well-executed strategy, across multiple platforms, for specific audiences, complemented by sufficient data and engaging creative content, you can create a complete online ad campaign for less than the cost of a single TV ad.
Emily Gittleman is the digital director of 50+1 Strategies, a political advocacy/campaign consulting firm based in Oakland, CA.