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Facebook Advertising Costs for E-commerce | inSyte Blog

What Are the Average Facebook Advertising Costs for a South African E-commerce Business?

Facebook Advertising Costs 2021

If you’re looking at expanding into Facebook advertising in the new year, one of the first questions you’re likely to have is:

Just how much will this cost me?

Well, unfortunately, this is one of those things where there isn’t a single straight answer. 

Facebook Advertising can cost as much, or as little, as you want to put into it. 

However, there are a few useful metrics that can help you estimate.

We’ve compiled some of these below from a variety of sources around the web, to help you get a rough idea. 

There are a few additional caveats to all of this, but we’ll explain as we go along. 

Please note: All currency conversions are as of the time of writing and may not be accurate in the future. 

Facebook Advertising Costs: An Overview 

How much your Facebook Advertising costs is entirely up to you.

What we mean by this is, Facebook Ads use a bidding system where you set how much you’re willing to bid for a given action and audience, and your daily or monthly budget.

This means they almost always charge on a CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPL (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) basis.

The main factors that determine how much you pay on the Facebook bidding system are:

  • Your target audience. How sought after are they will determine how much competition you face to reach them.
  • Your budget. How much you’re willing to spend overall, and on each bid, obviously has a huge impact on the costing. 
  • Your chosen objective. Different objectives have different costs attached because of how Facebook optimizes around them.
  • Your competition. How much competition is in your industry or niche? More competition drives up prices because more people are bidding on your target markets. 

CPC by Campaign Objective Benchmarks

With that being said, here are a few benchmarks taken from a 2018/2019 report by AdEspresso.

Please note that all of the following figures are from the US market, so they may not correlate 100% to South Africa.

However, we still feel like they’re useful as a costing benchmark for you.

They analysed the data from all their campaigns for 2018 and broke down the average CPC by advertising objective: 

  • Impressions: $ 1,3 (R 20,82)
  • Reach: $ 0,97 (R 15,53)
  • Lead Generation: $ 0.62 (R 9,93)
  • Conversions: $ 6,35 (R 101,69)
  • Link Clicks: $ 0,12 (R 1,92)

CPC by Bidding Model: 

Another set of benchmarks, via webfx, are as follows. 

They analysed the data from the previous report to come up with the following benchmarks for the average cost per bidding model on Facebook: 

  • CPC (Cost Per Click) $ 0,97 (R 15,53) 
  • CPM (Cost Per 1000 Impressions) $ 7,19 (R 115,14)
  • CPL (Cost Per Like) $ 1,07 (R 17,13)
  • CPA (Cost Per Action, Downloads) $ 5,47 (R 87,60)

How to Bring Down Facebook Advertising Costs

To bring down your Facebook advertising costs, you need to have a basic understanding of how the Facebook ad bidding system works.

Every time a consumer logs into Facebook and scrolls past an opportunity to show them an ad, Facebook holds a behind the scenes “auction” to determine which business gets the spot. 

Essentially, there are four main factors which determine which ad Facebook chooses to “win the auction”:

  • Ad bid. Who is willing to pay the most to reach the consumer on this single bid?
  • Estimated action rate. How likely is the consumer to interact with the ad given their past behaviour? 
  • Ad quality. Who has the highest quality and most professional ad?
  • Ad relevance. Which ad is the most relevant to the consumer in question?

As we can see, they consider a variety of factors to balance their needs as a business with ours as advertisers. 

If we want to drive down our costs, we can focus on the two things we can control for free which are ad quality and ad relevance. 

We can drive up ad quality by investing in high quality creative and copy, and ad relevance by improving our targeting to make sure we have a highly relevant target market for our offer.

As we’ll explore further later, these are both things you can optimise over time to bring down your Facebook advertising costs as you run the ads. 

The Costs of Hiring a Facebook Advertising Agency

All of these costs don’t include an agency fee if you decide to go that route. 

We’ve written an in-depth guide on digital marketing agency costs and overall digital marketing costs if you want more detail, but for a quick benchmark you’re looking at prices in these ranges:

  • R 2500 – R 4500 P/M for a freelance or independent digital marketer.
  • R 7500+ P/M to hire a full digital marketing agency. 

Cost Varies Per Industry

Cost varies highly per industry.

This is for multiple factors, but mainly around the level of competition you face and the typical margins of businesses in the industry.

Industries with higher margins can afford to pay much more per conversion, which can make life difficult for you as a new business. 

The best way around this is to try to find untapped niches or underserved groups of people. 

Secondly, the price is again highly affected by the amount of competition. 

Larger industries will see much higher costs because the more people bidding against each other, the higher the costs will climb.

Normal Fluctuations in Cost

A high amount of short-term and long-term fluctuation in the cost of Facebook Ads is entirely normal.

Because the bidding system is dynamic, periods of high demand like the holiday season will see you being charged more for your Facebook Ads because of the higher competition.

Similarly, when your competitors choose to advertise can heavily affect your costs because you’ll be directly competing with bid prices. 

Another major factor in running a good Facebook ad campaign is that the overall costs will go down over the lifetime of running an ad campaign because you can optimise your messaging and targeting to focus on what works.

This means the longer a campaign runs, the lower the costs are (generally speaking) for the same results or better.

This is a product of experience in the field though, so people who are skilled at digital marketing will be able to achieve these cost savings faster than new marketers (which is a major advantage of hiring someone to help you). 


We hope this helped you benchmark roughly how much Facebook Advertising will cost you going into the new year. 

It’s a very worthwhile investment for your business in these turbulent times to look into digital marketing strategies, as they represent incredible value for driving up sales in tough markets. 

The important thing is to always balance your spend with how much you’re getting back in real terms, so you always have a concrete ROI to improve upon.


If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, check out more e-commerce marketing content on the inSyte blog or listen to the inSyte Podcast.


This article was brought to you by Syte.

We’re a specialist e-commerce digital marketing agency dedicated to driving up your bottom line.

If you need any help running your business’ Facebook advertising strategy, feel free to reach out with the form below. 

We have tons of experience optimising and running Facebook ads to maximise your ROI quickly.

Also, feel free to check out our case studies page to see what we’ve been able to do for our other clients.  


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