What is the Cost of Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing Budget

Cost of Digital Marketing – How Much Should You Spend?

A question we are asked often is “What is the cost of Digital Marketing” or ‘How much do I need to spend on Digital Marketing?’. It sounds like a simple question, but I’m sorry to say it doesn’t have a simple answer. We all know that this figure should be calculated based on your company type, your competition, how aggressive you want to be, what budget is available etc. The digital marketing budget planning and the process of arriving at that figure should be well thought through in advance of any activity. In our experience, however, it doesn’t happen this way for a lot of companies.

Few will admit it, but the decision on a digital marketing spend or budget can be reactive and based on a client’s personal feelings about Marketing and what he/she feels they are willing to spend. Sometimes the number is based solely on what was spent last year with no examination of what value was achieved or if that figure can be afforded again.

With over 15 years of experience in providing Digital Marketing Services, together with our involvement with small and medium size businesses, we have put together some guidance that might help decide your Digital Marketing budget; a realistic budget that is best for you and your business.


Important questions we ask at the outset

  1. What are your business goals?
  2. What is your vision for the next 12, 18 and 24 months in regards to your business and digital marketing?
  3. What does success look like for you, your team, and your business at each of these milestones?

Having a better understanding of these questions at the budget planning stage will help give you a top-level view and a good feel for what you want to achieve. It will allow you to develop a starting budget range that is right for you and your business.


Digital Marketing is an investment, not a cost, in the growth of your business.

History Matters

Use Google Analytics and historical information to help guide how much money you need to spend to reach your business goals and how to optimise your efforts to get the most out of your digital marketing budget.

Consider what it cost to acquire a new customer in the past. See what has worked well in the past? What hasn’t? How well are you converting website visitors to customers? Does this need to be addressed? Is it time to consider a website upgrade or a process improvement to address an issue you know is hurting your sales?  If so, this should be factored into your marketing activities or at the very least scheduled for a future time.

Access to this information is very valuable and can help set a path for the future, giving confidence that the budget is thought through and considered; not just a random number plucked from the sky!


Consider the Cost of Digital Advertising

Ask yourself how much will it cost to gain a new customer. This can give you an idea of how many customers you can expect based on your planned spend. Most businesses won’t be able to answer this question accurately without having experience with online advertising already.

Another option is to use the average cost per click (CPC) on Google search ads as a guide for the cost of advertising. You can do this by using Google’s Keyword Planner to research the average CPC for your most targeted search keywords that are most likely to convert.

For example, if you own a butcher shop, your most targeted keywords might include “order meat online” or “butchers near me.”

A low CPC on these very targeted keywords means you can get more out of a small budget. However, a high CPC is a sign that you’ll need to spend more to acquire a new customer.


Digital Marketing Budget


Determine what can you Afford to Spend on Digital Marketing.

What can you realistically afford to spend on Digital Marketing?  As a general rule, the marketing books would say Irish companies should spend between 7-10% of their revenue on marketing (with US companies spending 10%+).  We have a different view on this and advise our clients to be realistic.  Don’t spend what you don’t have, spend only what can you afford.  Start with a budget that you’re comfortable with and can commit to in the long run. You can increase the spending based on activity/success and build over time.


Tips to Set that Budget

  1. Decide how much will it cost you to acquire a customer. Establish a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) goal. Running your first campaign will quickly let you know whether achieving that goal is realistic, or whether you need to adjust. This will give you a clear picture of what kind of advertising budget you need and you can plan for future investment.
  2. Be realistic. Acknowledge the reality of your budget and set your expectations. Don’t expect huge growth if you know your spending is too low.
  3. Get creative. Sometimes novel or creative initiatives in advertising can pay off and it’s only found through testing and experimentation. Be prepared to do this and learn. You won’t find it though if you’re not spending any money.
  4. Once you begin to see ROI, you can be more confident to scale up your spending. See if the same applies as you spend more.


ePresence Digital Marketing Agency Cork, Wexford & Kerry

ePresence is a Google Partner and results-driven Digital Marketing Agency in Cork, Wexford and Tralee, Co Kerry. We work with you to understand your business needs and to develop solutions that will deliver results. Let us help you plan your marketing budget to achieve your business goals.  Take the first step and get in touch with us.


Take your Digital Marketing to the Next Level with ePresence

If you are looking to expand your business, reach more customers and improve the impact of your marketing, ePresence can help. We will work with you to understand your business needs, challenges and goals. Our Digital Marketing Agency in Cork and Kerry is an experienced and results-driven organisation serving companies and national brands throughout Munster and all of Ireland. We will help lighten your load and provide access to our quality digital marketing team. Get in touch with us today on +353 (0)21 2362901 or email us on [email protected].

About Author

John Brennan

John Brennan

John Brennan is director of ePresence Internet Marketing. He is an experienced management consultant, specialising in Digital Marketing, Business Development, Product Development and Innovation Management. Owner/director of ePresence, John also lectures in Digital Advertising and Analytics at Cork Institute of Technology. John has an Electronic Engineering Degree from Cork Institute of Technology, MBA from University College Cork and Executive Training at Kellogg Business School, Chicago. Before setting up ePresence, John held various roles such as Software Engineer, Director of Engineering, Director of Product and Program Management, Vice President of Product Development and General Manager in world leading organisations such as Apple, IBM, Snap-on Inc. and FMC. John combines his technology know-how, management experience and customer focus to help his clients achieve online success.

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