How Much Should Your Business Be Spending On Advertising?


Determining the optimal online advertising budget for a company can be a complex process, influenced by several factors such as industry, business size, growth stage, marketing goals, and competition. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help companies decide on their online advertising budget:

Factors Influencing Online Advertising Budget

  1. Industry and Competition:
    • Highly competitive industries often require higher budgets to stand out.
    • Niche markets may need less spend but more targeted efforts.
  2. Business Size and Revenue:
    • Larger companies with higher revenues typically allocate more to advertising.
    • Startups may initially spend a higher percentage of their revenue to establish a market presence.
  3. Marketing Goals:
    • Brand Awareness: Broad reach campaigns often require more significant investment.
    • Lead Generation: Costs vary based on the complexity of the sales funnel.
    • Sales and Conversions: Direct response campaigns may need substantial budgets for optimization.
  4. Growth Stage:
    • New businesses might spend more aggressively to gain traction.
    • Established businesses might focus on maintaining market share and optimizing ROI.
  5. Target Audience:
    • A well-defined target audience can help in more efficient budget allocation.
    • Broader audiences may need higher spending for effective reach.
  6. Channels and Strategies:
    • Different channels (Google Ads, social media, content marketing, etc.) have varying costs.
    • Multi-channel strategies typically require larger budgets.


Budget Allocation Methods

1. Percentage of Revenue:

  • B2B Companies: Typically spend 2-5% of revenue on marketing.
  • B2C Companies: Often spend 5-10% of revenue on marketing.
  • Startups: Might spend up to 20% of revenue initially to build brand awareness and customer base.

2. Fixed Amount Based on Goals:

  • Determine the cost per acquisition (CPA) and set a budget based on the desired number of acquisitions.
  • Example: If the CPA is $50 and the goal is 1,000 customers, the budget would be $50,000.

3. Competitive Benchmarking:

  • Analyze competitor spending to set a benchmark.
  • Tools like SEMrush, SpyFu, and Adbeat can provide insights into competitors’ advertising strategies and budgets.

4. Channel-Specific Budgeting:

  • Allocate budget based on the effectiveness of different channels.
  • Example: 40% on Google Ads, 30% on social media, 20% on content marketing, 10% on email marketing.


Practical Examples

  1. Small Business:
    • Annual Revenue: $500,000
    • Marketing Budget (5-10%): $25,000 – $50,000
    • Monthly Budget: $2,083 – $4,167
    • Channel Allocation: $1,000 on Google Ads, $1,000 on Facebook Ads, $500 on content marketing, $500 on email marketing.
  2. Medium-Sized Business:
    • Annual Revenue: $5,000,000
    • Marketing Budget (5-10%): $250,000 – $500,000
    • Monthly Budget: $20,833 – $41,667
    • Channel Allocation: $10,000 on Google Ads, $8,000 on LinkedIn Ads, $5,000 on content marketing, $5,000 on email marketing.
  3. Startup:
    • Initial Funding: $1,000,000
    • Marketing Budget (15-20%): $150,000 – $200,000
    • Monthly Budget: $12,500 – $16,667
    • Channel Allocation: $6,000 on Google Ads, $5,000 on Facebook Ads, $3,000 on influencer marketing, $2,000 on content marketing.


Tips for Maximizing Advertising Budget

  1. Set Clear Goals and KPIs:
    • Define what success looks like (e.g., ROI, CPA, ROAS).
    • Regularly track performance against these metrics.
  2. Use Data and Analytics:
    • Leverage tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and marketing automation platforms.
    • Continuously analyze data to optimize campaigns.
  3. Focus on High-ROI Channels:
    • Identify and invest more in channels that deliver the best returns.
    • Test new channels cautiously and scale successful ones.
  4. Consider Seasonality and Trends:
    • Allocate budget to capitalize on peak seasons and market trends.
    • Plan for increased spending during high-demand periods.
  5. Leverage Automation and AI:
    • Use AI tools for ad bidding, targeting, and optimization.
    • Automation can improve efficiency and reduce costs.
  6. Invest in Quality Content:
    • High-quality, engaging content can enhance the effectiveness of ads.
    • Content marketing can complement paid advertising efforts.



Determining the right online advertising budget is essential for maximizing marketing effectiveness and achieving business goals. Companies should consider their industry, size, goals, and competition when setting their budgets. By employing strategic allocation methods and continuously optimizing based on performance data, businesses can ensure their advertising investments yield the best possible returns.

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