London, Paris, and Monaco are well known worldwide for their high property prices and being home to the super-rich, but are they the most expensive places to live… on Facebook®?

As Facebook reaches an increasingly global audience, advertisers have the ability to target users in specific geographic locations, with advertising costs varying from city to city.

In a previous post, I explored the top 10 most expensive U.S. cities to target on Facebook and found that San Francisco took the top spot. This time around, we looked at European capitals and found that this honor goes to Norwegian city Oslo, followed by the Vatican City, Helsinki, and Berlin.

Facebook provides a “suggested bid” based on the competitive landscape of the targeting chosen, and we used these figures to compile our rankings (see table).

European capitals for Facebook advertising_LK

Top and bottom of the European advertising table

Oslo tops the charts, presumably due to the high competition to reach its affluent, but mid-sized, population. In contrast, the size and diversity of London’s Facebook population might mean that it is easier for brands to hone in on specific audiences using additional targeting options, so costs might be lower per user when targeting the entire city. London ranks 9th in the analysis, while Paris is 11th and Monaco 15th. Other large capitals outside the top 10 are Madrid (16th), Rome (22nd) and Athens (33rd).

The Vatican City combines a small population with a high demand to reach them, pushing up the suggested bid; however advertisers will not be able to reach its most famous resident, as Pope Francis is not on Facebook!

The cheapest European capitals to target with Facebook ads are Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia and Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina – which are 24 times cheaper than Oslo. Cities towards the bottom of the table combine small actual and Facebook populations with lower average incomes, and consequently generate less competition when it comes to advertising.

Looking at figures, Oslo’s suggested bid is $0.73 per user click, compared to $0.03 for Skopje and Sarajevo. The Vatican City’s suggested bid is $0.70 per click. There is then a drop in suggested bids, with the next five cities (Helsinki, Berlin, Bern, Stockholm and Copenhagen), all at between $0.50 and $0.58.

For comparison, similar research completed in February 2015 for U.S. locations found that the suggested bid for top US city, San Francisco, was $1.02, ahead of Washington DC at $1.01 per click. The suggested average bid for targeting the entire United States at the time was $0.92 per click.

This analysis underlines the possibilities for location-specific targeting with Facebook advertising, one of the many targeting options available. To get the most from your advertising budget, you need to focus in on the segments that prove to be most valuable to you. By honing in on your target audience’s attributes, you reduce wastage and maximize ‘the bang’ from your budget.

Methodology

The wide range of advertising costs between European capitals reflects factors such as the location of ad placement and advertising demand. The analysis is based on suggested maximum bids for “News Feed” placements on desktop and mobile (News Feed ads typically get higher click through and conversion rates – usually at a higher cost, vs. right hand column placements). Geographic targeting was set at the city level + no radius (the default setting includes a 25mi radius). Suggested bids are subject to change, as competition causes them to fluctuate. European data was analyzed on 17 June 2015, with US cities analyzed in February 2015.

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.