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Maximizing the ROI: Employee Advocacy or Paid Marketing

We’ve been touting the employee advocacy horn for a while now, and you’ve probably got a good idea about how it works, and the benefits too. In case you’re new to our blog, here’s where you can get up to speed.

We realized though, that any marketer worth their salt would ask one, very important question –


What’s the difference between Employee Advocacy and Paid Marketing?

It’s a very valid question indeed. With global internet advertising spends going up by a whopping 42% in the last 2 years and on its way to being a $330 billion dollar market by 2020, clearly companies and the people that run them see the benefit in spending their marketing dollars here.

Now, of course, we’re a little biased, but we truly wanted to see which one won out over the other. So we decided to put our money where our mouths are and run a little experiment.

Because at the end of the day, what matters most is what gives you maximum return on the dollar you put in.


For the purpose of the experiment, we’re analyzing costs for one month and working with a group of 250 employees. We’re also considering –

  • The cost-per-click (CPC), per social network
  • The clicks generated by employees
  • The cost of an employee advocacy program

Math isn’t my strong suit, so we’re going to keep the formula simple –

Engagement generated from employees X CPC = Total savings

Here we go,

Costs on Twitter

Typically, Twitter promotion costs can range from $0.5 – $4 per engagement. Taking into account the 4451 shares that 250 employees generated on Twitter in a month, let’s punch in the numbers and see how much that saved us considering an average cost of $2.

4,451 * 2 = $8,902

That’s just under $9K saved on Twitter alone, and we’re nowhere close to finished.

Costs on Facebook

For Facebook, we’re taking two routes. One, where we only consider Engagement boosts and the other considering targeted click to website ads.

The former runs about $0.8 to a dollar. We’re feeling generous, so we’ll go with the lower number.

We got about 10,368 engagements, including Likes and Shares, so that amounts to…

10,368 * 0.8 = $8,294.4

Click-to-site ads run a tad bit more expensive, with the average targeted ad running at $3 per click. We achieved 1033 in click-to-site numbers, so that saved us –

1033 * 3 = $3099

That brings our total Facebook savings up to $11,393

Costs on LinkedIn

We saved the mother of them all for the very last. LinkedIn targeted ads can run as steep as $5 per click. For the purpose of our little experiment, we’re going to go with a very reasonable $2.

So, considering the modest 2,498 engagements we saw on LinkedIn, we saw a saving of –

2,498 * 2 = $4,996

Summing up, we saved $8,902 + $11,393 + $4,996 = $25,291

Now taking away the $749 (based on a yearly plan) you’d spend on the SocioAdvocacy program, you’re still saving upwards of a whopping $24,000!

Every month.

That’s over a quarter of a million dollars annually.

In case you’re still on the fence about the effectiveness of employee advocacy, you should know that interest increased 587% in the last year alone, as reported by IDC.

And besides having the obvious edge over Paid Marketing in terms of being more cost-effective, employee advocacy wins out in other areas too.

Where paid marketing is often widely ignored and associated with spam, employee advocacy gives you a chance to increase your reach organically while building a community and forming real-time relationships.

While both Paid and Advocacy marketing may have their clear benefits, you need to identify the method that works best for you as a brand. One that optimizes your marketing efforts, captures the interest of your target audience and maximizes the return on your investment.

If you’re looking for a customized quote on our employee advocacy program or to get a demo of the platform, you can get in touch here.
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