In this short article I’ll be introducing the concept of advertising on social media channels using a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy.  I find the majority of advertising in leisure revolves around fitness memberships with some marketing also directed towards swimming lessons, courses and a few other activities.  I’ll be using memberships as an example to show how you can start to use PPC advertising for your facilities.

Traditional Marketing Can Have Limited Returns

Traditional Marketing Can Have Limited Returns

Traditional, or offline, marketing focuses on leaflet distribution, newspaper adverts, outreach events, posters, roadside banners, radio advertising, etc.  Many leisure operators find it difficult to track the effectiveness of these advertising channels but continue to invest in them year after year.  What’s your go-to channel of choice?  What has always given you guaranteed returns for your investment?  Tricky to answer isn’t it?  Because we often rely on a inefficient tracking methods and anecdotal evidence from years of experience.

So what if there were ways to monitor the effectiveness of your advertising AND guarantee returns?  As you’re reading an article on digital advertising you can probably guess where this is going!

Digital advertising opportunities exist on many channels including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to name a few.  We’ll focus on Facebook for now and I’m sure you can read about Google advertising in another of my articles in the future.

Facebook has been around since 2004, generates over $40billion of revenue each year and has 30,000 employees worldwide.  It offers advertising through its Facebook Ads platform and as it also owns Instagram you can schedule adverts on that channel too.

Facebook Ads are shown to a user in a variety of ways, the most common being the mobile newsfeed, i.e. when you’re on Facebook on your phone and you’re scrolling through the newsfeed you will see ‘sponsored’ posts appearing.


One of the huge benefits of digital advertising is the targeting options available to marketeers when placing their adverts.  Facebook allows you to target users based on location, gender, age, interests and a few other demographic traits.  For example, if you want to promote a new class membership you might want to target 25-50yr old females living within 5km of a centre who have “gym, fitness, dance and exercise” interests.  Your adverts would then only be displayed to this group of individuals when they’re on Facebook, regardless of whether they follow your page or not.


The next benefit of Facebook Ads is that most advertisers will probably use a pay-per-click strategy.  This is exactly what it says on the tin – you only pay Facebook when someone clicks on your advert.  So if you’re advert to female class users gets zero interactions, you won’t pay Facebook a penny and yet your advert will have been seen by lots of potential customers.  However, don’t go celebrating the free advertising yet as there must be a reason why nobody clicked on your advert – wrong image, no specific call-to-action, poor offer, wrong audience?

Facebook Targeting Options

Facebook Targeting Options


The quality of your advert is obviously important when planning a digital campaign, but the real effectiveness of your advertising is probably based more on the outcome from where people are directed.  I should say at this point that there is an alternative to PPC which is CPM (cost-per-thousand) and is based on displaying your adverts to an audience and charging you for every 1,000 impressions.  This is useful for awareness advertising when you have no obvious destination to send people to.  However, if you do have a landing page to send ‘clicks’ to then make sure it is mobile-friendly (over 85% of advert traffic tends to be on mobile devices), provides information on the subject that caused the user to click, captures data if appropriate and uses video and images to be attractive yet informative.


So how much does a ‘click’ cost then?  In our experience a typical click is around 30p.  But this can fluctuate from a few pence to over £1 depending on a range of factors.  The size of your target audience, the quality of your advert, your budget and the length of the campaign can all have an effect on your spend.  However, when setting up an advert Facebook does give an indication of how many clicks you are likely to receive based on your targeting criteria.  And you are always in control of your budget so you can set a daily limit of say £5 so once your advert has received enough clicks to spend your £5 then the adverts won’t be displayed any more.


Alongside setting a daily limit you can also limit the length of time your campaign runs for.  So you can setup an advert that runs for a week with a daily limit of £5 per day.  At the end of the week you should have gained approximately 115 clicks to your website of choice (£5 x 7 days / 30p average cost-per-click).  If the campaign is working well then at any time you can extend the duration or daily spend, or alternatively if you are not getting the results then you can pause or stop the campaign.

Through years of experience and regular contact with our Facebook account manager we have developed an expertise within TA6 that is hard to match in the leisure industry.  Our adverts have been seen by almost 20% of the UK adult population and we have created over 1500 Facebook campaigns to date.

To find out more about our PPC advertising services or for a free audit of your marketing activity please complete your details below.