Paid Social vs. Employee Advocacy: By The Numbers

7 minute read

paid social advertising and employee advocacy ROI.

How many of your employees are already on social?

If you’re reading this post, there’s a 99.999% chance that your company is spending a meaningful amount of money on paid digital advertising. Ads.  

If we use EveryoneSocial as a proxy, chances are your company spends somewhere between $2,000-5,000/mo per employee on paid ads. That’s a good amount of money. 

In 2023, companies are going to spend more than $65 billion on paid social advertising, such as sponsored posts, follower campaigns, etc. That’s A LOT of money.  

However, the dirty big secret with paid social is that over time the cost goes up and effectiveness — what your ads produce in return for every dollar spent — goes down.

I repeat: As time passes, social advertising costs increase and effectiveness decreases.

Why? Because what’s more important than ad revenue to Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and other social networks?


To generate the most revenue from their ad offerings, these networks must acquire and retain the greatest possible number of users at all times. Just look at the social platform stock charts. The biggest spikes up/down are always associated with user growth/loss.

In other words, users and the content they create are the foundation of any successful social network. They’re its most important asset, which is why all the major social networks will always prioritize users’ content over brands’ or sponsors’ content.

Here’s what Mark Zuckerberg had to say on the topic in 2018:

One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.

We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.

But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups.

As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.

So, what’s a marketer to do?

We all need to reach prospective buyers, and social media is where they all are. Certainly, we’re not going to stop spending on paid media, but how can a marketer thrive in this reality?

In short, by enabling its employees to use social media at work.

Giving your people access to an employee advocacy platform such as EveryoneSocial — to share company news, engage with their networks, and grow their personal following — is a fantastic way to turn the social media tables in your favor.

After all, in the eyes of social networks, employees are … wait for it… users! Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Threads, Instagram, etc., doesn’t distinguish between the personal and the professional you. You’re just you: a person!  

Let’s take a look at some examples of the results your employees can generate via EveryoneSocial vs. using paid social ads.

The leftmost column in the table below outlines top-of-funnel results our clients’ employees generate through EveryoneSocial. By sharing content from our platform to their networks, employees acquire followers, drive clicks, and generate engagement.


Avg. Costs.
*Conservative estimates. Seriously.

If you were to attempt to generate these outcomes by running ads on any major social network  — Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, for example — you’d very likely pay a lot more than the values shown here.  These are starting floors; e.g., Twitter advises that you budget a minimum of $3 per follower when running a follower campaign.

Conversely, a single active employee on EveryoneSocial produces these same outcomes — by acquiring followers, driving clicks, and generating organic engagements — at a FAR higher quality (remember, they’re people, not brands) and at a fraction of the cost. Literally cents on the dollar.

Ready to be blown away?

Using the results our clients’ employees created over the first quarter of this year, multiplied by the average costs per outcome outlined in the table above, EveryoneSocial clients were able to generate the following value.


everyonesocial Q2 client ROI

To reiterate, by empowering their people to promote company news and content, EveryoneSocial clients generated more than $200 million in earned media value over the first half of the year.

What’s more, they were able to generate that ROI for less than one-tenth of the cost of paid social.

Excited? You should be!

Any company can benefit from employee advocacy, and it’s definitely not too late to start. It requires a little time and money, but your investment will build something with lasting value.

As always, we’re here if you need us.


Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter, or email me directly at cbrain at everyonesocial dot com.

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