1) Why LinkedIn Ads?
LinkedIn is a platform used by over 400 million professionals around the globe. So, if you are a business and you still haven’t experimented with LinkedIn… what are you waiting for?!
The targeting is pretty spot on and includes options from location, company size, job title, job seniority, skills and much more. You can also reach out to professionals and/or students.
LinkedIn offers ad options suitable for all sized businesses, from SMEs to large corporates. If your budget is higher than $25k then you can use premium advertising that includes sponsored groups, lead acceleration, sponsored InMails and display ads, however most of us, unfortunately, can’t afford that! The good news here is that we can use Sponsored Content or Text Ads, and for these, all you need is a company page.
Both options have their pros and cons, but we will talk about this later.
2) Comparing Social Media Advertising on other channels
Let’s get a quick insight on other social media platforms first and try to understand why and when we should consider LinkedIn instead of Facebook or Twitter.
Facebook : Facebook has a massive audience but it’s crowded and competitive. The cost of paid ads are not too bad (CPC can easily be below £1). Targeting is strong too, you can target by demographics, location, interests and more (check out interest targeting).
It all comes down to what you are advertising. If you are offering marketing services, Facebook might not be the best place. If you are looking for b2b advertising, again it might not be the right channel for you as people are rarely in a “business” mindset when scrolling through Facebook. However, if for example, you are advertising a fashion brand, it could be a really successful channel for you. Facebook can also be great for brand awareness (just make sure you are targeting the right audience!).
If you’re doubtful that Facebook would work for you, I would always suggest a small, controlled test first because all businesses are different, and what works for one may not work for another.
Twitter : What do people share on twitter? Mostly images, articles and videos followed by status updates and more. At first it didn’t strike me as the best platform for lead acquisition however it offers great advertising options :
The “Website clicks or conversions” option (shown above) is great if you want to drive traffic to a specific landing page for either awareness or lead acquisition. Therefore if you’re looking for conversions, or to drive traffic to a specific landing page for awareness or acquisition then Twitter would be a good place to start experimenting with ads.
You can easily target by keywords, followers, interests and more.
However, the best platform in my eyes for b2b (or in some cases even b2c) is still LinkedIn.
It’s unashamedly focussed on businesses and networking rather than being “social”. When people are using it they are usually focussed on work or business rather than just looking for entertainment. Having said that a lot of people seem to be agree that it’s often used inappropriately 🙂 The funny thing is that the guy that posted the below is actually using it as Facebook himself.
Comprehensive targeting : The targeting options are comprehensive and if you put together a strong enough campaign then you could be generating a nice amount of leads in no time. Be prepared though, LinkedIn is more expensive than Twitter or Facebook and if you are advertising to a very competitive audience then you could be looking to spend up to £5 or £6 a click (worse case scenario).
Of all the targeting options on LinkedIn, my favourite is Job Role. For example if you are offering an ebook download entitled “5 tricks to increase telesales performance” you would probably want to target team leaders and sales agents.
Scenario : If you are a startup and you are offering a b2b service you should probably test LinkedIn. Allocate some budget to this channel to understand if it’s worth scaling into it or not.
These are some key questions you should have answered internally before engaging in any ads on LinkedIn or any platform :
- What is the service or product I am offering?
- What persona am I targeting? (CEO? Secretary?)
- How big is the audience?
- What are you hoping to achieve from the activity? Are you looking to generate sales, registrations, leads or simply build awareness?
If you can’t answer these questions, this is what you need to do :
1) Create personas to identify who your customers are
2) Make a firm decision on what your desired outcome is be it leads, signups, awareness etc?
3) Do you have something to offer? People are more likely to give their email if they are getting something back (if you don’t have anything to offer I suggest you create something useful that adds real value – such a in depth ebook – as it could dramatically increase your conversion rate).
3) Should you use Sponsored Content or Text Ads?
They are both different and serve different purposes.
Sponsored Content is very similar to newsfeed updates on Facebook, where Text Ads can be compared to display ads from AdWords (see below) :
That’s what LinkedIn thinks anyway. Now, let me dig in a little more and give you some numbers from my personal experience.
|Metric||Sponsored Content (what can you expect?)||Text Ad (what can you expect?)|
|AVG CPM||£3 to £6 (depends on the bid)||£0.50 (depends on bid)|
|CTR||0.2% to 3% (depends on campaign)||0.01% to 0.03% (depends on campaign)|
|Impressions (£10 spend)||2000 circa||20,000 circa|
|Conversion Rate on Page (lead acquisition in our case)||Around 10%||Around 20%|
Please keep in mind that most of the results above are taken from campaigns/experiments we ran in the past 6 months.
The Average CPM is much lower on Text Ads, however CTR is higher on Sponsored Content.
Something I‘ve also noticed is a higher conversion rate on the landing page from the Text Ads. My assumption is that people are aware that this is a business ad and are prepared to be led to a lead acquisition page. Sponsored Content ads are often seen as people scroll down their feed, these are viewed in the same way as updates and unless the image or headline really grabs their attention they will not click on it. Headline and image play a big part in Sponsored Content. Text ads also have less characters available meaning they are often more direct.
If you really want Sponsored Content I would run a split test with 50-50 budget split to see which one is more effective for your business.
From the table it’s also clear that Sponsored Content have a much lower reach (impressions) than Text Ads. Text Ads obviously have a wider reach and they can be displayed on any page of the platform, Sponsored Content will only be running on the home page (news feed).
In both campaigns the bid strategy will have an impact on the final results. Personally I would test the campaigns with the lowest bid possible initially and see it achieves any traction. If the results are poor I would raise my bid to the minimum bid required and then keep upping the bid until I get decent enough results. A higher bid doesn’t always mean higher performances as the cost increases.
Don’t forget that you can also use the option CPM (cost for every thousand of impressions). Again, I would split test this. Create the same campaign and chose CPC for one and CPM for the other one then let them run for a while (until you get to a statistical significance that you’re happy with).
There are loads of paid channels out there and not all of them work for lead acquisition. However it all comes down to the product/service you are advertising and the outcome you are looking to achieve.
Some platforms are better for content distribution to increase returning visitors to the site, others are more suitable for lead acquisition (driving traffic to an optimised landing page), finally some channels are not as effective on their own but can be great channels if you run them in combination with 1 or more other channels.
For what concerns LinkedIn Ads specifically : Sponsored Content is great if you are offering a piece of content (a blog, free tips etc…) with the purpose of increasing average session duration on site and returning visitors. However, Text Ads are much better for lead acquisition.
In conclusion, I would suggest sending visitors from the Sponsored Content to the blog on the site, and the visitors that come from Text Ads to an optimised lead acquisition page.
It’s working for us. Does it work for you?