LinkedIn has often been described as a social media tool for professionals. It has become a highly valuable tool for businesses enabling networking, lead generation, head hunting and recruitment. However LinkedIn also has an advertising model but is it any good? This post will discuss the different types of advertising options on LinkedIn and evaluate it’s effectiveness.
LinkedIn Advertising Formats
• Sponsored Updates
• CPC/CPM Advertisements
• Email marketing via Sponsored InMail
• Display Advertising on LinkedIn
This post will focus on the first two advertising options – Sponsored Updates and Advertisements.
The Network Updates section is essentially LinkedIn’s version of the Facebook Newsfeed. We can check this feed periodically for a quick snapshot of what our connections (including groups) are sharing and you can share your own interesting content here too.
A sponsored update works in a very similar to a promoted post in Facebook and promoted tweet in Twitter, allowing us to extend the reach of important updates through advertising
In addition to sponsored updates, we can create our own advertisements. LinkedIn ads don’t appear in the Updates feed but instead appear on the right hand side of the page. LinkedIn ads can display a small 50 x 50 pixel image, in addition a 25 Character headline and a 75 character description
A valuable feature of the advertisements is that it enables split testing, so I can have over a dozen variants on the advertisement to check and see which format responds and behaves better in a live campaign.
One point to make regarding both formats of Linkedin Advertising is that there is a minimum CPC bid of $2 in the States or a quite unfair €2 in Europe (no exchange rate equity in play) LinkedIn does allow you to choose a CPM bidding model but there is no value in choosing this approach as click through rates for LinkedIn advertisements are well below 1% on average.
Benefits of LinkedIn Advertising
Unlike other social media networks and platforms, users pour information into LinkedIn which gives it extremely effective targeting options. While the platform definitely lends itself more to companies targeting B2B markets, there is still a lot LinkedIn can offer most advertisers.
I can run an advertisement that will only target the Owners, of Small Businesses in Ireland with less than a 100 employees.
While the Click Through Rate is relatively low, the quality of the clicks is much better and the quality of the traffic is higher than Facebook for instance.
Using LinkedIn Ads, HubSpot has been able to achieve click through rates ranging from 0.1% to 0.3% with an average CPC of about $3.
So is it good? My answer would be a qualified yes, while not perfect LinkedIn’s ability to target makes it a very effective addition to your digital marketing strategy.
Dan Slagen, Head of Paid Marketing with Hubspot gave a public endorsement of LinkedIn Advertisement and singled out the targeting features as central to the success of their advertising campaign. “We’re able to truly identify our core audience by going a step further and targeting by company, job title, job function and groups. This gives us the unique ability to tailor messaging and target the exact audience segment that we need. These are unparalleled capabilities not only within the B2B space, but within the entire pay-per-click space…..the quality of leads coming through LinkedIn is greater than through other social media channels“
Areas for Improvements
While the job title and sector targeting options are second to none, basic geographic targeting is more difficult in countries like Ireland. For instance, I can’t just target Dublin for instance which can be a problem and effectively means I’m forced to target nationally, even if I have a very local market etc.
At a minimum of €2 per click, LinkedIn Advertising is much more expensive than Facebook which can be very low depending on your targeting options etc.
The final area of improvement would be 100 character limit advertisements can be challenging to offer creative and valuable propositions to perspective customers.
So do I recommend LinkedIn advertisement. Well it depends on your business. I can say though that it highly lends itself to sales teams, B2B companies and for targeted inmail campaigns, and for those companies my answer would be 100% yes