LinkedIn as a social network has over 630 million users. The vast majority of these users are white-collar and affluent, which makes for an incredibly powerful network to advertise specific, high-ticket products or services. Most social networks have an advertising platform and LinkedIn is no different. LinkedIn has an ad platform similar to Facebook, Twitter, and Quora.
The way it works is that you log in and define an audience first. On LinkedIn, you can find and define this audience in several ways. For example, you can target people by their titles, their departments, seniority, company size, industry, and geography, which are about one-fifth of the options.
For example, if I wanted to target decision makers in human resources in companies with at least 500 people in the United States, this would be simple to do using LinkedIn ads.
When placing a LinkedIn ad, the next thing you’ll do is define how much you're willing to spend on this particular campaign.
You can tell LinkedIn that you want to pay only when someone clicks, which I prefer to start out with. Alternatively, you could pay for every 1,000 impressions that your ad receives or even leave it up to LinkedIn to determine how they charge you, which is called automated bidding (I don’t recommend this).
Finally, you can choose what you want your ad to say to this audience using text, images, video, or event multiple images.
How LinkedIn compares to other social media networks
Facebook ads are the rage right now, but we’re currently seeing a lot of advertisers who have relied heavily on Facebook starting to experiment with LinkedIn ads.
The reason is if you’re on Facebook and trying to target B2B companies, the targeting is fuzzy and sometimes inaccurate, and yields small audience sizes. On LinkedIn, however, the audiences are very large, because LinkedIn has access to all your professional characteristics which lends to high-quality targeting.
So Facebook advertisers may really appreciate how easy it is to target business to business and the high quality leads LinkedIn ads produce.
How LinkedIn compares to search
Google advertisers may really appreciate LinkedIn for a different reason.
If you’re advertising on Google or Bing, or any social search activity, you’re able to capture only the people who are looking for what you do and you’re not able to qualify them by who they are.
For instance, if you sell a service that costs thousands of dollars per month, when you target using Google or Bing, you're only able to target the people who are looking for a solution for their problem, but not only specifically those who work in large enough companies or in the right industries that could afford your services.
When you test out LinkedIn, it’s really easy to segment your ads so they’re shown to the exact decision makers who can afford your service.
Also on Google or Bing, you're constrained by the need for people to know what they're searching for. Search works really well for established categories or products that people know exist. Social on the other hand and LinkedIn, in this case, is great for a disruptive product where you can show someone something that they didn’t know existed, but can actually solve a major pain point for them.
Therefore, advertisers from both search and other social camps may really learn to appreciate LinkedIn ads.
Cost of LinkedIn advertising
One critical factor to note is that LinkedIn ads are quite expensive compared to the other networks. On Facebook, you might pay $1 to $2 per click whereas on LinkedIn, you’re going to pay $6 to $9 per click.
So certainly you are paying a premium for the traffic, but it’s important to understand that because you were able to define your target audience so precisely, you're not wasting your impressions on people who wouldn't make good customers.
For this reason, LinkedIn is becoming the favorite for B2B advertisers for higher ticket products or services. Due to LinkedIn more premium costs, it doesn’t make sense for all advertisers.
The 3 things you need for social advertising
For a great understanding of who should be advertising on LinkedIn, come check out the free webinar where we’ll discuss the best ad formats to use, the best ways to leverage LinkedIn’s targeting and even what types of offers compel. Here at b2linked.com we have a favorite acronym we use when we’re thinking about social advertising. “AMO” (think “remember to bring your ammo to social advertising.) which stands for the Audience, Message, and Offer.
These are the 3 things every social media ad campaign requires.
The Audience is about how you target. The Message is what the audience sees— the ad copy, image, and even the ad format you choose. And then the Offer is what's is in it for them, what you’re asking them to do, the call to action (CTA), or lead magnet as it is sometimes called.
Your Offer is the most important part
One of the most overlooked aspects of LinkedIn ads, or any social advertising for that matter, is what kind of offer you use.
If you’re used to search advertising, people are already looking for what it is you do and are oftentimes ready to become a lead.
With social advertising on the other hand, you’ll be introducing yourself to a lot of people who will be hearing about your business for the first time. Most at this point won’t be willing to turn into a sales lead.Think about it, if you saw an ad that said, "Click here to talk to our sales rep," you would have very little incentive to click on that ad.
What happens is if you try an ad driving someone to a demo or purchase? The ad will likely not get clicked on very often. LinkedIn will see that it’s not making them much money and your ad will eventually be turned off.
Instead, ads need to create an offer that makes people excited to click on the ad. Some of the most common might be webinars or white papers. If the subject of your offer promises to solve a major pain point or satisfy a curiosity, the chances of having a very high conversion rate is excellent.
The most effective strategies for using LinkedIn ads
For a great understanding on who should be advertising on LinkedIn, come come check out the free webinar where we’ll discuss the best ad formats to use, the best ways to leverage LinkedIn’s targeting and even what types of offers compel people to convert.
About the Author
AJ Wilcox is a long-time digital marketer who fell in love with the LinkedIn Ads platform back in 2011. Since then, he's scaled and managed among the world's most sophisticated accounts worldwide. In 2014, he founded b2linked.com which specializes in LinkedIn Ads training, consulting, and account management, and recently became a Certified LinkedIn Ads Partner. He's a ginger, triathlete, and his company car is a gokart. He lives in Utah with his wife and 4 kids.