LinkedIn has become a prime spot for professionals and businesses alike, making its advertising options increasingly popular. With a focus on a professional demographic, LinkedIn ads offer targeted campaigns that promise high-quality leads and niche market reach.
However, the advantages of precise targeting and professional audience come at a higher cost and require ads to be exceptionally well-crafted. This brief overview will delve into the key pros and cons of using LinkedIn ads, guiding you to make an informed decision for your marketing strategy.
Pros of LinkedIn Ads
Targeting Options that you don’t have on other platforms
LinkedIn advertising is very different when it comes to its targeting options. While they lack some options that you may be used to (we’ll talk about that in the cons section) there are some areas where LinkedIn’s targeting is far better, specifically, in targeting people based on their jobs.
While these options are available on other platforms such as META Ads, they are not very accurate. This is because most people either don’t list their job or company on Facebook or don’t update it very often. LinkedIn, however, is typically pretty up-to-date because many see it as their online resume. This means that the data is very accurate and you can easily find people from their job title, their company or industry, and their experience.
But that’s not all. You can also target people based on some of the more detailed parts of their profile such as which college they went to, what groups they are a part of, and what topics they typically follow professionally, among others. This allows you to get really creative with how you approach targeting while still keeping things to a professional level.
Relatively simple interface that is easier to pick up than others
While platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads are extremely powerful and robust, newbies can get confused very quickly. LinkedIn Ads, while not quite as robust, is much easier to use for someone new to PPC (Pay-Per-Click). They make it very easy to build new campaigns, understand the targeting options, and build the advertisements themselves.
There are some nuanced things that do drive me nuts about their platform even after they completely revamped the platform, but from an overall ease-of-use perspective, it is much easier to pick up and learn with no experience.
You can get really creative for all kinds of businesses
When most people think of LinkedIn, their mind typically goes right to B2B businesses. And while yes, LinkedIn Ads are primarily used to sell professional services and products, it doesn’t have to be limited to that.
You see, at the end of the day, everyone who works in business goes home and does other things. I know… CRAZY right? Those CFOs you might be trying to target also go home and watch football games. Those HR professionals love to go to the gym after a long day of work to blow off steam. Because of this, we have seen some creative campaigns on LinkedIn that leverage the fact that many of the clients also work in business.
To give an example, let’s say you are a personal trainer in a downtown area. I would assume that many of your clients work in the city and have some kind of corporate job. If you can identify trends in the types of jobs people have, you could potentially target them on LinkedIn with a campaign talking about the importance of health and how it can impact your work.
So while many of the businesses that we recommend LinkedIn Ads for are in the B2B space, LinkedIn Ads do give you the flexibility to target those people in a different way and get creative with the message you put into the marketplace.
The Cons Of LinkedIn Ads
Much more expensive than other social media platforms.
Probably the biggest con to using LinkedIn Ads is the cost. We often talk about how META ads are relatively cheap and you can get a lot of bang for your dollar. Well this is because there are a LOT of people on Facebook and Instagram and there are a LOT of placements for your advertisement (newsfeed, groups, Reels, stories, audience network. The list goes on and on.)
LinkedIn doesn’t have that luxury. There are far fewer people that use LinkedIn overall and even then, there are very few places where an advertisement can be placed.
For those reasons, LinkedIn Ads typically range between $2-$10+ per click when compared to <$.20 per click on a platform like META. This means you need a bigger budget to get started and need to be willing to spend more the more specific your audience becomes.
While you have different targeting options, there aren’t as many overall
One of the reasons that META ads are so powerful is the pure amount of data they have collected from all of their users. Even though this amount of data has decreased dramatically as of late, they are still more about you than you might think.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, doesn’t have that much data and really just focuses on one part of a person’s life – their work. So while targeting people based on their job title, work experience, and college is something that is uniquely LinkedIn, they lack the ability to dig deeper into a person’s other interests outside of what they do for work.
Long story short, if you are looking to target CEOs who love the Milwaukee Bucks or playing chess, you won’t be able to do that as easily.
Lacks the advanced features of other platforms
Early on, we talked about how one of the pros of LinkedIn Ads is how easily the platform is to use. While this is a great advantage of the platform, it also speaks to one of its biggest weaknesses which is its lack of advanced optimization options.
For example, on META Ads, you can optimize your ads to be shown to people who are more likely to take a number of different actions. While many of them are available on LinkedIn as well, there are certain ones such as purchases, add-to carts, and others that just don’t exist. While you can still get close and put some logic together in order to make your ads more effective, it is far away from being as advanced as some other platforms.
Should you be using LinkedIn Ads? Do LinkedIn Ads Work?
The answer is not straightforward.
To be honest here, we don’t recommend LinkedIn Ads very much anymore and it comes down to opportunity cost.
Most companies have very limited marketing budgets in general, let alone paid social media budgets. In our opinion, there are a lot of better places for that ad dollar to be spent than a platform like LinkedIn.
That being said, if you have the advertising budget to focus on LinkedIn, then it can be an effective top-of-funnel tool for your organization to use. By utilizing your best-of-the-best content and using a focused audience, you can reach new people that your other marketing efforts might not be able to reach.
Again, it is all about the context of your strategy and what your goals are in your strategy.