When will LinkedIn advertising get any respect?
When most people think about LinkedIn, they usually think of it as a professional platform filled with job seekers, recruiters, and overly aggressive salespeople looking to randomly connect with you just to “grow their networks and bring you value”.
And while you might be right about most of those (my inbox definitely agrees with my salesperson comment) there is a big opportunity that many marketers miss – LinkedIn Ads.
We have been doing more and more LinkedIn Ads for our clients as of late, and it amazes me how few businesses have even considered using LinkedIn Ads as a part of their strategy, especially in the B2B space.
We will get into some of the nitty-gritty details on LinkedIn Ads in another blog post. Here, we want to help you learn a little bit more about LinkedIn Ads and determine if it is something that you might want to try for your business!
In order to do that, let’s starts with some Pros and Cons.
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 Facebook 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, the company they work for, 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. 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 who is 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, but from 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 types of 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 that 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 really 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 are able to 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 much 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 Facebook ads are relatively cheap and you can get a lot of bang out of your dollar. Well this is because there are a LOT of people on Facebook and there are a LOT of placements for your advertisement (newsfeed, groups, Instagram, 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-$7 per click when compared to <$.20 per click on a platform like Facebook. This means you need a bigger budget to get started and need to be willing to spend more the more specific that your audience becomes.
While you have different targeting options, there aren’t as many overall
One of the reasons that Facebook ads are so powerful is the pure amount of data they have collected on all of their users. This data allows you to target people based on just about anything you could ever imagine.
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’s, 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 that love the Milwaukee Bucks, 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 Facebook 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 YES!
… and not just for B2B businesses. Any business can get creative with the advertising options available through LinkedIn Ads. The platform is pretty friendly to new users and you get a lot of great options for targeting people based on their professional lives.
However, if you are a business that has a limited budget or is looking for some more advanced tools to really dial in the effectiveness of their ads, this might not be the best spot for you.
If you do have some interest in running LinkedIn Ads, we highly recommend giving it a go! You might be surprised how well they work and they could lead to a lot of good leads for your business.