How Effective Is LinkedIn Advertising?

If you’re feeling the squeeze to take the plunge into social advertising, read this to avoid wasting money…I already did it for you.

 

12 months ago I was in no way a social advertising expert. I’ve read the tactics from the pool of “experts”, consulted with people currently doing it and watched countless videos on YouTube so I could avoid wasting money. Seems like a great strategy right? What I came to realize at the end of all of my research is that I needed to take the plunge and test the waters. That was the ONLY way that I could really understand the platforms and their effectiveness for MY BUSINESS. Re-read that sentence a second time because it is very important, everyone has his/her tactics and playbook but will it work for you?

Unless your business is exactly like theirs, and from a growth standpoint you are at the same spot with the same support teams, take everything for what it is…advice. Since there aren’t any businesses exactly like mine putting out content on their tactics, I made the decision to test the waters with $2,000. You have to invest to really give the strategy the best chance for success and return, and since we were in 100% control of the content and demographics I was confident my team would make the most of the project.

The Strategy

I’m not going to get into the micro process for each of the 3 platforms I tested (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), let’s walk through the strategy and get to the recommendation.

First, before you can begin any strategy you have to start with the goal, why are you doing this? Is it to get a newsletter sign up, likes to your page, increase your following, website hits, lead forms filled out or something else? Know that FIRST, and make sure that you have the back end properly setup whether it’s the landing page, sign up form, tracking, your profile page/company page, etc.

Second, understand your demographics. Where are your potential clients spending time? Really think about that…don’t just take everyone else’s opinion that since Facebook has 1.13 billion daily active users you need to spend your money there. That platform is great for some and horrible for others in regards to advertising, know YOUR market.

Lastly, spend at least $200-$300 if you just want to test the market. You need to let the Ad run for 1 week to really get an understanding of how the algorithms are setup.

The Results

Here’s what we found:

  • Facebook: Great for B2C, and certain demographics but if YOUR demographic is people in the 45-65+ range (Typical C-Suite) in a majority of companies, then it might not be the best choice. While most likely they are on Facebook (everyone is), they just aren’t spending enough time in their feed for your Ad to hit them at the right moment..and that’s the key. They have to be spending at least 30+ minutes per day so your Ad, along with all of your competition (important to realize this), can show up in their feed and intrigue them to click. They have a great look for Ads, placement, demographic drill down, and 3rd party placement in other apps and sites, but if your potential client isn’t there it’s not the best choice. Price wise it’s very easy to stretch your dollar; if you’re looking for “clicks” to your site then you’ll be in the $0.30-$0.90 range per “click”, if you’re wanting likes to your page it will be closer to $1-$2 per “like”, and to fill out a lead form will be $6-$12…but the lead form quality won’t be the highest potential client for you.
  • Twitter: Similar to Facebook but slightly better for B2B, placement is good and the creative is a very similar look to Facebook. Demographic drill-down is slightly different than Facebook & LinkedIn, which could confuse you at first, so go slow with it. Pricing is competitive and you will see a very similar setup to Facebook with options on the “strategy goal” and thus the output will be very similar to the Facebook costs.
  • LinkedIn: Get out your wallet (very expensive), but sit back and watch your return drive massive results. Currently we spend roughly $1,500-$2,000 per month on our Ads to get new clients, and are increasing every month. You will need your company page set up and have some daily/weekly content already in there before you start so people don’t look at your page and get confused if you’re even a real company. Self Managed Ads is what LinkedIn refers to them as because you are 100% solo just like Facebook and Twitter. You control the spend, demographics, turning on and off, making changes on the fly and the content. Your Ad will be a “sponsored post” from your company page, so create the Ad on your company page first then click that you want to sponsor it. Go through the demographics (great UI here) and you can even drill down to certain “groups” the person is a part of. This isn’t 100% original; it’s just like Facebook. The title selections are great, as are some of the industries and background…I wish they had a better breakdown of industries but there’s other ways around it. But what’s the cost?

LinkedIn Pricing: It is expensive, relatively speaking compared to other sources, but if this is where your demographics live then you will thrive. You will be spending anywhere between $5-$9 per click…wait what? $5-$9 PER CLICK? Yep, but what we’ve found through daily tracking of people coming from our LinkedIn Ads to our website (if that was the goal of the campaign), then analyzing their behavior on our site, we see about a 40%-50% CTR (click through rate) which I’m fine with. I don’t know how that stacks up with SEO “Gurus” but for me it works, and it’s up to my websites content to get them to click through…so it may not be LinkedIn’s fault. If you choose CPM (cost per 1,000) the pricing will be very similar to what you’d actually be paying on CPC (cost per click). There are some sneaky tricks we learned to figure out what the best methods are and how to determine which one to select, that’ll be in Part II. So for us, and a lot of our B2B clients, LinkedIn Ads provide the best ROI and most qualified traffic every single day. This single method could replace the efforts of 1 internal sales associate, depending on your industry, and you can throttle the budget hour by hour and turn it on and off before weekends if you choose to.

Part II of detailed walk-through will be coming next

If your Ad Creative and Content SUCK, it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at it…you won’t get an ROI