It might not have the user-base of Facebook or the demographics of Instagram, but LinkedIn is a hugely powerful marketing platform that often gets overlooked. In fact, certain metrics would suggest that the business-focused social network is able to bring in leads for advertisers at a rate that you won’t find anywhere else.
Whether you’re in B2B sales, recruiting, or any other industry that is career-focused, LinkedIn needs to be part of your overall strategy. In this article I’ll lay out the reason why, and provide a roadmap to help you put together a cost-efficient, highly-effective campaign.
Understand LinkedIn’s Strengths
If reach or “brand awareness” are your main considerations, there might better options available than LinkedIn. If getting high-quality leads is your focus, then you’ve come to the right place.
Per data company Insane Growth, LinkedIn leads convert at nearly 3x the rate when compared to Facebook and Twitter. How is it that much higher than the other platforms? To give the short answer, it’s because LinkedIn allows you to directly reach decision-makers in a way that you can’t on, for example, Instagram.
Businesses have different needs, and there isn’t one social media platform that works best for everyone. If your advertising strategy has a major focus on quality over quantity, LinkedIn is the way to go.
Trending in the Right Direction
As all social media marketers know (or should know), it’s not only important to understand the best way to advertise today, it’s crucial to see where things are heading. The latest numbers from LinkedIn show that the platform is consistently seeing lower CPCs (cost-per-click) and higher CTRs (click-through-rate) each quarter.
When compared to some of the bigger players, LinkedIn is still behind in terms of these metrics, but there’s a bigger picture to see. Aside from Facebook, LinkedIn is producing the second-lowest cost-per-lead. For context, LinkedIn’s $41.66 cost-per-lead is nearly half that of Google ads, which is hovering around $83 per lead.
Industry professionals are starting to take notice of these trends. From 2018 to 2019, 89% of marketers said that they planned to either increase their overall spend on LinkedIn or spend about the same (42% and 47% respectively).
One final number to consider is that 92% of B2B marketers are including LinkedIn as part of their strategy moving forward. This makes it the leading social network for B2B advertisers across all platforms.
Setting Up Your Ads
Now that you understand the potential that LinkedIn can have for businesses, the next step is to use your knowledge by putting a plan into action! I’ll lay out a step-by-step instructional guide that can help you get an ad up and running today.
Keep in mind that LinkedIn ads undergo a learning process that means it could take a little bit of a time before results start to become evident. The sooner you get started, the sooner leads will start coming in.
1. Select an Objective
Upon logging in and selecting to create a new campaign, you’ll be asked to select an objective. These are split into three categories: Awareness (stage one of the customer journey), Consideration (stage two), and what LinkedIn calls “Decision” or what we’ll call Conversions (stage three).
If your goal is to get the most eyes on your brand, awareness is your best bet. If driving traffic to your site is a high priority, then consideration is the objective for you. Finally, if you’re looking to capture leads, focus on conversions.
2. Building Your Audience
As with any marketing campaign, choosing the right audience is of the utmost importance. Getting hundreds of thousands of impressions isn’t going to drive sales if your audience isn’t carefully selected.
The base level of targeting on LinkedIn includes the usual suspects like location and user demographics. Once you get past these selections, you’ll find the options that give LinkedIn its competitive edge.
The specifics of the targeting options include things like industry, job title, job experience, education, and interests, which are based on the LinkedIn groups users follow. It’s widely accepted that LinkedIn’s platform is much more reliable than others when it comes to these targeting options.
3. Selective Your Creative Format
Just like on Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn gives advertisers the ability to choose the type of creative display that they believe will be most impactful for their ad. With options like single image, carousel ads, videos, message notifications, and more, there’s something for nearly everyone.
Consider your audience when making these selections. It’s important to have the ad type match the messaging for best results.
4. Setting Your Bids
LinkedIn’s system charges marketers based on their bids for one of two options: Cost Per Click, or Cost Per 1,000 impressions (CPM). Depending on which one you choose, you’ll only get charged when the action is completed.
Upon making your selection, you’ll be asked to set the bid number. LinkedIn will provide you with a range based on what other advertisers are using. It’s recommended to start out your bid at a little higher than the bottom of the range.
Another option is to do a daily budget. This is a good option if you’re running multiple ads and want to see which one will perform best. Once the results are in, you can allot more money to better performing ads, and less to those that are lagging.
When you first check in on your ad you might notice that there are zeros everywhere – don’t panic! It takes some time for the ads to gain traction and for the metrics to start populating. This is totally normal and not something to be concerned about when starting a new campaign.
Once the data starts coming in, you can start making decisions accordingly. The metrics you’ll look at when evaluating the performance of your campaign will depend on your goals. If you’re running ads to get leads, keep in mind that the CPC and CTR shouldn’t be as a high of a priority. While it’s nice to run ads that get a great deal of engagement, it’s more important to focus on CPA (cost per acquisition).
LinkedIn is growing rapidly as digital marketers are beginning to understand the potential the platform offers. For those in the B2B space, it’s a near-necessity.
The bigger social networks might produce results that seem more attractive on the surface, LinkedIn takes a “quality over quantity” approach that advertisers should always be looking for in their strategy.