LinkedIn has two different types of advertising platforms: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and LinkedIn Ads. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is the premium advertising platform, requiring a budget minimum and working through a company representative. LinkedIn Ads is a self-service platform that can be managed by any individual with a LinkedIn account using any budget range.
Why advertise on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn might be the secret sauce for any complete social advertising campaign, especially for B2B marketers. The LinkedIn network is comprised of members who are actively engaging with companies, professional networking groups, and industry trends. This gives advertisers an opportunity to reach the B2B audience of professionals and create awareness of their company’s services and happenings. To attract new business, LinkedIn has created a low cost solution with unique targeting capabilities.
What are LinkedIn Ads?
LinkedIn Ads are self-managed ads within the LinkedIn site and have no minimum budget requirements. You have a choice to run ads using a CPM or PPC cost structure, depending on your goals. The CPM price will generate more impressions for users to see your ad, while the PPC cost structure guarantees you are only paying for people who are interested in your advertisement and who click thru to your landing page. It is a relatively new program, with fewer advertisers to compete with and lower cost inventory. The ads are able to target specific job titles, job functions, industries, company size, and other geographic/demographic information.
Campaigns have a relatively straight forward setup and launch process. You set your demographic and location for the audience you would like to target, decide the dollar amount you would like to use to bid on impressions or clicks, and then set either a daily or lifetime budget for the campaign. Once the campaign starts to build traffic, there is an auto-optimization feature that can be utilized to send traffic to ads with the highest click thru rate. You have the option to drive users to an external page/lead form, or utilize LinkedIn’s built-in “lead capture” feature. This feature allows users to opt-in to be contacted by the company, making the lead capture convenient for the user and providing the advertiser with a link to that user’s profile to follow-up.
LinkedIn Ads Performance
There are two types of ads available on the LinkedIn Ads platform: LinkedIn ads and Sponsored Updates.
The LinkedIn ads include a 50x50 pixel image, a 25 character title, and 75 character body description. These ads appear on the right hand side of the homepage, profile pages, inbox, search results page, or group pages on desktops only. Due to the cost and bidding structure of these ads, they typically generate a low cost per click (CPC), a relatively low cost per lead (CPL), and a normally high return on investment (ROI).
Sponsored update ads include a 350x265 pixel image and a character limit of 250 for desktop, 160 for tablet, and 35 for mobile devices that drive to your website or lead form. You also have the option to use video assets, presentations, or other informative documents that LinkedIn users may find value in. These ads appear in the LinkedIn feed of members not subscribed to your company page updates and have the same targeting capabilities as the traditional LinkedIn ads. They are a non-disruptive way to reach members in your target audience; appearing side by side with content that members are already engaging with. Due to the larger ad size and placement, engagement rate is higher for Sponsored Updates and are the only way to reach LinkedIn’s mobile users at scale in the feed. While these ads are also purchased on a CPM or PPC, the cost is typically higher. However, CPL and ROI are usually in line, if not better, than LinkedIn traditional ads due to the larger amount of exposure.
Both ad types have options to analyze performance within LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, your company page feed, and your company’s analytics platform which can provide click metrics and other performance details.
Deciding to advertise on LinkedIn
Originally created to connect industry professionals worldwide as a networking website, LinkedIn has become a hub for people to interact with brands and stay up to date on business news and upcoming trends. With over 277 million members in over 200 countries, 84 million of those members in the US, as of February 2014, LinkedIn has become one of the most visited websites on the Internet. Even more importantly, LinkedIn offers an affordable solution to reach and actively engage with niche audiences, such as CXOs and chief decision makers.
LinkedIn advertising is on the rise and becoming an asset for today’s modern media mix, especially for business to business companies. It gives a professional twist to social advertising, allowing companies to engage and promote themselves in a different light than what is available on other social networks.