We are regularly asked by clients what the costs are to effectively advertise on LinkedIn and how they can maximise the results. While advertising on LinkedIn will cost you, there are just four steps that will get you real results – want to know what they are? We asked our founder, Lucy Bingle, to share.
Many clients are under the impression that advertising on LinkedIn is exactly like other platforms, but the reality is that LinkedIn is very different. Lucy explains, ‘Yes – LinkedIn’s point of difference is that it’s a B2B network, but what really sets it apart is that LinkedIn was initially built as a sourcing tool for finding people for jobs and collaboration. This means it has a very robust back-end and targeting algorithm – giving advertisers the ideal platform to hone and connect to their specific target audience.’
Lucy elaborates, ‘It doesn’t matter if you are looking to focus on the investment industry or reach CEOs in healthcare, you can double down on your audience and target them with LinkedIn ads. What you will need to keep in mind is that, with LinkedIn, the cost to advertise will be greater than Facebook, especially if you are targeting a large sector. So, allocate a realistic budget to the process.’
But before you part with your pennies – let’s talk about how to get the best from your efforts.
The first thing you need is a clearly defined LinkedIn marketing strategy. If you haven’t determined your objectives, no matter what the results are, they won’t meet your goals. Lucy advises, ‘So many times, I see clients dive into advertising, and they don’t have an over-arching strategy. When the campaign fails to deliver, many are quick to blame the budget allocation or the assets. As the saying goes – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’
LinkedIn advertisements are typically used for any of the following – brand awareness, company page follow-us campaigns, engagement, video views, lead generation, website visits and talent acquisition. So, when planning your advertising campaign, you need to ensure it aligns with your business goals.
REFINE YOUR AUDIENCE
The second step to success is knowing your audience. ‘Most companies have a good idea of who their customer is, but when it comes to LinkedIn, you can really get specific.’ Lucy continues, ‘To get the most bang for your buck, you want to focus on a concentrated audience, and the beauty of LinkedIn is that this is possible.’
Many people assume that LinkedIn advertising is just for targeting c-suite executives but don’t be fooled, targeting can be used to focus on any audience. LinkedIn has over 675 million users, so there is no shortage of sectors and job titles to choose from. LinkedIn also has several built-in tools to target, filter and expand your audience, ensuring specific and intensive saturation.
The advertising tool also offers content suggestions, helping to guide you on what will resonate with the audience you have selected. This tool is easy to use: simply choose the industry, location, and seniority of your audience, and LinkedIn will generate the latest trending topics based on those filters.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT LINKEDIN AD FORMAT
Once you know your objectives and audience, you need to make sure that the ad format you choose will meet your goals.
There are several different types of ads to choose from, and understanding how each work will make it easy for you to align them with the purpose of your campaign.
This is essentially a promoted post, typically an article or post from your company page that appears in the LinkedIn feed.
‘This is especially effective when you have quality brand content to share like video or whitepapers,’ advises Lucy, ‘but remember these ads do have the highest cost per click, so make sure the content you’re promoting is strategically selected.’
There are several options when designing a sponsored piece of content, including the recent addition of the carousel ad option. This allows you to feature multiple visuals that people can horizontally swipe through while on the LinkedIn feed.
Another option with sponsored content is video ads. Did you know that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text? Given those stats, creating video content should be high on your marketing agenda. You may need to test various video formats to see which type of video resonates best with your audience.
Text ads are the tiny little ads you may (or may not) have noticed on the right toolbar of the feed. Sometimes these ads may appear underneath the “People You May Know” section.
‘I rarely recommend text ads to clients looking to spend money on advertising. The reality is, if you are spending money, you want to position your ads in the main LinkedIn feed. The right toolbar is not prime real estate and is easily overlooked – your conversions will likely reflect that,’ Lucy explains.
Sponsored InMail can be a double-edged sword. When used well, it can convert more leads than standalone LinkedIn ad options. However, when used with a scattergun approach, it can be disastrous.
‘Sponsored InMails are tricky if not executed correctly. Even though these ads come from a personal profile rather than a company page, people can be put off if they feel salespeople are barraging them.’ Lucy advises, ‘InMails can be successful when they are highly tailored and used in a networking context, rather than a hard sales approach.’
MEASURE, REFINE, REPEAT
The final step to getting real results from your advertising is to take time to measure your campaign. The cost of LinkedIn ads is higher than other social platforms, so to ensure you are getting your monies worth, you should be monitoring your analytics closely. Then use the data to refine your targeting by adjusting your objectives, budget, message or assets regularly. Then repeat until you have reached your aim.
Also, make sure you feed the list of companies who are engaging with your ad to your business development or sales team. If your Ad is having high engagement from specific companies that should send a clear message that someone out there is interested in your service or product.
LinkedIn offers plenty of different options when it comes to advertising and is continually updating and releasing new features across the platform. To stay up to date with LinkedIn news, features and tips – follow us.