Linkedin is one of the most targeted platforms for ads. You can target people not only based on demographic profile but also their education, career and professional interests. For example, if a luxury car dealership wants to advertise to high net-worth individuals, even though there’s no salary information on linkedin, one can target these folks using a combination of filters like company size, designation, age and schools they attended. They can even target CXO groups and show ads to their members.
There are a few advantages of the linkedin ad network:
1. Linkedin has more professional data than any other ad network in the world. If you are a B2B product or service company, this lets you target your consumers with a lot of precision.
2. There are relatively fewer ads on linkedin so there’s less clutter
3. Since linkedin is a professional network, any messaging there has more credibility than having the same message anywhere else.
4. With ad products like Inmails, once you reach out to a target customer, linkedin doesn’t send him another mail from another advertiser for 60 days thus ensuring that you have the complete mindshare of that individual.
Given that LinkedIn has all of these advantages, it surprises most people when linkedin ad campaigns don’t work.
Here are some of the things advertisers experience:
1. Text ads do not give enough leads and leads through these ads become more expensive over time
2. Inmails have a very poor reply rate
3 There’s engagement on sponsored ads but cost per conversion is very high.
Why do LinkedIn ad campaigns fail?
Well, firstly LinkedIn is super expensive as an ad network. Your cost per click can be anywhere from 5-20 times of what you would pay on Google Adwords or Facebook. Even if your conversion rate is 2x or 3x that of those networks, your cost per lead is going to be very high. Secondly, unlike Facebook where newsfeed ads have prime real estate, on LinkedIn, a lot of ad units occupy the peripheral real estate rendering them ineffective. Sponsored content does occupy prime real estate but engagement on the feed is substantially lower on LinkedIn than it is on Facebook.
Inmails have the most prime real estate but they’re a text only ad unit with a banner on the side, reducing readability by a big percentage. Inmails are also very expensive because you pay per send, not per open or per click.
Should you do linkedin ad campaigns then?
That largely depends on two things:
1. What is your budgeted cost per lead and your customer lifetime value – If you are looking for a low cost per lead channel, LinkedIn is definitely not for you. For a B2C company, if you can afford to spend 2x or 3x what you are spending on Facebook or Google per lead, then you should do LinkedIn otherwise not.
2. How important is the professional targeting abilities Linkedin offers – If you are targeting particular designations, particular companies or particular sectors, you don’t really have a lot of options but Linkedin.
How to make your Linkedin ad campaigns work?
1. Text ads need to be very catchy – Given the fact that text ads occupy really less real estate, they need to compensate by being catchy. The image need to have high contrast and even though it is 50×50 pixels, it needs to be very interesting. The headline needs to have a very well defined business benefit as well.
2. Sponsored articles and Inmails should have low-involvement CTAs – These ad units should be looked at as conversation starters, not deal closers. However, to start a conversation on linkedin you need to offer something of interest such as a webinar invite, free consulting or a whitepaper download. The more interesting the CTA is, the better is your likelihood of success. Thanks to your targeting, you’re reaching out to mostly your target audience so don’t use content as a filter in this stage of the funnel.
3. In Inmails, the less you say is more – Given that these are not HTML mails, used spacing wisely since its the only formatting tool you have. Don’t say more than required and focus on introduction of the service and business benefits.