"Can we try LinkedIn ads?" has become an FAQ in digital marketing meetings recently. And truth be told, a lot of companies can find their target audience on LinkedIn!
One of the biggest benefits of advertising on LinkedIn is the ability to get very specific with targeting based on someone’s job. While Facebook also has the ability to target based on career-oriented demographics, it’s really dependent on someone adding their workplace, job title, or degree to their Facebook bio, which many don’t. Since LinkedIn users want their profile to act as an updated resume of their work, their career information is usually very accurate and therefore, tends to work better for targeting career-based demographics. This is a huge benefit to companies whose products and services are geared towards certain fields, industries, or job functions.
However, there are a few misconceptions that I come across when talking about LinkedIn ad campaigns, and I’m here to set the record straight!
Myth 1: Job titles are the best targeting idea
Often, when I’m asked to put together a strategy for a LinkedIn ad campaign, the first thought is, “What are the job titles of our target audience?” While this could absolutely be part of your strategy and is a great starting point in thinking about targeting, this can be very limiting.
In my last Knowledge Drop video, I talked about how job titles are an open-ended field on LinkedIn, meaning users can input whatever job title they want on their profile… as unique as it might be. Because of this, it’s estimated that LinkedIn only understands about half of the job titles of those on the platform. So, unless you spend a lengthy amount of time adding every possible variation of a job title into the platform, there’s a good chance you’re missing some users who should be seeing your ad.
I always suggest broadening your targeting by using their company’s industry, their broader job function, their company’s name, the groups they’re a part of, and the skills they may have listed on their profile instead to ensure you’re hitting the majority of your audience.
Myth 2: If I keep my audience small, it will be cheaper than advertising to a larger audience
Usually, people assume that the smaller and more targeted your audience is, the cheaper the ads will be. Fewer people seeing the ad = less money. While this sounds like it should be right in theory, it’s actually the opposite.
The smaller your audience is, the more you will need to spend to stay competitive and bid on the small number of users when they are on LinkedIn.
Now, I’m not saying you should expand the targeting of your ads to an audience that it wouldn’t be relevant to, but going back to the first myth I busted, expanding your targeting to ensure you’re capturing everyone in your target audience can really benefit you here. Plus, if your audience is really engaging with your content because the message or offer is relevant to them, your ad’s relevancy score should increase and you should see your cost per result decrease over time.
Myth 3: LinkedIn costs about the same as other channels
Because of LinkedIn’s specific targeting options, it’s typically much more expensive than Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. Should that scare you away from leveraging it? No, not necessarily. But, it’s something to consider as you’re selecting channels and budgeting for an upcoming ad campaign.
AJ Wilcox said during his LinkedIn Advertising class on CXL that LinkedIn is best for companies whose lifetime value of a customer is over $15,000. This was something that has stuck with me and works as a general rule of thumb in most cases. Why $15,000? Well, because the platform is more expensive, so it doesn’t make sense to try to sell a product where you would only make a couple bucks from the sale.
Which leads us into Myth #4…
Myth 4: LinkedIn is good for promoting my consumer product
Wrong. What does not work well on this channel is selling consumer products like trendy meal kits, Eagles Jerseys, cat hammocks, ukuleles, chocolate covered strawberries… you get the idea.
Why not? Well, again, LinkedIn is more expensive than other social platforms. Typically, it’s great for most B2B services and products, recruiting, and continued education due to the nature of the platform. Think about it: most people who are on LinkedIn are…
A. looking for a new job
B. considering advancing their career and wanting to get a degree or certification
C. interested in ways to enhance their industry knowledge by reading company insights, learning about new tools, etc.
In fact, a recent study from HubSpot looked at over 5,000 businesses and found that traffic from LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%, which comparatively is almost 3 times higher than both Twitter and Facebook. In line with this, B2B products and services, recruiting, and continued education do well on LinkedIn with ads that ask them to download a resource, sign up for a webinar, get a product demo, or generally request more information.
Myth 5: LinkedIn is most often used by people on desktops
When I picture someone on LinkedIn, I imagine they are working at their desk and want to share a new blog that they wrote, announce that they won an award, or even post about a new certification that they worked their butt off for – but this isn’t 100% accurate.
According to LinkedIn, about 57% of their audience is actually on a mobile device. This means when you’re putting together your campaign plan and creative, you need to make sure the graphic or video is optimized for a mobile device and that your website loads quickly and is easy to navigate on a phone. If you don’t check all of those boxes, you can almost always expect your ad to underperform.
In the end, LinkedIn ads can be a channel and tactic that drives results when leveraged the right way. If you’re ready to take a dive into advertising on LinkedIn and want to make sure you get the most of your advertising budget, give us a shout!
LinkedIn may not always be the right fit for your objectives or budget, though. Check out my top 7 digital advertising channels for local or regional business for some other ideas and contact us for more recommendations!