What you need to know about LinkedIn Advertising, Part I: The Basics
With 135 million members in over 200 countries and territories, the chances are, LinkedIn is a marketing channel worth investigating for your business. You might already use it to spark conversations online, conduct market research, promote events or generate leads, and advertising could enhance this activity.
We’ve been using LinkedIn as an advertising platform for a few of our B2B clients recently and generating some great results, so I thought I’d share my experiences of using it for anyone thinking of trialling ad campaigns. I’ve divided my thoughts into two posts for readability. Here’s part one: The Basics.
First things first, you need to establish whether LinkedIn is the right platform for your brand. As you’ll know, LinkedIn is a social networking platform for professionals, so if you’re a LinkedIn user, you probably log in to:
- update your profile (to attract potential employers and business contacts)
- check out others’ profiles (either for tips on self-promotion or to find new business / networking opportunities)
- make new connections and join groups
- keep in touch with existing connections
- look for job opportunities
- get recommended and recommend others
- ask questions
- answer questions
- search for and promote events
- find people searching for the kinds of services or products you offer
- get news and updates from your industry
- And finally... check out one or two ads? Like on Facebook, no-one’s signing in with a plan to surf ads; you might just happen across one that ‘calls out’ to you, a well know pattern for display advertising.
Creating an Ad Campaign
There are two types of Linked In advertising: display and text. Display ads start at a minimum spend of $10,000. In this blog, I’m focusing on text ads, as they’re a good way to test the waters before committing to more serious spend.
The interface is pretty straight-forward. You create a title, add a description, image and URL (be sure to add tracking tags to your URLs so you can analyse performance in Analytics later). Character lengths are:
Pay particular attention to the ‘Common Questions’ on the right hand side, as this gives you a general guide on what you can and can’t do when creating ads. It’s also useful to read up on LinkedIn’s advertising policies.
This is where it gets exciting! LinkedIn’s targeting is very easy to navigate.
- You specify your target country. You may be surprised to see just how far-reaching Linked In is.
- Then you can target companies (how ace is that?!) by name or by category; industry and company size.
- Job title’s next, and you can be quite particular here! You can target executives, heads of departments, managers and all those quirky titles that seem to pop up on profiles. You can also target by job function.
- Now for the pièce de résistance - you can target based on groups people belong to (something I wish Facebook would do!). There are so many people that join groups and are active members, so it’s great to be able to hone in on these people, as they can be super targeted to your products and services, representing the perfect audience.
It’s entirely up to you, but LinkedIn recommends exceptionally high cost-per-click (CPC) rates and its minimum bid is a whopping $2! It recommends that you bid well over $3 (which we found to be ineffective – more on this in my second post). And even though LinkedIn has a minimum budget of $10 per day, with a CPC of over $3, you can see that a $10 daily budget won’t get you far at all!
Okay, that’s it for part one. In part two, I’ll be getting down to the nitty gritty of optimisation and how to maximise ROI for your ad spend. I think you’ll be shocked by some of our learnings! Stay tuned...