LinkedIn-Ads – Often forgotten but a valuable addition to any marketing-mix

Foto Nico Bührer @ Webrepublic AG)

Nico Bührer

Advertising on social- and other networks is showing signs of picking up momentum. However, one particular channel is still too often neglected: LinkedIn.

LinkedIn-Ads – Often forgotten but a valuable addition to any marketing-mix

(Illustration: Katja Martinello)

Today, most companies use and know LinkedIn mainly to increase brand awareness by gaining more followers, posting updates and promoting products and services. General employer branding through LinkedIn’s costly but effective “Careers” pages is also one of a well-known strong suit. LinkedIn’s ad-campaign options have, however, not yet been discovered by most companies.

In terms of usability, LinkedIn’s campaign manager cannot compare to Google or even Facebook. Nonetheless, because of the efficient targeting options and the option to generate leads, they are a great addition to any marketing mix.

A closer look at the benefits

LinkedIn’s community has a very strong focus on professionalism. Members seek to connect with companies or professionals from similar fields of expertise. In other words, everything revolves around competence.

Because of this, users on LinkedIn specify exactly what school they attended, where they work, how long they have been working there for, what skills and what seniority they have – and all of this information can be used for targeting.

Should you, for instance, want to target female graphic designers and art directors between the age of 25 and 54 with experience in Photoshop, digital photography and studio lighting, who work in companies with more than 5000 employees and neither at IBM, Adobe, Microsoft nor Apple, you absolutely can.

With a targeting that specific, the target audience can become quite small of course. At the same time, LinkedIn’s strengths lie in these targeting possibilities. This is why it is best to use the channel in a larger, more diversified marketing mix and to never bet on LinkedIn alone. And at 2 dollars per click minimum, the target audience is best kept focused, as with these CPCs stray losses on LinkedIn can get expensive very quickly.

LinkedIn ads also include an option which is unique to the platform: the possibility to generate leads. Since its user base is generally very interested in contacting and connecting with companies, LinkedIn gives users a reason to click an ad even if they are not interested in the ad itself.

By turning on “Lead Collection,” you allow users to request that you contact them. This function will place LinkedIn’s Lead Collection bar on the top of your landing page. Once a lead is requested, you will see the user’s full name as well as a link to their LinkedIn Profile. It is one of the key strengths of this lead collection tool, that users are not required to submit any information or make calls, one click is all it takes. In addition, the tool is free.

LinkedIn, built for conversions, not huge numbers

So who is it for? For example HR-departments that want to do more than just standard job-postings but are not ready to make the monetary commitment of a career’s tab. For Marketers specialized in ads, LinkedIn is also a good way to help your HR gain reach or promote any other product or service your company provides.

Naturally the theme of the campaign should in any case be in line with the nature of LinkedIn’s user base as explained above. Ads for dating services and free browser games will not gain as much traction as ads for professional business services or career options.

What about performance? LinkedIn’s impression or total click numbers will look rather meager compared to Facebook’s or search engines’. But keep in mind, target audiences are kept narrow here and thus things look quite different when we look at click through rates (CTR).

Five weeks into an ongoing global recruiting campaign we achieved a total click through rate of 0.11% across 21 campaigns, with some of the ads reaching more than 0.3%. Facebook can only dream of such numbers, the social juggernaut’s average CTRs are about 0.04%.

So what?

You are spending time and making an effort determining your ideal hyper-targeted audience and you are paying USD 2.00 minimum for each click. Impressions and clicks will most likely be lower than what you are used to, but higher CTRs will make you feel better – focus on conversions is absolutely key here.

Keep in mind: mechanics for tracking users after them having clicked an ad and entering external sites (e.g. career-tools on e-recruiting platforms) need to be in place before your LinkedIn campaign goes live. Once this is set up, the target-audience is determined, and the ads are live, LinkedIn will be a very valuable asset in your marketing mix.