LinkedIn has emerged in recent years as a powerful asset for B2B marketers. In fact, it’s the bread and butter of social networks for anyone attempting to reach a B2B audience.
More than 450 million professionals across a multitude of industries utilize the LinkedIn platform. Users actively engaging with the site are using it with intention and implementing a quality vs. quantity approach. Facebook is still touted as the king of social networks with most active users accessing the site or app multiple times a day, but LinkedIn wears the crown for reaching key decision makers within a company or a field of expertise.
What is LinkedIn advertising?
Businesses of all types can strategically use social advertising to achieve specific goals related to brand awareness, thought leadership and lead generation. LinkedIn serves companies with budgets large and small. Its all-in-one advertising platform, called the Campaign Manager, allows businesses to launch targeted campaigns quickly and track results almost instantly.
What are the advertising options on LinkedIn?
When using the LinkedIn Campaign Manager, business marketers can access three types of ads: sponsored content, InMail and text ads. All three allow you get your message in front of your target audience in different ways.
Sponsored content is native advertising that appears in the LinkedIn feed, which is the most viewed location on the site. Users actively engage with posts in the feed, so sponsored content can be extremely versatile. It can be used to serve a spectrum of goals: drive quality leads, raise awareness and build customer relationships.
To make the most of this ad format, it’s best to take advantages of visuals and make brevity your friend. 75% of LinkedIn users access the feed from mobile devices, so content needs to look great on smaller screens. Also, posts with 150 or fewer characters tend to perform best.
InMail is an opportunity to directly target and engage users with a personalized message via LinkedIn Messenger. This type of paid advertising can lead to higher quality and lower cost leads, and it works with both desktop and mobile phones.
When using InMail, be conversational and to the point. Keep the message to 1,000 characters or fewer, and include a clear call-to-action that directs the user to the next step he or she should take. You can also incorporate a customized banner to brand your InMail.
Text ads are displayed on desktop devices only and can complement other LinkedIn sponsored content campaigns. The highest performing text ads are those that address their targets directly and include an arresting image and strong call-to-action.
What is LinkedIn audience targeting?
LinkedIn offers robust targeting options that are essential to getting your message in front of the right individuals. There are three main categories that can be filtered:
- Demographic data – job title, company type, seniority, etc.
- Interest-based targeting – group, membership, skills, etc.
- Member persona – opinion leaders, job seekers, etc.
Experienced digital marketers know how to fine tune the audience filters to reach the intended targets. However, be careful not to hyper-target. Focusing on too small a target group will limit the scale and delivery of your campaign. LinkedIn recommends a target audience over 50,000 for Sponsored Content and Text Ads, and over 15,000 for Sponsored InMail.
How much does LinkedIn advertising cost?
LinkedIn campaigns can have budgets ranging from a few hundred dollars a month to address a very specific objective up to tens of thousands of dollars to reach larger audiences with a sustained message. Business marketers can set their LinkedIn ad spending tailored to their budgets and goals, and they can pause or discontinue campaigns at any time.
Like other social networks and pay-per-click platforms, LinkedIn uses an auction system to determine who will receive your ad. You’ll be competing against other advertisers who are attempting to reach an audience similar to yours.
Marketers can set a total budget, a daily budget or specific bids. The LinkedIn Campaign Manager will recommend a suggested bid amount to reach your desired network, depending on your advertising type, audience profile and geographic region. Ads can be priced in three ways:
- Cost per click (CPC) – Pay when a user clicks on your ad; great for lead generation
- Cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) – Expands the number of people who see your ad; great for increasing brand awareness
- Cost per send (CPS) – Charges apply when InMails are successfully sent
5 LinkedIn advertising strategies from agency experts
As a digital marketing agency with experience in running LinkedIn campaigns for clients, we recommend trying out multiple strategies. Here are some of the top tips that can help your business.
Go bold with creative
Not all visuals are created equal, and a piece of creative that works with one audience doesn’t mean it will resonate with a different audience. Imagery can be a vital factor when it comes to engagement, so it’s important to find out what works for your company.
We recommend that you run at least four different creatives against your target audience to give your campaign more exposure and an opportunity to optimize for the highest performance. Consider how to use consistency across your visuals, so your branding can stand out as well. Utilizing humor, statistics or something unexpected in your creative will work wonders.
Boost conversions with Lead Gen Forms
If you’re looking to improve your conversion rate and get quality leads, LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms are a beneficial tool. These forms can be used with sponsored content and InMail and serve as a streamlined, mobile-friendly landing page. Lead Gen Forms are automatically pre-filled with a user’s LinkedIn profile data, so the user only needs to click the call-to-action button to sign up for your offer.
Lead Gen Forms have been proven to reduce the friction of conversions because of its streamlined process. You can download your leads from the Campaign Manager or sync the service with a CRM.
Split test your campaigns for the best results
A/B testing, which is also known as split testing, compares two variations of an ad to a similar audience, and the ad with the best conversion rate will determine the winning ad. This test-and-learn method is commonly used to help refine distinct elements of a social advertising campaign.
When using this type of testing, change only one aspect of the ad, so you’ll be able to identify what factor is making or breaking your campaign. A/B testing can be applied to headlines, captions, creative and even audiences.
Become a triple threat and combine advertising efforts
We know from all types of marketing that multiple touch points are always more effective than expecting a person to respond to one type of format. The same is true of LinkedIn. In fact, Sponsored InMail open rates are 128% higher if users are exposed to Sponsored Content first.
Go for maximum impact. Layer different ad formats together such as InMail and Sponsored Content. Campaigns can target a user with the same message in multiple ways, helping drive awareness and increase the likelihood of ad clicks.
Measure results and adjust parameters
The wonderful benefit to digital advertising is the ability to measure and monitor your return on investment. LinkedIn provides numerous metrics that allow you to fully assess the campaign’s performance and determine your level of success.
This information is invaluable as you continue to refine and improve your LinkedIn advertising strategy moving forward. You’ll be able to capitalize on your successes with future campaigns and revisit weaker performing ads and content to understand how they can be improved.
How can I get additional help?
Each social network has nuances. Having a team that understands your business and the digital ecosystem can create endless opportunities. Group3 Communications is a digital marketing agency in Raleigh with certified PPC specialists on staff. Contact us to find out how we can help launch your digital marketing campaign.