In spite of LinkedIn being among the Big Four social networking sites, alongside Google+, Facebook and Twitter, marketers have mostly been slow to embrace the vast potential for business-to-business advertising offered on the platform.
Advertising on LinkedIn provides unique benefits that other social platforms may not offer. For starters, the user base is highly defined and their idiosyncrasies are a bit more tangible. Other social sites offer a wider, incredibly diverse audience with immensely different interests, which can sometimes complicate the process of market segmentation.
LinkedIn has invested quite significantly in its ad targeting technology, arguably more than Facebook or Google has. When signing up for a personal account or company page, individuals usually provide their own targeting data so the ad targeting algorithm is able to accurately serve ads to very specific market segments based on the users’ industry, place of employment, title, skills and experience level, and their LinkedIn groups.
Other than the ability to target specific audiences, LinkedIn also lets you assess the size of this target audience even before you have paid for your campaign. Whether you want to know the number of women-owned businesses in a specific city or the number of employees in a certain company, you can access this information to help you assess the potential reach of your ads.
Users on LinkedIn are also largely performance driven. Mostly, they are on the platform for a very specific purpose, whether that is to network, find a job, improve their career or connect with other businesses or customers. The implications for this is that when done strategically, your LinkedIn ads could be something users value and are actually looking for.
Here are 3 ways to get the most from your LinkedIn ads:
At any given time and within any given target audience, users will see so many ads on LinkedIn. To boost the visibility of your ads amidst all the digital hubbub, include an image or a video alongside the ad copy. According to LinkedIn guidelines, including a video or image in the ad can increase the click through rate by 20 percent. Even among B2B audiences, images and videos are far more engaging and memorable than plain old copy. To be sure, you can AB test your ads between those with images or videos and those without to analyze the difference in ad performance.
When developing copy for your LinkedIn ads, bear in mind that B2B audiences and B2C audiences have significantly different priorities and needs. This means that the ad copy and creative for each of these audiences should be developed differently.
Your ads need to be professional without being too bland to be noticed or too vague for your target audience to understand. Remember, you only have 25 characters to impress with your headline. The goal here is to craft precise and captivating ad headlines that speak directly to your target audience.
In addition to crafting your headline, you want to create copy that will compel them to click through the ad and to take several conversion steps that will bring them to the end of the sales funnel. You have just 75 characters to accomplish this. Your copy should make a straight-up offer and a clear call to action that tells people what to do; this clarity and straightforwardness can significantly increase click through rates.
Once again, you want to do an AB split test to analyze the performance of one headline and copy, against another so you can know what is working and what needs to be improved.
This is yet another of LinkedIn’s unique benefits—diverse ad formats. With so many ad formats at your disposal, you do not have to limit your campaigns to formats that do not serve your advertising goals.
Here are a couple of ad formats that you can play around with depending on your target audience and campaign goals:
Sponsored content- LinkedIn lets you pay to have your content distributed to a larger audience within users’ news stream, providing greater visibility and engagement.
Sponsored InMail- This type of ad lets you send a target email to any of the users on the LinkedIn network. Instead of limiting you to a small square ad, the sponsored InMail lets you communicate to targeted users in a longer email message.
Follow Company Ads- This type of ad is great if you are new on LinkedIn and you are looking to grow the number of users following your company. Growing your following can increase your leads and potential customers and can boost your credibility on the platform.
The benefits certainly outweigh the challenges of advertising on LinkedIn. The most successful advertisers on the platform are those who understand and consider the specific idiosyncrasies of their B2B audience. A balanced blend of engaging copy, ad creative (images and video) and smart targeting can indeed make your LinkedIn ads irresistible. Also, while on the topic of Linkedin feel free to connect with me on Linkedin and follow my digital agency Jiggle Digital for great content on digital marketing.