LinkedIn Ads: A Good Solution for B2B Marketing

Business-to-consumer advertising online has more channels than ever before, with search, social media, in-app, and count-less other avenues to target. B2B, however, can be more difficult. Facebook typically isn’t a good choice; CPCs on Google & Bing/Yahoo can get expensive, especially in competitive markets; and Twitter has great targeting options, but in my experience, can be hit or miss.

LinkedIn ads, however, may just be the way to go for many Business-to-Business advertisers. LinkedIn is, after all, the number one professional social networking site, with over 200 million members in 2013. In addition, unlike Twitter, where interests are very general, and paid search, where industries cannot necessarily be targeted specifically, LinkedIn offers a special advantage: members self-identify their job title, industry, and even current/former company– all of which can be pinpointed in the ads program.

After signing up for the LinkedIn ads platform, advertisers have the option of choosing Sponsored Updates (similar to sponsoring an update on Facebook), or a standard display ad (which is also available as a video ad). From there, you can write a headline and ad content (similar to Google AdWords), select an image, and choose the “advertised by” name you’d like to display (currently limited to your company or personal name). An example is below:

What I find the most valuable about LinkedIn ads, though, are the targeting options. Not only can you choose standard geographical option, but you can choose both company and job title-specific targets. Additionally, you can choose to limit your audience by school attended, specific job skills, gender, age, etc, as illustrated below:

Finally, LinkedIn ads can be purchased on either a CPM or CPC basis. While LinkedIn recommends a starting bid of at least $2.00 in many cases, I’ve yet to collect enough data to put together a case study at this point (but, that will be coming). Also, LinkedIn does require a minimum spend of $10/day to play in their space.

Before I am able to put together a formal case study, does anyone out there have any input on LinkedIn ads? How have they performed for your advertiser?

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  • Yeah, I see a lot of success from LinkedIn Ads. The platform is very different from AdWords and there’s a significant learning curve. The audience and targeting are unparalleled, though.
    I would recommend:
    1. Tag all of your ad links with tracking codes so you can track the effectiveness.
    2. Start out by bidding a bit higher than you normally would as poor CTR at the start of a campaign could sideline it and you could stop getting traffic.
    3. Start out with a VERY targeted audience. If your budget isn’t huge, you might as well give your campaigns the best chance of success by getting very precise on the audience.
    Feel free to reach out if you have questions about launching and I should be able to provide tips.

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