Social media advertising revenue has been consistently growing each year. DCN reports that over $3 billion was spent on Facebook advertising in Q3 2016 alone, making Facebook the second biggest company for digital advertising, only coming second to Google. Unless you’ve been under a digital rock for the past few years, you’ll be more than aware of the benefits of advertising on Facebook. But how should LinkedIn fit into your social media management strategy?
The Benefits of LinkedIn Advertising
LinkedIn has lots of benefits over other social networks. Their targeting capabilities are more thorough for a start. But LinkedIn advertising isn’t ideal for everyone and to decide whether or not it’s right for your business, you need to first work out exactly who your target audience is and what networks your adverts are likely to be best received on.
For example, if you’re advertising quirky IT related t-shirts, your target audience is likely to be IT workers. LinkedIn has over 24,000 members that are listed as working in an IT role in the UK, but does that make advertising on LinkedIn for your clothing the best option? Not likely, and here’s why: LinkedIn is primarily a site for professionals who are looking for updates in their industries and companies that can offer benefit to their current role.
LinkedIn is at its busiest between 8am and 4pm Monday – Friday. This shows that most people whilst on LinkedIn are likely to be at work / working. A recent study by Buffer revealed that people primarily go on LinkedIn for industry insights and company news. This would indicate that people are unlikely to be receptive to adverts for clothing and are even more unlikely to actively shop whilst on LinkedIn.
However, if your company offers a product or service that fits well with working professionals, such as a software designed to improving efficiency in managing IT projects, then LinkedIn is much more likely to bring you advertising success that other channels.
Steps for Advertising on LinkedIn
Step 1: Define who your product or service is for – who does it benefit?
We’ve already established that people use LinkedIn for work-related purposes, so if your product or service would benefit someone in their role, or benefit someone’s business, LinkedIn is definitely a channel you should be advertising on.
Step 2: Define your audience
Going back to my IT project efficiency software example, there are over 24,000 UK LinkedIn members that work in IT. The expected cost per click is between £5 and £7. Bad practice would be to blanket target everyone in IT. This will get you seen by a lot of people and will deliver a lot of clicks, but not all of them will be from people likely to be in the position to buy your software. Blanket targeting is a sure fire way of rinsing through your budget with very little in the way of conversion.
LinkedIn has a heap of targeting options, ranging from industry, company size, job title, age, gender, seniority and more. The more defined your targeting is, the more likely your campaigns will succeed. A good example for IT efficiency software would be to target the IT industry, company size 50+ employees and job roles such as Head of IT and IT director as these positions are likely to be the decision makers.
Of course, it’s not always the top level that you should target. There will always be occasions where key influencers are lower in seniority, which brings us back to why it’s so important to know exactly who your audience is.
Top Tip! Don’t forget about including LinkedIn Groups in your targeting! Research LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your audience. See the type of questions and discussions that are being posted within the groups, This will help you 1) ensure you’re writing relevant content and 2) give you an additional place to be seen by prospective customers/clients.
Step 3: Make your content relevant
Running generic campaigns can bring success, however running targeted campaigns that talk about topics directly related to the job role or sector you’re targeting will see far better results. Supply internet for a wide range of festivals and events and you want to run a campaign to corporate event managers? Create a post that talks about why your service is the best for corporate events. There’s no need to talk about other types of events as these won’t be relevant to the audience you’re targeting and will decrease the chances of someone clicking.
Step 4: Make your posts engaging
Try to keep your campaign posts short and punchy (approx 25 words). This is for two reasons – 1) less people will read through a really long post and 2) LinkedIn cuts posts off with a ‘read more…’ link so if your point isn’t made before this cut off then it’s unlikely to be seen at all. According to Buffer, on average, posts that contain images lead to 98% higher comment rate and posts with videos achieve twice as many actions (likes, shares, and comments) and a 75% higher share rate.
Step 5: Try A/B Testing
LinkedIn gives you the option of running multiple adverts in a campaign. Use this option to test which ad format works best for your audience – what media works best out of images or video, fewer words or more, corporate tone or more informal. Once you’ve established the style that converts best you can align future ads for optimal performance.
Step 6: Make sure your landing page is optimised for your campaign objective
You’ve done the hard work and successfully interested someone enough to click on your ad / click to your website. Make sure all your effort (and money) isn’t wasted and your landing page is user friendly, says everything your new visitor should know and has great CTAs that make it super easy for your new visitor to complete your objective; whether that’s simply reading a blog post, filling out a form, downloading a file, contacting you or buying a product.
Step 7: Allocate a realistic budget
Clicks on LinkedIn campaigns are more costly than Google PPC however, unlike Google, your LinkedIn ads will only be seen by the people you want seeing your ad. As with other channels, LinkedIn will optimise for higher budgets. If you are working with very limited budgets, consider breaking down your audience into smaller groups or run your campaigns for shorter periods of time giving a higher daily budget – instead of running one month long campaigns at £250 max budget (£8.30 per day), run the same campaign for 2 weeks keeping the same budget of £250 giving a higher daily budget of £16.30.
Step 8: Change your content for each campaign
Cardinal sin – never let your content become background noise. If you run the same sponsored post for more than a month to the same audience set you run the risk of people becoming blind to it, regardless of the platform you’re using. Reword your post, use different images or videos, change the link description. I’ve seen this happen many times however the most memorable would be from an account I helped out on for Facebook last year. The same advert creatives and text had been running to the same audience for 7 months. Conversions trended down after month 1 from an average of 60 per day to between 20 and 30 per day by month 7, Cost per conversion also increased steadily from $0.43 per conversion to over $1.00 per conversion by month 7.
After designing all new creatives and writing new ad copy, we saw a spike of over 100 conversions a day at an average cost of $0.45 per conversion.
Step 9: Track your campaign’s success!
It’s so important to accurately track and monitor your marketing campaigns regardless of the platform you’re using. This will show you what works, what doesn’t and help you decide where to attribute the budget for future marketing activities. Before you launch your campaigns, you should set up conversions within your campaign manager account for any action that can be taken on your site, whether it’s the intended action for your campaign or not. For example, someone may send a contact form enquiry rather than download a free demo; that activity is still important to track. You can add multiple conversions and decide which to use for each campaign.
You can also use Google’s Campaign URL Builder to create trackable URLs using UTM tracking and/or implement Google Tag Manager for an all round better tracking solution.
Step 10: Take learnings from your results
Let’s be honest – not every campaign works as well as we’d like. Some bomb! It’s ok to not do so well sometimes. It’s what you take from it that counts. Always build in time to analyse your campaign results, even when your campaigns are performing well. What job role clicked the most, what country best performed, what type of media achieved the most conversions etc. With every campaign you run, take analyse the results to help you run more refined, optimised campaigns going forward.
*This example has rows removed.
LinkedIn won’t give you results on a demographic with less than 10 clicks however, you should get enough of a snapshot to establish who was liking your ads, who was converting and who wasn’t. Use this information to help shape your targeting for future campaigns.