LinkedIN Advertising First Impressions

A couple of days ago I received an email from LinkedIN.

Background on my Experience With LinkedIN:

I have been a member of LinkedIN since day 1, but honestly, up until recently I thought it was complete rubbish. It just tries too hard to be everything else, although I’m starting to appreciate some of the directions it’s gone in. What do I mean by “everything else?” Well, it has an update bar – like twitter (and more recently Facebook), it now allows “friends” not just business connections ala Facebook, it has a whole question/answer section (a great idea), but it too closely mirrors Yahoo Answers system. And much more (blogging, pictures, etc.)…

But, amid all of this social media gobalee-gook it does have some awesome features:

  • Interactive Resume – Your profile is MUCH more like a resume than other social networks and allows you to always have an updated copy – an do some personal branding should someone Google you.
  • Recommendations – This is perhaps the greatest feature. You can quickly solicit others to write a recommendation on you or your company. Anyone on LinkedIN can quickly see how much love you have.
  • Business-Centered – Regardless of the features, everything is more “business-centric.” I receive almost no spam, and this is a great place to keep in touch with business contacts. I don’t want to befriend clients on Facebook so they can see my drunken debacles (just kidding – “or is he?”).

So a few days ago I got an email advertising LinkedIN’s own advertising network. Truth be told I had no idea this existed, and expected something akin to Facebook’s own advertising platform. Because the ad featured an enticing coupon, we decided to jump in. Before recommending any products/services to our clients we like to try it out ourselves in order to understand it both technically as well as financially (does it REALLY WORK and will it provide a return?!).

Below is a list of first impressions, good and bad, as well as a quick summary. 

LinkedIN Advertising Pros

  • Easy to Setup – Setup took about 2 minutes which involved logging into my existing account, creating 1 small text ad, uploading Atilus’ logo, targeting certain groups/areas, and then inputting credit card and coupon information.
  • Targeting – I love this about Facebook and now too, about LinkedIN. You can target people based on their position, demographic, geography, and much more. 

LinkedIN Advertising Cons

  • Limited Targeting – You can only target people by a few categories at a time (I believe it was 3) even though they offer the ability to target by much more, they get blurred out once you’ve selected three target groups. What does this mean? Well – our ad will be shown to nearly 3,000,000 people. I don’t want this, it’s far too many. I’d really appreciate the ability to further drill down to the exact people that should be seeing the ad. As it stands I had to make a sacrifice in terms of what department I wanted to show it to in exchange for a geographic location. Additionally, only a few major metropolitan areas are currently target-able (IE, you can’t just select “Florida” but instead must select Miami/Fort Lauderdale or Tampa/St. Pete). 
  • Expensive – VERY expensive compared to similar offerings on Facebook and even much larger PPC networks like AdWords. To give you an example LinkedIN suggests a price per click during the setup process and it recommended $6/click. Even with the $250 coupon, that amounts to only about 40 clicks. Similarly, they have a very high daily budget – $10/day or a minimum of $300/month (if you calculate it that way). 
  • Reporting – Jury is still out on this one, but the reporting seems pretty rudimentary. How many people saw the ad, and did they click?

LinkedIN Advertising Review Conclusion

At the end of the month I will review everything and do a larger recap/review once we have some actual data to present to you. But, for now, the major advantage, as I see it, that LinkedIN offers is targeting. I always felt that, although performance on networks like Facebook, was always not as good as other advertising solutions like conventional PPC advertising (via Google AdWords) they do answer the question:

How do I get in front of an audience that usually needs my services or products, but may not be looking for them at this moment?righ

AdWords, gets you in front of that audience the moment they are searching, but every other opportunity is lost. If they’re not searching, you can’t get to them. With this kind of advertising, where you target them based on their position, employer, etc. NOW YOU CAN. For the future I see this being a tool great for B2B businesses, IE if you sell printers, computers, consulting, and any other products or services to businesses, this could be huge AND you don’t have to deal with (and waste your money on) the riff raff that are on other social networks. 

It still has a ways to go (targeting needs to get better), but it looks like this might be an amazing advertising tool for businesses targeting other businesses down the road. 

As an aside, because of the nature of the site, as well as the advertisers I do think LinkedIN will always be much more expensive than Facebook ads or even pay per click advertising. However, that may be a moot point if the people you target purchase or sign up more. 

We’ll see…

Kristen Bachmeier
Kristen Bachmeier
Kristen Bachmeier is Atilus' Director of Operations and helps to oversee all client accounts and day-to-day operations. Additionally, Kristen has worked in digital marketing for 5+ years and has helped create digital marketing plans for hundreds of clients.

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