Social media advertising can cause some to be a big skeptical (myself included). However, I recently had the opportunity to find out what it is like to advertise on LinkedIn (if you don’t know what LinkedIn is, check out this blog for a little refresher).
The LinkedIn Difference
I find that LinkedIn is a great social networking tool and is an efficient and effective way to connect with past colleagues, classmates, business partners, and so on. You don’t have “friends” on LinkedIn; you have “connections”. It’s different from Facebook in that everyone there has one common purpose: to build their network for potential future career or business opportunities. The same cannot be said for Facebook – some are there for family interaction, some are there for remembering birthdays, and some might be there simply because they like the attention (I vote for this as the majority of Facebook users’ purpose for being there).
Let the Games Begin!
There are a few key features of LinkedIn Ads and Google AdWords that I want to touch upon, the first being targeting. I think a key difference between LinkedIn and AdWords is the audience of both platforms. As I previously mentioned, LinkedIn is for business professionals. On the other hand, Google’s audience is EVERYONE. So, if you’re a traveling circus firm looking to hire a 2005 Clown University Alumni that is approximately 29 years old, then LinkedIn may be a choice for your advertising. Through LinkedIn’s profiles, you can narrow people down by school, age, profession, major, class, etc.
The next feature is also important to your advertising – how will my ad look? Based on what I’ve seen, I believe there is virtually no difference between LinkedIn Ads and Google AdWords. LinkedIn Ads consist of a headline (up to 25 characters of text), a description (up to 75 characters of text), your name or company, a URL, and an image. Images are also available for Google AdWords, but only for the Google Display Network. The basics are pretty much the same between the two.
I could go on for hours about the difference between the two, but the last (and possibly one of the MOST important features) that I am going to cover is COST and BUDGETING. Both companies have the basic Cost-Per-Click (CPC) and Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions.
When working on a client’s account, we wanted to set up a MONTHLY budget for the ads. The feature of a monthly budget cap was recently released for AdWords. LinkedIn does not offer the same amount of customized control for an account; LinkedIn Ads provides only a DAILY budget. If you don’t reach your budget for a specific day, Google will allow you to create a monthly budget so that you can spend more on some days than others and that is definitely an area where LinkedIn is lacking.
A Cannon or a Rifle… Or Both?
When all is said and done, there really is no concrete right or wrong answer as far as advertising decisions go. We approach each client’s particular situation uniquely so that we can customize goals that can be tracked. Both of these advertising tools, ie., LinkedIn Ads and AdWords pay-per-click management immediately measures results. If people don’t click and convert, you have lost nothing but the time it took to set up the account.
When deciding on what approach works for you, keep these simple things in mind:
- What are your company’s GOALS?
- WHO are your company’s customers/audience?
- WHERE are your company’s customers?
Once you have answered those questions, you can decide for yourself which advertising medium is best for you. In functionality, LinkedIn has almost the same features of AdWords.
(The only difference – it is DEFINITELY NOT ADWORDS yet).