Unknown to many businesses new to online advertising is how useful the professional social network LinkedIn can be as part of a diverse social media strategy.
It’s frequently used by professionals in every industry, is regularly updated with fresh social updates and discussions in the segmented groups and features a large number of informative articles and industry studies inside of its internal free-to-use blog, Pulse.
One of the largest and most uncommonly known advantages to LinkedIn is their own advertising network, which runs throughout the website and connected directories.
LinkedIn’s advertising platform, like its profiles, is quite similar to Facebook. The data it has on its users is more work-oriented, so the employment targeting options available are much richer. A lot of the advertising done on LinkedIn is recruitment, but that doesn’t stop other businesses from targeting the LinkedIn audience whether selling consultancy, events, marketing help or even franchises.
It’s not just businesses who are already successful with LinkedIn who are able to attract leads and customers from the ad platform either. Experimentation and testing is the only reliable way to find out if, and how well, LinkedIn ads can work for your business.
Next we’ll share with you how to create your first LinkedIn advert.
How To Create A LinkedIn Advertising Campaign
Let’s go through the process of setting up a LinkedIn advertising campaign for the first time:
- To sign up for advertising, go to linkedin.com/ads and click on the ‘Start Now’ button. You’ll see the option to create an ad or promote an update. For this example, we’ll be creating an ad.
- Before setting up your campaign, decide whether you’re advertising a business or yourself. If you’re advertising on behalf of your business, you’ll want to set up a Business Advertising account by clicking the drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner. If your company is already on LinkedIn, you can link it at this stage as well as choose your currency.
- You’ll need to choose a name for your ad campaign, select the destination (whether you’re sending the audience to your website or a page on LinkedIn), then it’s time to create your ad
- The rules here are exactly the same as for Facebook: the picture matters as it’s the element that will draw the visitor’s eye. Then they’ll scan the headline for a perceived benefit. Remember to be clear about benefits and what will happen when they click on the ad.
- Image size is 50x50px and it’s important to add a picture as ads with an image are 20% more likely to be clicked on.
- The ad headline length is a maximum of 25 characters with the ad body allowing 75 characters.
- Once you’ve written your ad, you can click Duplicate to create a duplicate version, allowing you to test a different image and/or copy. If you’re undecided between two pictures, for example, you can test the click-through rates using each, thus allowing your audience to choose.
Once you’re done setting up your ad, click Next to move to the targeting options…
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How To Target Your Audience
The targeting options available include:
- Geography: From targeting continents to specific cities, the geo targeting allows physical shops and businesses serving a specific location to keep their advertising costs economical.
- Company: You can target specific companies by name (useful for laser targeting high-value potential clients) or companies by category (size or industry). If you know your audience really well, now you can target them precisely.
- Job Titles: Again, if you know who in your target organisations is responsible for the buying decision, you can narrow your ad focus onto them using the job title targeting. There’s no need to waste money advertising to lower level workers if it’s upper-level management who will be making the decision!
- Groups: you can choose which groups on LinkedIn you’d like to target. There are tens of thousands of groups on LinkedIn ranging from groups regarding a product development inside a company to a company’s official group to post job openings etc. You might want to do some research on the groups you’d like to target before adding them. It is a time-consuming task but it narrows down your target audience effectively.
- Skills: For LinkedIn advertising, targeting by skills is almost the equivalent of targeting Facebook ads by interest. If your audience is primarily accountants, you can choose ‘accountants’ in the skills section to narrow your ad visibility to target only those who match your ideal customer.
- Gender and age targeting hopefully need little explanation!
- The last option, “also reach LinkedIn members on other websites through LinkedIn Audience Network”, gives your ads legs outside the LinkedIn site. This checkbox gives permission for your ads to be shown on websites that are connected to LinkedIn or show LinkedIn content. If a user is signed up in their LinkedIn account while visiting one of those sites, they can see a personalised advert if they fall into your targeted audience criteria you just set.
So your ad and variations are set, your audience is targeted and it’s time to get down to the money…
Choosing Your Budget and Billing Options
Ads on LinkedIn can get expensive quite quickly. Generally, the Cost Per Click (CPC) is a multiple of what Facebook charges, probably due to the quality of the audience. This means that keeping a close eye on your budget is advisable, particularly with new and untested campaigns.
There are two payment options in LinkedIn:
- Pay-per-click (PPC): with this option, you specify the maximum amount of money you’re willing to pay each time someone clicks on the ad. This option is a good bet if you’re not sure how many people will click on the ad or what your conversion rate is because you only pay for real ad clicks.
- Pay-per-1000 impressions (CPM): There are two scenarios when CPM is a good choice:
- When you want to ‘spread awareness’ and don’t care too much about how many people click on the ad. This is similar to display advertising where you’re paying for the visibility rather than the clicks themselves
- If you have a well-performing ad campaign and are generating a lot of clicks, it can sometimes work out cheaper to choose a CPM payment model if you can get more clicks per 1,000 impressions than the industry average.
- Budget: You’ll then get to set your daily budget, stopping you from being too liable should you forget to turn off the ads.
- Costs: Minimum costs (in US Dollars. For local currency a rough conversion is done by LinkedIn):
- Minimum daily budget is $10/day.
- Minimum CPC bid is $2/click.
- Minimum CPM bid is $2/1000 impressions.
- Lead Collection: If your ad campaign is seeking to generate high quality leads that you can follow up with by email, the Lead Collection option is a neat trick. This allows your audience to click on the ad to agree to share their contact details with you. You’re then notified by email that they’ve shared their details with you and you can contact them by email or through LinkedIn to tell them more about your business or service.
- Fees: There’s a starting fee associated with launching a LinkedIn ad campaign of $5 (again, roughly converted to local currency) that becomes ad credit once the campaign is live.
By regularly testing different demographics through minor adjustments to your selection of groups, job titles, and skills you’ll quickly find what’s working best towards increasing your brand awareness, increasing your customer leads, and potentially multiplying your monthly sales.
Have you used LinkedIn Advertising before?
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