With LinkedIn, you’re buying access to people with particular job titles, and there’s no reason to assume that they’ve got any pressing need for your products.
Now, the important difference between search engine advertising and LinkedIn advertising is that on Google, Bing and Yahoo!, users are looking for something. So your advert complements the search they’re making …which is ideal for promoting products. LinkedIn advertising is the equivalent to advertising in trade magazines, in that you’re buying access to people with particular job titles, and there’s no reason to assume that they’ve got any pressing need for your products. Just as with magazine advertising, merely saying “here we are, this is what we make” is like pouring money down the drain. You need to make a specific offer which could attract their attention, and use the medium just to make contact with prospects.
LinkedIn advertising is also relatively expensive in terms of clicks; £2 or £3 is typical, more is usually necessary. However, for a lot of companies, this still falls well below their good return on investment level; I know many companies which would be delighted to get 10 website visitors from a £500 magazine advert, so getting them at anything under £50 each is an improvement (especially as it’s guaranteed). Indeed, if you’re a magazine advertiser because you like the idea of only being seen by people in a certain country with a certain job title, then you’re probably much better off using LinkedIn Ads than magazines.
We’ve found conversion rate to be very good (i.e the proportion of people clicking through who actually take action, such as downloading a document). However, this may be because advertisers on LinkedIn tend to make more direct offers than they do on AdWords. We’ve also found, interestingly, that response tails off after the first few weeks, but that may because the audience is static, and the offer needs to be changed frequently.
Finally, numbers are generally quite low compared to AdWords, so – as with Bing Ads – if you’re only finding a limited amount of traffic out there with AdWords, the numbers you’ll get from LinkedIn may be too small to make it worth your while setting up the campaign in the first place.
One aside, however: if you really need to send a message to specific job titles in specific sectors, LinkedIn can provide outstanding results. And the main use for that capability? Recruitment. More switched-on agencies there are terrified of what LinkedIn may be about to do to their business. If you have a one-off vacancy, it’s well worth giving LinkedIn a try. Or just ask us to do it for you.