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Advertising on LinkedIn: worth investigating?

One or two of our clients have been looking at advertising on LinkedIn recently, which is a tribute to the increasing influence of a site which was once just a way to post your CV online. One client has actually gone ahead and invested a decent amount of money in the campaign, and is seeing very good response in terms of actual information requests. So how does LinkedIn advertising compare to the current first main advertising outlet for most B2B companies, Google AdWords?

The first thing to note is that LinkedIn advertising isn’t cheap: clicks can easily cost you several pounds each. However, it’s fair to say that the targeting is excellent. With LinkedIn members having given the site so much information about their jobs, it ought to be. Unlike AdWords, LinkedIn can show ads which ought to be targeted to the viewer without the viewer having to declare what they’re online looking for. However, that can also be a weakness: they may not be looking for anything, whereas Google users are by definition looking for something. In that case, LinkedIn ads are closer in spirit to trade magazine advertising – you hope the publisher has selected a good audience for you, and you then have to interrupt as many of them as possible in the hope of finding the ones who might actually want your product right at this moment.

My advice would be that you really need to think hard before committing to LinkedIn advertising, and the need to measure results is more critical than ever. It would work best, I suspect, with a simple, measurable offer, like a free guide – or possibly even a request to set up a sales meeting. We’re not going to offer LinkedIn advertising as an outsourced service at the moment, but if you’re trying it yourself, we’d be very interested to hear about the results.

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