The Ultimate Guide To Linkedin Ads For Social Media Marketing
- CHAPTER 1
- CHAPTER 2
- CHAPTER 3
1.) Introduction To Linkedin Ads For Social Media Marketing
1.1 What Are Linkedin Ads ?
1.2 Linkedin Ads vs. Facebook Ads - Comparison
1.3 Future Prospects of Linkedin Ads
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Chapter 1.1 What Are LinkedIn Ads?
LinkedIn ads are advertisements (persuasive marketing messages) promoted on LinkedIn to communicate about goods, services or ideas to a target audience. LinkedIn is a professional social networking platform designed specifically for the business community.
It’s the world’s largest professional network with more than 430 million members. LinkedIn provides marketers, advertisers, or just individuals who want to persuade customers to buy their products with the opportunity to tell the world about their offerings.
LinkedIn advertising allows you to target decision-makers with appropriate and customizable contents in no time. With LinkedIn ads, you can draw customers’ attention to your business, create awareness among them, raise their interest, convince them to want and desire your products and lead them toward purchasing your products or services.
LinkedIn ads eradicate the hurdle of attending networking events to discuss business opportunities. With LinkedIn ads any business can be promoted conveniently from the corner of an office. LinkedIn ads are like gold mines full of nuggets of gold waiting to be found if you know how to mine well.
There are five types of LinkedIn ads available to choose from. These ads range from the simplest and least expensive ones to the more advanced ones. They are:
· Sponsored Content
· Text Ads
· Display Ads
· Sponsored InMail
· Dynamic Ads
With sponsored content, companies can promote and distribute their updates to relevant LinkedIn audience. Such updates could be articles, videos, company news, information or events. The ability of this type of ads to show up right in the users’ news stream leads to more engagement. So companies get to increase their brand awareness and build relationships through meaningful conversations stimulated through sponsored content.
These are text ads that show up on the right-hand side of a LinkedIn page just as Google Search Network ads. They consist of captivating headlines, description and compelling images which are optional. With LinkedIn text ads, you can reach your precise audience without wasting money. Targeting using metrics like location, job title, industry, gender, age, and field of study does the magic.
Display ads on LinkedIn showcase your brand before the very presence of your desired audience in the premium context of the LinkedIn desktop experience. Brands leverage on this type of ad to drive awareness, engage the right audience within the professional bodies on LinkedIn and target professionals with precision.
Sponsored InMail is a type of ad on LinkedIn that allows you to send meaningful and personalized messages to an audience that matters most in your business. The messages seamlessly fit into LinkedIn Messenger allowing for a high level of engagement to occur. Brands can increase their market reach and drive conversion using sponsored InMail ads on LinkedIn.
Dynamic ads are highly designed to fit audience activities. Dynamic ads enable you to creatively craft your ad copy, choose your call to action for engagement and conversion purpose. Images from LinkedIn member profiles can also be used to communicate to your actual and prospective customers.
Chapter 1.2: LinkedIn Ads vs. Facebook Ads
It’s easy to assume that all ads on social networking sites are the same since the platforms a basically for networking. This is not entirely true. Some ads differ from the other. LinkedIn ads and Facebook ads are examples. They have some similarities as well as difference. Let’s deep dive into the comparison using the metrics such as platform, audience, effectiveness, lifecycle and ad type.
LinkedIn and Facebook are social networking platforms designed to connect people online. Ads on both sites are pay-to-play ads. However, the two platforms have different types of features and options for ads. For instance, LinkedIn has self-service advertising platform that aids advertisers to design their own ad campaign. So, the nature and design of each platform makes the difference.
LinkedIn is different from Facebook in terms of audience focus. LinkedIn audiences are mostly white-collar audience and more business minded people. They include business owners, top professionals, executives and influencers across different industries. So, LinkedIn ads are targeted at these set of people and are designed specifically to arouse their interest. On the other hand, Facebook audience are not necessarily for business minded people or professionals. They are mostly blue-collar audience. They could include friends and family. Facebook ads that would attract these set of people would be more relaxed in terms of image and tone.
LinkedIn ads are effective for business to business selling because the audience are business minded individuals. Organizations use LinkedIn ads to target business professionals and organization’s decisions makers. It is ineffective for advertising consumers’ goods. Ads on LinkedIn are best used for creating awareness for an organization and generating leads. On the other hand, Facebook ads work best for business to consumers selling, although, they are good for reaching business and consumer audience. Since most audience are basically there to catch up with friends, family and colleagues, Facebook ads are effective for creating awareness, building word of mouse fan-based, and increasing direct sales
Ad campaigns are not forever. At some point they peak, then draw maximum attention, clicks and finally go through a downward phase.
Facebook ads have short lifecycle. Usually they exhibit good click through rates and performance at the first phase of their lifecycle. Soon after the launch of any Facebook campaign, it gets lots of clicks because people are seeing the advertisement for the first time and then the clicks begin to decline and become flat. The cost per click at this point tend to increase since the CTR is reduced leaving an advertiser with the option of updating the ad copy so as to keep the clicks high and costs low.
Same goes for LinkedIn ads. They have short lifecycle and clicks decline after target group have seen the ads a few times. Tweaking ads copies frequently will ensure that the clicks are optimized and the costs low.
Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn and promoted posts on Facebook are similar ad types that perform almost the same functions. They are very effective for driving engagement. The only difference is image size and text allowance. Less is better for LinkedIn ads.
Chapter 1.3: Future Prospects of LinkedIn Ads
In the current marketing world, LinkedIn has become a vital part of online campaigns. B2B communication has grown tremendously, thanks to LinkedIn. As with all popular sites, LinkedIn has reached the point where bigger brands are seeing it as a lucrative opportunity to showcase their offerings. In 2015, LinkedIn made an impressive $453 Million. 2016 revenue was way higher and 2017 is summing up.
Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion on the 13th of June, 2016. It is believed that the acquisition was due to Microsoft’s desire to expand its business tentacles by leveraging on already growing and succeeding business like LinkedIn. Some pessimists believe that it connotes LinkedIn inability to sustain bigger brands which could lead to a loss of such brands on the platform. Nonetheless, optimists see it a bigger opportunity for marketers and advertisers to further spread their persuasive messages to their target audience.
What does this acquisition mean for marketers? Simply put, it means that the future of LinkedIn advertising is bright.
Microsoft Acquisition and Impact on LinkedIn Ads
Microsoft announced that all ad types on LinkedIn will be extended across Microsoft properties. It means that LinkedIn ads will be extended to its software products like the Internet Explorer and Edge Web Browsers. The implication of this for ads and marketers is in three folds.
· More Audience to reach
Marketers can target not only millions of LinkedIn users but also individuals who use internet explorer for search. Although, Google search engine still leads the search world, internet explorer has an appreciable market share. Yes, the audience may not necessarily be like the business minded ones on LinkedIn. The advantage for marketers is that the can extend their targets to the blue-collar job personnel. So, more audience, more targeting pillars to cover and wider reach.
· More Platforms for placement
Greater exposure for LinkedIn ads as they appear of search engines. You can imagine LinkedIn ads brought to the top of the search. You can imagine these ads competing for positioning with other paid ads on internet explorer.
· More Ad Spend
More audience reach and placement means more ad budget and ad spend. Marketers may have to spend more to be able to place ads on LinkedIn since such ads would be extended to all Microsoft properties. Thus, spend per thousand impressions and spend per click might increase from the minimum of $2 dollar. The increases ad spend would however be corresponding to the increased audience reach and exposure platforms.
· More Ad types
Since the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft would enable increase the audience reach, placement platforms, and ad spend, it is also logical that the ads type offering might have to increase to cover a broader range audience and meet other specific needs. This is because some ad types are more appealing to professional and non-professional target groups. So, expansion in this area is needed.
Emergence of Video Ads on LinkedIn
Social video ads are one of the fastest growing ad formats in today’s world. Marketers are allocating huge budget to them particularly popular among marketers looking to expand brand awareness on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These engaging videos resonate emotionally with viewer who frequently take actions like share, like and comment. Live streaming ads are also supported by network like Facebook.
Google too has just introduced native video ads for mobile publishers to make mobile formats faster and more effective. With all these development, there is a strong indication that LinkedIn will soon embrace social and mobile video ads. The fact that LinkedIn is a more serious-minded platform than the likes of Facebook and Twitter might not make it look into this exceedingly booming area. In fact, there is already an indication that it will become more interactive and engaging in the nearest future. If this be the case, why would LinkedIn be left behind?!
It has also been speculated that in the nearest future (2025) when automation revolution will be in full scale, Facebook might not be in existence and Facebook mobile ads will definitely not be. But LinkedIn will.
2.) What To Know Before You Start Advertising on Linkedin
2.1 Setting An Adequate Budget
2.2 Importance Of Click Through Rates
2.3 Effectively Tracking Linkedin Ads
2.4 How Linkedin Ad Targeting Works
Chapter 2: What To Know Before You Start Advertising on Linkedin
In this section, I’ll be addressing a few things you should know before setting up an ad on LinkedIn.
Chapter 2.1: Setting An Adequate Budget
Budgeting is a very important step in LinkedIn advertising. One the big decisions you have to make before launching your campaign on LinkedIn is to determine how much you want to spend to get your brand message across to your audience.
Cost per Click (CPC) and Cost per Impressions (CPM) are two available bidding and budgeting options for all advertisers or marketers on LinkedIn. Cost per Click is ideal for a campaign that requires a direct response while Cost per Impression suits ads run for creating brand awareness as the audience do not need to take any action.
The process begins by setting a budget and daily limit (which is the highest amount your ad will cost per day). The minimum daily budget for LinkedIn ad is $10 while the minimum cost per click and cost per impression is $2. You will also need to determine the whole campaign budget.
You then have to bid for your campaign. The higher you set your bid, the more likely it is to receive clicks. For instance, if you set your CPC bid at $3 and your daily limit for $18, it simply means that your ad can only be clicked six times in a day. So, it is important to determine how far you want your ad on LinkedIn and how many clicks you want or how many impressions you desire before determining your budget.
LinkedIn would always suggest CPC bids and daily budget ranges by taking into account competition bids. This help controls your campaign cost; but, you have to be careful not to bid lower than the suggested ranges all else, your ad will struggle for visibility on LinkedIn. Whichever bidding and budgeting strategy you chose, it is important you set adequate budget for your campaign.
Chapter 2.2: Importance of Click Through Rates
One important metric that you must understand as you prepare and plan to mine the gold in LinkedIn ads is click through rates. In simple terms, click through rate is the number of people who actually click on your ad which ultimately leads them to your landing page (business website). It is calculated by dividing the number of clicks received by the number of times your ad shows up and seen (impressions produced). For example, if your ad is displayed on LinkedIn 1,000 times and receives 100 clicks, the click-through rate is 10 percent. Click through rate discloses the frequency of how people who view your ad end up clicking it. So, it can be assumed that the higher your CTR is, the more effective your marketing campaign is.
The importance of click through rates to LinkedIn ads cannot be over emphasized. Click through rate affect the following:
Click-through rate directly affects ads relevance score on LinkedIn. LinkedIn network uses relevance score to determine whose ad to show when two competitors are bidding the same amount. LinkedIn determines relevance score with historical and current click through rates. High click through rates leads to high relevance score. CTR can be useful for determining the quality of and ad imagery, positioning, and keywords.
The importance of ad relevance score which is directly affected by click through rate can be broken down into the following:
· Bid: With high relevance sore, you do not have to bid too high for the same result. You get cheaper clicks/impressions. But for low relevance score, you will have to bid very high to get the same traffic.
· Traffic: High relevance score leads to much traffic generation because you’re a top performer. With low relevance score, traffic drops and high conversion isn’t feasible.
· Placement: High relevance score gets your ad to first position rather than second or low positions. Bad click through rate leads to bad relevance score. The effect is low ad positioning. In the low positions, engagement is very low.
Relevance score isn’t only related to LinkedIn network. It is called quality score on other ad networks like Google AdWords.
CTR gives you a broad view of how well your ad attracts visitors. LinkedIn network isn’t like search engine where visitors/audience are actively searching for things with the use of combine keywords. LinkedIn audience use the platform for networking and are not necessarily looking out for your ad. So, click through rate help to determine how well attract target audience’ attention. Those who click such ad are potential converts who might take action (purchase).
CTR serve as watch dog to competitor’s campaign on LinkedIn network. Since CTR determines your ad positioning (whether first or second) against your competitors who have bided for the same amount. You can easily keep a tap on how your ad is faring and gauge it success against your competitors and make adjustment where necessary. It also helps measure a campaign success to previous campaigns
CTR aids in evaluating ad copy, especially the call to action on the ad copy. Call to action is the instruction you target audience receive on your ad that provokes a response. The effectiveness of a call to action can be determined by the click through rate of an ad. It helps to evaluate you call to action message. To know if it is action oriented, above the fold, and stands out. An action oriented call to action specifies the action visitors will take when they get to the landing page. An above the fold call to action is position on a viewable part of the ad and landing page where visitors will not have to scroll down because they will not. The higher the CTR, the more effective your message, targeting and call to action is
Return on Investment
CTR also impact return on investment. Return on investment is the ratio of money gained or lost on your ad investment relative to the amount of money invested on your LinkedIn ad. If your CTR is high, there is also a high possibility lead and conversion will be high. Hence, return of investment will also be high and vice versa.
Chapter 2.3: Effectively Tracking LinkedIn Ads
Gone are the days when marketers assumed that their traditional advertising on television, print, radio and outdoor mediums had high reach and impact. They spend a lot of money on these platforms without a concrete measure of their returns. But thanks to ads’ network.
Tracking on LinkedIn has become easier since the launch of LinkedIn Conversion Tracking for their Sponsored Content and Text Ads offerings. This has allowed marketers to have great insights into their campaign impact for better decision making. For instance, they can better track post-clicks ad performance such as form fills, download free e-book, or ecommerce purchases.
LinkedIn Conversion Tracking avails you the opportunity to track the metrics that matter to you, keep record of every conversion on all devices, and optimize your campaigns for better performance. Information tracked can be used to improve your targeting, creative, and overall performance of your campaign. You can track your visitors’ behaviour and understand which creative is performing best. LinkedIn Conversion Tracking is built directly into LinkedIn Campaign Manager so this makes it easy for you see all your conversions at a glance.
You need to understand LinkedIn’s conversion metric before you can effectively track you campaign on the platform. The following are LinkedIn conversion metric as stated on LinkedIn Campaign Manager.
· Conversions: The total number of times people took a desired action after clicking on or seeing your ad.
· Post-click conversions: The percentage of clicks on your ad(s) that led to a conversion.
· View through conversions: The percentage of impressions that actually led to a conversion.
· Conversion rate: This is the percentage of clicks that led to a conversion (conversions divided by clicks).
· Cost per conversion: This is the average amount spent per conversion
· Total conversion value: This is the total value of all conversions in monetary term.
· Return on ad spend: Total conversion value divided by amount spent on ad. It helps you to know
Simple Steps to Tracking your Conversion on LinkedIn
Go through Campaign Manager
Campaign manager manages all your campaign on LinkedIn so without logging unto it, you can’t really do anything. Make sure you log on with a business email or email related to your LinkedIn profile.
Choose where you want to track conversions
This is very important because conversion isn’t tacked in a vacuum. Usually your company’s website is what you should track. Be sure to choose high level domain on your site and not sub domain. Don’t be afraid of losing out. With this choice, you'll be able to track all conversions linked to your website.
Install the LinkedIn Insights Code/Tag to your website
Create a conversion action
At this point, you define what conversion means to you. You have to specify to LinkedIn what kind of action should be counted as conversion. Different campaigns may have different conversion action. It all depends on the goals and objectives of the campaigns. So, you could specify lead, sign-up, purchase, add-to-cart, download, install etc as your defined conversion. The list is endless. Be sure to give a description to your conversion action.
Add your conversion action to a campaign
There is a need to connect each conversion choice to a specific campaign. This is achievable on the campaign manager.
Measure your performance with analytics
Once tracking is done, you can monitor your conversion result. Data and result generated is usually very rich. It gives in-depth insight which helps in optimizing your campaign and making better business and marketing decisions.
Setting up conversion tracking on LinkedIn only takes a few minutes. It doesn’t also require maintenance once the Insight Tag is in place and the tag can be used for all your campaigns.
Chapter 2.4: How LinkedIn Targeting Works
Ads on LinkedIn aren’t just randomly served to everyone on the platform. They are directed to specific audience who are most interested in such ad. Targeting the appropriate potential customers and reaching them effectively is tantamount to setting the foundation for a successful campaign on LinkedIn. You need to be aware of targeting works on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has quit a number of targeting pillars but there are key pillars that must be considered when thinking of targeting.
You need to specify at least one location (regions, countries, states etc) for your audience. It is important that you select only locations where your potential customers are.
Gender specification targeting can be done on LinkedIn ad. You can select either male or female if your brand is gender specific.
Age targeting requires that you specify the age range of your audience such as 18-24, 25-34, 35-54 and 55+.
Targeting by companies means you target by a company name or combination of companies, industries and sizes.
Targeting by job title is done by specifying audience with particular job titles. It is good for precise targeting but narrow down the audience size with high CPCs
You can specify the functions of your potential audience when targeting. Function targeting is the broadest targeting available on LinkedIn. It is best for creating large audience but disadvantageous because it includes unconcern fellows.
Targeting by skills means you target audience with specific skills that are relevant to your brand. It is more precise than function targeting but it can also be too broad.
Targeting by group gives you access to active and relevant audience. However, you will also be targeting a small audience because not everyone on LinkedIn is interested in joining a professional group on the platform.
Most of the targeting fields are optional. So, be careful with your selection as you may fall into the pit of too narrow or too wide targeting.
3.) Understanding Different Types Of Linkedin Ad Units
3.1 Various Types Of Linkedin Ads And Pricing Structure
3.2 How To Calculate Your ROI And Lead Generation Using Linkedin
Chapter 3.) Understanding Different Types of LinkedIn Ad Units
I’ll explore the various types of LinkedIn ad units in this section. This information will help you understand each type of LinkedIn ad and how it benefits your business.
Chapter 3.1: Various Types of LinkedIn Ads and Pricing Structure
Just as every business and organization set the price at which it will sell its product and services to its clients and customers, LinkedIn as a network also has stipulated prices for it different ads types. For marketers, placing an ad on LinkedIn isn’t free. It cost some money. This then places the onions on every intending marketer or business owner to understand LinkedIn pricing structure for effectively planning.
LinkedIn has five types of ad offerings and three pricing models. The ads are:
· Text Ads
· Sponsored InMail
· Dynamic Ads
· Display Ads
A Brief Recap on the Ad Types
It could look like a non-advertising post on LinkedIn but trust me, it is a promotional one. They are like newsfeed on Facebook usually to promote a brand in a subtle manner.
These ads are predominantly text; although, they could have images, and links. They appear at the right-hand side of LinkedIn.
This is used to emails directly to a user’s inbox on LinkedIn. It blends with target inbox mail.
Dynamic ads give you the opportunity to target highly relevant target with personalize message, creative and call to action.
These are typical banner ads. They appear on the right rail on desktop only.
LinkedIn Ad Pricing Models
LinkedIn ads are priced using pay-per-click (CPC), pay-per-1,000 impressions (CPM), pay per spend (CPS)
Pay-per-click is the actual price you pay whenever someone clicks on your ad on LinkedIn. So, advertisers pay up to the set bid amount for each click. You specify the amount you are willing to pay per click (bid). Currently, the minimum bid for CPC on LinkedIn is $2. However, LinkedIn suggests bid range based on current competition biding from advertisers targeting the same audience. Daily limit is also required for budget control. Pay per click pricing model applies to all types of LinkedIn ads except Sponsored InMail.
Pay per thousand impressions or Pay per-meter (CPM)
Impression is like views. When ads are served to unique users a thousand times, a thousand impression is counted and paid for. There is also a need to specify and set cost for each 1,000 times (impressions) your ad is shown. It doesn’t matter if such ads are clicked or not. Impression is what counts. LinkedIn minimum cost per impressions is $2. LinkedIn also specifies the ranges of CPM to bid for based on prevailing circumstances (competition bids). Pay per thousand impression pricing model applies to all types of LinkedIn ads except Sponsored InMail.
This pricing model applies to Sponsored InMail. It is pay for each successfully delivered Sponsored InMail. LinkedIn campaign manager also suggest bid range.
Guide To Choosing Appropriate Pricing Model
Be careful not to arbitrarily choose your preferred pricing model for your ad campaign without considering your objectives first. Different pricing models apply to different objectives. Let’s have a breakdown of some objectives and applicable pricing models.
· Brand Awareness: Pay per thousand impressions is appropriate if your objective is to build brand awareness. In this case, the click through rate matters less, since the main purpose is to promote a business name, idea, messages, news, or any form of update. This is achievable without the targets even clicking the ad. Companies who focus on mass appeal rather than launch a product tilt toward pay per thousand impressions than pay per click.
· Brand Engagement: Pay per click is appropriate if you want to drive engagement on LinkedIn. Brand engagement creates emotional and rational attachment with the target audience. They need to handle brands and one way to do this on LinkedIn ads is by clicking on the ads. Such clicks take them to the landing pages already created to have first-hand experience with brands on online. So, pay per click is relevant for building brand relationship. Companies focused on promoting a specific product to a niche audience settle for CPC pricing model.
· Increase sales- Pay per click
· Launch new products or services- Pay per click
· Target new customers- Pay per thousand impressions
· To make attitudes more favorable to a particular product- pay per click
· To build an image for the product- Pay per thousand impressions
· To get across the idea of a unique product- Pay per click
· To create a brand leader to help the launch of additional products at a future date- Pay per click.
Chapter 3.2: How To Calculate Your ROI And Lead Generation Using LinkedIn
ROI is a measure of the return of an investment relative to its cost. To calculate it, you can simply divide the benefit (the gain from the investment minus the cost of the same investment) by the cost.
Generally speaking, the formula for calculating Return on Investment for all kind of businesses is ROI = (return – investment) / investment. You do not need to bother your head on how to do a manual calculation all the time to track returns on LinkedIn. You can rely on LinkedIn ROI calculator to sort that out for you.
Measuring ROI for your LinkedIn Effort
ROI calculation of measurement isn’t limited to leads generation only. There are other efforts that can be measured and ROI determined. They include:
Measure Your LinkedIn Reach
Track and measure the growth of your business on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn network enables you to measure the reach of your profile and the traffic it generates on a regular basis.
Measure Your Website Referral Traffic from LinkedIn
As you grow your LinkedIn presence, you can also drive profile visitors to your company website.
Analyze Your Leads and Sales
The best way to understand if LinkedIn is working as a marketing tool is to measure its effectiveness at driving leads and sales. The use of LinkedIn to interact with a lead and close a deal can also be measure.
It is good to compare the results generated after every update or post made on LinkedIn to help monitor the ROI generated due to changes or updates made on business profile page and in newsfeed.
Calculating Lead Generation on LinkedIn
Lead generation forms launched by LinkedIn helps marketers keep track and get greater ROI from their lead gen campaigns. Through lead generation forms, it is easy to collect leads from the professionals who use LinkedIn. It enables effective ROI measurement. LinkedIn Campaign Manager tracks key metrics like CPL to measure the value marketers are getting from their ad spend.
Monitoring other qualitative and quantitative activities/actions that affect your business of LinkedIn can also help in effective ROI measurement. Some of such actions and metrics include: LinkedIn company profile views, LinkedIn search results, business followers on LinkedIn, inbox activity and sentiment, LinkedIn signal keyword mentions, likes and comments on updates, and recommendations.
The A-Z of LinkedIn ads for social media marketing has been well laid out in this guide. Having thoroughly understood it, you need not delay the promotion of your business or idea on this great networking site. Launch into the deep and explore all the opportunities that lie within LinkedIn ads for your business growth. Do not hesitate to communicate your brand to your target audience. With the future prospect of LinkedIn ads as a result of the recent acquisition of the platform by Microsoft, more gold is still locked up in there to mine if you know how to mine well.