So I decided to give LinkedIn ads another spin. Here’s what happened.

LinkedIn recently released Sponsored Updates, allowing us to hit the newsfeed.

We love Facebook, but also test our business strategy across multiple channels.

The current stigma tied to LinkedIn ads is that they can work, but only for B2B. Our latest experiment was a sponsored post for a Social Media Club Dallas event. The goal of the ad was to drive more engagement and awareness around the conference and workshop.

We followed the same $1/Day strategy that has proven successful on our Facebook ads.

LinkedIn

Targeting was based on job titles and locations honing in on digital marketers in the Dallas area.

Budgets on LinkedIn…

LinkedIn enforces a $4.75 minimum CPC and $10 daily minimum budget and doesn’t have ad sets or oCPM yet, so optimizing ads can become expensive.

Linkedin Budgets

If you’re confident in your creative (you anticipate a high CTR) you could bid for CPM (cost per thousand). But again, there is a $17 minimum daily budget here.

Linkedin Budget

Scheduling ads

Make sure you expand the options tab, to be able to set an end date for your campaign. Otherwise it will run forever.

Here’s what we saw at the end of the campaign:

Linkedin Adds

We spent just over $20 and got 47 actions.

Most of those actions were post likes, which drove additional organic impressions, but not necessarily site visits. If we count only the 12 link clicks we come out with a $1.68 CPC.

Does this hold up against Facebook advertising?

Here is our CPC (link click) for 877 campaigns we’ve run. $2.33 to $1.68, not bad.

linkedin cpc

AJ Wilcox, a LinkedIn ads expert said this,

Aj wilcox“LinkedIn Ads is, by far, the most scalable way to reach high-value professionals. If you want to reach CTOs in enterprise-sized tech companies in North America, there are distinct ways of doing that. Would you like to reach CEOs of SMBs instead? There are many ways I can think of for doing this on LinkedIn. You do pay a steep price for this level of targeting and scalability, though–I generally see between $6-8 cost per click, depending on the audience.”

So is running ads on LinkedIn worth it?

We weighed more pro’s and con’s.

THE MAIN POINT

Micro-targeting can reduce cost, but without it you may end up paying $6-10 a click, even if you have a killer CTR, since the average CPMs are north of $200. But if you have a high-end B2B target, it could be worth it. Facebook still has more volume by job title and company workplace target.

micro targeting

IN MORE DEPTH

There are 3 million LinkedIn business pages (hat tip to Jason Miller of LinkedIn for sharing stats). Compare that with the over 50 million Facebook pages, of which only a portion are business pages.

With Facebook, you can target down to the zip code, while LinkedIn lets you go down only to the city level.

facebook linkedin

Facebook has sponsored stories (targeting based on who you’re connected to). LinkedIn had this two years ago, but pulled it quickly.

The CTRs on Facebook and LinkedIn are similar– perhaps slightly higher on LinkedIn.  But if you isolate Facebook mobile newsfeed, then Facebook wins. You can’t choose mobile placements on LinkedIn yet.

Facebook Linked in

Neither network offers frequency capping or dayparting, but Facebook does offer negation targeting and custom audiences.

Facebook has the ads API and insights API. LinkedIn ads API and analytics API are closed.

LinkedIn can show summary stats by seniority and company size– Facebook doesn’t have this.

Here are the number of folks you can target on Facebook by job title. Clearly a lot more blue-collar types– a larger audience than Facebook by a factor of five.

facebook jobtitle stats

And as you’d expect, if you’re hitting executive positions or HR, LinkedIn is the way to go.

Our Takeaway

LinkedIn is inconvenient to work on due to budget restrictions and lack of optimization; however,with specific content and targeting, driving “low cost” results is possible.

This is especially true if you’re micro-targeting, which we do frequently as part of what we call inception.

Have you tried your hand at LinkedIn ads yet?

Dennis Yu

About the Author

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is the Chief Executive Officer of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company that partners with schools to train young adults. Dennis’s program centers around mentorship, helping students grow their expertise to manage social campaigns for enterprise clients like the Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone.


He’s an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook Marketing and has spoken in 17 countries, spanning 5 continents, including keynotes at L2E, Gultaggen, and Marketo Summit. Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, CNN, Fox News, and CBS Evening News.


He’s a regular contributor for Adweek’s SocialTimes column and has published in Social Media Examiner, Social Media Club, Tweak Your Biz, B2C, Social Fresh, and Heyo. He held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines and studied Finance and Economics at Southern Methodist University as well as the London School of Economics. He ran collegiate cross-country at SMU and has competed in over 20 marathons including a 70-mile ultramarathon.


Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you.


You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com