Most people think of LinkedIn as a place to browse job listings and network with peers in their field. But the platform can do so much more. In recent years, savvy marketing departments have used LinkedIn as a primary site for their digital ad campaigns.
What’s so great about LinkedIn Ad Campaigns?
LinkedIn shines as an advertising platform because it has a ready made audience of working professionals. The platform basically requires uploading your entire resumé to the site, providing a wealth of data to LinkedIn. They've been able to develop a targeting algorithm that allows you to target based on experience, skill, industry, and other unique variables that you may not have access to on other digital ad platforms.
LinkedIn has also generously opened up many aspects of their platform to advertisers—there’s a lot of ad formats, including sponsored posts and sidebar ads. Perhaps the most unique feature is the Sponsored InMail function, which allows you to use the direct message feature and talk directly to your audience. This kind of intimate access is virtually unique to LinkedIn’s advertising platform.
LinkedIn is also generous because it allows you not only to place ads on its home site, but also within the LinkedIn Audience Network, a larger network of third-party websites that are affiliated with LinkedIn.
Where do I start?
The LinkedIn Marketing Solutions platform allows you to create a campaign and identify your objective. You’ll be able to focus your campaigns on driving traffic, increasing engagement, getting views on a video, or generating leads. From there, you’ll need to select your target audience. LinkedIn has a large targeting criteria. You can sort audiences by location, language, education, experience, and interests. Next, you’ll need to create an ad. LinkedIn has many different formats to choose from, including video, direct-messages, or inline text and image ads.
Lastly, you’ll input a daily budget. LinkedIn offers flexibility, so you can scale your campaign according to your means. The platform also allows for different pricing structures to help you maximize your ROI, such as automated bidding, cost-per-click, and cost-per impression. This is the most nebulous part of the process. Consider your campaign goal and this will guide your payment plan. If you want to build your brand’s visibility, impressions might be better, but if you’re looking to generate leads, then you should do CPC.
Optimizing your Campaign
Best practices for LinkedIn ads don’t differ significantly from any other digital advertising platform, however there are some idiosyncrasies. There’s no shortcut for great copy and an eye-catching advertisement, with a strong, decisive CTA.
One of the biggest pitfalls of LinkedIn advertising is selecting the wrong audience. This could happen because your research was off, or because you targeted with too much, or too little, specificity. You should utilize LinkedIn’s native analytics, which will tell you about the click thru rate and will help you understand whether or not your campaigns are cost-effective and efficient. You can refer back to these numbers as you split-test your campaigns.
The Changing Landscape of Digital Advertising
Behemoth sites like Facebook are becoming less and less friendly to advertisers, LinkedIn will continue to rise in prominence as a digital marketing platform. They’re offering more and more tools to incentivize advertisers to launch campaigns using their service. Although many people know that LinkedIn is a great place to search for your next employment opportunity, its value as an advertising platform is oftentimes understated, despite featuring a generous array of tools and unparalleled access to niche audiences.