Marketing Technology Manager
LinkedIn: a social network for professionals. People load up their profiles with all their career details and get… well, networking. You’d think it’d be a great place for a B2B to reach out via advertising.
I’m here to tell you: not quite.
There are some serious downsides to LinkedIn advertising. But let’s look at the good stuff first to get a grasp on the context.
LinkedIn B2B Advertising: Advantages
1: Custom Audiences Lists choose audiences with decision-making power or influencers
LinkedIn lets us choose the audience based on the location, seniority and job position. Like Facebook, we can choose the exact audience. This is great.
2: Ads can work when the company has a face
Apple had Steve Jobs
Microsoft had Bill Gates
Flawless Inbound has Saher Ghattas 😉
The display ads or InMail ads work when the face of the company is as well-known, if not more well-known, than the company. This helps the company to build credibility. But it can only work when the promoter has high credibility already.
3: Hiring, or advertising educational or professional certifications or webinars
When hunting for employees, or advertising programs that would be a good “add” on a web-based resume (LinkedIn), what better medium than LinkedIn to advertise this? These are great matches in terms of topic and audience-relevance.
4: Easy Lead Gen forms
One-click easy lead gen forms. Audiences are already hard to capture. They’re even harder to convert when that means having to type the fields to submit their information. But unlike your own landing pages, the LinkedIn website already has all your personal information. So, all users have to do on their super simple lead gen forms is click a CTA to hand it over. Only once.
So those are the good things. Now, let's get into where it goes awry.
LinkedIn B2B Advertising: Disadvantages
1: No retargeting ads
Hit when the iron is hot – the highest CTR is guaranteed with retargeting ads. Because why not advertise to the audience you know is interested and has a higher chance of reacting to the ad? But LinkedIn doesn’t let you retarget audiences. Big disadvantage when other platforms allow this.
2: Lowest conversion at high prices
Like my gym membership: big budgets, no results. Even a simple click through form has next to negligible conversions. Why? The more stringent your audience the fewer your impressions and the smaller chances of clicks and probability for success.
3: No Account Promotion
Unfortunately, there’s no "Follower" ad campaign type. The ads run individually through peoples’ personal accounts. Most ads help with awareness, but imagine watching ads with no company logo or no company name. How do you expect people to retain this information or relate to the company when a person you don’t know sends a long message you don’t wish to read? If company pages were allowed to place ads, it might work. But otherwise? Worst kind of B2B advertising.
4: LinkedIn Owns Your Personal Data & Information
Nothing in the world is free. LinkedIn supports itself through these advertisements, by allowing advertisers to target its users through the data it collects through users’ profiles. By using the platform, you'll be sharing your own data. Many people consider this as one of the biggest disadvantages of LinkedIn because they are not comfortable with their professional information being sold.
So, if you’ve been thinking about running some LinkedIn ads? My advice is slow down and really think about if you’re likely to see a good return on investment before making the commitment. Chances are, you can get better results elsewhere.
Flawless Inbound is a marketing enablement partner that’s helped more than 75 B2B companies get a handle on their digital presence, from advertising to lead generation to optimizing the sales process. To find out what we can do for you, learn more about the tricks you need to build a revenue-generating inbound engine here.