Next in our series on social media optimization this blog deals with Pay-Per-Click opportunities on DirectAds, LinkedIn’s PPC advertising platform. I am looking particularly at LinkedIn in comparison to Facebook. With the possibility of targeting audiences according to job function and industry, LinkedIn seems to be the social networking site with the greatest potential for business-to-business marketing. This can be utilized for expanding your business into a particular strategic industry or targeting high-ranking decision-makers within certain companies. LinkedIn offers social media exposure to companies either through PPC advertising or company profiles.

LinkedIn claims to be the world’s largest audience of influential, affluent professionals (the average household income of LinkedIn users is $107,278) and the statistics speak for themselves. At last count LinkedIn had 69,818,383 users and is growing at a very rapid pace – according to Mashable – faster than any other social networking site. A recent survey of claimed 80% of companies in the United States utilize LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees.

The advantage of LinkedIn lies in their rich employment profile data. The site divides advertising opportunities according to budget. Campaigns of over $25,000 include image and text ad displays, direct help from the LinkedIn team and the ability to reach targeted decision-makers. For campaigns of up to $25,000, DirectAds offers precise targeting, credit card billing and the option to setup within minutes. Currently it is only possible to target the United States and Canada.

Due to company and personal profile information it is possible to target audiences according to company size, job function, industry, seniority, gender, age and geography. In order to ensure that users are targeting audiences of a minimal size limit LinkedIn allows audience targeting of up to three parameters, whereas Facebook Advertising allows targeting of even one person! Ads are highly specialized content ads posted on the right of page. They offer the possibility to include images too.

People tend to be more honest with their profile information on LinkedIn; therefore it makes it even more accurate than Facebook. Online marketers who are very familiar with demographics have a big upper-hand here.

LinkedIn suggests a bid range of between $3.12 and $3.25, but they also restrict you by setting the minimum bid at $3.00 per click or per 100 impressions. The minimum Cost-Per-Click is $2.00. Due to the high costs, it may make more sense to pursue CPC avenues elsewhere and opt for LinkedIn’s Cost-Per-Impression advertising.

Unfortunately, LinkedIn lags behind Facebook on a number of issues. Firstly DirectAds lacks conversion tracking, something that Facebook has recently added. Their inability (surprisingly) to target ads according to companies, something that Facebook also has recently added. The images in their text ads are significantly smaller than Facebook’s, as is the amount of allotted text. Facebook Advertising is also better designed to support multiple campaigns.

In Conclusion it seems Facebook Advertising has the upper-hand on LinkedIn due to its broader functionality, but the advantages of DirectAds rich (and accurate) profile data and B2B capabilities should not be overlooked.

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