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Getting Started with LinkedIn Advertising
TopLineFounder | April 4, 2012
By Tom Sizer-James
Tom Sizer-James is an Account Executive at Browser Media, an ethical UK SEO Agency specialising in SEO, PPC, online PR and social media.
Introduction to LinkedIn
For business professionals, LinkedIn is the place to be. With over 150 million members around the world, LinkedIn offers a unique online experience, allowing users to seek out industry news, find new jobs and connect with colleagues old and new.
But for advertisers, LinkedIn represents a unique opportunity. As it’s entire membership consists of business professionals, the potential to increase brand awareness and influence business decisions is unrivalled when compared to other social platforms.
Why is LinkedIn so Useful to Advertisers?
For companies operating in the B2B sector, the appeal of LinkedIn is obvious. Barring trade publications, it is rare thing for an advertiser to be able to selectively target individuals in a particular industry. In a very niche market sector, the opportunities for advertising can be limited. The scatter gun approach of brand awareness may reach a lot of people, but how many would actually be interested in the services niche businesses offer?
More often than not, the answer is not very many. But the targeting options of LinkedIn allow advertisers not only to target users by the industry they are involved in, but by a host of other factors. This ensures that your adverts are as targeted as possible and only potential customers/ decision influencers cast eyes on your adverts.
The first thing to do when setting up a LinkedIn campaign is create the advert’s text. The format of the ad is similar to Google’s PPC (pay per click) results, with 75 characters displayed over two lines of text and a bold 25 character title. The text ad will be displayed alongside any 50 x 50 image of your choosing.
Advertisers can create up to 15 variations of their ads, allowing for each ad’s performance to be individually analysed. By creating variations, advertisers can optimise the performance of their campaigns. After a certain amount of impressions (ideally 5000+) a fews ads should have pulled away from the rest in terms of CTR (click through rate). The best performing ad is often known as a Champion Ad, and those directly below the Challenger Ads.
By dropping underperforming ads and experimenting with the format of Champion and Challenger Ads, advertisers can find a formula that maximises click through rates and is far more likely to convert into a sale or lead.
Some key things to remember when optimising a PPC campaign are:
- The Golden Formula – An eye catching headline, a feature/ benefit of your products or services and a strong CTA (call to action) is usually the ideal format for a PPC ad. There have been circumstances where unusual ads have outperformed those which fit this conventional format, but it is generally agreed this is the best format to go with. If a campaign is going well, that’s the time to experiment with quirky formats.
- Localisation – Where possible, try to geo target your ad and include the name of the area you’re targeting in the headline. LinkedIn allows you to target individual cities, towns and areas. Someone in Twickenham who is searching for a a fibreglass manufacturer, is far more likely to choose a business across the street than a business in Manchester, for example.
- Change one thing at a time – Once your Champion ad has risen to the top, it’s time to experiment with the ad’s text and layout to see if it can be optimised any further. But if the logo and headlines are changed and the advert starts to perform better, how will the advertiser know what made the ad more successful? By being patient and modifying only one part of an ad at once, it is possible to see which individual changes made the ad altered the performance of the ad..
As previously mentioned, the unique targeting options available through LinkedIn advertising make it an attractive prospect, especially for B2B companies. One of the great features of the Linkedin advertising tools is that as you set parameters, LinkedIn estimates the potential reach of your ad, with the number getting smaller as you filter out more and more people. I’ve prepared a full list of the current targeting options below.
This option allow advertisers to target people based in individual countries, cities and areas throughout the world. You can even advertise solely to the people of Antarctica if you really want. Currently, regional targeting within countries is only available in the following territories; India, Denmark, France, Italy, Holland, Britain, Brazil, Canada and the USA.
This is where it starts to get really interesting. Advertisers can target people by the company they work for, or by the industry they work in. This is a B2B marketers paradise. By using this option, not a penny is wasted on targeting people who simply have no interest in your, or your client’s business offering.
You can also target individuals by their job titles, or positions within companies. This is useful if you’re promoting a product or service that only those in management would have any need for. For example, if you are a HR Consultant, unpaid interns won’t have much use for your service. Well, arguably they do, but that’s another story.
But equally, an MD won’t be intrigued by an advert offering free internships. The Job Title parameter allows you to target only the people that really matter; people that influence the important financial decisions that every business has to make.
LinkedIn has a vast quantity of industry related groups. Personally, I belong to a large number of SEO/SEM groups as that is what interests me. Essentially, this function can be used to further refine targeting options. But make sure you have a comprehensive lists of the groups you wish to cover, or you may just end up leaving some vitally important ones out.
Gender and Age
Hopefully, the gender category is pretty self explanatory. The age category includes the age ranges of 18-24, 25-34, 35-54 and 55+. For instance, this parameter could be used to target specifically young professionals, that may be suited to a particular product or role.
Payment, Budget and other Options
The minimum cost per click (CPC) on LinkedIn is $2. This could seem like a lot in certain industry sectors, but it’s important to bear in mind the relevance of the traffic that will be received and how much more valuable this traffic will be.
There is also the option of paying per thousand views (CPM). In other types of internet advertising, the CPM payment system is used mostly for brand awareness exercises, rather than a way to directly drive leads and sales. However, in other forms of online adverts, the targeting options are rarely as precise as on LinkedIn.
If you have conversion goals set up on your analytics system, after a while of using LinkedIn advertising the ROI (return on investment) of your LinkedIn campaign should become more obvious, It is then a case of working out whether CPC or CPM is the best option for your business.
The minimum daily budget for LinkedIn Advertising is $10, but this should be edited to ensure maximum exposure. If the daily budget is often reached, then you could be missing out on important traffic. Make sure you’ve got the right amount invested initially, as campaigns can run indefinitely, or until a prespecified date.
The “Lead Collection” option allows the advertiser to insert a button inside their ad. If users click the button, then their contact details are forwarded on to the advertiser and the potential customer can then be contacted at their leisure. This service costs no extra, and can be a useful addition to a campaign.
After this, it’s as simple as entering your credit card details and putting your ad up for review. As long as the ad is relevant and there’s no offensive language or imagery used, then you campaign could be up and running in a matter of hours.
LinkedIn could give your business the online boost it needs, as well as increasing the awareness of your brand. But every time a business takes the plunge into a new form of promotion, they do take a risk. There’s no shame in failing on your first attempt. There are boundless opportunities online. If you’ve got confidence in your product, just keep testing and trying until you get it right and new doors open for you and your business.
Tom Sizer-James is an Account Executive at Browser Media – a UK SEO Agency specialising in SEO, PPC, online PR and social media.
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