The public’s relationship to Facebook has never been picture-perfect, but with the recent uproar surrounding Cambridge Analytica’s access to confidential data via the social network, Facebook users are leaving the platform in droves.
This mass exodus from Facebook (as well as recent content updates by FB) spells trouble for those in our industry that handle Paid Social. With less Facebook users and less ads being shown in newsfeeds, our ads, budgets, and goals are being constrained as they have never been before.
Enter LinkedIn. While the business-orientated network’s advertising tools are not as sophisticated as Facebook’s veteran advertising platform, LinkedIn has made massive improvements in the few years that I have been creating advertising campaigns within the platform.
So, whether your client’s goals are lead generating, content marketing, or overall sales, there are at least five abilities exclusive to the LinkedIn advertising platform that may make the B2B site the dark-horse in the 2018 Paid Social space.
Below are five advantages of LinkedIn for Business:
- Targeting By Company & Company Connections
Personally, I love the array of company-based targeting features available through LinkedIn’s advertising interface. Not only can you target by a current or past company in which users are employed, you can also target by ‘company connections’ which are the first degree connections of employees at specific medium or large companies. The company connections feature is particularly useful when marketing a product or service that especially profits from first-hand testimonials.For example, let’s say you are running a lead gen campaign for a niche-industry software. First, target the ‘company connections’ of employees at a company that already uses said niche software. Next, layer on targeting of users that are in the same industry as that company. The objective is that this precise audience is already connected to users who use and can speak to the quality of your product. While your lead gen ads can speak for themselves, you create third-party reassurance through your multilayered audience targeting.While company connections are my favorite sophisticated employer-focused tool to use on the LinkedIn platform, there are other basic, but just as useful targeting modes available to advertisers:
Company Name: The organization where a LinkedIn user was or is employed. This audience group is based on LinkedIn Company Pages, which are maintained by current company employees.
Company Industry: Targeting by the main industry of the company where the user is employed.
Company Size: Allows advertisers to reach users based on the size of the organization where they work. I love this targeting feature as it helps exclude users that do not have the need or the funds to be a high-quality lead for client objectives.
- Targeting By Job Title, Seniority, & Skills
I have found targeting jobs to be more exact and yield better results on LinkedIn than I have on any other online advertising platform. As a B2B syndicate, LinkedIn appropriately has a multitude of simple yet exceptional options for targeting by job:
Job Title: Targeting by job title is particularly advanced within LinkedIn because current job titles are grouped by LinkedIn’s algorithms and organized into standardized titles. Thus, you can cast a wider net when targeting via job title, despite users having slightly different title variations for fundamentally the same role.
Job Function: This grouping is based on occupation purpose based on LinkedIn profiles. This feature is particularly helpful if you know you only want to target members that manage others at their company or are C-Level executives.
Job Seniority: Based upon the level and authority of user’s role at a company
- Account, Contact, & Email Targeting
Note that website retargeting on LinkedIn, similar to remarketing on Facebook, is a time-proven tactic for staying top-of-mind for users who have previously visited your site.However, paid social advertisers can also use Matched Audiences to run ads to large lists of email or company contacts and match them to users on LinkedIn. This enables advertisers to scale their client’s goals to reach vital audience groups or accounts considered hot leads.Accommodatingly, advertisers can also tailor campaigns based on these accounts and contacts and use demographic targeting (like company size or job title) to further refine this audience.
- Sponsored In-Mail
Can you imagine getting an ad in Facebook messenger? How annoying, right?Now imagine getting an ad for a job lead that you’ve been urgently searching for over the past six months. Ads are not annoying when they are helpful.Sponsored InMail is a streamlined way to target your desired audience with relevant content via LinkedIn messenger. With clean-looking responsive design, the CTA button makes it easy for users to respond with interest on both mobile and desktop. Additionally, Sponsored InMail messages are only delivered when members are active, while frequency caps ensure your message gets seen by engaged users.If you want to learn more about this type of LinkedIn targeting, I’ve found this InMail Marketing Help Page to be exceedingly useful in terms of planning InMail campaigns.
- Distinct User Mindset
LinkedIn users aren’t mindlessly scrolling through newsfeeds full of engagement photos and baby updates. They are in pursuit. Whether they are in pursuit of information about their industry, new job leads, or fresh insight that will give them an edge in their careers, LinkedIn users are more than likely to want to see your ad – as long as you do an effective job of audience targeting and creating relevant ad campaigns.Due to user’s desire for valuable information, LinkedIn is an excellent platform for content marketing – especially white papers that tote insider industry knowledge. Additionally, lead generation forms are a great idea if your client is B2B and interested in growing the top and middle of their conversion funnels.
Simply put, the above list is a breakdown of what LinkedIn ads can do that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram cannot. There is so much more that LinkedIn for Business can do such as targeting by location, school, education level and much more – but this list is what makes LinkedIn a Paid Social contender in its own right.
Though LinkedIn has stuck to its original business-orientated roots, the advertising platform is not exclusively limited to your B2B clients. As the advertising platform continues to make moves towards better UX and targeting capabilities, the opportunity for Paid Social strategists and our clients is expanding to allow for new users to be reached and new goals to be achieved.