Part 2, Social Ad Showdown: 5 Ways LinkedIn Takes Care of Business

In part 1 of this post, we reviewed the social ad experiment on Facebook and LinkedIn. With a 60% CTR improvement and the potential to increase weekly ad impressions by 3.5x, LinkedIn was the clear winner. In part 2, we go beyond the numbers and give our analysis and insights with 5  reasons why we think B2B companies should have a strong presence and advertise on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn: 5 ways it’s taking care of business


1. Professional information

LinkedIn’s strength comes from their well-defined professional networking database. These users range from white-collar professionals, industry thought leaders, businesses looking up potential hires, and candidates seeking jobs. In fact, middle management and top-level executives use LinkedIn for 3 main activities: keep in touch, industry networking, and to promote their business. Compare this activity to Facebook, and ask yourself, does it make sense for your technical B2B company to advertise on the same medium where your “most relevant” newsfeed story is about a guy breaking up with a girl?

2. Target decision-makers

Although LinkedIn doesn’t have the variety and amount of user information as Facebook, if you’re a B2B marketer, they have the pertinent demographics you will likely use, such as: industry, job position, geographic location, gender, and age. B2B companies can benefit from this approach, because it streamlines the setup process and forces you to target decision-making professionals. So like we said in part 1 of this post, LinkedIn’s targeting function is broader, but not weaker.

3. Ad variations

LinkedIn advertising’s smartest feature is the rotating ad variations. Unlike Facebook, where you have to go into the ad and edit to make changes, LinkedIn allows you to create multiple ads that run simultaneously, at no extra cost. For TREW, we created 3 variations, then compared results to see which ad performed the best among our target audience.

Results:

  • The 3rd ad dominated with a 2 to 1 and 10 to 1 CTR comparison to the 1st and 2nd ad, respectively
  • The higher CTR for the 3rd ad resulted in a 25% and 27% increase of ad impressions compared to the 1st and 2nd ad, respectively

The results of the side-by-side ad comparison leads us to a key marketing takeaway: Our audience of scientists and engineers are more likely to respond to educational content and technical images.

4.  Get Recommended

LinkedIn gives businesses the opportunity to really differentiate themselves with recommendations. Reading how other customers have benefitted from your products or services is a powerful and compelling sales and marketing tool. If you already have customer testimonials written and approved, reuse this valuable content and post them on your social media channels. On LinkedIn, you have two options:

1. Ask a business partner to write a recommendation for a product or service on your company page

2. Re-purpose your current case studies, by posting them in the product/service section, then link it to your company website, as TREW Marketing has done here:

5. Potential

LinkedIn shows a lot of promise for brands in the future. The 8 year old company shattered expectations when their IPO shares skyrocketed more than 80% in May, recently rose to the #2 social media site (of course behind Facebook), and is growing to be a top referrer for website traffic. Additionally, 90% of users are satisfied with LinkedIn and find it to be a useful social networking tool, whereas, Facebook has one of the lowest customer satisfaction scores. If LinkedIn maintains their professional integrity, while Facebook users become more dissatisfied, they have potential to close the gap between the #1 and #2 ranks in the social media market.

What About Facebook?

At its absolute core, Facebook users are there to connect. It originally started as an exclusive college-networking site, where people formed connections to stay informed on campus social circles. Because of the way it began, Facebook is rooted in maintaining quality relationships in a fun way. If you are seeking to grow your online audience, the “like” button will help foster community growth by empowering others to vouch for your business. So let’s not forget that Facebook is still the reigning leader of social media, and use it for what it’s made to do: connect you to people you care about and who care about you.

Parting Thoughts

It’s important to remember that paid advertising on social media is not a stand-alone marketing strategy. Think of it as a tightrope-balancing act between your paid ad campaign and current organic resources like your Facebook or LinkedIn company pages. Furthermore,  think quality not quantity. Just because Facebook has a whopping 750 million users and is slotted be the #1 online ad site for 2011, doesn’t mean it’s the most cost-effective solution for your company.

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