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Is Advertising on LinkedIn Effective?

Is advertising on LinkedIn effective for a B2B marketing strategy? We say yes! This quick guide explains why and how to use it to crush your campaign goals.

Can you use LinkedIn for B2B lead generation, or is it just for business professionals to socialize? If you’ve been hesitant to advertise on LinkedIn, questions like these may have kept you from experimenting.

We’ve seen the same situation with many of our clients. They’re so used to working with Google, Bing, and Facebook ads that they’re not ready to commit their time and money to another platform—especially if they’re not sure whether they’ll achieve boast-worthy results.

However, we believe advertising on LinkedIn can be very profitable for businesses if they follow a few best practices. So today, we’re sharing everything we’ve learned from our success stories to help you decide whether to take on a LinkedIn B2B marketing strategy. We’ll even discuss when LinkedIn may not be the right tool for your business.

Without further ado, let’s address the elephant in the room:

Is Advertising on LinkedIn Effective?

The short answer is absolutely! As you’ll see in this guide, advertising on LinkedIn can be just as effective as on other platforms (if not more so!). These three reasons prove why it’s worth having a LinkedIn B2B marketing plan:

1. Reach 706 Million Active, Targeted Users

Compared to Facebook and YouTube’s two-billion-plus user count, LinkedIn’s 706 million user count doesn’t seem that impressive. But don’t let that fool you.

As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn has users in 200 countries. Posting a single ad on this platform means you’ll tap into 12% of the world’s population. What’s more, 40% of LinkedIn users admit that they sign into LinkedIn daily, meaning each day gives you another opportunity to snag eyes on your ad and capture new customers.

But the best part? LinkedIn’s 706-million-strong user base is much more targeted. One of the significant advantages of advertising on LinkedIn is that profile data is very accurate and up to date. Someone rarely updates their Facebook profile unless it’s a significant life event.

People want to network and get a job on LinkedIn, so they keep their profile updated. That allows marketers to target people more precisely and get more specific data. They can pull in not only job responsibilities but also contact info into lead gen forms.

So instead of capturing parents, grandparents, teens, and everyone in between, you’ll have prime-time access to business professionals looking to network and learn more about getting ahead in their industry.

2. LinkedIn Serves as a Powerful B2B Lead Generation Tool

A staggering 79% of marketers surveyed said that LinkedIn is a proven workhorse for generating B2B leads. And at least 43% have captured a customer through this social media platform.

Recent research from HubSpot also shows that LinkedIn can be 277% more effective for B2B lead generation than Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn supported this finding by demonstrating how 80% of social media leads come from its platform.

But wait, there’s more!

3. Advertising on LinkedIn Could Mean Higher Conversions

You may be surprised to learn that 52% of people surveyed said that LinkedIn had the most significant impact on their research process. Even more shockingly, LinkedIn boasts a higher lead conversion rate than Google Ads—by three times as much.

So if you think Google and YouTube are the only places where people go to do research before making a decision, you’re wrong—your business can’t ignore the LinkedIn crowd.

The truth is that LinkedIn is a B2B goldmine for capturing leads when utilized to its full potential. We’ve seen this firsthand with a few of our clients.

We’ve Scored Two Huge LinkedIn Wins—And So Can You

Check out these snapshots of what happened when we used a LinkedIn B2B marketing strategy for two of our clients:

Driving Eyes and Conversions for a Live Chat Software Company

Using a mix of sponsored content that we drove to targeted landing pages, we captured unique website visitors and created conversions for our live chat software client, Velaro:

Success Story Stats

As the snapshot above from our case study shows, the entire paid search campaign:

  • Generated a whopping 400% increase in their conversion rate.
  • Lowered the cost per lead (CPL) by almost 48%.
  • Drove a total of 19k unique visitors to their website.

It’s no surprise that most of this traffic came from Google. Still, LinkedIn generated 812 unique visitors—almost double what Facebook brought to the table. And it forged 56 goal completions with a goal conversion rate of 6.66%.

LinkedIn turned out to be a vital and much-needed supplement to our paid search campaign and improved its overall performance.

Decreased Costs Per Lead and Performance That Beat Facebook

One of our clients WireWheel, a data privacy and protection platform, was looking for ways to acquire more customers online (who isn’t these days, right?). So they came to us hoping to create an online presence and a solid digital marketing strategy to drive results.

The campaign we created:

  • Led to a 619% increase in leads.
  • Lowered their cost per acquisition by 60%.
  • Helped them generate 628 leads in one month.

Once again, those aren’t the only highlights worth mentioning. Specifically, our LinkedIn side of the campaign saw a 79.84% decrease in the cost per lead. In comparison, Facebook came in just under that at a 66.7% decrease in CPL.

Overall, our entire social media CPL dropped by 77% (from $92.79 to $21.15). And LinkedIn was the clear winner in CPL over Facebook, even though it was a close race.

So, is advertising on LinkedIn effective? Clearly, the results speak for themselves, but we’ll say it anyway: yes, it absolutely is.

But there is a caveat worth mentioning before you jump right in. While LinkedIn is certainly a viable option to drive leads and conversions to your site, it isn’t necessarily the right choice every time. We learned this firsthand while running a different campaign for our client.

The Caveat: Sometimes, Facebook Actually Works Better for Capturing B2B Leads

The modern guide to creating a social media strategy for SaaS
There are so many social media platforms out there and more emerging. Which one is best for your business?

There’s no denying that LinkedIn holds major clout in the B2B space. But sometimes, Facebook performs even better when we’re talking about B2B leads. And that’s exactly what we uncovered during a separate campaign for the aforementioned client.

Instead of simply driving website visitors, our goal in this campaign was to drive registrants and attendees to a two-day virtual conference (they had to switch gears thanks to COVID-19). Our goal was to capture 500 registrations in less than one month.

We launched an advertising and email marketing strategy to help the client reach this goal and focused on “last chance” messaging to push more registrations during the last five days of the campaign.

The results were eye opening, to say the least:

  • Facebook delivered 60% of our leads at $7 each; LinkedIn made up 40% of our leads at $19 each. So LinkedIn’s CPL was almost three times higher than Facebook’s.
  • LinkedIn Inmail ads worked best, averaging a 69% open rate and a 5% CTR, ultimately bringing in over 58% of our registrations on that platform.

With this combined effort, we surpassed the goal of 500 registrations and ended up with 1,508 registrants, of whom 46% attended the conference.

Facebook had a lot more users online that we could target, including those in our target audience, despite that audience being B2B. Part of the reason for this is that LinkedIn’s remarketing capabilities were very limited, although that’s starting to change.

So even though Facebook’s cost per lead was lower, LinkedIn was still a primary driver in our campaign and helped us generate some major traction. Choosing one over the other would have done our campaign a huge disservice.

Clearly, you can’t just assume that LinkedIn will be the best choice even if you’re dealing with B2B lead generation. So before ruling out any specific platforms and only focusing your efforts on LinkedIn, it’s actually smarter to test multiple platforms simultaneously to see which drives the best results for your campaign. Just don’t spread yourself too thin too soon. Test two, maybe three, platforms at most, at one time.

But Wait, Are LinkedIn Ads Expensive?

In looking at this campaign, you may be worried about the cost of LinkedIn advertising. After all, if you can get $7 on Facebook, why would you want to spend $19 per lead on LinkedIn? While this may seem worrisome, you can’t just look at this cost as-is.

In the campaign just mentioned, Google delivered a $71 CPL, which is much higher than what we saw with LinkedIn. Yet they were both still well below the historic account averages, which were around $100.

Additionally, a lead could cost more but be of a higher quality and more likely to close.

So we can’t just make a generalized statement that LinkedIn ads are more expensive than others. Several factors go into your CPL, including your specific industry, lead quality, competition, and how much other businesses are advertising against you. There’s really no way to know the price for sure until you dive into a LinkedIn campaign and start advertising.

How to Advertise on LinkedIn Effectively

Now that you know why LinkedIn can be such a useful advertising tool, you’re probably wondering how to start taking advantage of it. Since this topic is much larger than we could ever cover here, we’ll send you to a few of our favorite go-to resources for further reading:

  1. The Complete LinkedIn Ads Best Practices Guide
  1. The LinkedIn News Feed “Retargeting” Hack
  1. Top 10 Essential B2B Marketing Strategies That You Can’t Ignore

Final Thoughts on Advertising on LinkedIn

As we’ve seen, whether or not advertising on LinkedIn will be effective for your business depends on a few factors. While there’s no way to know for certain without a deep dive into your business and marketing goals, the overall consensus is clear: LinkedIn is definitely effective.

Does that mean that it should always be your go-to for B2B campaigns? Not necessarily.

And should it be your only choice for B2B campaigns, even if you find success? Nope!

But LinkedIn can be a fruitful option on its own and as a supplement to your other campaigns. It may even outperform them in some cases!

So how can you see if it’s the right tool for your business?

Get in touch with one of our LinkedIn paid search experts today, and we’ll help you determine that answer. Through some trial and error (plus extensive testing), we’ll be able to tell fairly quickly if advertising on LinkedIn will be effective for your brand. And then we’ll figure out the next steps to help you reach your goals.

About the writer
William Chou
William Chou
William Chou has years of experience in the world of corporate digital marketing. He is proficient in SEO, paid media, email marketing, and copywriting.

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