Why LinkedIn Ads might not be for your Business

Ever since our worlds turned upside down with Coronavirus, I’ve had 3 or 4 enquiries a week from businesses who are pivoting and looking into whether LinkedIn ads will help them reach their target customers with their new offers. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the scenarios where LinkedIn ads work well, and reasons they might not work for your business…

They are powerful – but expensive

LinkedIn ads are an incredibly powerful B2B paid social tool – it’s the only social network where you can target by both individual and organisation and people are on the platform in a business-minded way they might not be on Facebook or Instagram. So if you want to target HR Managers in fast-growing IT services companies with 50-500 employees in the UK, you can absolutely do that. However, that comes at a cost – the minimum bid for a click on LinkedIn to your website is generally around £5 in the UK, and if you’re spending £1000, you’ll be getting around 200 people from your target market to the website. If you compare that to B2B Facebook ads, it can often be 10x the cost even at this budget testing and learning can take a long time.

They work best when your clients have a high lifetime value

The types of businesses that do really well with LinkedIn ads are those with a high lifetime value – if your deals are worth 15k+ then a high acquisition cost makes sense, but for a days training course the numbers are unlikely to add up.

Your targeting needs to fit

As well as having high-value customers, knowing your target makes LinkedIn ads really effective. If your product or service has a really broad appeal or you’re looking to test and learn, you’d be better off considering Facebook or Instagram ads which have a wider reach and a lower cost per action. LinkedIn ads also work best with a large pool of people – they aren’t effective at hyper-targeting.

Does this mean that LinkedIn ads can’t work for small businesses?

No – LinkedIn lead generation ads are fantastic in this situation as long as you have a relatively high customer lifetime value, know who you want to target and you understand the amount of traffic you’re going to get from the higher cost per click. If you’re spending £5 a click, sending that person to a killer offer or a resource like an ebook or other incentive which is aligned with their needs and they’re prepared to swap for their email address can be a great use of budget. If you’re advertising on Facebook as well, you can also retarget these new website visitors at a much lower cost.

As with any advertising, the power of advertising is through the ‘test, measure, refine’ approach. My favourite analogy was a recent one by Gavin Bell where he describes any ad campaign is ‘like restringing a guitar… you put the strings on and it looks good but sounds awful.’ When you get data back and fine-tune the campaign by tweaking the audience, copy and creative, that’s when your results really start coming in.

If LinkedIn advertising isn’t for you at the moment, don’t forget that the engagement levels on LinkedIn are one of the highest of any social media platform and investing your own time in creating content which resonates with your target audience and publishing it from your own profile can still be incredibly powerful. 

If it is, and you’re looking to upskill, I’d recommend following AJ Wilcox who is a font of helpful knowledge and training courses. If you’re looking for someone to run campaigns for you, we’re always happy to chat!