People spend ever more time on social networks due in large part to their widespread availability on mobile devices. Mobile social media apps have built-in triggers to get your attention in the form of those little notifications that show up on your smartphone’s home screen telling you when someone in your network has replied to, commented on, or liked your content.
Those notifications are conditioning us to check out what’s going on in our network throughout the day, driving up the frequency with which we use the network. We’re all turning into Pavlov Dogs:
As social networks have become integral to our daily lives, advertising budgets have increased for social media to reflect that behavior.
Here, then, is a cheat sheet to help you evaluate the pros and cons of LinkedIn advertising.
- 53% of LinkedIn users spend 0-2 hours on the platform weekly, according to Statista
- 22% spend 3-4 hours weekly
- 40% of LinkedIn members are daily users, according to Meenakshi Chaudhary.
Behavior Of LinkedIn Users
While LinkedIn used to be a platform people who were hunting for a job would use for virtual networking and to host their resume, that behavior has changed markedly over the years.
People tend to dip and dip out of LinkedIn throughout the day as they receive notifications on their mobile app or scroll through their newsfeed during breaks between meetings or during lunch. While at work, in addition to looking for new employment, LinkedIn users go to the platform to solicit recommendations for tools or vendors, prospect for new business, research competition, and, increasingly, for professional development purposes.
In April 2015, LinkedIn bought Lynda.com, the leading online learning company, acquiring its library of professional development video courses and a direct line to teaching talent. Since that acquisition, the content has been incorporated into LinkedIn itself.
The company allows users to blog on their profiles and has recently begun to rolling out a video upload feature as well. While LinkedIn typically lags behind Facebook and Twitter in adopting new features, the network continues to innovate, if cautiously. The network’s efforts are aimed at increasing the average time per session as well as collecting more user data for advertisers to target by offering ever more reasons to use the channel.
Strengths Of LinkedIn Advertising
Since the network is focused on users’ professional life, it boasts a very specific type of audience. That audience wants to present their best image to the world because it can actually mean career advancement. The attitude that individual users bring to the platform and how they use it makes LinkedIn a safe place for marketers. There is little risk of brands being inadvertently associated with negative stories or unsavory characters.
LinkedIn Ad Types
LinkedIn’s audience targeting capabilities match up well to Facebook’s in sophistication, are more sophisticated than Twitter’s, and have the added benefit of much richer professional data than the others. Like the other platforms, LinkedIn provides advertising on a bid system through which advertisers can buy impressions or clicks.
The types of ads you can run on LinkedIn are very similar to Facebook and Twitter. They include:
- Text ads,
- Sponsored posts,
- Display ads (dynamically personalized with viewer’s profile photo),
- Lead generation forms, and
- Video ads (expected to be rolled out in the first half of 2018).
Defining Your Advertising Audience In LinkedIn
In addition to the type of demographic targeting Facebook and Twitter offer, LinkedIn adds firmographics based on what it knows of individual users’ resumes and company profiles. The audiences for your campaigns can be defined by:
- Schools attended,
- Keywords (used in profile, title, company or school),
- Current and past companies employed by,
- LinkedIn Groups joined.
To get a full appreciation for the set of data advertisers have available to target, one need go no further than to LinkedIn’s own search engine. In the screenshot below, you’ll see the targeting options that are available:
InMail Email Advertising
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn offers an email advertising product. InMail is LinkedIn’s name for the email feature users can communicate with one another. The benefits of this type of advertising are:
- Delivered directly to users’ inbox, and
- Communicate privately.
LinkedIn Matched Ads
LinkedIn offers additional, more sophisticated targeting features
- Account targeting – Lets you upload a list of companies to target which you can then refine by professional demographics to reach the decision makers within those companies.
- Contact Marketing – Let you upload a list of your contacts and target those on your lists
- Audience Expansion – This is LinkedIn’s name for Lookalike Audiences, audiences that are similar to those on the lists you’ve uploaded.
Like Facebook and Twitter, you can target visitors to your website by installing a tracking pixel and can even target those visitors based on specific conversion criteria.
Weaknesses Of LinkedIn Advertising
There aren’t a lot of weaknesses to LinkedIn advertising but the biggest complaint is cost. Compared to Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn can feel very expensive. That perception, however, should be tempered with the knowledge of the very specific audience the network boasts when considering your ad spend.
While the existence of an email marketing option can be seen as a strength, to users getting unsolicited emails can feel like spam.
Introduction To LinkedIn Advertising Webinar
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