Social media advertising has become a staple component for advertisers. Whether it is raising awareness or running direct response campaigns, social media networks have matured in being able to stronger tools to grab the attention of target markets.
According to the February 2020 CMO Survey, 86.9% of survey participants itemized spending on social media this year and averaged 13% of their total marketing budget toward this channel. Expectations are that over the next 5 years spending on social media will rise to 21.5% of media budgets. This is striking as overall budgets have not been growing as quickly in years past, indicating that brands are moving media dollars from traditional outlets toward more digital channels. The question becomes as brands are looking to scale on social, what are the channels to consider?
The social media conversation typically starts with the biggest player Facebook, Inc. which is the largest social media company in the world and has arguably the strongest tools when it comes to creating and reaching a broad audience. For brands and marketers in the B2B space, attention falls on LinkedIn as the often first network to consider growing.
Although it has been around since 2003 (Facebook was launched in 2004) LinkedIn has historically had a different growth curve compared to other networks. It has unique tools and value propositions that align well with the goals of B2B companies, but it also has some important limitations that advertisers must consider before jumping in.
Challenges and Opportunities with LinkedIn
LinkedIn offers many self-serve options to getting started with advertising on the platform and reaching prospects, but if you have any familiarity with other platforms you might be in for a surprise. CPC per clicks have historically been high (with campaigns reaching $14-15 CPCs). Additionally, you are not going to have the same level of reach as the biggest platforms (globally there are still +262 million active users on LinkedIn). You might ask why I should spend any time there if my costs are higher than other networks and the overall pool is smaller? Here are 6 reasons why you rethink LinkedIn this year.
Stronger Self-Identified User Data
Not all social networks are equal when it comes to the seriousness with which profiles are created.
remembered to put on pants for an important call but forgot shirt
it turns out pants are the ones you can forget
i pulled up the pants quite high in an attempt to disguise them as a shirt but i don’t think it was a success
— Emo Kylo Ren (@KyloR3n) March 26, 2020
On LinkedIn, however, people put their best foot forward when creating and updating their profiles. They list their resume information (including places they worked and skills they have amassed) in order to show off their accomplishments, find their next job, or bring in future clients. Because of this, profile information is relatively up-to-date and provides rich targeting parameters that other networks either don’t have access to or need to pay other parties to verify after the fact. Advertisers can utilize this information to create quite powerful, tailored audiences.
Decisionmakers dominate the platform (and can be reached)
LinkedIn brands itself as the professional’s network and it shows based on the demographics. 43% of users on the platform are in a decisionmaker level role with 40% of users having 12+ years of experience in their field.
According to SproutSocial, 49% of users who make an income of over $75k per year actively use LinkedIn (the largest percentage for any income level). This is striking as only 29% of Americans use LinkedIn regularly. B2B marketers have the option to target by position or title the level they are trying to reach and there is a sizeable pool nationally to choose from. Being known and recognized by the people who have purchasing decision power is critical for closing deals.
Improved marketing and advertising tools
What historically has been a weakness for LinkedIn has turned around in the last couple of years, adding many of the same capabilities that Facebook has pioneered for a longtime. Beyond standard demographic targeting, LinkedIn can create website retargeting audiences and will be rolling out soon content engagement retargeting. Across all channels, retargeting audiences typically have stronger performance as the user is already somewhat familiar with your brand and are more likely to follow through with a conversion action.
Lookalikes audiences are also available, allowing brands to find users who look like their best customers or prospects. In addition, thanks in part to Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, LinkedIn data is being integrated within Bing Search Advertising, allowing you to segment those search ad campaigns based on the personas you are trying to reach.
Anyone who is a recruiter will tell you LinkedIn is one of their most important tools and for companies to succeed having the right talent is critical. Beyond the ability to network in the platform, LinkedIn offers self-serve job post ads that allow you to quickly get candidates. These types of posts can increase candidate applications by 30-50%. This is the largest source of income LinkedIn generates almost every quarter.
Additionally, utilizing a content strategy through posting on company pages gives brands the opportunity to impress future candidates and draw in the right talent. It also effectively shows off your company culture and values to prospects, as prospects are looking for ways to differentiate between different vendors.
Account-Based Marketing Strategies
For many businesses, reaching a mass audience isn’t beneficial when they operate in a tailored niche. Often these companies are reliant on targeting a specific group of companies who could potentially be clients. LinkedIn advertising offers strong account-based marketing tools by limiting your campaigns to employees of the companies brands are trying to go after. Advertisers can upload company target lists to set as the basis of their advertising efforts.
It also is invaluable for sales teams. Sales reps with LinkedIn Premium have the ability to use InMail to reach out to prospects that work at companies on their list and research across LinkedIn’s entire user database for future prospects to go after. This alongside sharing company updates helps to increase touchpoints between sales teams and prospects.
Integration within existing strategies
B2B companies still primarily rely on other channels when it comes to their lead gen efforts, especially when it comes to event marketing. With all of the advantages we have mentioned, the greatest value for LinkedIn is using it to augment and work in convergence with larger initiatives going on.
For companies where business is won through events, LinkedIn offers a platform to effectively get out your thought leadership and networking opportunities. For example, Marketo used a combination of Sponsored InMails and Updates through LinkedIn to drive registrations to larger online events. Those events serve as a qualifying touchpoint to help educate the consumer on Marketo resources while also helping to shape prospects’ trust and confidence in Marketo as a vendor.
As B2B brands look at a changing landscape and evolving digital world, LinkedIn will continue to be a powerful tool to help drive business goals and objectives.
If you are interested in learning about how a LinkedIn strategy could be used for your business, contact us today for a strategy meeting.