A recent survey from DigiDay suggests that marketers are looking to increase their LinkedIn ad spending in 2019.
On the one hand, this makes sense; as marketers we continue to do everything we can to bring new visitors and prospects into our funnel, and LinkedIn is another channel to help us do that.
On the other hand, the business case and ROI for social media ad spend for B2B marketers hasn’t quite proven itself yet. Even with its sophisticated targeting and mobile options, LinkedIn advertising can be hit or miss.
LinkedIn is promising ever greater targeting options for 2019, but it remains to be seen if it’s a true difference-maker.
With these questions in mind, we asked the Roundtable this week: Is increasing LinkedIn ad spending the right move for the 2019 marketing budget? Is there true value for B2B marketers on LinkedIn?
Find the Right Offer and CTA
Julie Ford: I agree with the anonymous media buyer in the DigiDay article that LinkedIn can be hit or miss but that it seems to be getting better.
I’ve noticed is that certain types of calls to action perform higher than others. For example, we’ve seen engagement and conversion rates on ads that link to download an ebook are lower than those that drive the audience to register for an event (live or webinar) or an interactive experience.
One campaign that performed extremely well both on engagement and conversion metrics was one that invited a small and specific target audience to engage with the company’s chatbot and get their questions about a relevant topic answered quickly.
Is increasing LinkedIn ad spend the right move for marketers this year? It definitely could be, but likely not for another boring ebook campaign. I believe there’s value investing in LinkedIn for B2B marketers when there’s a strategy and call-to-action that is interesting, unique and hyper-relevant to the target audience.
The Targeting Justifies the Cost
Mike Valenti: With all the noise constantly swirling around beleaguered platforms like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn has quietly grown into a powerful hub for original content, and is the most effective social media platform for generating B2B leads.
Earning the reputation as the most useful social network for business owners and professionals, LinkedIn is continually redefining its ability to target business professionals with greater accuracy and a recirculating algorithm designed to connect content to wider audiences.
What gives LinkedIn’s advertising platform a leg up against others is that users are already on the site with the workplace in mind, so they are receptive to learning about products or services and doesn’t seem out of place.
By having this ability to target a high-value audience in senior leaders and decision makers at companies, the clicks will undoubtedly come at a higher cost. So, to justify the elevated cost per click and to get a solid return with LinkedIn Ads,the value of your sale should be high enough to warrant your ad spend. And while I do find it encouraging that LinkedIn is getting more attention in the pay-to-play aspect, I agree with Josh in the importance of having all your ducks in a row before triggering any campaigns.
You can’t just pour money online and expect to see real-life results – there has to be some element of trust and recognition. For example, when you start out advertising on LinkedIn, or any platform for that matter, your cost-per-click will be higher than normal until you can prove that you get high engagement. So, if you get low engagement, low clicks and low conversions, you will have a very limited exposure to new audiences – because no one has heard of you! Get to know your audience – and vice versa, through organic channels and content before you launch an advertising campaign.
Build the Right Infrastructure to Support it
Josh Kern: I’ll admit to having seen mixed results with paid campaigns on LinkedIn (and virtually no results on other social channels), so I’m a bit jaded about paid social media overall. However LinkedIn does offer the best targeting options already, and it sounds like those options are only going to get better, so if you are going to spend money on paid social… LinkedIn is definitely the way to go.
But for anyone thinking of spending more, I would simply say, make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row first to ensure your maximize your investment. That means a compelling offer, something that is really going to stand out from the crowd. As Julie says, just another ebook isn’t going to cut it anymore. What can you offer that is relevant to your audience? As LinkedIn allows you to get more and more specific in your targeting, make sure that your offer — and the entire marketing experience — is highly relevant for that target group.
It also means (depending on what you’re selling and your sales process/cycle of course) getting your sales team fully on board and engaged. As marketers it’s up to us to arm our sales teams with the right tools — from talking points and scripts to follow-up material — to help them close the sale. That puts a lot on our plates but again, if you’re going to increase your investment in LinkedIn, you need to increase your investment in the “back-end” in order to maximize the return on that investment.
What are your plans for LinkedIn this year? Are you all-in on paid media, sticking with organic or out on LinkedIn altogether? Join the convo on Twitter!
And as always, let us know if you’d like to contribute to a future Glance Roundtable.
- All right, you’ve checked the LinkedIn box. What are you doing with your email marketing this year?
- “Ad spend?” you say, “I don’t even have a social media strategy yet!” Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
- Need a hand with your social media presence? We can help. Contact us today!