Whether you’re completely new to LinkedIn advertising or you’ve previously dabbled, this article is here to shed light on the somewhat untapped potential of LinkedIn Ads – and not just for the B2B businesses.
In this post we’ll introduce the audiences you can reach and business objectives you can fulfil on LinkedIn. We’ll talk about how the platform’s recent additions and automated features can help you drive performance for your business goals – even for B2C businesses. Read on – the possibilities may surprise you!
LinkedIn has evolved, so take advantage
For professionals and business owners alike, LinkedIn has transformed over the years. Starting off as a digital CV for individuals, it’s now the business-skewed social media hub that many of us use every day.
However, despite its evolution, it’s often overlooked as a place to invest advertising budgets.
But for businesses, B2C and B2B alike, LinkedIn is a hotbed of opportunity. It’s home to over 600 million members who are actively consuming (as opposed to passively scrolling) business content, representing a unique opportunity to reach a highly receptive audience.
So whether you’re looking to introduce your brand to new audiences, increase your share of your market, showcase business-related products, or even fill vacancies at your company, it’s worth considering advertising on LinkedIn as part of your media plan.
The LinkedIn user base & it’s opportunities for advertising
LinkedIn’s user base is what makes this social network such a great place to advertise. With 303 million active monthly users, profiles are kept up to date, meaning advertisers have access to engaged audiences along with high-quality, reliable data.
Furthermore, almost 15% of LinkedIn’s users are senior influencers, with a further 10% being top-level decision-makers. This makes LinkedIn a prime opportunity for communicating key messages to the people in businesses who pull the levers.
It’s this user base that’s fundamental when it comes to LinkedIn’s potential as an advertising channel. However, the powerful capabilities available to target these users is what really set LinkedIn apart from other biddable media channels.
Intelligent audience targeting on LinkedIn Ads
Audience targeting on LinkedIn is a compelling reason to use the platform. It’s also complete with accurate metric forecasts at the campaign build stage.
In fact, there’s an almost endless combination of audience targeting options available on LinkedIn. These can be segmented according to business and campaign goals.
The broad categories of audiences that can be targeted include, at a basic level:
job function, seniority, and industry;
education and skills;
geographical location; demographics;
and company name, size, and industry.
However, the above audience list doesn’t include the sub-options available within each of these categories. When strategically combined, advertisers can refine their target audience to reach incredibly specific users with exactly the right message.
LinkedIn for B2C advertising
Many B2C advertisers instinctively stay away from LinkedIn. However, while the assumption has largely been that LinkedIn is prime B2B territory, this is no longer strictly true.
With the introduction of interest and persona targeting, LinkedIn has created the opportunity for advertisers to reach users according to:
the member groups they’re part of
their interests based on content that they post and engage with
Furthermore, advertisers looking for a more custom approach can upload custom target lists of companies that have LinkedIn business pages. While this is a particularly powerful feature for B2B account targeting, it can also be used to target more specific contacts on the platform. Email addresses can be securely uploaded for the use of re-engaging current or previous customers and to reach new ones using lookalike audiences, which we’ll expand on below.
Different ways to target audiences on LinkedIn Ads
So now that we understand more about the opportunities available with LinkedIn Ads, let’s dive into how we can use different types of ads to best reach audiences.
Engaging users with remarketing on LinkedIn
Strategically targeting and establishing a lasting relationship with customers and clients is a cornerstone of any digital ad strategy. To this end, LinkedIn offers the ability to target users who have visited specific pages on your website. If you’re looking to re-engage past customers or clients or drive non-converters, these audiences can be built and on LinkedIn and used as part of a wider remarketing strategy.
Remarketing on LinkedIn can also be used to target your current customer base with new, high-quality content as part of your content marketing strategy, ensuring you remain authoritative in your field of expertise.
Reaching new customers on LinkedIn
Moving further up the funnel, LinkedIn presents a fantastic opportunity for reaching new customers and driving pipeline.
As on other digital media platforms, advertisers on LinkedIn can create “lookalike audiences”.
What is a LinkedIn lookalike audience?
A lookalike audience is generated when you take a customer list – perhaps current or previous customers, or people who have signed up to your newsletter – and plug these into LinkedIn. LinkedIn will then match the characteristics of the users on the list with other users on the platform. This provides a quick and reliable method to scale your audiences and reach new prospects aligned with your typical customer.
And if you want to reach these professionals while they’re browsing elsewhere on the web, LinkedIn also has an audience network. This is available thanks to the acquisition of the platform by Microsoft. The LinkedIn audience network allows ads to be served across tried and tested third-party sites, where brand safety and quality are paramount to success.
Objective-based advertising on LinkedIn
After you’ve decided who to target and how to target them, LinkedIn goes a step further to help make sure you get the best results from your ads.
Objective-based advertising is a key USP of LinkedIn as a digital media platform. With objectives to choose from to optimise at every stage of the funnel, advertisers can ensure their LinkedIn campaigns are customised to align with their business goals.
The current list of campaign objectives available are:
These objectives are dynamic, and LinkedIn is continually investing in them to ensure they’re relevant to both B2B and B2C advertisers.
In the following sections, we’ll expand on these objectives and how we implement them in our clients’ LinkedIn campaigns.
If you need to start building awareness for a new brand or product, LinkedIn’s first campaign objective, “Brand Awareness”, helps advertisers achieve these goals.
Based on a cost-per-mille (or cost per thousand impressions) model, the “Brand Awareness” objective can be paired with one of LinkedIn’s automated bidding strategies, ensuring the campaign is optimised to gain impressions from your target audience.
With three campaign objectives aligned with consideration goals, LinkedIn is a prime platform for your target audience to find out more about and engage with your business.
The “Website Visits” objective will optimise to serve ads to users who are likely to visit your website. This option is well-suited to encourage users to consume content on your site or to learn more about your business.
Increasing consideration within the LinkedIn platform itself is also important for some advertisers whether that’s driving social engagement, starting conversations or encouraging people to follow a company page. The “Engagement” objective is aligned for just that and will optimise for users likely to engage with your company posts on LinkedIn.
Finally, we have the “Video Views” objective. This is crucial amidst the rise of video content as part of ever more complex user journeys. Video content is a prime medium for communicating brand values and storytelling, and this objective will drive video views, boosting the impact of your most valuable content.
Once customers are primed and ready, “Conversion” objectives on LinkedIn will drive them through the bottom of the funnel and encourage them to convert.
A particularly powerful option to leverage is the ‘Lead Generation’ objective. This allows you to serve your target audience with a lead gen form. This form is pre-populated with information from their profile, conveniently allowing them to submit their details without leaving the platform. Once submitted, the lead is stored within LinkedIn ready for you to download and follow up on.
Sending users to a landing page to complete a conversion is another bottom-of-the-funnel option on LinkedIn. With the Conversions campaign objective, ads are shown to users most likely to click through to your site convert. Couple this with an optimised landing page containing a clear call-to-action and you’re onto a winner.
Lastly, we have the “Job Applicants” objective, created for businesses looking to encourage relevant users to apply for advertised vacancies. This can prove to be a particularly cost-friendly option when compared to traditional recruitment platforms, without sacrificing the ‘at work’ mindset of the target audience.
As with all digital advertising, these campaign objectives will only work as well as the business goals behind them have been formulated, with target audience and creative being crucial points of consideration. At Loom, we always consider these factors, deciding on the best campaign objective to use for our clients.
LinkedIn as part of an integrated strategy
The combination of audience targeting, ad formats and campaign objectives set LinkedIn as a clear opportunity as part of a wider digital marketing strategy. With possibilities at every stage of the funnel, we run LinkedIn campaigns for a variety of clients to meet their business goals.
As a recap, LinkedIn advertising can be used for:
Engaging previous and current customers via remarketing. Remind non-converters and previous customers of the benefits of your business to encourage them to convert.
Driving new, qualified leads via pre-filled lead generation forms that allow you to extend your reach and access previously untapped audiences.
Building brand awareness of your brand via images and videos among an engaged audience consuming relevant content.
Driving consideration among new users to educate them on your business value proposition.
Complementing a current organic social strategy. Got a LinkedIn post that performed better than the rest? Promote it using the Engagement objective to encourage new and current users to comment, share and engage with your content.