Why there’s no better way to zero in on B2B than LinkedIn Advertising

Designed specifically for professionals, LinkedIn is built from the ground up for delivering business-focused content to its community. Users provide high levels of information about their professional lives and LinkedIn advertising offers a wide range of targeting – providing everything you need to run B2B ads with pinpoint accuracy.

Unique, 360° coverage when it comes to reaching users.

While it’s frowned on to check your Facebook or Twitter accounts at work, LinkedIn is in a different category. This makes it possible to reach users who are checking LinkedIn before work, during, and after, with time-relevant messaging whether they are at the desktop or on a smartphone.

Plus, amazing targeting options and low CPM

LinkedIn advertising offers two million targeting options, whose scope is remarkably diverse in terms of interests and viewpoints. And its CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) is low: At an average price of $0.75, LinkedIn can be a highly cost-effective option.

LinkedIn Ads: Options and considerations

Before we get into your ad options, a few important considerations:

  1. Apply the best practices mentioned in our previous post: Define goals and metrics; create daily and lifetime budgets; research your audience and target appropriately; respect privacy concerns; stay on target.
  2. LinkedIn ads are much more affected by social sharing and ranking than on Facebook. Your Ad will have a much bigger effect when somebody shares it.
  3. LinkedIn is very appropriate for companies with long sales cycles. Many advertisers use it to encourage people to interact with their brands to build awareness and legitimacy.

So what are your options for LinkedIn advertising? Essentially, there are two:

Basic ads and Sponsored Updates. Basic ads appear in the right-hand column of users’ feeds, as in the screen capture below. Sponsored Updates, as you see, appear in the middle of a user’s feed. Let’s begin by describing their advantages first.

LinkedIn Advertising visual of Sponsored Update ad and Basic ad.

Sponsored Update is highlighted on the left. Basic ad is highlighted on the right.

Sponsored Updates. As users engage with content from news sites, professional connections and brands, Sponsored Updates bring you into the conversation front and center – posting right in the middle of their member feeds. You can combine text and visuals, and include videos. The only option for reaching mobile users, they appear in the member feeds on tablets and smartphones. Basic ads, because of their placement in the right column, won’t show up.

Important Note: You first need a Company Page to create Sponsored Updates!

LinkedIn Company Page required for Sponsored Updates.

A Company Page increases the visibility of your business and enables you to have followers.

Sponsored Updates support likes, shares, comments and follows – bringing the opportunity for third party validation from friends and colleagues. Here’s where you can engage users with offers for white papers, webinars and podcasts to build awareness, create ongoing engagements and establish relationships.

Bear in mind that users can dislike your ads and make negative comments. So don’t think of them as a way to makes quick sales. Consider them as long-term relationship builders.

Basic ads. These won’t appear on smartphones or tablets, but they do provide a quick way to promote offers. At their simplest they are text only, but for a little extra spend you can include simple videos, images and social options. Don’t dismiss basic ads, though: Target right and message well and you can get good results. They’re also more affordable than Sponsored Updates.

Building effective ads In LinkedIn

Both basic text ads and Sponsored Updates offer complete bid and budget control, and good targeting and content options. Here are the basic steps:

Step One: Create Your Ad

Create Your Ad Page in LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s interface walks you through building your ad. Click the appropriate fields to name your campaign, choose ad type and format, and then enter the headline, copy and the destination your ad takes users to.

Step Two: Target Your Audience

Target Your Audience Page in LinkedIn.

Now it’s time to apply the homework you’ve done on your target audience. Start pointing and clicking on the options; pop-up windows offer layer after layer of ever-more granular options enabling you to click to exactly the users you want to reach.

Step Three: Budget

Budget Page for LinkedIn Advertising.

Remember to create those minimum and lifetime budgets! The minimum daily budget is $10. And you can bid on either a Cost Per Click or Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) basis. Prices range from $2.01 to $2.47 and you’ll see a minimum suggested bid.

Important: The look and messaging of your lander needs to connect people immediately with your ad!

The best ad in the world won’t do you any good if the landing page it leads to doesn’t instantly pay it off in respondents’ minds. And we mean instantly. Because if there’s any dissonance, viewers will hesitate before reading on. And he who hesitates is lost to you, the advertiser. So make sure things match up and pay off!

One final thought: Consider the LinkedIn Client Service Team

If you have the budget, LinkedIn has the team for you: The LinkedIn Client Services Team. They’re expensive. But they will come up with creative ideas that will help ensure your campaign’s success. Plus, they’ll work with you to create richer, more customized options than are available with self-service.

Feel free to share this blog, LinkedIn Advertising – Best Practices, How to Use Basic Ads and Sponsored Updates. We only ask that when shared no changes are made, and credits are given to the authors.

About the Authors

* * * *

John Thyfault, Vice President of Search & Social Strategy

John Thyfault

This post was authored by John Thyfault, Vice President of Search & Social Strategy, and Laurie B. Beasley, President of Beasley Direct & Online Marketing.

John Thyfault (Contact John at jthyfault@beasleydirect.com.) John has more than 19 years of marketing, sales and product development experience. He brings a proven track record of successful campaign, program and product development expertise. His knowledge of search engine optimization and marketing, combined with an in-depth understanding of customer identification, market analysis and segmentation, allows him to deliver high returns on our client’s marketing investment for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business markets.

Prior to working with Beasley Direct, John was Senior Client Services Project Director at ThirdAge.com, a first wave baby boomer lifestyle and community website. At ThirdAge he successfully led major client sponsorships for Fortune 100 companies in healthcare (Tylenol), financial services (American Century), technology (Intel & IBM) and consumer products areas (Revlon & Viactive). He was responsible for strategic and tactical goal setting, project management, new product creation and web site production. John previously worked in Channel Marketing and National Account Sales for IDG Books Worldwide, the publishers of the immensely popular “…For Dummies” book series. Additionally, he managed the wholesale distributor sales channel for Tor/Forge Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.

Direct Marketing Association

John is active in local marketing associations. Including the Direct Marketing Association, the Business Marketing Association and is currently serving on the board of directors for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association.

John has taught search engine marketing fundamentals extensively. He has led workshops for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association, Northern California Direct Marketing Association and the Business Marketing Association. He also teaches Search Engine Marketing at UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley.

* * * *

Laurie B. Beasley, Founder and President

Laurie B. Beasley

Laurie B. Beasley is co-founder and president of Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. Beasley Direct is a Silicon Valley direct marketing agency that has managed search, email, online, and demand generation campaigns for nearly 100 companies. Ms. Beasley serves as President of the Direct Marketing Association of Northern California. Laurie manages the eMarketing Roundtable for the BMA Northern California. She is also an instructor of online marketing at UC Berkeley Extension and teaches for the Online Marketing Institute. Ms. Beasley frequently speaks on online marketing and demand generation topics for marketing organizations, including the DMA, BMA, AMA, Tech Council, and the Online Marketing Summit.

Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. is known for bringing the latest marketing strategies to online and direct marketing. The company provides services in email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, website design, media planning, direct mail marketing, lead generation and nurture campaigns, and database management. Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc. helps clients in both B2B and B2C marketing. Beasley Direct and Online Marketing is privately held and headquartered in the Silicon Valley suburb, Morgan Hill, California. For more information, go to www.BeasleyDirect.com or call Laurie Beasley, President, at 408-782-0046 x21 or email lbeasley@beasleydirect.com.

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