The Pros and Cons of LinkedIn Advertising


August 5, 2021


  • With more than 750 million users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network.
  • LinkedIn allows marketers to use a myriad of features, including LinkedIn Ads, Lead Gen Forms and LinkedIn Messaging to circulate videos, build brand awareness and generate leads, all while optimizing through Campaign Manager.
  • BUT
  • LinkedIn Ads can cost more and have higher CPCs than other social media platforms.
  • LinkedIn Ads have some nuanced rules that limit who you can target.

When used effectively, LinkedIn advertising can be a wonderful tool for businesses of all sizes, as companies share stories about their brand, tout their latest products and offerings and try to become thought leaders in their industry.

Boasting a vast network of mostly active, career-oriented professionals, LinkedIn offers advertising opportunities that can reach a lot of people in many different ways. That’s a big advantage, but when weighed against other social advertising platforms, Linkedin advertising comes out a bit expensive and has some limitations as to who you can target.

To determine if LinkedIn advertising is right for your company, you must first understand its nuances and then figure out if the advantages play to your company while also avoiding the disadvantages of LinkedIn advertising.

What is LinkedIn Paid Advertising?

When it comes to LinkedIn, there is no one-size-fits-all form of advertising. There are several different LinkedIn advertising options, and it’s important to know the differences between them in order to fully understand how they can be effective (and ineffective).

LinkedIn Sponsored Content - Sponsored content can be really dynamic, as LinkedIn enables single image ads, video, carousel or even event advertisements. These are great to promote thought leadership, advertise your products and services and do outreach for any events you’re hosting.

LinkedIn Sponsored Messaging - Sponsored messaging comes in two formats: Message ads that are meant to spark immediate action and conversion ads that have different options, allowing users to choose their own path. Sponsored messages are sent to individuals and have a clear Call To Action (CTA).

LinkedIn Text Ads - Text ads serve a similar purpose to LinkedIn sponsored content, except that the options for formatting are a bit more limited. However, these ads are designed with cost effectiveness in mind, as they run on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model.

LinkedIn Dynamic Ads - Dynamic ads make for a great LinkedIn feature. These ads are tailored for the individual who receives them and targeted to the details of a recipient’s profile. Costs are a bit higher for this LinkedIn advertising method.

Size of LinkedIn’s Network a Big Advantage

The number of people in the LinkedIn network keeps on growing and growing. Right now, LinkedIn has more than 750 million users, making it the world’s largest professional network—though certainly not the biggest social media platform, nor the most used. Actually, LinkedIn ranks 10th among active users on social media sites, and it’s also 10th in Monthly Active Users (MAUs). So what’s the advantage of this big, but not enormous network?

The answer to this question lies in LinkedIn’s users, who hold the key to successful advertising on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has 61 million users who are in senior positions. Not only that, but according to LinkedIn, four out of five members “drive business decisions,” giving LinkedIn members “[double] the buying power of the average web audience.”

This means that advertising on LinkedIn can certainly be about gaining a following, but the opportunity for conversions is especially great.

LinkedIn users are also typically more affluent, with 44% of users earning above the nation’s median income. They’re also educated. More than half of college graduates in the US have a personal LinkedIn profile.

These LinkedIn users have expectations of professionalism in advertisements, so your company doesn’t have to come up with outlandish attention-getting campaigns in order to take full advantage of all of LinkedIn’s advertising options.

Amount of Tools and LinkedIn Advertising Options Are HUGE

We’ve already mentioned some of the amazing options LinkedIn gives companies who want to advertise, but some of these are worth additional exploration, and there are plenty of other tools worth mentioning too.

Gone are the days when you couldn't upload videos onto LinkedIn, as today, videos comprise some of the platform’s most effective ads. Video ads provide a great opportunity for CEOs with a knack for public speaking to become thought leaders. They’re also great for showcasing a brand or driving LinkedIn users to a business website.

Perhaps the best LinkedIn tool of all is the platform’s Lead Gen Forms. These make the conversion process so simple that a customer’s entire profile can be captured with just one click, as anytime a LinkedIn user clicks on an ad, the Lead Gen Form will automatically populate the user’s profile information.

That’s pretty incredible when you consider how reticent users typically are about manually entering their personal information. As a result, LinkedIn offers a 300 percent higher conversion rate than other social media platforms..

Another great tool that LinkedIn offers is analytics that enable tracking of several core Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Not long ago users complained that you could only view one KPI at a time using LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, whereas now, it looks more like a page from Google Analytics.

Using LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager is critical to managing your budget, allowing you to pay special attention to Cost-Per-Click (CPC). If you don’t set your budgets up correctly, or don’t use Campaign Manager to optimize your ads, it can cost your company a lot of money.

The Cons of LinkedIn Advertising? Costs.

Taking advantage of all of the tools is important when advertising on LinkedIn. Otherwise, companies can end up limiting their reach while straining their budgets. No matter what kind of advertisement you decide to use, the minimum daily budget on LinkedIn is $10. Taking the extra step of doing the math shows that this adds up to $3,650 a year—per campaign!—so we’re not talking pocket change.

Any advertising campaign, whether you plan to run it for a couple days (you really shouldn’t do that) or a week, will cost $100 at a minimum. This is higher than other social media platforms, driving your CPCs in the wrong direction—up.

And while LinkedIn is recognized for the quality and engagement of their users, advertising on LinkedIn will hit you with the highest CPCs of any major social media network. LinkedIn will charge you an average of $5.26 every time someone clicks on your ad, and to put that in perspective, Instagram, the next most expensive social media platform, charges an average CPC of $3.56, while Twitter, the most affordable major social media platform, charges an average CPC of just $.38.

When you set your goal for LinkedIn advertising, be sure to use the numbers above when factoring in how many conversions you plan on making. But again, these leads are worth the money—provided you use LinkedIn’s advertising options—since LinkedIn provides triple the lead conversions as well as higher quality leads.

LinkedIn Advertising’s Limited Targeting Capabilities

Before we dive into the limitations of LinkedIn advertising in terms of targeting, it’s worth noting that LinkedIn does have some pretty good features. LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences, for example, allows you to target users who’ve visited your website! It also enables custom targeting of users with certain job titles, certain companies, an entire industry, seniority level and more.

The drawback is that you cannot launch these ads from your company’s LinkedIn profile. They have to come from individual profiles, which means that CEOs and senior leaders need to be front and center as ambassadors of your brand. This also means that setting up ad campaigns on LinkedIn is not a task for a college junior on a summer internship, as these campaigns will necessitate time commitments from a company’s most sought-after leaders.

There are also some limitations on who you can target with LinkedIn ads, and some of the reasons for this are worth noting. LinkedIn is a professional network, with professionals and inclusivity in mind, and therefore is committed to gender equality. LinkedIn promotes the culture of a virtual office, and they don’t allow companies to target ads based on a person’s gender.

In addition to this, there are also geographic limitations for targeting an audience when advertising on LinkedIn. While it is possible to target specific countries and states, companies cannot target towns and districts. This means that other professional social media platforms who target smaller communities like Alignable still have a place in a company’s marketing campaign, despite having far fewer users.

The pros decidedly outweigh the cons of LinkedIn advertising, with professional management of the social media network likely to lead to quality conversions. But great conversions will only happen if you commit time and resources from your company to take full advantage of all that LinkedIn advertising can do.

Get the support you need to be a champ on LinkedIn. Get in the ring with Main Event Digital.



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