Google Adwords or LinkedIn Ads? – LinkedIn Ads Best Practices

By Soyeon Shin, Marketing & Communications Manager at Hair Spa, Global Customer Experience Specialist at LinkedIn, MSc in Digital Marketing

Google Adwords or LinkedIn Ads, which online ads platform should you use to advertise your business in order to maximize ROI and ultimately achieve your goals?

I once had a conversation with a marketer who almost worshiped Google Adwords since it greatly increased traffic to his company website and generated high sales through conversions. His praises to Google Adwords just kept on going. In fact, he looked so passionate talking about it that you might doubt if he was an account executive in Google. Then, as soon as I mentioned LinkedIn Ads, the light on his face went off. It’s not that he didn’t like LinkedIn Ads, but he simply hadn’t thought of advertising on another platform.

This illustrates how powerfully Google Adwords dominates the online ads market. Indeed, many marketers seem to jump straight into Google Adwords without even weighing the value of different ad platforms. But really, how naïve is that to think Google Adwords must bring the best value out of all available ad platforms regardless of the business orientation and campaign objectives? It certainly ignores the potential outcome of generating even bigger value if thorough research and analysis were carried out.

How are the two different and what should you consider within the digital marketing strategy process? In my opinion, how Google Adwords and LinkedIn Ads work in terms of basic campaign planning/designing/setting process is primarily the same. What makes them different though is the fundamental business structure of the site/network on which each ad platform run. Hence, below I briefly compared the two focusing on their unique target methods and the audience mindset of each platform.

Google Adwords vs LinkedIn Ads

Target methods: Google Adwords is the king of SEM and it’s all about being found by potential consumers based on their keyword search. It is indeed keywords that ultimately help advertisers to find their target audience in Google whereas it is members’ profile information in LinkedIn Ads’ case. With LinkedIn Ads, you can precisely target audience based on their persona filtering criteria such as job function & title, industry, school, skills, company name, etc. Although Google’s keywords based targeting is undoubtedly impactful, the volume of leads that can be generated through keyword search engine advertising is limited to the number of people actively searching, which is a downside.

Audience Mindset: On Google, the fact that people made an effort to go online and search with specific keywords means that they are more likely to take an action or make a decision once they find a relevant result. This is extremely valuable mindset of audience on Google as it’s easier to turn them to customers, which is why the conversion rate tends to be higher for Google Adwords than for LinkedIn Ads. In LinkedIn though, people are strongly business oriented and you can open up great opportunities by proactively reaching your target audience and engaging their information hungry and business driven mindset, even before they look for you.

So it’s not the matter which ad platform is simply better or worse. Each platform has its own strength and unique values to offer and it’s for marketers or advertisers to decide which one would suit the best to meet their marketing objectives. In fact, in many cases, the ideal is a proper combination of the two.

Now that we had a look at the unique value of LinkedIn Ads in comparison to Google Adwords, here is some essence of its best practices for those who are yet familiar with LinkedIn Ads.

LinkedIn Ads Best Practices

1. Develop your targeting personas

Narrow down the key aspects of your target audience on LinkedIn and visualize it by creating targeting personas for different targets. Think about specific job factions, skills, industry, location and even groups of which the target might be a member. It’s all about taking advantage of precise and unique targeting filters LinkedIn provides.

2. Create campaigns per targeting persona and design ads accordingly

 Once targeting personas are developed, create campaigns per each of them with a distinctive campaign name that clearly reflects the targeting persona. Then, for each campaign, create as many ad variations as possible with different images and copywriting with characteristics and the mindset of a particular targeting persona in mind. Try to call out the target audience to grab their attention and include a strong call to action.

3. Choose target filters based on the targeting persona

Select a combination of 2 or 3 target options per campaign while making sure that the size of estimated target audience is not too small so that you don’t go too narrow and miss out on unexpected opportunities. According to LinkedIn, using 2+ targeting criteria can increase your ad performance by up to 10%.

4. Set an appropriate daily budget

Think about your main campaign objectives and decide whether you want to run a CPC (Cost per click) or CPM (Cost per impressions) campaign. Then, bid your maximum willing to pay CPC with the help of a suggested big range, which is an estimate of the competing bids by other advertisers for the same target audience you selected. Finally, set your daily budget based on the bid price and how many clicks or impressions you want to get a day in order to maximize the conversion rate.

5. Keep tracking results and optimize performance on dashboard

One of the great functionalities of LinkedIn Ads is that you can turn your campaigns on and off anytime. Log into the dashboard and monitor the performance. If a particular ad variation seems to get less or no clicks, turn it off so that LinkedIn show your best performing ads more. Also, you may bid more if the ads received low impressions. For the best results, spending close and detailed attention to the ads performance and optimize them accordingly is vital. After all, it’s up to you how to make the most of provided resources.

I hope these best practices have given you some understanding of how to effectively run an ad in LinkedIn to take advantage of its unique features and customers (audience). Best of luck with your performance!

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