How Much Do LinkedIn Ads Cost? [Q1 2018 AdStage Report]

How Much Do LinkedIn Ads Cost? [Q1 2018 AdStage Report]

In the first quarter of 2018, we analyzed over 2.5 billion LinkedIn ad impressions and over 3.4 million clicks from AdStage customers. Based on our data, we saw year-over-year CPMs increase 29%, while year-over-year CPCs decreased 12%.

Q1 2018 LinkedIn advertising performance

We observed the following median results among marketers using AdStage products:

  • LinkedIn CPM: $6.59
  • LinkedIn CPC: $5.26
  • LinkedIn CTR: 0.13%

Dive deeper into the Q1 2018 PPC Benchmark Report for the latest trends.

Supply & demand

First quarter 2018 Y/Y spend remained unchanged among same marketers, while Y/Y impressions dropped 41%. We saw very little Q/Q spend change (-1.2%) during the first quarter, while Q/Q impressions decreased 15%.

LinkedIn CPMs decrease by 18%

Our AdStage data shows Q1 median CPMs decreasing for the first time after four consecutive quarters of increasing costs. The 2017 year-end CPMs were up 57% going into 2018, but declined to $6.59 by the end of Q1 2018. We’re yet unsure if the dip indicates a new trend, or if the lower prices are reflective of seasonal swings.

Marketers that we studied reacted to increasing CPMs in 2017 by choosing to keep budgets flat, or pull back slightly. However, lower CPMs are a good signal that maintaining spend will continue to return increased reach of LinkedIn users.

LinkedIn CPCs increase by 4%

First quarter 2018 median CPCs continue to be well below last year averages, down 11.6% Y/Y. Marketers are benefiting from lower engagement costs while budgets continue to buy more impressions. This is a positive trend for new marketers looking to allocate budget for LinkedIn Ads.

We have early indications that CPCs should remain below the 2017 average through mid-year, and at least $1.00 less per click than the high median CPC of $6.31 we observed in Q3 2017.

 

LinkedIn CTRs increase by 58%

The data from marketers using AdStage showed increasing CTRs throughout 2017, with median CTRs increasing over 112% in 2017. Our data shows Q1 2018 median CTRs dropped slightly ending at 0.13%, a 58% Y/Y increase over Q1 2017. The overall upward trend is a result of better engagement on LinkedIn ads, a good indicator that new LinkedIn Marketing Solutions features are paying off.

As with CPM, it’s too early to say this first quarter CTR correction is the new normal or if we can chalk it up to season swings (the consensus around here is leaning towards seasonal). We’ll learn more as we dig into the mid-year data.

 

What to expect in 2018

While last year presented us with increased prices and a bump in engagement, marketers may experience a cooling period during the first half of the year. As increased competition continues to be a factor, marketers will need to be more strategic with their spend and focus on strategies that prove ROI.

Last year we saw the release of Audience Network, Lead Gen Forms, and Matched Audiences. All welcome advancements that made LinkedIn more attractive and productive for B2B marketers.

Video is key to clicks

Video is no longer a nice to have, it’s a necessity. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is all in on video and is providing helpful tips to nail down the right strategy for your objective. Released at the end of Q1, video for Sponsored Content is now a powerful medium for the toolkit.

Combine LinkedIn video ads with Matched Audiences and Lead Gen Forms, and there’s no question video can work in your favor. In fact, LinkedIn is on record stating that “users are sharing video 20 times more than other content like images or posts.”

According to Buffer’s 2018 State of Social Report, 85% of businesses are planning on creating more video content in 2018.

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Additional Budget For A/B Testing

Testing is an ongoing process and new ad types are not always winners with every target audience. With lower CPCs and CPMs relative to last year, it’s safe to allocate more budget to testing which mix of content and placement work best for the target objective.

According to The CMO Survey, reported B2B marketing budgets up over 9% for 2018. That includes a portion for digital, which should factor into grow and testing strategies.

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Increased competition

As Linkedin releases more ad features, such as their new Bid Auto-Optimization for Lead Gen Forms, we can expect marketers will see better results from their spend.

In 2017 the overall spend on LinkedIn ads increased 23 percent among marketers on AdStage. We expect that spend will continue to increase as LinkedIn develops new and better ways to connect with leads.

Experts expect brands to shift more budgets to LinkedIn

AJ Wilcox of B2Linked, who manages some of the biggest LinkedIn ad accounts in the world, expects companies to shift more budgets from Facebook to LinkedIn. “The B2B environment on Facebook has gotten rough with job title and company targeting being taken away,” AJ said. “Couple that with the fact that Facebook CPMs are rising rapidly, and I think we’re about to see a lot more brands invest more heavily into LinkedIn due to the quality of traffic and the reach they can’t get on Facebook.”

Takeaways and insights

Based on the data from Q1 2018, here are our main LinkedIn insights:

  • Advertisers are getting better results with the same amount of spend
  • CPCs are down, which provides room to grow and experiment
  • Video for Sponsored Content is a game changer. Marketers should take advantage of new ad type opportunities while the competition is low.

5 Reasons LinkedIn Video Ads Are the B2B Marketer’s Secret Weapon

5 Reasons LinkedIn Video Ads Are the B2B Marketer’s Secret Weapon

Video will drive 82% of all Internet traffic in 2021, according to Cisco. Over 17.2% of all ad budgets will go to video marketing, which means video ads will likely eat up a huge share of the total video traffic.

eMarketer video starts

Video ad spend will grow to $22.18 billion in 2021. Source: eMarketer

What does it mean for marketers? Video-first has become an overarching theme for consumer brands, and the B2B segment is quickly catching up.

So it comes as no surprise that after successfully launching member video in August, LinkedIn, the number one social platform for B2B advertising, followed up with two ad offerings: video for Sponsored Content and Company Pages.

The new ad products officially became available to all brands last month, and I’ve already seen several B2B brands roll out video ads with lead gen forms to capture in-market business audiences. Here’s an example I captured this week:

For brands considering LinkedIn video ads, here are five reasons B2B marketers are taking note.

1. Keep your brand safe

Last year, several brands (including P&G and AT&T) pulled billions of ads dollars off social media and display advertising after multiple brand safety failures — like one with kid-targeted ads showing next to violent and sexualized content.

While brand safety is still a new (and subjective) metric for performance marketers, it was a major talking point at Advertising Week last year. For marketers who prioritize transparency and quality in their media buys, LinkedIn’s quality environment for branded video campaigns is an obvious differentiator.

2. Built for ABM

LinkedIn’s suite of B2B targeting features for Sponsored video content campaigns allows marketers to segment audience by job title, seniority, company name, industry, skills, and more. Marketers running ABM (account-based marketing) campaigns can upload a CSV file with their target companies to match LinkedIn’s company pages and reach decision-makers at scale.

LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences feature allows marketers to apply granular, account-based targeting. Source: LinkedIn

3. Native ads show a higher lift in brand consideration

LinkedIn video ads show directly in the news feed, similar to organic standalone posts. According to Sharethrough, citing Nielsen’s research, native ads beat pre- or post-roll ads when it comes to brand consideration. The chart below shows results for one campaign where native ads generated an 82% brand lift among users exposed to the ads as compared to 2.1% users exposed to pre-rolls.

Note: the above data shows results for a consumer brand (CPG) campaign, so I’m just inferring that it could be applicable to B2B as well.

brand lift native ads

4. Works for brand and performance marketing

Marketer use Sponsored Content across the full funnel to capture attention at the awareness stage, capture interest and drive qualified traffic to the website, and convert “warm” leads through LinkedIn’s integrated Lead Gen Forms.

As Bettina Hein, Pixability’s CEO, said in Google’s recent post on online video trends, purpose-driven ads can achieve “the difficult task of authenticity” by aligning the brand with the causes they believe in. LinkedIn’s promoted video content on the Company or Showcase pages is a great way to implement that.

Performance marketers can use Direct Sponsored Content to customize video ads for specific audiences or test ads — without publishing on the Company Page.

5. Prove ROI

LinkedIn provides extensive metrics to measure your video campaign’s success through insights about the type of audiences watching and engaging with the campaign, as well as track clicks from video to website. By using the platform’s conversion tracking powered by the LinkedIn Insight Tag, marketers can see post-click and view-through conversions of their LinkedIn ad campaigns.

LinkedIn's video metrics

LinkedIn’s metrics for video ad campaigns. Source: LinkedIn

Take it a step further

For marketers who want to measure the value of lead generation campaigns from views to clicks and all the way to revenue and the acquired customers’ LTV, closed-loop reporting can help you untangle the B2B attribution and see the full picture of your campaign performance across LinkedIn, AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Yahoo Gemini, Bing, and custom conversion data.

How to Create LinkedIn Remarketing Audiences from User Interactions

Posted by in LinkedIn, Social
How to Create LinkedIn Remarketing Audiences from User Interactions

We love LinkedIn ads for B2B marketing. It may be the only social media platform where you can always be sure to find highly-engaged professionals who are actually actively thinking about work.

Let’s be honest – on other social media platforms, they’re likely not thinking about work-related software in between liking photos of their friends’ dogs’ birthday parties. So even if your targeting is great, your performance may be mediocre. Context is a huge part of conversion.

The classic B2B funnel requires putting the right content in front of the right audience, at the right time. If your audience is not currently consuming work-related content, your ads’ performance may suffer, regardless of how awesome your targeting is.

This is why LinkedIn ads are perfect for sophisticated B2B remarketing. It allows us to combine the high-value context with super-relevant targeting to create what some might call magic.

An example of this would be promoting a case study in the banking industry to someone who visited the “Industries > Banking” section of your site.

As a co-founder of Fixel, an AI-based audience segmentation tool, I wanted to make this “magic” possible for all LinkedIn advertisers. We already had our tool integrated with  Facebook, AdWords, and Twitter, so LinkedIn was a logical next step. Fixel’s sophisticated AI model analyzes over 60 parameters of user characteristics (such traffic source or device type) and site engagement (such as videos views and button clicks), through which it can narrow down on your top performing visitors.

But when we started integrating Fixel into LinkedIn Ads, we hit a snag – LinkedIn only allows for URL-based Matched Audience creation, and nearly all sophisticated remarketing relies on events rather than pageviews (we’ll go into this in a moment – see below).

linkedin audiences

LinkedIn Events vs. Pageviews

To understand LinkedIn remarketing, let’s take a step back for a minute and describe the difference between pageviews and events.

Pageviews are easy – say you want to target all users that visited your pricing page? Boom, set up an audience for yoursite.com/pricing. You want to target all users that visited your blog? Kablammo, set up an audience for yoursite.com/blog.

This is a simple way to tell your users apart. In this example, we know that users that have only visited your blog are usually at an earlier buying stage than users visiting your pricing page.

But pageviews only tell a small part of the story. User engagement spans interactions that are far more significant than simple pageviews.

For example, what if you want to set up an audience based on users that spent more than 30 seconds on a given page, and also partially filled out a form (but didn’t complete it), and also visited more than 3 pages, etc.?

That’s where you use Events. Anything your diabolical marketing brain can think of, you can create a sophisticated audience for.

meme

Too bad, LinkedIn doesn’t have this functionality built into its remarketing setup.

But wait, LinkedIn does have conversion events!

LinkedIn indeed supports event-based tracking for conversion purposes – for example, if someone fills out a form that doesn’t point to a “thank-you” page. But these can only be used for conversion tracking.

So, back to the matter at hand. No events in LinkedIn Matched Audiences makes Jack a dull boy, and makes your remarketing flexibility pretty limited. It also meant that our solution, Fixel, wouldn’t work in LinkedIn, which is completely unacceptable.

Well, if LinkedIn needed pageviews, then we’ll give them pageviews!

Hacking the stack

It took a few tries, but we’ve succeeded in hacking the pageview recording for the LinkedIn pixel. Now, you can fire scripts in the Google Tag Manager that emulate pageviews to the LinkedIn tag. Booya!

We decided that this solution is too awesome to keep to ourselves, so we’re making it available to the public at large.

We’ve created an event javascript generator that enables advertisers to capture custom events as a seed for their remarketing audiences in LinkedIn.

What does that mean for you? Well in just two simple steps you can create LinkedIn Matched Audiences based on users that watched the explainer video on your website and then searched for “llama farms” in your search bar.

fixel remarketing audiences

Setting up the LinkedIn events

Creating these audiences in LinkedIn is a breeze. Create a free account at https://my.fixel.ai and grab the code snippet from the Free Tools section. Then use Google Tag Manager (or ask your developers) to trigger this script on the user engagement you want to track.

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Make sure that you create a corresponding Matched Audience in your LinkedIn Ads account (learn how here) so that these interactions will populate your remarketing audiences.

So where should I start?

Glad you asked. A first step would be understanding which behaviors on your site you would like to capture.

In the classic B2B scenario, in which most LinkedIn marketers operate, we’d suggest looking at interactions with ungated content you have on your site.

For example, take users who viewed over 50% of your testimonial video for the telecommunications industry. Creating a targeted audience of these users will allow you to serve them a targeted follow-up ad with the right messaging.

Another example would be targeting users who read a top-of-funnel ungated PDF, such as  a how-to (even something like this article, for example). These can now be served with mid-funnel content to push them to conversion.

Of course, you can also create more complex rules that combine multiple behaviors or data points, such as a user coming from organic search that scrolled to 90% on an industry-specific blog post. These can then be served with a follow-up message tailored to their industry.

Applying the tag to these users will allow you to add them to a Matched Audience in LinkedIn. They can then be used as a pinpoint target for your remarketing efforts.

Got a suggestion for additional ways to use the tag? Post it in the comments.

Important note:

This is a free standalone tool that isn’t part of the core Fixel solution and will not collect any information from your site.

2017 in Review: AdStage’s Top 5 Articles on LinkedIn Ads

Posted by in PPC News
2017 in Review: AdStage’s Top 5 Articles on LinkedIn Ads

This article is a collection of must-read blog posts on LinkedIn Ads we posted on the AdStage blog in 2017, as measured by the number of social shares.

You’ll find tips on using LinkedIn Ads to reach and influence entire teams with account-based targeting, quick stats, how-tos and advice on writing ad copy that will land you more “whale” prospects in 2018, and much more. Happy Reading!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of all things paid social in 2018.

 

 

1. How to Expand Your Reach and Drive More Conversions on LinkedIn

In this post, we’ll share five must-try tactics to reach your ideal audience, increase conversion rates, and boost return on ad spend. Read this post to learn how to use LinkedIn Ads for account-based marketing strategy and optimize your LinkedIn campaigns for mobile reach.

2. How to Set Up Linkedin Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM

This article will walk you through the process of setting up a LinkedIn Lead Gen Form. Read to learn how to integrate LinkedIn Ads with your CRM for a more accurate and granular reporting from clicks to leads.

3. LinkedIn Text Ads: 5 Brands to Copy to Boost Performance

We’ve plowed through tons of text ads on LinkedIn and hand-picked several examples that explain the basics of writing effective LinkedIn ads for B2B. You’ll learn how to write a good ad headline, increase form field conversion rate, and choose images to support your ad on the landing page.

4. LinkedIn Advertising Costs for 2017 [Benchmark Report]

How much were LinkedIn advertisers paying for ads in 2017? We analyzed 4.3 billion ad impressions and found the average CPM, CPC, and CTR across different LinkedIn ad types. Read this article to benchmark your performance and get the commentary from one of the world’s biggest LinkedIn advertisers — AJ Wilcox of B2Linked.

5. 10 Stats You Need to Know About B2B Marketing on LinkedIn

57% of those who visit LinkedIn do so on a mobile device. 10 pieces of content are consumed on average before a purchasing decision is made. Read this article to get quick stats that will help you plan your content strategy and accelerate growth in 2018.

Happy holidays from the AdStage team, and we’ll see you in 2018!

LinkedIn Advertising Costs for 2017 [Benchmark Report]

LinkedIn Advertising Costs for 2017 [Benchmark Report]

We analyzed over 4.3 billion LinkedIn ad impressions from January to June 2017 from AdStage customers. Based on our data, we saw CPMs increase from $7.29 to $8.39 during the first six months of 2017, while the average CPC increased from $6.03 to $6.50.

LinkedIn Advertising Costs

  • The average LinkedIn Ads CPM is $8.39
  • The average CPC on LinkedIn is $6.50
  • The average CTR on LinkedIn is 0.13%

Be sure to view the Q1 2018 Paid Search and Paid Social ads Benchmark Report for the latest trends.

LinkedIn’s Supply and Demand

According to AdStage data, LinkedIn ad impressions dropped by 5%, while ad spend increased by 10% in Q2’17. This is causing advertisers to pay more to enter the auction at a decreased number of impressions.

AdStage - LinkedIn Spend vs Impressions

LinkedIn’s CPM Increase By 15%

From our AdStage data, we saw CPMs decrease by 20% in Q1’17, and then dramatically increase by 44% in Q2’17. The overall CPM increased 15% since January 2017. This shows the competitive nature of the LinkedIn auction and may indicate that LinkedIn is reaching max ad load.

LinkedIn Ads Cost CPMs

LinkedIn’s CPC Increase 8%

Our internal findings also showed that LinkedIn CPCs went from $6.03 to $6.50 in the first six months. Q1’17 actually saw a 4% CPC decline while Q2’17 increased by 15%. While it’s a small increase, it may be enough to scare away smaller advertisers when thinking about the type of companies finding success on the network.

Average LinkedIn Ads Cost CPCs

LinkedIn’s CTR Remain Flat

LinkedIn advertisers are getting very consistent CTRs month-over-month. However, it’s costing more to get the same result due to higher CPMs and CPCs.

Average LinkedIn Ads Cost CTR

Why Are LinkedIn’s CPMs & CPCs Increasing

Our AdStage ad spend data includes all Sponsored Content and text ads ran across LinkedIn’s network. Below are a couple of possible explanations for the increase in CPMs and CPCs in 2017.

We asked AJ Wilcox, CEO of B2Linked, to share his opinion on the data. “It’s natural for LinkedIn’s auction to become more competitive over time, as with any other successful biddable media platform,” says AJ. “We especially see CPCs in Q1 each year as being quite low, so the 15% rise from Q1 to Q2 isn’t surprising.”

1) Is LinkedIn’s Inventory Maxed Out

LinkedIn boasts more than 500 million users, which is impressive but still limited compared to Facebook. With a limited supply of ads coupled with growing demand, the auction is getting more competitive, which means advertisers will pay more to enter.

The following three issues are impacting LinkedIn’s ad inventory:

  • LinkedIn’s user growth remains steady, but only 23% of members use the platform on a monthly basis.
  • Ad placements cater to desktop users. Linkedin will need to find new ways to place more ads on their mobile app.
  • More advertisers are using the ad platform.

AJ says that engaging ad creative and offers are key to winning the auction.

As more and more advertisers enter the competitive auction, the onus moves to advertisers to create ads that generate higher engagement rates. Advertisers who insist on pushing friction-prone offers like demos, trials, and sales conversations will not generate high enough Relevancy Scores to show, and when they do show, the cost per click will be so astronomical as to price these advertisers out of the auction.

It’s worth noting that LinkedIn recently announced their native Audience Network. This will allow advertisers to reach more people with Sponsored Content through third-party publishers placements. However, don’t expect a huge lift as beta advertisers only saw a 3-13% increase in unique impressions.

2) LinkedIn Budgets Are Increasing

Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They found that 43% of marketers were NOT investing in LinkedIn Ads. However, 39% advertisers planned on increasing their ad spend within the following year. It looks like LinkedIn Ads are delivering results for certain companies, which is leading to budget increases.

Hanapin Paid Social Survey - LinkedIn

Our AdStage data confirms that LinkedIn advertisers are indeed increasing their budgets, as overall spend increased 23% since January 2017.

AdStage - LinkedIn Spend 2017

3) New LinkedIn Ad Types and Features

LinkedIn released two big features that definitely got advertisers excited. It’s possible that advertisers increased their test budgets, leading to more competition in the auction.

Here’s what AJ Wilcox thinks:

“We’re currently also seeing much more interest building over time of new advertisers flocking to test out the platform, due to the continued addition of features as LinkedIn is quickly catching up to the pack.”

Two new features LinkedIn announced in Q2:

  • Lead Gen Forms — This ad format helps marketers drive leads from Sponsored Content campaigns, particularly on mobile devices where conversion rates tend to be lower, as users don’t want to fill out a long form on-the-go. For B2B advertisers, the quality of the leads on LinkedIn is already far superior to other ad networks that offer lead gen ads. And, just like any other LinkedIn campaign, these campaigns come with the same reporting capabilities that LinkedIn already offers, so you can easily measure return on ad spend, cost per lead, and conversion rate.
  • Matched Audiences — LinkedIn announced a powerful new feature called Matched Audiences, which includes three new targeting tools that let you combine LinkedIn’s professional data with your own first-party data. Now you can target website visitors, contacts, and specific accounts on LinkedIn.

Takeaways and Insights

Based on the data, here are our main LinkedIn insights and questions:

  • Advertisers are putting more budget into LinkedIn Ads
  • Yet, CPMs & CPCs are rising as inventory remains flat
  • By using natively uploaded videos as new ad inventory, LinkedIn could increase its overall ad load without cluttering user feeds or profile pages.

AJ offers advise to advertisers looking to win future auctions:

Advertisers who win in the future with low costs per lead will do so by exercising a keen understanding of their customers’ pains and needs, and providing useful content that solves them, without being overly salesy or pushy.

Further Ad Networks


Our mission at AdStage is to connect paid marketers quickly and easily to the data they need to understand holistic campaign performance and take action at scale. If you want to learn more about our LinkedIn Ads management solution, and click the banner below to download the latest Q4 paid marketing benchmark report.

Q1 2018 Paid Media Benchmark Report

 

How to Use Social Media Ads for Lead Generation

Posted by in Social
How to Use Social Media Ads for Lead Generation

Social media is a must for brand awareness and audience engagement, but how about lead gen? With 13% higher lead conversion rate compared to other channels, social media can be a powerful growth tactic for any B2B marketer. In fact, 66% of marketers who spend as little as six hours per week on social media say that they see some kind of lead generation benefit.

Yet 49% of B2B marketers find social media to be the most difficult marketing activity to implement. So, let’s break it down and make it simple. Read on to learn how you can get started using social media for lead generation.

How Social Media and Lead Generation Work Together

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of using social media for lead generation, we need to be clear on how the former can impact the latter.

Focus on the why before the how.

Social media is about having a conversation with your audience. This audience needs to be interested enough in your brand to follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin. Lead generation, on the other hand, is a process in which an individual goes from being unaware of a problem or solution to being interested in exploring your solution. In other words, you attract visitors and convert them into leads. So, how do you make these two seemingly different goals work?

If you want to use social media to acquire leads, you can’t just start pumping your latest eBook to your audience. But if you invest the time to build an engaged audience, you can then convert them into leads and use ads (especially now that Facebook and Instagram have decreased their organic reach) to reach new audiences. Let’s dive into what you need to know about each social ad network.

How to Decide Which Social Ad Network to Use

To promote lead generation content through paid social media, you can use Facebook ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn ads, or even Instagram ads. The challenge is to figure out which one is right for your business.

Your personas and their attributes is a good place to start. If you have already developed at least a couple of customer personas for your company, you can see where their attributes fit within different social networks.

Let’s take a quick look at the different demographics of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn:

facebook ads demographics

Source: Pew Research Center

As you can see, most Internet users are on Facebook. The social network has more women than men, and also more younger people (although Facebook is more popular among older users). When it comes to education, income, and location, Facebook has equal representation.

What’s interesting for B2B marketers is that 73% of Facebook users say they use it for professional purposes.

Here’s what the audience looks like on Instagram:

instagram ads demographics

Source: Pew Research Center

Even though Instagram has fewer users than Facebook, people of all gender, age, education, and income are still equally represented. The only large difference is in location: Instagram has more urban settlers than rural and suburban ones.

Finally, let’s repeat this analysis with LinkedIn:

linkedin ads demographic

Source: Pew Research Center

As you can see, LinkedIn has a much different set of demographics than Facebook and Instagram. To begin, there are more men than women on LinkedIn. Most users are college-educated, have much higher income, and live in urban and suburban areas.

With all this information, you should start looking at your personas and see where they are more likely to be.

The largest social networks have attracted a wide variety of users with a diverse set of demographics, so you may want to try different sites at the same time. That being said, start where your core audience usually resides. For example, if you focus on B2B lead generation for enterprise IT CxOs, you may want to start with LinkedIn. If you’re selling B2C products to younger users, Facebook and Instagram may be a better investment.

Whatever the case, start with who your target audience is and where you can find them. In other words, your audience’s demographic determines the social network they use. Now that you have a clearer idea where to start, I’d like to show you how you can use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for lead generation.

Facebook Lead Ads

84% of marketers choose to use Facebook ads to drive traffic and acquire leads. On Facebook, you can select different goals for your campaigns, which makes it a popular choice among marketers. The lead generation goal works just like any other goal on Facebook: you can use targeted, lookalike, and custom audiences. But only with this goal you can promote a gated offer which your audience can get by providing their contact information without leaving Facebook.

This is how it works:

  1. A user sees an offer they like (typically, an ebook or a white paper)
  2. The user clicks the ads’ call-to-action
  3. The user verifies their information which Facebook has pre-filled for them (instead of redirecting them to a landing page)
  4. The user confirms their pre-filled information, receive the content, and become a lead

Unlike the classic traffic-to-landing lead generation model, which creates leaks in visitor-to-lead conversion, Facebook’s offering removes the friction and lowers your customer acquisition cost. Plus, it makes for a much better user experience.

The reduction in friction in the visitor-to-lead conversion process means your users are two clicks away from becoming a prospect. But remember, you must make this process seamless and ask only for the most information you need for lead nurturing.

Creating lead generation ads is easy (just check out this video from Facebook). You first choose the ad creative, then set your targeting and bidding options, and finally, customize your form fields.

Land Rover, for example, used lead gen form ads to get potential customers to request a car quote. As you can imagine, Land Rover sells expensive products which can only be purchased after a long sales process, which starts with a car quote.

Land Rover tried Facebook’s lead generation goal to create a seamless experience across devices. Lead gen forms made it easy for people on mobile to request a car quote and learn more about Land Rover.

Kim Kyaw, Land Rover’s Digital Marketing and Social Media manager, said that in early A/B testing, Facebook’s native lead ads outperformed link ads driving to the website in total leads and conversion rate. This Facebook campaign also achieved a 4x reduction in cost per lead compared to previous social lead generation tactics.

instagram ads lead gen

Instagram Lead Ads

Instagram’s ads are becoming a staple among online advertisers. Last year alone, eMarketer found 48.8% of brands were on Instagram and estimated that they would increase their participation in the social network by 70.7%.

Brands’ photos on Instagram generate 58 times higher engagement per follower than Facebook posts and 120 times higher engagement rates than tweets,  according to Marketing Week.

What’s more, a study done by Shopify found Instagram posts achieve 1.08% conversion rate. Facebook owns Instagram, so you can use similar lead ads on both platforms. The only difference is Instagram reduces the pre-filing options for advertisers to just email, full name, phone number, and gender. Collecting any further information would mean the user would have to type it in.

Since it takes a user 40% longer to fill out a form on a mobile device than on a desktop, you should only look to get additional information if it is a high priority for your initial sales efforts.

Maserati, the famous Italian luxury car manufacturer, used Instagram’s lead ads to promote their latest car, the Levante. The results were nothing but spectacular. Maserati generated 21k leads, 127 of which ended up purchasing a car. Even at a mere 0.47% conversion rate, if you consider the car costs close to $75k, Maserati made $9.5 million in revenue, just from their Instagram’s lead ads.

instagram ads for lead generation

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

62% of B2B marketers say they have found LinkedIn to be the most effective social media platform for their businesses. This is especially true with lead generation, where 65% of B2B companies have found success.

Linkedin offers many advertising options for companies: sponsored content, sponsored InMail, text ads, dynamics ads, and more.

Sponsored content, one of the most commonly used ad types, works just like the name suggests: a company promotes a piece of content and acquires more traffic and leads by increasing the content’s reach.

For lead generation, LinkedIn has a very useful feature: Lead Gen Forms. Here’s a short video on how it works:

 

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms allow potential customers to share their  information by pre-populating contact forms from their LinkedIn’s profile, exactly same way as with Facebook and Instagram.

The key difference is that LinkedIn can pre-populate information related to the professional life of the users, which includes their job title, company name, seniority,  and education details like degree, school, and field of study. This gives a much richer set of data from each lead. But don’t overdo it: LinkedIn recommends sticking to three or four key fields to maximize conversion.

Since LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms don’t require any typing at all from users, it makes it easy for them to add their information on mobile. LinkedIn Lead Gen forms are only available on mobile Sponsored Content campaigns.

According to LinkedIn, 90% of the 50 businesses in the pilot project exceeded their cost-per-lead goals. This is the case of Integrated Research, a software provider of IT infrastructure, which saw a 200% increase in their conversion rate while seeing a 44% reduction in lead cost acquisition.

Conclusion

Once you see how lead generation and social media work together, you can acquire leads using social media ads.

Start with the audience, then choose your social network. Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin all have features you can use for lead generation. So, get started, and let us know which one you think best fits your target audience. What are your next steps to start generating leads for your business?

 

AdStage CTA Report

LinkedIn Text Ads: 5 Brands to Copy to Boost Performance

LinkedIn Text Ads: 5 Brands to Copy to Boost Performance

As LinkedIn has grown to over half a billion users, so too has its ad platform’s capability to slice and dice audiences based on troves of self-reported user data. With plenty of targeting options to choose from, you can get your message in front of decision makers and C-level execs when  they catch up on news, connect, and network.

But an ad done wrong can actually reduce the sales of a product. (Or so says Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising.) How do you write a compelling LinkedIn ad?

At AdStage we’ve plowed through tons of ads on the platform and analyzed several examples of different LinkedIn ad types to inspire your creative process.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the basics of writing effective B2B LinkedIn text ads. Read on to learn how to write a LinkedIn ad headline, increase form field conversion rate, and choose images to support your ad on the landing page.

5 LinkedIn Ad Types: From Text Ads to Programmatic Display

linkedin campaign manager

You can buy Sponsored Content, Text Ads, and InMail ads through LinkedIn’s self-service platform and programmatically purchase LinkedIn Display through your preferred ad partner. For Dynamic Ads, you’ll need to go through a LinkedIn sales rep.

It bears saying from the outset that a strong organic presence – a company page – is a must for any brand. But to scale your customer acquisition, you must invest in paid ads. On LinkedIn, you can serve up paid ads in the following five formats:

  • Text ads
  • Sponsored Content
  • LinkedIn InMail
  • LinkedIn Dynamic Ads
  • Programmatic Display

Some ad types work better than others depending on your marketing budget and goals. Below, we’ll look at several text ads served by B2B companies in July 2017.

Match Landing Pages to Ads and Reduce Form Fill Friction

The beauty of text ads is that they are super easy to create and work for budgets of all sizes. Text ads appear in the right rail of LinkedIn pages or at the top, as seen in the example below:

linkedin text ads content strategy 2017

Let’s zoom in on this one. As I click on the ad, I’m redirected to a URL with custom campaign variables, featuring content gated by a contact form.

linkedin text ads landing page scribble

linkedin text ads content strategy

Scribble’s ad is well-targeted and features relevant keywords in the headline, as well as an actionable CTA. Unfortunately, the text ad is missing the company’s name, and its content is poorly-timed.

What’s good about this ad? Obviously, the job title targeting is on point: a guide on content marketing strategy optimization is a logical offering for a content marketing manager. Scribble Live is not hard-selling me software, but offering a free pdf download instead. And the call-to-action is clear — the ad ends with a straightforward “Get the Guide.”

What’s missing? For starters, this text ad doesn’t mention the company’s name in the headline — a missed opportunity for raising brand awareness among those who don’t click but count as “impressions.” And for those who do click, the brand could have provided better, smoother user experience through frictionless form capture.

Too bad I have to manually enter my name, company’s name and email — Scribble could have easily pre-filled the form with data from my LinkedIn profile through LinkedIn AutoFill Plugin Generator. But plugging in the company’s name and streamlining form capture is only part of the equation. I’m here for the content, but Scribble’s timing seems a bit off. Content strategy for 2017? We’re more than halfway through the year; that ship has sailed.

After I leave Scribble’s website and re-load my LinkedIn page, another version of the same ad pops up — this time, with a marketers’ favorite odd-numbered-list headline. The cool thing about text ads is that you can very quickly come up with a multitude of options for testing, a big positive for copywriters on lean marketing teams.

linkedin text ads content strategy

Here’s another B2B ad example, courtesy of Cloud Coach:

Cloud Coach linkedin text ad

A click on the ad brings us to the registration page on Eventbrite.

linkedin text ads landing page for events

linkedin text ads salesforce

Cloud Couch uses smart geo-targeting to promote an event offline and times it well to create urgency while allowing at least week for planning. Unfortunately, the image on the landing page doesn’t entice me to register.

What’s good here? This ad is an excellent example of relevant geo-targeting. LinkedIn uses a mix of user-provided data and IP information, a compelling offering if you’re promoting offline events. The ad is also timely; served a week ahead of the promoted event, it creates a sense of urgency while allowing some time for planning. I also like the no-nonsense approach to copy: it has the When, the Where, and the Why.

What’s missing? The landing page creatives clearly fell flat. Cloud Coach advertises a seminar, an event to network and learn about custom applications of the Salesforce platform. Yet the image doesn’t feature people I want to meet or the experts who’ll speak at the training. Even a company’s logo and screenshots of the software tool itself would have been more helpful. Instead, I see a picture of a saving glass jar half-full of quarters. Unless a glass jar full of “Profit,” as the ad suggests, is exactly what a company is selling, it’s better to play it straight — at least on the landing page.

Mind The Where, What, and Why-Should-I-Care

With LinkedIn text ads, a short line of text is all you’ve got, so it’s critical to use the limited number of characters (25 for a headline and 75 for description, including spaces) wisely. Leverage this space to showcase a benefit, announce a product update, promote a discount on a service, recognize your customers’ problems and offer a solution, or quote a happy client.

As a target buyer, I should be able to quickly figure out the value proposition. As Steve Krug put it, “don’t make me think.” For example, both LinkedIn text ads below promote events. Which one does it with more clarity?

linkedin text ads

linkedin text ads aws webianr

Both ads promote an event, but the first one is confusing and doesn’t tell me the “where, what, and why-should-I-care” part of the piece. AWS, on the other hand, uses relevant keywords, mentions all the cross-promo partners’ names, and tells the full story in one line.

Putting It All Together

LinkedIn text ads allow marketers to quickly test multiple variations and reach highly-targeted audiences at a reasonable cost. How do you maximize the impact of the few characters you have?

  • Play it straight and speak the language of your buyer. Use relevant keywords your target audience can relate to (e.g., job title, skill, software tools they use)
  • Offer value, don’t hard-sell
  • Time content well — this is especially important for events and seasonal content promotions
  • Optimize your conversion page to reduce friction through LinkedIn AutoFill
  • Test multiple variations of headline and image
  • Go for clarity over cleverness to minimize irrelevant clicks

Do you have any tips for writing great LinkedIn text ads? Tell me in comments.

 

The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads that Convert ebook download via blog.adstage.io

50 Essential Social Media Advertising Statistics [UPDATED]

50 Essential Social Media Advertising Statistics [UPDATED]

There are a lot of things people say about social media advertising. Some say it works only for B2C businesses, others that they work only for small ones. Some even dare to say social media advertising isn’t effective at all.

None of that is true. Social media advertising works! How do I know that? Because there’s a long list of stats that prove my point. Don’t let yourself be guided by what other people say. Here are 50 of the top stats showing how effect social media advertising really is.

Be sure to checkout our Q4’17 social media advertising benchmark report for the latest CPM, CPC, and CTR trends.

Facebook Advertising Stats

1. In 2016, Facebook made $26.2 billion dollars in revenue from their ads system, 95% of their total revenue. It also boasts a massive $19.81 average revenue per user in the U.S. and Canada. – Techcrunch

2. Facebook dominates the social network ad spending market worldwide by accounting for more than 65% of the total. – eMarketer

3. In Q4 2015, the company had 50 million active business pages on its platform while only 6% of them actively advertise. – Facebook

4. Facebook has 6 million active advertisers. – Facebook

5. 70% of Facebook’s advertisers are outside the U.S., while a vast majority are small businesses. – CNBC

6. Facebook is the fourth most effective social media platform to deliver content (both paid and organic), with a 41% effectiveness rate. – Linkedin

7. 78% of marketers are satisfied with their Facebook ads. – Contently

8. 52% of B2C marketers consider Facebook marketing to be more effective, while only 38% B2B marketers do so. – Social Media Examiner

9. 56% of B2C marketers have indicated that Facebook ads have helped them generate revenue for their business.  – MarketingProfs

B2C marketers generating revenue from Pinterest

Source: MarketingProfs

10. 57% of the advertising budget of companies is dedicated to mobile. – Kinetic Social

11. Images are responsible for 75 to 90% of an ad’s performance on Facebook. – Source

12. A Facebook video receives, on average, 135% more organic reach than a Facebook photo. – Socialbakers

13. Over 70% percent of marketers plan to increase their use of video ads next year. – Mixpo

14. 44% of SMB owners and marketers plan to put money behind video content on Facebook in 2017. – Animoto

15. According to one study, the average click-through rate of a Facebook ad is 0.9% and the average cost-per-click is $0.64. – Adweek

16. Compared to regular web advertising, Facebook desktop ads have 8.1x higher click-through rates while mobile ads have 9.1x higher click-through rates. – MarketingLand

17. Link Ads are most popular kind of Facebook ad. – SmartInsights

18. The most effective length for an ad title on Facebook is 4 words, and 15 words for a link description. – SmartInsights

Takeaways

Facebook ads’ popularity and usage among businesses is growing fast. Still, 94% of Facebook pages don’t use them, so there’s a lot of room for growth.

Add images or videos to your ads as they have higher reach and effectiveness. Also, target your ads to mobile, as it takes a big part of most advertisers’ budget. That’s likely caused by the fact most people use Facebook with their mobile as well as the costs are lower.

Last but not least, use ad titles with 4 words and link description with 15 words. If possible, use link ads.

Instagram Advertising Stats

19. Instagram has 600 million users, 400 of which use it daily. This surpasses Twitter and Snapchat’s daily usage. – Statista

20. By 2017, Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues will reach $2.81 billion, accounting for over 10% of parent company Facebook’s global ad revenues. – eMarketer

instagram mobile ad revenus worldwide via blog.adstage.io

Source: eMarketer

21. 48.8% of brands are on Instagram. By 2017, this is predicted to rise to 70.7%. If we only look at the top 100 brands in the world, 90% have an Instagram account. – eMarketer and SimplyMeasured

22. Nearly three quarters of American companies with 100 employees or more will turn to Instagram for marketing purposes in 2017.– eMarketer

23. 29% of B2B marketers use Instagram.  – Content Marketing Institute

24. 63% of B2C marketers are more likely to increase their investment in Instagram ads than 48% of B2B marketers. – Social Media Examiner

25. Only 36% of marketers use Instagram, leaving you plenty of space to reach out and engage with the audience. – Selfstartr

36% of marketers use Instagram via blog.adstage.io

Source: Selfstartr

26. 52% of marketers plan to increase their use of Instagram in 2015. – Social Media Examiner

27. Over a third of Instagram users have used their mobile to purchase a product online– making them 70% more likely to do so than non-users. – Global Web Index

28. Instagram users spend on average $65 per referred sale. In comparison, Facebook users spend $55, and the average referred sale from Twitter is just $46.26. – Shopify

average order value by social network via blog.adstage.io

Source: Shopify

29. 75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post. – Shopify

30. 50% of Instagram users follow at least one business while 60% say that they learn about a product or service on the platform after looking at an Instagram advertising post. – Instagram

31. Ad recall from sponsored posts on Instagram is 2.9x higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising. – Instagram

Takeaways

Instagram isn’t used as much by B2B businesses, but it’s still an effective paid channel that’s growing in popularity, especially among big brands.

Instagram is a perfect channel if you run an e-commerce store, as most Instagram users tend to act after looking at an advertisement. Also, the average spend per user and the intent of purchase are higher than other social media channels.

If you don’t run an e-commerce business, Instagram can still be highly effective to increase ad recall.

LinkedIn Advertising Stats

32. LinkedIn is used by 94% of B2B marketers. – Content Marketing Institute

33. LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform to deliver content (both paid and organic), with an 82% effectiveness rate. – LinkedIn

effectiveness of social media channels via blog.adstage.io

Source: LinkedIn

34. Even though Facebook is the most important social network to marketers overall, LinkedIn is the top choice for B2B marketers—41% say it’s the most important network they use. – V3 Broadsuite Blog

35. Just 18% of B2B SMB marketers are using LinkedIn ads. These same marketers are using Facebook ads at a rate of 75%. – Social Media Examiner

36. LinkedIn generates more leads for B2B companies than Facebook, Twitter or blogs individually. – Inside View

Takeaway

As expected, LinkedIn is used mostly by B2B marketers. For some reason, however, most of these marketers work for larger businesses, while most small business B2B marketers focus on Facebook. Still, if you work for a B2B business, LinkedIn would be one of your safest bets.

LinkedIn works best for lead generation and its effectiveness rate is the highest of all social networks.

Twitter Advertising Stats

37. Twitter has an active user base of 130,000 advertisers. – VentureBeat

38. Twitter is used by 84% of B2B marketers. – Content Marketing Institute

39. 88% of B2B marketers in North America use Twitter for content distribution. – DMR

40. Twitter is the second most effective social media platform to deliver content (both paid and organic), with a 66% effectiveness rate. – LinkedIn

41. 25% of Twitter advertising budgets are dedicated to mobile, and 89% of Twitter’s Q1 revenue in 2015 came from mobile. – Infini Datum

42. Promoted tweets have been attributed to a 29% increase of offline sales. – Twitter

43. In 2014, 80% of U.S. marketers use promoted Tweets. eMarketer

44. People who see video ads on Twitter are 50% more likely to be aware of the advertiser’s brand, feel 14% more favorable about the brand, and had 18% higher purchase intent (versus those not exposed to video ads). – Twitter

Video ads of Twitter improve brand metrics via blog.adstage.io

Source: Twitter

Takeaways

Despite what some may think, Twitter is used by a great majority of B2B marketers. This has to do with its effectiveness to deliver content, which is the second highest among all social networks.

Twitter video ad campaigns drive positive shifts in key brand metrics for advertisers.

YouTube Advertising Stats

45. YouTube is used by 74% of B2B marketers. – Content Marketing Institute

B2B social media platforms usage via blog.adstage.io

Source: Content Marketing Institute

46. YouTube is the third most effective social media platform to deliver content (both paid and organic), with an 64% effectiveness rate. – LinkedIn

47. When it comes to deciding what to buy, 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers prefer to follow the advice of their favorite creator over their favorite TV or movie personality. This paid relationship would work like an ad, but not a direct one. – ThinkWithGoogle

48. 71% of businesses with more than 100 employees use YouTube. – Social Media Examiner

49. 48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy in 2017. – Hubspot

50. YouTube’s net U.S. video ad revenues account for 18.9% of the U.S. digital video ad market. – eMarketer

Takeaways

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. If you have video ads, use them on YouTube, even if you work in a B2B industry.

Using YouTube with the Display Network to promote your video ads isn’t the only way you can foster its power. You should look to partner with influencers to promote your business. Also, instead of trying to make a sale right away, focus on teaching people, which will increase your engagement and relevancy.

Conclusion

In this article we revealed the real power of social media advertising. As you have seen, the big five social media networks are highly effective for any kind of business. It’s still true, however, that some work best for certain kinds of businesses than others. That’s why you need to choose the one that are most relevant to your needs.

Now it’s your turn. Which of the big five social media channels shown here have you used to promote your business? Which have been the most effective of all?

[The PPC Show] Episode 45: Irina Skripnik, Senior Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn

[The PPC Show] Episode 45: Irina Skripnik, Senior Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn

Are you wondering how to get started with LinkedIn’s new Match Audiences? Or if LinkedIn is a good platform to reach your target audience?

>>Don’t Miss Our Webinar with LinkedIn on May 17th!<<

On this episode Irina Skripnik, Senior Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, joins The PPC Show to discuss the latest announcement from LinkedIn, Matched Audiences.

Listen to the full episode of The PPC Show as she shares how companies are using Matched Audiences, how to get the best performance from your LinkedIn ads, and advise on running LinkedIn ad testing.

 

 

Webinar: The Sweet Spot of True Measurement with LinkedIn

Webinar: The Sweet Spot of True Measurement with LinkedIn

Live Video Webinar featuring LinkedIn and AdStage: The Sweet Spot of True Measurement

It’s not just about measuring your marketing programs, it’s about the conclusions you can draw.

An increasing number of marketers are embracing full-funnel marketing. Changes in the buyer’s journey – particularly the fact that prospects may be as much as 90 percent complete with the purchase process before reaching out to a salesperson – mean that marketers must be delivering relevant messages throughout the path to purchase. And that requires a deeper understanding of full-funnel marketing.

Tune into on the demand The Sweet Spot of True Measurement, a recorded video broadcast hosted at LinkedIn HQ, to learn:

  • The difference between metrics and analytics and how to take advantage of both
  • What full-funnel marketing is and how your company can leverage it
  • Goals, tactics, and metrics for reaching prospects in the upper funnel vs. the lower funnel
  • LinkedIn’s unique approach to full-funnel marketing
  • How to effectively use the full range of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in the upper and lower funnel

LinkedIn & AdStage Webinar The Sweet Spot of True Measurement