A year ago, as social media marketing was gathering steam, many marketers were perplexed over which channel to participate in and for what purpose. Today, with the introduction of various social media paid-advertising options, LinkedIn is emerging as a b2b favorite.
B2b media buyers are attracted to LinkedIn's membership base of more than 100 million business professionals and the data-rich entries about them.
"In the first place, LinkedIn's user base is really appealing," said Ben Grossman, communications strategist at Oxford Communications. "They have a demographic, income level and focus on their professions well above other social networks we could buy. And all LinkedIn profiles are associated with lots of business information, such as companies, contact roles and positions, and geography."
Oxford recently completed a LinkedIn-intensive campaign for Brother International's new, large-scale printer-scanner. The campaign, "See the Bigger Picture," featured LinkedIn display ads that drove viewers to a shareyourbiggerpicture.com landing page. There, small-business owners could post ideas as to how a printer that produces 11-by-17-inch prints could help them. Winners received weekly prizes, with a grand prize of $10,000.
Phone: (650) 687-3555
Traffic: 32 million UMV (U.S.); 79.2 million UMV worldwide†††††
Ad revenue: N/A
Ad rate: N/A
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LinkedIn offers standard display ads, as well as a do-it-yourself text ad option, similar to a Google paid-search text ad. LinkedIn's InMail service, which is available to members as a subscription, also is available to advertisers on a cost-per-message basis. These commercial InMails are sent to a targeted LinkedIn member a maximum of four times a year.
"The lowest InMail campaign cost we've been able to achieve is $3 per message," said Gary Slack, chairman-chief experience officer at agency Slack & Co. "That may sound expensive, some 10 times what a typical email database list would cost to rent; but, if you know exactly who you want to reach and you believe there is no database better than LinkedIn, that could be a small price to pay for open rates of 20% to 40%."
LinkedIn also offers "recommendation ads," which display the number of recommendations a product or service has generated on a company page. The unit displays how many people in a viewer's network recommended the product, and the recommendation is then shared with other professionals in that member's LinkedIn network.
Marketers can also sponsor polls of LinkedIn members. Besides gaining business information from poll results, marketers can run display ads targeted to respondents based on how they answered.
"All our data is available for targeting purposes, but not in a way that's sneaky," said Steve Patrizi, VP-marketing solutions at LinkedIn. "It's none of that behavioral stuff. An ad on LinkedIn is one of the few ways to target, to do it with an amount of precision, and feel OK about it."
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