LinkedIn Jumps on the Social Network PPC Bandwagon

Like many of you, I’m an avid user of LinkedIn. This week, I got an email in my inbox promoting LinkedIn’s newest innovation – PPC ads targeted to users within their network. They even threw in a free $100 ad credit!

I probably won’t get around to using that credit, since I’m not managing any PPC accounts right now that would benefit from advertising on the LinkedIn PPC network. But, I think that this is a great opportunity for a lot of other PPC marketers out there. Pay per click advertising on the LinkedIn network has two major benefits.

The first advantage is that you are able to get super specific with your demographic targeting. Like all other social networks, LinkedIn has users that voluntarily submit detailed, accurate demographic information about themselves. They even have a significant incentive to do so. After all, if you don’t accurately portray which industry and experience level you’re at in your career, you may miss out on some potentially lucrative job offers or business opportunities.

Advantage number two is that LinkedIn is a very business-focused user group. Other social networks like Facebook and MySpace are full of users that are just there for fun and games. There’s not much purchase intent behind someone checking up on their friend’s birthday party photos from last week. LinkedIn is just the opposite. It’s users are all about the cold, hard cash. This means that if you have a relevant product, and you are able to get your demographic targeting right, chances are much better that you will get that PPC conversion from a LinkedIn ad than if you were to show the same ad on a less business-inclined social network.

I see LinkedIn’s offering as part of a larger trend of social networks getting in on the PPC game. And good for them. Social networks need to monetize their traffic somehow, and pay per click advertisers are always looking for more granular and more accurate demographic targeting – things that social networks are better at than anyone else. Even users get the benefit of only viewing ads that are relevant to their age group, professional aspirations, and interests. Everybody wins at this game.

Have any of you taken LinkedIn up on their offer of free ads? Seen any good results yet? Let’s hear about it in the comments.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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One Response to LinkedIn Jumps on the Social Network PPC Bandwagon

  1. Ann Cinnamon says:

    I too received the $100 offer from LinkedIn to try their PPC DirectAds. We decided to take advantage of it for our website: http://www.buzzmug.com. We’re certainly sorry we did. For one thing, they do not allow you to set a maximum amount to spend on your campaign and then they do not email you to update you on your clicks or when your $100 campaign is up as other media do. We have used both Facebook and Googe Adwords and have never had this sort of problem. Also, their PPC minimum is $2 and they advise you to set it much higher, thus spending money even faster. We inadvertantly set it at $2.68 per click which is much higher than we would normally pay for a click. We set a $10 per day budget and almost every single day they went over it by a substantial margin. They also do not have any click fraud protections that I could see. In any event, we were very unhappy with how they handle business and think it is actually rather deceiving. We certainly didn’t see an increase in business either. We will not be using LinkedIn DirectAds again and would advise others against it as well.