Advertising Experiment: LinkedIn Ads vs. Facebook Ads

February 4, 2010

February 4, 2010

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In an effort to do some targeted advertising, I decided to try Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads. My assumption before the experiment was that LinkedIn would be much more effective and have higher CTRs because it is a professional sphere whereas Facebook is more informal. I started with Facebook Ads, designing 3 different ads in one “campaign.” One great feature in making a campaign is that Facebook really holds your hand throughout the process. Not only is their help section extremely useful, and offers a range of tools and explanations, but help is provided on the side with each step. After designing the ad, Facebook lets you narrow in on your target market much more detailed than LinkedIn.

Whereas on LinkedIn, your choices are much more limited due to the way they define their users. For example, “business owner” on Facebook can just be listed as an interest, whereas on LinkedIn you have to guess at which title/position a person has: manager, vice president, CXO, etc.  Here’s what their Targeting page looks like.

The pricing on Facebook is also superior to LinkedIn. On both sites, you can choose between CPM vs. CPC, but Facebook suggests a value for both. Another huge difference is that LinkedIn is much more expensive. Facebook’s minimum daily advertising budget is $5.00 while LinkedIn’s is double (not sure why?). On Facebook, the ability to see the ad’s performances side by side was really helpful in playing with messaging and seeing what was effective. The ability to manipulate data was also superior on Facebook. They offer different kinds of reports, graphs, CSV uploading…it’s fun to manipulate and play around with all of the tools they offer. LinkedIn: don’t even think about it. Extremely underdeveloped. As far as performance, neither one was fabulous or game changing, but Facebook is proving to be worth the little money put in, whereas as LinkedIn was a failure. By running multiple ads, we are able to see which messaging works, and experiment with our targeting (for example: we started out targeting “college graduate business owners who speak English” and decided to drop to “business owners who speak English”). Our highest CTR on Facebook is 3.3% while it’s less than 1% on LinkedIn. Conclusion: Though Facebook ads aren’t as effective as we’d like, they are a great way to get your brand out there while on a tight budget. Though LinkedIn may seem intuitively like a better fit for some business advertising, skip it. Facebook’s advertising is immensely superior in quality. For more information, check out this great article about another business owner’s experience.

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