LinkedIn — Organic Reach and Paid Advertising

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 740 million professionals (2020 Dec). This makes it the ideal choice for networking with professionals and for advertising to business markets.

The following sections outline the wide range of organic and paid options provided by LinkedIn.

Organic Reach

An individual’s profile page is the place on LinkedIn to reach out to other professionals or prospective employers. Members can upload information pertaining to their professional and educational experiences, projects, publications, interests and other relevant areas.

Organizations may create their own company pages to market their organization on LinkedIn. Typical options include Home, About, Posts, Jobs, Life, People, Events, Videos, Showcase, Alumni etc. Some of these options are described below:

  • Home: Overview of the organization.
  • Life or Career pages serve to provide prospective candidates a view into the company’s culture with employee-centric content.
  • Showcase Pages are extensions of the Company Page to spotlighting a brand, business unit, or initiative. They allow organizations to create pages with relevant content for different aspects of their business.

One of the most effective ways of expanding reach on LinkedIn is by publishing noteworthy articles and posts. These, of course, can spread organically, as well as be advanced through paid options.

Organizations can promote their Company and Showcase Pages by linking through “Follow” buttons from emails, newsletters, blogs, and other marketing channels. Similarly, individuals too can promote their profile pages.

Posts: Members may create a post directly on their LinkedIn home page. They may also do so from any page on the internet that supports a share on LinkedIn button.


Exhibit 13.17  A LinkedIn Post.

As can be seen from the example in Exhibit 13.17, the anatomy of a post essentially comprises:

  • Author’s profile, which is seamlessly displayed at the top.
  • Headline.
  • Copy.
  • Destination URL, in the case of shared content.
  • Image.
  • Engagement buttons – share, like or comment.
  • Link that provides information on the number of views and their demographic break-up. Only a post’s author has access to this link.

Publishing on LinkedIn gives members the opportunity to share their thoughts and expertise with other members. This can help them grow their audience as well as their network. Moreover, if the post achieves high viewership, it gets recommended to a much broader group of members, which greatly enhances its impact.

Published content becomes a part of the author’s LinkedIn profile, and could boost the author’s reputation as an expert and thought leader.

SlideShare is a repository for slide presentations, videos, infographics and other documents. According to LinkedIn it is the world’s largest professional content-sharing community with close to an average of 4 million daily visitors, and 70 million unique monthly visitors.

Advertising Formats

LinkedIn offers a range of advertising solutions for companies including sponsored content, sponsored InMail, display ads and dynamic ads. Individual members too can advertise, though their options appear to be limited to display ads.

Sponsored Content: Marked as “promoted”, sponsored content is posted onto members’ LinkedIn feed, allowing advertisers to target audiences beyond their organic reach. It is a form of native advertising (see Exhibit 14.8, in Chapter Digital — Execution) in that it is intrinsic to the browsing experience and does not interrupt the stream of content.

Sponsored InMail is a direct way to engage with prospects on LinkedIn by delivering targeted, personalized messages. InMail notifications are prominently displayed on the LinkedIn homepage and in members’ inboxes for high visibility that cuts through the clutter. This may help boost conversions, provided the products and services are well targeted.

InMail can be intrusive, and should therefore be used where it is appropriate to do so. For instance, it can be effective for sending personalized invitations to events and conferences.


Exhibit 13.18  A LinkedIn Display Ad.

Display Ads: As shown in Exhibit 13.18 a display ad comprises:

  • Headline. This is limited to 25 characters, so it needs to be succinct and forceful.
  • Ad copy. Limited to 75 characters.
  • Destination URL.
  • Image. As this is a thumbnail, it should not contain much detail.

Advertisers should tailor the ad copy and headline for different audiences, and direct each of them to landing pages with the most relevant content.

The cost of display ads is usually above US$ 2 per click. LinkedIn pegs a good click through rate at 0.025%, however well targeted ads can perform significantly better.

Dynamic Ads: are display ads that allow the advertiser to use dynamically generated images from LinkedIn members’ profiles. By personalizing the content in this manner, these ads tend to be more engaging.

Targeting

As with other social networking platforms, the power of advertising on LinkedIn lies in the ability to finely target audiences. This is based on member-generated data, which at LinkedIn includes:

  • Demographics: Job titles, job function, seniority, company industry, company size, education, gender, age, years of experience.
  • Location.
  • Interests: Skills, field of study, group membership.
  • Persona: Job searchers, opinion leaders, mass affluent, business travellers.
  • Own audience data: Targeting based on advertiser’s account lists.

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups comprise likeminded-targeted audiences where members may ask questions, seek help and post or share articles.

Members are able to discover groups by clicking on the Discover button or tab. LinkedIn is able to recommend groups based on metrics such as the members’ areas of interests and their network’s participation pattern. The member may ask to join a group by clicking the Ask to join button, and the group’s administrator then has the prerogative to accept the new member.

LinkedIn Analytics

Organic and paid reach on LinkedIn is measured and monitored by LinkedIn’s in-built analytics.

The number of followers is shown on the member’s profile page. The home page shows how many people have viewed the member’s profile, and how many have viewed the most recent post.

Members can track how their posts were received through likes, comments and views. LinkedIn’s post analytics also provides the break-up of viewers across companies, job titles and geographical locations.

Company page administrators have access to finer details on their viewers’ engagement such as count of clicks, likes, comments, shares, followers acquired and total level of engagement. This is very useful for evaluating the performance of organic and sponsored content.

The performance of advertising campaigns is tracked in terms of impressions, clicks, click-through-rate, social actions, CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and spend.

LinkedIn also supports detailed conversion tracking through a set of capabilities built into the Campaign Manager. This enables advertisers to measure leads, sign-ups, content downloads, purchases, and other desired actions on sponsored content and text ad campaigns.

Information such as impressions, clicks, CTR, conversions and conversion rate is available across demographics, i.e., company industry, job title, job seniority, job function, company size, location and country.

The wide range of analytics that cut across all aspects of organic and paid reach are particularly useful for evaluating campaigns, refining advertising tactics and plans, and optimizing budgets.

What is a view on LinkedIn Posts?

Not all “views” are the same … LinkedIn counts both the opportunity to see as well as behaviours such as clicks.

When members scroll through the feed on their homepage, LinkedIn counts the posts they get to see. The platform, however, cannot tell whether or not viewers are paying attention.

The viewers who click on the post, or “like”, “share” or “comment”, are clearly more interested in the content.

LinkedIn’s view count includes these actively engaged viewers as well as those who passively scrolled past the post.

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