The social media landscape can change quickly. Though it’s still a young field, it has already seen platforms rise and fall, forcing advertisers to adjust to new content styles or move spend to new platforms as user behaviors shift.
LinkedIn is an older player in social media—it actually predates Facebook—but until recently, most people probably didn’t see the business-focused professional networking platform as a big player in social advertising. According to a recent piece in Financial Times, that is beginning to change, and the trend is both highlighting the advantages of this unique advertising opportunity while driving up ad costs on the platform.
Are Advertisers Migrating to LinkedIn From X?
While LinkedIn has always been business-focused, for a long time Twitter was the go-to place for savvy professionals to have deep, industry-focused discussions with peers in their fields. As such, it also attracted a wide variety of well-known, high-spending advertisers. But since the platform was sold to Elon Musk and renamed X, many policy changes (and offensive statements by the new owner) have made big brands uneasy about spending their ad dollars there.
In the Financial Times piece, several agency experts say that brands have moved their spend over to LinkedIn Ads after pulling it from X. One even said it was “LinkedIn season” and that all of her agency’s clients have stopped spending money on X, with most switching to LinkedIn.
Whether the trend is anecdotal or not, it’s apparent that one platform’s advertising program is on the upswing while the other isn’t. X has experienced a massive dropoff in advertising revenue. Meanwhile LinkedIn’s has surged: ad revenues rose by more than 10% in 2023, and the platform is projecting even greater growth in 2024.
The Growing Appeal of LinkedIn Advertising
ADM has long considered LinkedIn to be an underrated and underutilized advertising option. That’s because, even without the situation unfolding at X, LinkedIn offers brands a lot of unique advertising features that make it an attractive investment on its own merit. Brands can take advantage of ad formats and targeting capabilities that can’t be found on any other platform.
Different Targeting Options
LinkedIn’s professional nature means it can provide targeting options that no other platform can offer. Individuals and companies leverage the platform for networking, job searches, and sharing business insights, meaning users are almost universally using their real identities on the platform. They also are providing different information from what they do on other platforms, like the company they work for, the industry they work in, and the college they attended.
This enables brands to target audiences based on these characteristics, and do so with a high degree of confidence that the people they reach are who they say they are. So if your brand is targeted at individuals with a certain job or income level, you can construct audiences that align with it based on different factors than you’ll find on Facebook, X, or anywhere elsewhere.
Unique Ad Formats
Due again to the unique nature of the platform, LinkedIn also offers proprietary ad types that let brands reach potential customers in deeper ways. These include:
- Thought Leadership Ads where brands can boost posts to tell deeper stories about their products or offerings
- Document Ads that allow brands to share things like eBooks and blog posts directly in user feeds, helping to inform potential customers
- Conversation Ads similar to Meta’s Messaging Ads, where you can send your ad pitches directly to user inboxes
- Lead Form Ads that can capture leads directly from the user feed
- Group Ads where brands can directly target group pages for different professional or interest groups on LinkedIn
According to the Financial Times report, LinkedIn is also planning further additions to its marketing offering. That includes a special advertising slot where brands can bid to have their ads shown beside premium content. LinkedIn also is testing a service to allow advertisers to use its unique professional targeting data in programmatic advertising, which would enable them to extend its wealth of professional and educational data to connected TV apps like Roku, Hulu, and more.
As Brands Move Spend to LinkedIn, Competition is Rising
Prices on LinkedIn ads were already higher than many other social platforms before recent trends began to unfold. Average costs per thousand impressions can be as much as 4 or 5 times higher than they are on Facebook in ADM’s experience, and according to the experts cited by Financial Times, the gaps can be even larger—and are rising further in light of brands moving away from X.
But the benefits are also substantial. The advantages provided by its unique advertising formats and unprecedented targeting options can produce ROIs as high as 20% or greater. If it’s a platform that aligns with your target audience and business goals, it is likely worth testing investment on the platform sooner rather than later to get a foothold before costs rise even further. If you’re interested in learning how to better scale your paid social advertising to include specialized platforms like LinkedIn, reach out to the team at ADM today.