B2B Advertising with LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s solid demographic targeting makes advertising B2B publications a no-brainer

If you are a B2B publisher, you might think you know where your niche advertising spots are. You’ve been working with your current network for print advertisements and hopefully you have bid on a few AdSense keywords. If you’re on the right path, you also have an affiliate program for your products and have bought ad space on other B2B websites.

If you’re already buying ads on B2B websites, does one of them include LinkedIn.com?

According to Quantcast.com, a new media measurement service that combines directly measured audience data with panel-based estimates, 44% of LinkedIn’s visitors are “regulars”. By Quantcast standards, that means said visitor frequents the site several times a month. 9% of visitors are considered “addicts” which means that they frequent the site 30 or more times a month.

LinkedIn itself claims over 450 million page views per month and 42 page views per member per week.

According to LinkedIn’s April 2008 demographics:

  • 52% of visitors are male
  • 35% make $60-100k per year
  • 48% have attended college
  • 43% are aged 43-59 (37% is 18-34)
  • 80% are caucasian
  • 76% don’t have children

If these are your demographics, and you are buying advertising already, LinkedIn shouldn’t be looked over.

According to the new book The Truth About Profiting from Social Networking (that we were lucky to get our hands on pre-release), “LinkedIn allows you to target ads based on profile data. Because of the business orientation of the site, however, LinkedIn states that its profile are ten times more accurate than many other sites’ registration data. In other words, people who create a LinkedIn profile to connect with their work colleagues—or boss—are less likely to be deceptive in their profile data”. Solid demographics and a cult-like following? Sounds like the place to be.

But… but… but…

If social media advertising and setup intimidates you, don’t worry. LinkedIn sticks with standard online advertising options:

  • Text Link (60 characters) for $12-12.40 CPM
  • Leaderboard (728×90) for $30-51 CPM
  • Wide Skyscraper (160×600) for $45-76.50 CPM
  • Medium Rectangle (300×250) for $45-76.50 CPM

They only allow animations for 30 seconds max (as a user I thank LinkedIn for this), file formats can be anything from .gif or .jpg to rich media formats, and ads are 3rd party trackable. Learn more on the LinkedIn website.

So what kind of ads work best on LinkedIn?

We were actually quite impressed at the visibility of these ads when we looked to see what you get for your buck when you advertise on LinkedIn. They are in order of most visibility to least visibility.

  • Medium Rectangle we saw the most, located on the user homepage, on profile pages, and in the blog.
  • Text Links were found at the top of the user homepage and some search pages while also scattered in other places on the site; but always with high visibility and dedicated ad space (as in, not mixed with other ads).
  • Leaderboards were found at the bottom of the user homepage and scattered across the site in no particular pattern.
  • Wide Skyscrapers were found in the user personal contacts and connections section but not anywhere else.

That was only an overview of our own personal experience and it’s possible there are other ad slots on the site that we missed.

But from what we’ve seen, the ad slot with the highest visibility is the Medium Rectangle, always placed front and center. Second best would be Text Links because they’re cheap and have great placement opportunities that aren’t distracted by a cluster of other links.

Online advertising is very similar to traditional print advertising, but with exclusive benefits. In print advertising, you can only target your audience so much. Online, and especially on LinkedIn, you are able to spend your budget specifically on the audience that you are targeting. That’s like placing an ad for a shoe sale in the newspaper, and then telling the paperboy he can only deliver it to women who fit the description of Carrie from Sex and the City. You can only pay your paperboy so much!

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