It’s undisputed – Google is the king of pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Launched on October 2000, it’s been around for 13 years and boasts over one million PPC advertisers each year. That’s great news for Google, but what does it mean for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) looking into investing in a PPC campaign? It means more competition for the same keywords and skyrocketing prices, especially since larger companies have the funds to bid higher.

In addition, since most SMBs are increasing their rankings on Google search engine results pages (SERPs) organically through effective SEO and inbound marketing, having a PPC campaign may seem like doubling the same efforts on the same space – a waste of money.

LinkedIn Ads Creation

SMBs are increasingly looking for other channels to reach customers and attract new business. This is especially true for businesses that have a more B2B focus. For many B2B players this means looking into investing ad dollars in LinkedIn Ads. Is it worth the investment?

Let’s look at some of the benefits:

    1. LinkedIn Ads are relatively new. That means there are fewer advertisers competing in the same space and your ads have a better chance of being seen.
    2. As of Q2 2013 LinkedIn reports a total membership of 238 million users, with growth accelerating to 37% year-over-year. This leaves LinkedIn the undefeated champion as the largest network of professionals. B2B businesses expanding into LinkedIn greatly extend the reach of their promotional efforts.
    3. LinkedIn PPC ads let you target specific job titles, job functions, industries, or company size, age, gender, and school, just to name a few. You can target your ads specifically to the people who are more likely to need what you sell. LinkedIn Ads Targeting Options
    4. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said during the company’s Q2 2013 quarterly earnings call, that the company is looking into expanding its advertising and is working on providing more robust APIs for marketers to have greater control over their campaigns. What does that mean for you? You can manage your LinkedIn campaigns using your favorite third party applications like Hootsuite, or Hubspot. It also means you’ll have better tools to manage LinkedIn from your smartphone, making it easier to stay engaged with your audience. The company has also recently introduced mobile advertising, which will extend your reach even further. Here are some statistics from the Pew Research Center for you: 56% of American adults have smartphones, 67% of cell owners admit to checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating, 44% of have slept with their phones next to them, 31% of cell internet users say they mostly go online using their cell phones, and not using their desktop or laptop at all.
    5. LinkedIn also just launched “Sponsored Updates” last month. Sponsored Updates is new type of advertising solution for Company Pages which allow marketers to deliver their posts directly into the homepage feed of members beyond those who are following their company page. Ever lamented that your posts never seemed to quite reach the audience that you were targeting? Well now you can deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. This updated service isn’t quite available to everyone just yet; LinkedIn is slowly rolling this out. To see if you are lucky enough to have this feature, check your ads manager. LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads have a lot to offer to forward looking marketers, but success only comes if you have a well researched and thought out campaign strategy. You need to define your advertising goals, track your results, evaluate your return on investment (ROI), and constantly improve your performance. Watch our Marketing Minute video for tips on increasing the effectiveness of your LinkedIn ad campaign.

Photograph by Nan Palmero