For anyone considering advertising on the web, whether a seasoned vet or a newbie to the concept, we would encourage you to use our feedback and give us comments at the bottom of our article with your experience. Keep in mind, if you are considering advertising on any Social Media platform like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc that the viewer is not there looking to make a purchase which greatly decreases the possibility of a sale. To the contrary, if you are interested in creating “Brand Recognition” then Social Media platforms do work well. The average ROI on advertising and making an actual sale is fairly low but so is the investment.
Screaming Lunatic has officially been in existence for 5 years., while most of our designs for our clients are “advertisements” we never spent a dime on advertising ourselves on the web until the past few months. This post will go over our experience in taking the dive into web advertising with LinkedIn and Facebook. There are plenty of statistics on the web with pros and cons to advertising on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc but as we do with all of our posts, we discuss our real world experience, regardless of what others have written, what “the data” tells us or what is suggested. For us, its about the experience rather then the suggestions of others and we let you determine what works best for you. We will take Facebook and LinkedIn and break them into segments of User Experience, Estimated Target Market, Our Campaigns and Summary.
The user control panel for creating an ad on both platforms are very simple however Facebook does take a slight edge overall on their controls while setting up your Ad, they also have a better “Help” section for further assistance. While creating your FB ad each section has a small guide off to the right giving you tips on that section of the ad you are creating. LinkedIn breaks up each segment into pages requiring you to go to another page for each segment, not a major hurdle but on FB it makes it nicer to be able to view all the details of your ad on one page. LinkedIn also has a small window off to the right with a “Help” section for the segment you are filling out. Both user experiences are relatively simple with good support. The time it takes on both for approval of your ad ranges from 8 – 12 hours, mostly due to the image you are placing in the ad. Once you have created an ad, if you are editing just the text the approval of your update usually is done within 30 minutes whereas once again if you change the image the time frame for approval is about 3 hours. When you create your ad both let you decide on a website, your platform page or wherever you prefer to where the link takes the viewer when they click on your ad. Both offer tips on the best way to create your ad.
The best feature (that both platforms provide) is when updating your ad with different criteria such as Demographics, Age, etc they both tell you the “Estimated Reach” (Facebook) or “Target Audience” (LinkedIn) that your criteria can potentially reach. The number is probably a bit larger then the true number as some of the potential viewers probably do not use their account often or have left the platform all together. We guess that whatever the number you see, you can assume that it is probably around 70% accurate.
ESTIMATED TARGET MARKET
The nuts and bolts of setting up your ad on each platform is where it becomes a game of fun and chance, much like a carnival game. Facebook wins out here as well because they apply the data they have from their users much more liberally then LinkedIn. Both have similar data from their users but Facebook gives you a bit more options to narrow down your potenial viewers.
Location (Facebook) or Geography (LinkedIn)
Both platforms let you go as large as “Everywhere” reaching all members in all locations wherever they may be located globally. They also both have the ability to target, for example, the United States or you can limit it to one state or multiple states. This goes for anywhere in the world, you can target all of Europe or individual countries if your target audience is located there. Where Facebook takes a small lead prior to the big jump is they do not have a limit to the amount of entries you can put in. LinkedIn lets you only market to 10 locations where Facebook does not limit you. Where Facebook takes the big jump in the lead is Facebook lets you also market by cities and even space it out by mileage. For example, if you are a local business like a new restaurant and would like anyone within 25 miles to potentially view your ad you can do so. So you would set your location to the city of your restaurant and without needing to add all the small towns and cities around you, you can just enter your city and have the ad shown to anyone within a 10, 25 or 50 mile radius. LinkedIn at this point does net let you get “city specific” or give any mileage choices, you either choose a state or you do not. Now both platforms have this data of their users city but only Facebook lets you apply it to your ad.
Both platforms let you choose age ranges to market and Gender. Facebook however lets you target people on their birthday. So for a company such as Bar giving away VIP Parties for those who want to bring their friends out for their birthday this can be an excellent, very defined web ad. Facebook also lets you select variables to your potential viewers interest in “Males” or “Females” which would be a nice feature for a Dating website. They also let you select variables based upon “Single”, “Married”, “Engaged” or “In a Relationship”. And finally they let you also choose what your target uses as a language…english, italian, german, etc., LinkedIn does not have these variables
Facebook gives you the variables for Education levels and company names that you can enter. They also let you target Groups that viewers may be associated with and the friends of those Groups. So for best case scenario for a company who is looking to market their restaurant in northern New Jersey they can target people who belong to groups about Food within a 50 mile radius of their restaurant location who are “Married” and/or “In A Relationship” and/or “Engaged” for a Valentine’s Day special. As far as LinkedIn while they do not have these abilities they do have some nice features that Facebook does not have. LinkedIn does not let you target a company name but rather they let you target “Company Size”. Giving you the ability to target everyone from “Self-Employed” to as large as a company with over 10,000 employees. They also let you choose variables under “Job Function” ranging from only targeting those who state they are in the Finance Department to those in Sales and lets you choose multiple variables. They also let you choose “Industry” and “Seniority”. So you can choose the “Legal Industry” which breaks down into 3 sub-categories (Law Practice, Legal Services and/or Alternative Dispute Resolution) and let you choose to show your ad only to a any of the “Seniority” levels such as President, Manager, Chief Officer, etc. Both have similarities in the general target variables like Geogrpahy, Age and so on but when you start splitting hairs they each go their own way.
Both platforms let you “cap out” for a day with X amount of dollars. You can control the cost of your daily spending by entering a price you want to stop at which then removes your ad for the day. The minimum you can spend per day with Facebook is $5 and LinkedIn is $10 per day. The one feature that once again puts Facebook in the lead is the ability to set the times you want your ad to show where LinkedIn does not let you adjust this variable. We use this feature on Facebook and love it.
We set our ad to only show from 5pm EST to 11pm EST from Monday through Friday and the same time on Sundays, we do not run our ad on Saturdays. Initially we created a generic ad for our design services and while we received on average 30,000 “views” we only received about 5 users per day that clicked on our ad. After about 3 weeks of running this style ad we decided to change our approach by being a bit more precise with the creative part of the ad. Since Facebook lets you target to a very specific group we decided to change our “Headline” from Screaming Lunatic to Wedding Design and targeted females from 20 to 45 years old that listed themselves as “In a Relationship” or “Engaged”. While our total views went down from an average of 30,000 per day to about 7,000 per day we found that the clicks to our website went from 5 per day to 23 per day, a much improved ROI. We feel that when users are on Facebook they are there for a true social atmosphere, to catch up with friends, post photos and not as much to experience something that is work related or seeking to make a purchase.
Most users do not use Facebook during the day and if we placed our ads during the traditional work hours and a user was sneaking a peek on their Facebook page they most likely would not be able to then click over on our Advertisement to our website due to work restrictions. This is why we run our ad at night during the work week and on Sunday nights when most users have the luxury of using Facebook at leisure and are more willing to click over to our website. Sunday night specifically is the night when users are winding down from their weekend, it is also the night of the week that the most users are found to be on the internet, specifically between the hours of 7pm – Midnight. We do not use Saturdays for Facebook because to be direct, most users are in a different state of mind. They are usually out with friends, uploading photos and sometimes indulging in events with alcohol and other indulgences. It does not lean towards a state of mind that gives your ad the best potential viewer. To the contrary, if you are a Nightclub or social location, or even having an “event” this may be exactly a night you want to advertise and even more specifically after 5pm and into the evening when users are checking Facebook and organizing a night out with friends. For example, Bands who play the weekends would benefit greatly from this approach. Having a gig on a Saturday night and using Facebook to provide their ad just from Friday to Saturday to those within 25 miles of the location of the gig to the age range of 21-40 could find a huge upgrade to the amount of people who attend and the cost would probably run around $20 for the entire ad, clearly a great ROI.
Here are our stats for the month of August: $39.47 spent with 417,026 Impressions with 111,000 of them being “unique impressions” with 59 clicks to our website and of those 41 being “unique clicks” (unique meaning first time). Our total “estimated reach” was over 17 million females that matched our criteria.
Our Facebook Ad as seen on Profiles
First and foremost, the thinking behind advertising on LinkedIn is the opposite of Facebook. For Facebook we wanted to advertise at night during the work week and Sunday nights because we wanted our viewers to be in a mindset away from work and geared towards females that were socially looking at Facebook but were also in a relationship and possibly headed towards marriage for our Wedding Design. On LinkedIn we targeted the corporate side, we wanted those who were in “work mode”, those who were possibly searching for new employees, new referrals, new services so we did our ad more as a general design service. We targeted companies that ranged from 1 to 10,000 employees, in the age range from 30 and up and listed themselves in Job Positions that would make sense as either a decision maker or someone would be in charge of deciding on the “creative” part of the company. The one hitch with LinkedIn is that they do not let you permit a time to use your ad, the ad is either showing or it is not. As far as our stats they look like this during the same time period (August 2010) as our Facebook stats above: $73.05 spent with 193,751 Impressions with 29 clicks to our website, LinkedIn does not provide data on “unique impressions” or “unique clicks” as Facebook does. Our total “estimated reach” is 1.2 million, a far less reach then Facebook.
Control Panel within Linkedin
Both work well, both have nice features but Facebook wins out in overall cost. As you can tell during the same time frame Facebook was 1/2 the cost of LinkedIn with more “clicks” to our website but (and it’s potentially a big one)…but those Facebook clicks are usually coming from viewers who are in a different setting when clicking then LinkedIn. Viewers on Facebook are there for talking with friends, catching up, uploading photos and a much more social atmosphere so even if they click on your ad they may be doing it from a curious point of view whereas on LinkedIn the person clicking may be the VP of a large size company who is on the website in “work mode” and searching out services that you provide. Knowing your market or rather “potential market” is your best attack. Our suggestion in choosing of the two would clearly to use both for a 30 day trial, see what works best, create a few different ads with different targets and variables and see what works best for you. As an added caveat to Facebook, they are currently in the process of creating a 3rd type of advertisement which lets you pay only for a completed sale. The price point would most likely be higher then the other 2 options but at that point you would only be paying upon a final sale that you make, a nice feature that may need some more time before they roll it out publicly. It also may only be permitted if you have a Tab on your Business Page through a 3rd party service that lets you do sales through Facebook.
We did not mention Google advertising in this post, we do not use or have ever used Google Ads for two basic reasons. One, we use many different search avenues now which is far different then even 5 years ago when all that was used was Google (See our 2 part Article on Search on the Web called “The Search“) and secondly Facebook and LinkedIn have data, lots of data and they let you narrow down your searches whereas Google at the moment works more on “keywords”, not to mention as we always state we based our decisions on real world experiences and in many, many years on the web we can count on 2 hands how many times we actually clicked on a sponsored ad in Google. With that said, we think Google is better off for large companies with large wallets but for Small Business we prefer Facebook and LinkedIn. We appreciate and always encourage your comments, feedback and experiences.