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October 4, 2012

LinkedIn Ads for Small Business: Pros and Cons

Professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, have become valuable places for networking but the value of any particular site hinges on the number and the quality of the people using it. Many of these sites are continually adding features and tools.

With the recent IPO of Facebook and all eyes on its business model and financials, its ads division is getting extra attention, since it is the main revenue driver of the Social Network. LinkedIn has been quietly increasing its own ads efforts.

LinkedIn Ads are divided into Marketplace and Premium categories. Marketplace Ads are “smaller” and are seen in the right column with a small graphic and short copy. The Premium Ads are the “larger” Ads reserved for companies with a monthly budget of $10,000-$30,000 per month, and as such are really only accessible to the larger brands.

This article will focus on the Marketplace Ads, which are accessible to the vast majority. The following are the pros and cons of LinkedIn Ads for small business.


1. B2B Market

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for B2B companies because its demographic is working professionals. There is really no other network that provides the exposure LinkedIn does in the B2B arena.

2. Access to International and U.S. Markets

LinkedIn’s demographic is also highly international. This provides great opportunities whether you are looking to target the U.S. market alone, or take on the International market as well.

3. Targeted Ads

Even without any targeting, the chances of an ad being displayed to the targeted demographic is almost ½. However, LinkedIn does a fantastic job at providing filters to target your desired audience.

LinkedIn allows you to filter the audience by geographical area, by gender, by hierarchy/position within the organization, by age, by preferences, and even by specific companies. If you know your target market, LinkedIn Ads can define it.

4. High Conversion Rates

Individuals that land on the desired page after clicking your ad are more likely to take the action that you want them to. Whether it is to sign up to receive a newsletter, an eBook, a free consultation, or even a purchase, individuals prove to be more eager to take action if the content fulfills their interests.


1. Low Engagement

LinkedIn Ads have the lowest Click Through Rate compared to all other social media advertising platforms. The average CTR on LinkedIn is 0.025% which compares poorly to Facebook’s 0.05% and Twitter’s 1%.

This is compensated by the high conversion rate discussed above in the Pros column, but ultimately depends on your landing page’s design.

2. Cyclical

This one may be a pro or a con depending what your intentions are as a marketer. Activity on LinkedIn is highest Monday through Friday and peaks around mid-week.

If you are going to start a brand new campaign it is recommended that you do so early in the week.

3. Expensive

Compared to Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn Ads are expensive. Of course it depends on how you target your ads but you can expect bids to cost over $2 per click.

Having said that, if these ads are for B2B companies, those tend to be big-ticket items, which should yield a high return on the investment. At the end of the day, the return is all that really matters.

A company cannot be all things to all people but LinkedIn ads provide small businesses the opportunity to manage ad campaigns with the potential of one that is much larger. Weigh out the pros and cons to determine whether LinkedIn ads are right for your business.

Yo Noguchi is an experienced freelancer, guest blogger, and frequent contributor to a blog hosted by Benchmark Email, one of the world’s global provider of email marketing services.