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Much like Google AdWords and Facebook, LinkedIn PPC campaigns are run as auctions. Advertisers like you place a bid to pay a certain dollar amount (e.g., $2.25) per click on selected keywords or criteria; your prize for winning the auction is effective ad placement on whichever platform your ad appears. Yet, there is more to winning a PPC auction than just placing the highest bid. Nine times out of ten, you’ll end up paying even less than you bid as these sites will only charge you whatever price per click was necessary to win the auction, and that price is based on many factors including the amount of competition involved and the overall effectiveness of each bidder’s ad.
LinkedIn PPC Targeting Criteria
LinkedIn PPC advertising is much better suited to non-fiction books than fictional novels because of LinkedIn’s audience and that of the LinkedIn Audience Network as a whole. As of writing time, your LinkedIn targeting criteria is limited to:
- Geographical regions: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and Oceania (of which you can drill down to your choice of the countries and cities that you wish to “include” or “exclude” from your campaign).
- Other business-related criteria: company name, company industry, company size, job title, job function, job seniority, member schools, field of study, degrees, member skills, member groups, member gender, member age, years of experience, company followers, and company connections.
Once you’ve made the above choices, you can the select your bid type: cost per click (CPC); or, cost per mille which means the cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM). CPC is the best choice to make when you want to drive more sales whereas CPM is used when your sole purpose is to drive top of mind awareness (TOMA) of your brand. I personally always choose CPC because my goal with PPC advertising is first and foremost to sell books, and I believe CPC also achieves TOMA over time. Two birds, one stone … as the saying goes.
The Price of an Affluent Audience
From there, you will choose your maximum daily budget and your CPC or CPM bid for the criteria you chose earlier. Although you can start your bid as low as $25 per day and $2 per click, you’ll most likely end up paying more on this site to get any significant results. LinkedIn PPC campaigns tend to be more expensive than Google AdWords or Facebook. Some will say it’s because you’re paying for exposure to a more affluent business audience. Here’s another way to look at it according to JD Prater, author of “How Much Do LinkedIn Ads Cost? [New Report]” on the AdStage blog:
…LinkedIn boasts more than 500 million users, which is impressive but still limited compared to Facebook. With a limited supply of ads coupled with growing demand, the auction is getting more competitive, which means advertisers will pay more to enter.
…Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They found that 43% of marketers were NOT investing in LinkedIn Ads. However, 39% advertisers planned on increasing their ad spend within the following year. It looks like LinkedIn Ads are delivering results for certain companies, which is leading to budget increases. (Prater, n.d.)
The anatomy of a LinkedIn PPC ad is similar to Facebook in that you can include an image, a punchy headline, some brief ad copy, and a link to your desired landing page. All these elements are important; but some would say the image is the most critical element. Igor Belogolovsky reports the following in his article for the Kissmetrics Blog:
Hot tip: According to LinkedIn’s own optimization team, choosing a photo of a woman typically drives the best clickthrough rates. Only use your business logo if you’re trying to build brand awareness. Don’t have too much going on in your photo — remember, it’s a small thumbnail and you have a lighting-quick opportunity to draw the eye to your ad before, poof, it’s gone. (Belogolovsky, n.d.)
If this is to be believed, then female authors may want to include your author picture in your LinkedIn PPC ads; male authors may want to include your eye-catching book covers, instead. Whatever you decide, make it stand out. Put yourself in your audience’s place. What would grab your attention? Before designing a book cover, I always recommend to my authors that they should browse the section of the bookstore where their books will one day appear and see which covers stand out ahead of the rest to them; use that data as the starting point for their own designs. I think it’s a great idea to do the same thing with PPC ads. Log into LinkedIn and view the ads on your page. Take note of what appeals to you most. Use that for inspiration.
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