How LinkedIn Advertising is Changing

With every new shift in consumer behaviour, the rules of advertising change as well. From newspaper pages and billboards to radio spots, TV commercials, and the infamous rise of the pop-up ad, staying informed of new trends – and visible in a sea of competitors – is crucial to success.

Over the last six months, we’ve watched one of these shifts happen before our eyes. One of the digital marketing world’s most well-known platforms, LinkedIn, has seen big changes in its traffic and cost-per-click (CPC) rates. Why is this happening? And more importantly, what does it mean for your company’s LinkedIn traffic and marketing success?

Working (and Browsing LinkedIn) from Home

As many workplaces went remote in the spring of 2020, something predictable happened: radio and TV ad spends became less important, and online advertising rose in prominence. People started spending more time online at home and growing their networks on platforms liked LinkedIn – engagement went up by 50%, with 26% more sessions overall. It’s no surprise, then, that a lot of B2B marketing occurs on LinkedIn, but now B2C companies are turning their attention there, too.

LinkedIn Advertising is Changing - B2B advertising platforms

LinkedIn leads the way in B2B advertising (from Omnicore Agency)

 

At first, that seems strange. Why those changes in Linkedin traffic and ads? But it’s important to note that many users on the site have a high “lifetime value” – that is, the things they purchase will not just be an impulse, but rather the start of a long consumer relationship. Industries like higher education, luxury goods, legal or financial services, recruitment, and automotive needs can all reach high-value lifetime customers, right there on LinkedIn.

The Impacts of Changing Online Activity

One of the biggest consequences of the shift to more online time is over-exposure to advertising. Many users are scrolling past ads on social media even more than usual, hardly even registering its presence. With that said, there are many more users than ever before – looking for new careers and opportunities, or building networks – and they’re ready to engage. They’re simply more picky about what to engage with, and a strong strategy is still a keystone to success.

This trend is combined with a surge in competition in some industries for online advertising space, as they try to make up for lost foot traffic and physical storefronts with increased online spends. For most industries, CPC rates went down – as some companies reduced their advertising budgets due to tighter finances – but for many large sectors, rates increased. Real estate and retail CPCs went up by roughly 15%, and construction and manufacturing went up by 5%. Others, such as home improvement, automotive, education, jobs, and legal services, all saw various increases, too. So if your boss has sent an unexpected email saying “Why does LinkedIn have high CPC?!” in all caps, know that you’re not alone in feeling the effects.

The Future of LinkedIn Advertising

While consumer habits have changed, their needs and wants are still there, waiting to be fulfilled. However, it is no longer good enough to simply make an offer and wait for sales and revenue to roll in, because those days are gone. Post-pandemic consumers want something more – something engaging, authentic, and valuable to their personalities.

LinkedIn Advertising is Changing - Customer Experience Mindset graphic

Keep the new customer experience in mind (from Forbes)

 

Here are some tips that will definitely come in handy for the future of advertising on LinkedIn:

  1. Be “cautiously creative” with new techniques, looks, audiences, and tools. People have moved from work computers to personal devices, throwing off all the carefully-calibrated algorithms of days past. But that’s okay! Experiment with different audiences, retargeting parameters, lifestyle demographics, and even creative tools like graphics and copy. Just make sure it’s not too off-the-wall or intrusive.

 

  1. Aim to help and educate rather than make a sale. Useful resources like blogs, e-books, webinars, and so on may take a while to pay off – but when they do, you’ve made a loyal, lifelong customer, who remembers the help you offered in a hard time.

 

  1. Use your full funnel and always get a way to follow up. With more eyes on your ads, you get more potential customers – but also a lot more dead ends. A properly-constructed sales funnel will guide the best ones to the end. Don’t forget to offer incentives that will help build an email list so you can follow up down the road.

 

  1. Be active when your audience is. The best results for boosted posts have changed to reflect the lack of commutes and office idle time. Wednesdays after 3, Thursdays between 9-10 AM, and Friday before lunch (11 AM–12 PM) are your best bet, while overall engagement trends have moved to roughly 8 AM to 4 PM.

 

  1. Stay upbeat and positive. There’s a lot going on, and people are often looking for an escape. Help them find it with positive messaging, optimistic offerings, and a way to forget their troubles for a moment or two.

 

If you need help defining your strategic LinkedIn advertising plan for the future, coming up with new branding, or creating a full eye-catching campaign, you’re in the right place! Let us know what you’re thinking, and together, we’ll come up with something tailored to your needs – after all, it’s what we’re best at!

6 Key Steps to Launch a Successful Digital Campaign

Have you ever noticed an ad for your local car dealership pop up in your favourite app? Or maybe you saw an offer on Instagram for a streaming service’s free month trial? These are examples of digital marketing campaigns: online marketing initiatives, usually across various channels, that support your larger digital strategy. Campaigns are the action-plan to a clearly defined goal, and they can be very effective if done strategically.

If you have decided that a digital campaign would support your business’s marketing objectives, here are a few key steps to consider in order to ensure a successful launch.

 

1) Define Your Goal

What is it that you want your campaign to achieve? Many businesses use digital campaigns to drive traffic to their website. Others are seeking to increase their social media following or build brand awareness, and most (if not all) are looking for direct conversions that will increase their bottom line. Defining your goal for the campaign is critical to measuring its success.

 

Campaigns are the action-plan to a clearly defined goal, and they can be very effective if done strategically.

2) Identify Your Target Audience

Anyone can throw photos, text, and advertising dollars out onto the internet and call it a digital campaign. But where would those efforts land, and who would see them? Promote to people who will interact with your campaign.

Tip: Imagine your ideal customer and build out a persona profile for that buyer. For example, a public elementary school looking to increase kindergarten enrollment might begin by describing their ideal persona as young, working parents who recently moved to the area, who are not overtly religious, and who value small classroom sizes and extra-curricular options. Developing these personas will help focus your campaign.

 

3) Find Your Audience Online

Taking clues from your target buyer’s profile (namely, their demographics and interests) will help you determine where they hang out online. Perhaps they spend a lot of time on social media, or maybe in such places as online games, podcast apps, YouTube, online retailers, recipe sites – the list goes on. Put your message where your audience is.

 

4) Know What Your Audience Is Looking For

Crafting your messaging is an obvious but important step. Before diving into catchy headlines and wordy descriptions, research what your audience is already searching for. What keywords are they typing into search engines to find your product, service, or solution? Help them find you! When your website displays commonly-searched words or phrases, Google will rank your page higher in the web results, putting you top of your buyer’s mind.

 

5) Set a Budget

Online advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business. Why? For starters, your audience is already online. Last year, 94% of Canadians had home internet access while 87% made an online purchase. And of course, you can track the performance of online campaigns through analytic reports, which will give you information to make your ads more effective in the future.

Campaigns can run on as little as a couple dollars a day, but the more that is spent, the wider the reach and better the results. Determining a campaign spend will often depend on your overall digital marketing budget, and sometimes requires a little trial and error.

 

6) Continuously Monitor and Adjust Your Ads

Again, an advantage of running online campaigns is the ability to adjust your ads based on how they are performing. For example, you might notice a particular subset of people interacting with your content more than you had expected; you can then tweak your ad to target that demographic of people, and reduce ad spend on irrelevant audiences that aren’t engaging at all. This feature takes some of the guesswork out of your campaign!

 

Bonus Steps!

 

7) Use Your Social Media Channels Organically

Don’t forget to populate your social media pages with organic content, too. Keep your business pages active by posting content every few days and responding frequently to your followers’ comments. Whatever your industry, social media can play a vital role in enhancing your other marketing efforts.

 

8) Consider Retargeting Your Digital Campaign

Sometimes people need another gentle nudge. You have probably noticed an ad for that pair of shoes you were just looking at appear on the next website! It may seem a bit unsettling, but this is called retargeting or remarketing – and it often works. If you successfully bring your audience back to your site, they might decide to purchase the second (or third!) time.

 

By breaking down your digital campaign strategy into these smaller steps, you can increase the likelihood of launching a successful digital campaign. It may take some adjusting, but once campaigns are dialed in, they will generate a predictable cost per acquisition (or CPA), helping you to measure how much was spent on each conversion.

 

 

Interested in learning more or acquiring some help to start your digital campaign?
Our team of expert Digital Analysts are here for you!

Making Digital Content the Foundation of Your Marketing Strategy

Why Content is Critical

Prospective clients in most industries now rely on websites, web searches, e-mail, and social media more than any other source of information to evaluate companies. Success in marketing now requires that companies have a healthy digital presence and marketing strategy. People expect to be able to engage with companies and evaluate them on their own terms and they are likely to forget about a service provider or supplier if they are not continually engaged. To thrive in this environment, companies need to demonstrate a high-level of expertise and engage prospective and current clients pre- and post-purchase. Smart content supported by an effective digital content strategy and strong digital tools is often the most effective means of doing this.

Marketing through smart content is not a new concept. For decades, consultancies and other professional firms and businesses have built their reputation partly on this concept. Since its founding, McKinsey & Company avoided outright promotional initiatives. Starting in the mid 1900s, the firm began sending current and prospective CEOs informative pieces of content authored by the firm. These “thought-leadership” pieces, so coined because they led thinking in the field, positioned the firm as an authority that stood above other experts in its field. Content makes up the core of most consultancies’ outreach to this day, and it has become a key fixture of their digital marketing strategies.

Though any company seeking to build a strong digital presence would benefit from an effective content strategy, companies selling complex solutions that have long or involved sales processes do especially. These companies need to establish credibility and expertise. For them, brief, captivating messages or a bullet point list of features and benefits does not do enough to demonstrate the company’s credibility or build confidence with prospective buyers that the company can offer effective solutions to sophisticated business needs. If you operate in this space, content, such as blog posts, white papers, and presentations, is an excellent cornerstone.

Along with demonstrating expertise and establishing credibility, content also keeps prospective buyers and clients engaged over a long buying decision process and between projects. Content is an effective way of staying top of mind without being overtly promotional. It positions the company as a helpful advisor instead of one constantly seeking a sale.

How Can You Create and Leverage Effective Content?

To create effective content, you need to offer real value to your target audiences. You can subtly promote your services by writing about topics related to them and the industries you serve, but think about the questions and concerns of your customers. Don’t be pedantic or use too much professional jargon, instead speak in terms that resonate with your audience and really try to impart your knowledge to better equip the reader in his or her own professional career.

Once you have a strong piece of content and your data shows people are actually reading and sharing it, be sure to amplify its performance and distribute it through many channels and mediums: Begin sending out weekly, monthly, or quarterly e-newsletters that curate your best content, post it on your personal and company LinkedIn page, distribute it through Twitter and Facebook, and even use it in the real world. Talk to your customers about your content, turn high-performing content into talks for events, and package several as part of a magazine.

Content Alone Does Not Build a Strong Digital Presence

Content alone is not enough though. You should treat your content as one piece of your digital marketing strategy. Use small pieces of content to attract people to your main marketing asset, most often your website or mailing list, and give them so much value they want to subscribe to keep receiving more. This way you’ll be able to keep people engaged and will have built an audience you can stay in contact with at nearly no cost. You’ll often find that strong content is a much more cost effective tactic than more traditional display advertisements. If search traffic is an important source of leads for you, such as with a small business-focused law firm, content embedded with effective keywords will allow you to capture the interest of people searching key terms in your market.

Before you can benefit from your excellent content and tie it into the rest of your strategy, you have to ensure your other digital tools are in order, especially your website. Your strategy should be focused on building owned and earned media assets, which means you want to create assets that achieve your marketing objectives without you having to pay others for the attention. Your website is key in this regard. It is like your digital headquarters, and you never want to invite people over if your space isn’t in order. Doing so could lead others to lose confidence that you are a successful, credible organization. You don’t want an effective content strategy to drive traffic back to an ineffective website.

Conclusion

Strong content can—and often should be—the cornerstone of many businesses’ digital marketing strategy, but it must be tied into a larger digital marketing strategy and supported by strong digital tools, such as a website, e-newsletter, social media, and others depending on the organization. Are you using strong content backed by an effective strategy and even stronger tools to keep your customers engaged?