Essential for B2B social media marketing, but deeply flawed.
September 19, 2018

Essential for B2B social media marketing, but deeply flawed.

Jarad Matula, MBA | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

As an agency, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions are being used both to deploy campaigns both across the majority of our clients, as well as for internal campaigns. Usage falls mostly to use by the Media department, particularly by myself, with some occasional assistance from either the internal marketing team, others in media or those on the analytics team using it to pull reporting for clients. The business problems it addresses is being able to do paid social media campaigns that B2B companies find valuable. The ability to target by job title, etc allows the accuracy B2B companies demand in their campaigns that other social platforms struggle to compete with.
  • Targets the exact right audience for your B2B messaging: you don't have to guess based on likes or any other periphery data to determine whether you're reaching the right audience - you can hit by job title, years of experience, job function, seniority, and other great ways to ensure precision delivery to the correct audience.
  • Offers a helpful variety of ad units that are great for different types of campaigns to make sure you're reaching your audience in the right format for the ask.
  • Self-service platform now for all ad units, enabling you to take control of your LInkedIn marketing with a hands-on approach.
  • New GUI is convoluted and a step backward. In July, the LinkedIn Marketing platform got a facelift. While it looks nicer, cleaner, the functionality is much more confusing. Hiding charts within hover menus, as well as creating new tabs for some things, but not others. Or times when new tabs aren't created and you hit backward, it takes you out of the account altogether, so then you have several clicks to get back to where you were. There's just not a good flow between menus and it makes for a frustrating experience.
  • No frame of reference/benchmarks for your reporting: If you're using the self-serve platform, good luck trying to determine what the benchmarks are for your the campaigns you're running. Unless you have a rep that can provide that data, you're up a creek. Maybe you have individual past performance benchmarks, but platform wise they're really nervous about giving those out, and there's not a lot written about it. If you have an account with reps, then they will provide this if asked. This should be built into the platform so you have something to measure against and not just numbers in a vacuum.
  • Big budget dependent - I've ran many different sizes of campaigns with a wide range of budgets, and without question, the ones with large budgets with high daily spends do better. If you have a very small budget or need to severely decrease your daily spend, expect much weaker numbers. I've confirmed with reps that yes, decrease in performance for some ad units is completely caused by a decrease in spend or a limited daily budget. Something to consider when deciding whether to market here.
  • ABM/List match capabilities limited. While it's great that LinkedIn has a list match capability for target, it is limited. You can target by company or if you have email addresses, you can do that too. but if you have business email accounts, you're out of luck b/c as I'm sure you know, LinkedIn accounts are typically tied to personal email address. This makes B2B ABM targeting campaigns difficult. There's also no visibility into who in your list matched or not, so that you can target appropriately those that did not match, or know who you need to do more progressive profiling on.
  • Generally, the capabilities here are about 2-5 years behind the capabilities and offerings you can find at those sites that offer programmatic/display campaigns. Lead gen and lists only happened in the past couple of years. Video happened this year. They're running to catch up with modern ad tech. Just keep this in mind--this is a networking first platform--the ad tech is secondary and slow to add new features.
  • LinkedIn marketing solutions has opened the door to further social media related engagements with clients as long as we see moderate success with our efforts using the platform. So using it has brought in more business. Businesses know they need to market on LinkedIn, so it's a good first step.
  • Whether this is the fault of the platform or what the client is providing for the campaign, the line gets a little blurry. But for anything other than awareness, the results haven't been as good as we've hoped and rarely do clients want to do another campaign with LinkedIn, unless it's trying a different type of ad unit or targeting.
If you want more precision in B2B targeting, then LinkedIn is without question the better alternative. However, as I established before, I've rarely seen LinkedIn campaigns be successful for anything other than brand awareness/thought leadership. And that's almost 100% what Twitter is for. Twitter campaigns almost always have a cheaper CPC AND CPM than LinkedIn and accomplish the same thing, so I would say go with Twitter. At times LinkedIn campaigns are just so you can tell someone at a higher level that you did precise targeting to the exact audience they wanted and check that box, because it's easier for them to understand how you'd do well on LinkedIn, and more difficult to tell that story on Twitter. But I honestly prefer Twitter and its platform for B2B awareness campaigns. Heretic, I know, but it's how I feel after several years of experience with both. Facebook is bottom of the barrel for B2B in my mind, so I'm not really going to discuss it. I would take LinkedIn over Facebook for many reasons, but Facebook is an option too, but more for SMB and just covering all bases, not as a primary choice for B2B marketing.
If you want to do awareness campaigns for a brand or product, LinkedIn can be very helpful. Most of the ad units work well for this type of campaign. So using campaigns for thought leadership is great.

I've yet to see LinkedIn Marketing Solutions being very good for lead gen, despite being a big part of the platform's offering. I've done it for several clients and it just hasn't produced good results. I also think that while InMail looks and sounds great on paper and in theory, there too have I ever seen much success. It's not surprising since I rarely look at them when they're sent to me personally. The really odd thing is that they seems to know this, because reps have typically steered me away from any type of ad unit other than sponsored content.