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LinkedIn vs Facebook: where should you spend your money?7 min read

7 min read

Where should you spend your advertising budget and why?

Well, Facebook has over 2.6 billion active users, 1.6 billion of whom are connected to a small business, so you might think that you’ll use that platform. On the other hand, LinkedIn offers in-depth, industry-relevant targeting that lives exclusively within the platform and is the 1# social network for lead generation. Hmm…so how do you decide?

Choosing where to spend your advertising money can be a difficult, time-consuming decision, especially with the multitude of platforms – old and new, large and emerging – to choose from. Preconceived judgments of each platform and their audiences can equally hinder this process. However, it is important to bear in mind the available targeting offerings. This blog post will be putting two of the biggest social media platforms, Facebook and LinkedIn, head-to-head, in order to help you decide which one best suits your unique advertising needs. Let the battle begin!

Comparing the platforms

Targeting

Both platforms offer a wide array of targeting options at an interest-based and professional life level.

Facebook has a wide selection of interests and behaviours you can use to better narrow targeting, and even offers a look-alike targeting feature that allows you to use customer lists to focus in on people who have similar interests, demographics, and behaviours as your customers. LinkedIn’s equivalent to look-alike targeting is called ‘Audience Expansion’. This is widely believed to be a slightly less powerful version than Facebook’s due to the lower quantity of users and data available on the platform.

LinkedIn offers a more professional targeting base, as the platform houses users who are more interested in networking and career-related news and updates. The platform boasts the largest ‘professional audience,’ with job role, company and industry targeting available. These users share all their detailed professional information and contacts within the platform, which marketers can then use to target people with higher salaries or companies of a certain size. Also, as we’ve previously mentioned,  LinkedIn recently added the option to create look-alike audiences directly from uploaded customer lists, just like Facebook.

As a general rule, if you are an eCommerce brand selling products to customers, Facebook may be a better fit due to the diverse array of users on the platform and the product-oriented placements available. However, if you are an agency wanting to boost brand awareness or offer business-to-business (B2B) products or services, then LinkedIn might be the right option for you. 

But a combination of the two could also be worth considering, with one platform for retargeting people who know your business or product, and one platform for acquiring new customers.

Advert types

At a glance, both platforms look very similar in terms of advert types made available to marketers, all following a similar structure of ad copy required. Both offer lead gen ads, which generate a form to fill out with relevant contact details once a call-to-action is clicked on in the ad.

Facebook, however, does offer more ad types and placements than LinkedIn, including the option to use Stories (in progress for LinkedIn), which offer a full-screen vertical format popularly tied to quick message video ads.

Other offers such as slideshow, canvas and collection ads help Facebook appeal to those who want to offer a more interactive, immersive experience with their ads.

Cost

A big factor in deciding which social platform to advertise on is the cost involved.

On average, cost per click (CPC) is 120% higher on LinkedIn than on Facebook. According to some studies, this may not be due to the platform charging you more, rather it may reflect the quality of the clicks from the platform compared to that of Facebook. A lead gained through LinkedIn may be a lot more valuable than a lead on Facebook due to the professional demographic data available for targeting. LinkedIn claims its audience has twice the buying power of the average web audience, meaning users should have a higher chance of driving purchases and conversions.

Measurement & analysis

Next up, we have the measurement and analytics side of each platform.

Both offer very similar reporting structures and analytics layouts, with overviews of account performance and deeper breakdowns by the campaign, creative or audience. There really is not much to separate the two in this area, but Facebook does offer its own separate tool called ‘Facebook Analytics tool,’ which allows for a deeper understanding of how people interact with your business across your website, app, Facebook Page, and more. Key features available within this tool that cannot be found on LinkedIn include Search Ads 360 (SA360) and Google Ads integration, conversion path, cross-device path and cross-channel reporting.

Another point to consider here is ease of use. Based on some of Croud’s teams who have used both platforms, it is generally agreed that Facebook has a cleaner, easier to navigate ads manager that is overall more user-friendly than the LinkedIn campaign manager.

How to choose which platform is right for you

Where you spend your social media advertising budget can be determined by a variety of factors. I like to use WOMBAT as a starting point: 

  • What – What are you advertising? Is it a product that you sell to customers or a service that you provide to other businesses?
  • Objective – What is the overall objective for the activity? Do you want to grow traffic on your website, increase app downloads, boost following or awareness of your brand, or drive conversions?
  • Market – What market/markets do you want to target? This can mean geographical market but also industry market (e.g. retail, travel and employment). 
  • Budget – What is the total budget you are willing to spend, and what do you want to achieve from this budget?
  • Audience – Who is your target audience (e.g. demographics, interests, fanbase)? Who do you want to have viewing your ads and which platform do they typically use?
  • Time – How long do you want to run the activity for? Is this a test for one week or one month? Or will it be ongoing for the foreseeable future? Perhaps over the course of an event weekend?

After answering all of the questions above, you will be closer to deciding which platform is right for you. While already having a strong presence on either platform organically is also positive in terms of awareness and retargeting audiences, it is not crucial in driving successful ad campaigns.

Another key factor to take into consideration is any paid search activity that will also run alongside Facebook and LinkedIn ads, as paid social activity can have a strong influence on the performance of other channels. Plus, you should consider what capacity you have to develop creatives for each placement and to manage all comments/messages or forms within the platform.

Conclusion

As a general rule, choosing which platform you should use will be determined by the audience you want to target and with what products or services. If you’re promoting a new sale or deal on your retail product for people aged 18-30, Facebook offers great creative placements and targeting for this. But if you’re looking to generate leads for your B2B cleaning business or target typically high earning job roles with franchise opportunities or luxury items, then LinkedIn might be for you.

Before you decide on either channel, make sure you have noted down and fully understand your overall goal for the activity. Assess your creative design capacity and which platform may best suit your creative, and know that you can always divide your budget between the platforms and run different activities on each. Both platforms can only go as far as putting ads in front of those you want to target the most – but attention is a gift, so use your time wisely.

To learn more about managing your advertising budget on Facebook and LinkedIn, or to speak with our Paid Social team, get in touch.