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LinkedIn has changed its social functions to enable B2B marketers to get more detailed demographic information about its members. These enhanced social functions have been linked to greatly improved click through rates on LinkedIn adverts – as many as three or four times the rate they were before the change in the way the site is put together.
The basic change in LinkedIn’s functionality is that B2B marketers have much more say on how their ads are placed. Previously, the site ran a very broad-brushed advert hosting service – you could target your ads geographically, and you could target them by market sector. Which got them into the right arena – but nowhere near the right stand, or segment of a stand, or what the marketer is really looking for, which is the right seat.
There’s a useful analogy to be had here. Think of your whole business sector as a sports ground. On the field, the game being played is the apogee of success in your market. Every spectator on every seat is a potential ally. You want to find the best ally out of all the hundreds of thousands of people watching – get him or her out of her or his seat, and have him or her down to join the fray.
So, as noted, LinkedIn’s old advert-targeting structure only lets you show the whole stadium of what you have to offer. Somewhere in that stadium, maybe ten or twenty people would be interested. The rest, not so much. So you effectively waste time and effort telling them things they have no interest in knowing.
LinkedIn’s new advert targeting structure lets you target groups, company names, even specific attributes of a professional social graph. Plus there’s a much wider selection of advertising types to choose from. You can sponsor groups, getting people involved in discussions that automatically place your brand name at the centre of hot topics in your particular industry. Or you can create high quality targeted ads with dynamic copy, to display directly to people who very precisely fit the criteria you have sketched out.
That’s like removing all the uninterested spectators from your hypothetical sports stadium and revealing only the ten or twenty people dotted around the ground who might be truly interested in what you have to say. Suddenly B2B marketing using LinkedIn doesn’t seem like so much of an uphill struggle.
This is where LinkedIn is getting its increased percentage of click throughs. By refining the targeting system, you ensure the most likely candidates are hit much more frequently.
Now you have the tools to reach a much more refined and receptive audience, the onus is on you to develop the advertising that gets them to bite. The hook must be baited with the same care and creativity that you expend on any advert. Just because everyone looking at your ads is now more likely to be interested in them, doesn’t mean you have an excuse for writing lazy copy. In fact the opposite is true. Because when everyone is looking, you have to make sure you’re doing it just right.