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LinkedIn and Facebook are often compared as sources of advertising exposure – particularly now that LinkedIn has developed its behind the scenes tools to make its own advertising more closely mirror Facebook’s. On LinkedIn now, it is possible to target your B2B advertising in a number of interesting ways – for example by using company names; job tittles; or by interrogating the social graph of the kind of person you are looking to entice to a client’s brand.
This is exactly what Facebook does – only with Facebook, the thrust of the targeting is far broader. For example, someone who “likes” certain links or content on Facebook has that action logged in their social graph. When companies come to Facebook looking for fruitful advertising space, they buy the information that connects them with people whose social graph suggests they will be predisposed to like the brand in question.
Effectively, social media advertising of this nature metricises everything about a human’s likes, dislikes and hence his or her probable interest in a specific advert or campaign.
But here’s the thing: there’s still a debate going on about whether the ads on Facebook work in terms of a final action event – that is, someone sees the ad, clicks on it and ends up buying something. This is because Facebook is what it is – a social site, where people chatter away and post silly videos of their cats playing pianos. In other words: the average Facebook user, be he or she never so susceptible in the normal world, is not usually in a buying frame of mind when he or she is using Facebook.
That said, the Facebook user whose friend writes an apparently off the cuff glowing review of some product or brand might be likely to go and check out that product or brand as a result of the link. So Facebook advertising is perhaps not as effective as it might seem – but using traditional organic social media marketing techniques on Facebook can lead to some action events.
The major difference between Facebook and LinkedIn is that LinkedIn is not a social site. It’s a social network, but that’s different. “Social network” is simply a phrase, which describes an interconnected web of Internet users who access a common portal and validate their interrelationships with friending.
On Facebook the primary motivation for use is play. On LinkedIn, it’s business. Companies use LinkedIn to get close to beneficial partners and potential new talent. Individuals use it to get ahead on their career path.
So everyone using LinkedIn is in a “buying” state of mind. That is, everyone has something to sell, or wants something. So B2B advertising on LinkedIn, using the same targeting techniques as advertising on Facebook, is much more likely to generate a final action event than the same sort of advertising on a purely “fun” social site.
In other words: LinkedIn advertising, while on a purely numbers level reaching fewer people, is potentially more effective than Facebook advertising for a well-rounded B2B campaign.