LinkedIn DirectAds: A Case Study of $2 Clicks

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About a month ago I wrote about LinkedIn DirectAds. I tested their ad network which I thought was a waste of time and effort, the reason clicks start off at $2!! Well I decided to test it out again, but this time on a higher payout offer – my own product, Infinite FB. So I will break this campaign down instead of the affiliate offers I was promoting.

There are some interesting concepts about this traffic source because there are variables that can just ruin your campaign. So first, here is the overall campaign after just 3 days. A total of 84 clicks, .023% CTR, cost avg CPC 2.20, total spend 185.49. For some reason I was never able to hit my limit of 100$ a day.

Why I chose DirectAds, because no one has a job and I feel marketing agencies or even consultants may want to use Facebook Ads for their business or even people with no jobs maybe interested.

* This case study might be all over the place.

Not really impressive stats for 3 days but ehh. So I treated this campaign as if I was advertising on Facebook. The goal was to get a decent CTR. Since my product is $77 I figured I can spend $2 a click. It would be near impossible to be profitable on an email submit offer at $2 a click. The campaign started with 1 ad and then as I started seeing the clicks, I made 2 more ads which got better responses.

Below are the stats on he ads I created. The first one I ran for 1.5 days, then the others ran along side the first ad. Reason why the spend for the first ad is higher. So you can see the stats and see that my 3rd ad did better than my first 2. I am unsure if the CTR is good on their network, but I assume it was good because I am treating this as if it was Facebook, which I know I shouldn’t.

The link went directly to my home page of Infinite FB. Which is also optimized to capture leads if they tend to exit.

The approval process was fairly fast almost in 15-30 minutes my ads were approved. They had no issue from me using the Facebook logo or use Facebook in my copy. So it seems they are fairly lenient. But I think they are because no one is really advertising on their platform. The ads on their network are from other advertisers. I do not see any affiliate offers on there, just because $2 clicks are just freakishly high, it’s hard to even test.

My Target:

  • Target Audience 5,153,744
  • Gender: Males
  • Age: 25-34 and 35-54
  • North America
  • I did not chose Seniority, Industry, Job Function, or Company size. This campaign was strictly Gender, Age, and Geography.

Traditionally I do not like to generalize, but the targeting is just bad. They limit Job Functions to titles such as CEO, VP, etc. Industry is also limited. There is no keyword targeting, so in the end I had to generalize my campaign. I had no option because my target volume was too low when choosing an industry or job titles.

The traffic received came almost immediately, there is also a delay in real time clicks (Prosper202) with their clicks, about 1-2 minute delay. So I would see my click on Prosper202 then 2 minutes later see that click on DirectAds.

The biggest playing factor was the headline and copy I had in my ad, the third ad did better just because I figured out the type of users clicking and the actual demographics on LinkedIn. It was interesting to test and play around with copy.

Final results:

Total Spend: $185 | Total earnings: $70 | 1 sale out of 84 clicks | $.83 EPC

Uncontrolable Variables:

There are also an extra variable within your ad that I totally disagree on the DirectAd network. The fact that users get to see who is advertising, just boggles my mind. When I created my first ad last month, I noticed my name was on the ad. I did not want anyone to know I was advertising, so I made a dummy account. Which might have hurt my ad and is the reason why I think this function should be removed.

The image below shows you that the ad is automatically associated to you. The footer of the ad will say From: Your Name or Company. Which also is clickable to the end user. This doesn’t make sense, because you are now limited to advertise your company and if you have no information in your profile the end user may see it as a false ad. There are just different factors to it.

I do not see the big benefit for affiliates or advertisers, this only benefits a company or person. Having that link clickable isn’t useful at all, the other factor is your ad isn’t guaranteed to flow with the click. By this i mean, your ad will not be displayed when the user clicks on it and it will still count against your impression if it does reappear (I assume).

So this variable is just a bad way to advertise on LinkedIn, again only benefiting the company or person.

Another variable is the type of ad being displayed, you have no control if you want to display text or full ad. There are 4 places that the ads are being displayed:

  1. Sidebar within your inbox or messages
  2. Top of LinkedIn profile and dashboard as text (see image below)
  3. Sidebar as either a 250 * 250 with 3 ads or 300 * 250 with 2 ads
  4. Footer of dashboard and profile page

Not sure if there are more, but those are the ones I noticed and here are the screenshot of the image placements. Again you have no control if you want to chose text or full ad, nor to get to chose placement or style of ad. So you do not know if text performs better than the actual image. This is a variable I couldn’t even track.

So there are way too many variables within DirectAds, that I learned a month ago and the past 3 days. This ad network is not meant for affiliates because the offers and EPCs are just low for the $2 clicks. Again impossible to do dating, 1 field submits, maybe even rebills at max payout of probably $45 would still be challenging.

I also think they are still doing a lot of testing because ad formats are being moved and changed around.

I think DirectAds is aiming for big advertisers that has a huge budget to just dispense and waste. Maybe LinkedIn do not want affiliates or online marketers advertising on their network? Whatever the reason $2 a click minimum is just a waste of money and time.

Have you advertised on LinkedIn? After reading this case study are you going to?


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  • Thanks for sharing. Awesome study! I’ve been looking forward to this breakdown since you mentioned it at ASE. Their targeting options are weak as hell. I have about 20 friends who have their own sole proprietor business on the side doing whatever and have CEO or President listed as their title even though they might make $20k a year working at McDonalds.

    $2 is just way too steep for affiliates. I think it could bring a large price tag in for head hunters and others trying to hire people through it. For example target VP’s in Healthcare, “Our 5,000 employee Medical OEM supply is looking for a new CEO”.

  • Ian

    yea your right the targeting is really bad – I think linked in just tryin to get people who can just waste money.

  • Ian,

    This is a great case study.

    I have also tested LinkedIn Ads and based on what I found, I think they work well for specific instances and poorly for the average affiliate stuff.

    I agree with Mike about using it for head hunting and recruiting.

    Which is also why I agree with you that it seems their focus is people with big budgets.

    Corporations waste tons of money and I’m sure many of them are plopping down wads of cash on there.

    But after testing it for myself, I think if you have a well optimized sales funnel you could do well.

    I don’t think it will lend itself to affiliates right now, but if they make some changes in the future that could change.

    If you are doing some private lead gen type stuff as an affiliate, I think it would be worth testing. Especially if you are into lead gen. for local business (even though their targeting options need some work).

    I actually clicked an ad for a company called Cambridge who has a database of industry professionals and they claim by being listed in their database will make you money.

    My goal was to see how their sales funnel worked to make a determination of how they were using these ads to profit.

    Dude, those people have called me so many times that I can’t remember. They have very aggressive telemarketing practices and a well trained staff.

    They put me through a series of people trying to sell me. Since I am a marketer myself, I did really well with rebuttals when they were pitching me.

    The point is this: I think the ads are actually working for them because I can see how they can close a high number of leads with the system they have in place.

    Just food for thought, so don’t completely write off LinkedIn Ads.

    They have a place, just not for the average affiliate.

    My two cents.

    Tommie

  • I think LinkedIN will no succeed as Facebook as its targeting is not proper.

  • Sweet! Thanks for the case study! I’ll have to look into this

  • After all, you made one sale, so the campaign wasn’t a failure at all.

    I have found Facebook to be much more effective for directing traffic to my landing pages. Several articles have appeared on the internet over the past year about how Facebook is the place to get good quality prospects for your business with a much higher success rate compared to other places.

    On the other hand, Linkedin captures the professional demographic that is not quite seen in such force on Facebook or else. Although Facebook includes them, but Linkedin is DEDICATED to it, and there’s a lot less frivolous status comments about “what people had for breakfast” and etc.

    Overall I’d use Directads when I want my ads to be taken more seriously…

  • I had tried that , But I got a thing that if I am trying to get conversion rate for using LinkedIn DirectAds than I am wrong , but for Branding and product promotion is Good

  • thanks for the case stufdy. I have been waiting for someone to post their opinions on LinkedIn PPC. At least it gives me an idea of what sort of offers would have to be advertised through this network. Cheers.

  • That is a bit weird with the name deal… I wonder why they do that? I am thinking over time that is gonna be phased out, the revealing of the name that is.

    Till then,

    Jean

  • @used tires: I assume they are trying to give ads more credibility by linking them with the actual company promoting them. If the advertiser wants to remain anonymous, it does seem a little shady.

    I am a little tempted to do a test with some high paying financial offers. That may be one niche that could be worthwhile on linkedin.

  • I think $2 a click will not be acceptable by most of the advertisers. Unless you a big giant or something. Thanks for sharing, I would have been sad to earn $70 by spending $185.

  • @ car rental: i think that’s the point though, they are trying to attract only a certain type of advertiser. I’m pretty sure they will succeed in this too.

  • I had tried that , But I got a thing that if I am trying to get conversion rate for using LinkedIn DirectAds than I am wrong , but for Branding and product promotion is Good

    Thanks IAN 🙂

  • @Laptop I was figuring something along the lines of your reply, but it’s still strange to see something like that in today’s advertising but then again… with more “disclosure” rules that are appearing.. it might not be all that uncommon in the future.

    Till then,

    Jean

  • Does anyone else have the same experience with Linkedin that they can shre for us? Thanks!

  • LinkedIN is not good for promotion of usual things like facebook and adwords. But ya its good for branding of yours.

  • @car rental: it all comes down to profitability. While $2 may seem like a lot to you, in other niches that is actually a reasonable price to pay. As Web Design Spinx mentioned, it is not the best platform for most facebook or adwords campaigns.

    As for earning $70 from spending $185, I’m sure Ian sees it differently. He is also paying for trial and error stats. So while he may have lost money on his first sale, he may have learned enough to profit more soon.

  • August Lennix

    Thanks for the heads up..

  • Has anyone else had experiences with LinkedIn PPC that they can share? I’m interesting in hearing a few more stories and experiences if anyone has any?

  • $2 minimum big at LinkedIn? really…

    Even giant search engines are not charging that much. Plus the conversion ratio is really bad.

  • I was about to try linkedin, but after reading this post, i think I changed my mind. Instead I might put same amount of planned money into facebook adds, and get better campaign results.

  • I’m still playing with LinkedIn ads. I think that it does have a lot of potential for targeting local business owners for “offline gold”.

    $2 sounds high but it’s actually less than buying on the Wall Street Journal or BizJournals.com. Way cheaper than direct mail too.

    The “from” stuff doesn’t bother me as I have a profile on LinkedIn and I WANT them to know it’s from me.

    I’m not thrilled with their tracking though.

    Targeting can be improved but when going after business owners it’s actually better targeting than FB or other options. You want to target the CEO of a 50 person company in your local area? No problem on LinkedIn!

  • With recent changes, how are you finding the ads now? Have you tested it again recently?

  • hey Ant… it is still the same the only thing that has change are the bidding strategies. I noticed anyways. but you cant bid on spots on linkedin.