Use LinkedIn Ads to Make Employers Hunt You Down?


Two weeks ago we brought you the results of our job search experiment in an article titled Use Facebook Ads to Make Employers Hunt You Down (don’t want to read it, listen to my interview about the experiment with Chris Russell from Secrets of the Job Hunt podcast). We found that Facebook ads were an extremely effective medium for catching an employer’s attention. This week, LinkedIn, a professional networking site, announced their own advertising platform. That begged the obvious question: Can LinkedIn be used in a similar way to target employers with ads that link to your resumé?

We did some investigating, and yes, you can target employers through LinkedIn ads, but we’re pretty sure that your campaign will be nowhere near as effective as a Facebook ad campaign would be. LinkedIn’s advertising platform doesn’t have the flexibility of Facebook’s, which is essential to running a successful job search ad.

We’re going to take you through a step by step tutorial on how advertising on LinkedIn works to show you why we think Facebook ads are a much better option.

1. Getting Started

To get started, you need to go to the LinkedIn advertising page.

Get Started with LinkedIn Advertising

Hopefully your job search budget is less than $25,000, so you’ll choose the option to the right.

2. Targeting Your Ad

You’ll be asked to login to your LinkedIn account, and then you should see this.

Plan Your LinkedIn Ad

You will then get to decide whom you want to target your ad to.

Target Your LinkedIn Ad

Since Human Resources professionals are usually the ones who do the hiring at a company, I decided to target them. Since I wasn’t really going to run the ad, I decided to play the part of an aspiring film maker. You can see that I only targeted people in the Motion Pictures and Film, Museums and 3Institutions, Fine Art, and Performing Arts industries. You probably wouldn’t want to be that broad if you were actually running ads, but I liked clicking the boxes.

3. Scheduling and Budgeting Your Ad Campaign

I then had to choose when and how often I wanted my ad to appear.

Schedule and Budget Your LinkedIn Ad

80 bucks to get your ad viewed 5,000 times? That works out to a CPM (Internet speak for cost per thousand views) of $16. Remember that Baker Barnett, a participant in our Facebook experiment, got his ad viewed over 35,315 times for $26.93 (a CPM of $1.31). Other participants paid a bit more on a CPM basis, but nowhere near what LinkedIn charges. Also, Facebook ads are pay per click, so results are guaranteed. You don’t pay unless someone clicks your ad and looks at your resumé.

4. Writing Your Ad Copy

Now you have to set up your ad. It’s pretty straightforward.

Set Up Your LinkedIn Ad

LinkedIn’s ad template doesn’t offer you much choice. It allows for a headline, two lines of text, and a link to whatever you’re advertising. That’s it. You’re really limited in terms of how much text you can input, so you’ll have to be very sparse with your words.

Finally, you can check out and pay for your ad campaign (if you actually want to go through with it).

Review Your LinkedIn Ad

If you’re more adventurous than we are, maybe you’ll actually give it a try.

5. That’s Where It Ends

I never planned on running this ad, because I’m not looking for a job. I could have tried running another “secret job search experiment,” but I honestly don’t think that LinkedIn’s advertising platform is suited to this kind of use.

Here’s why:

  • Too expensive. $16 CPM is a lot. Facebook ads are much, much cheaper.
  • No pay per click. You could spend $80 to get your ad viewed 5,000 times and get no clicks on your ad.
  • Ads blend in. The way LinkedIn is placing the ads makes them extremely easy to ignore.
  • No market pricing. LinkedIn doesn’t use auction like bidding to price their ads like Facebook and Google do with their ad platforms.
  • Limited targeting. LinkedIn only allows you to select two targeting dimensions. You can’t target by company, and you can’t target by keyword. Generally targeted ads fared poorly in our Facebook experiment.
  • No freebies. LinkedIn hasn’t yet offered a free trial like Facebook did in partnership with the Visa Business Network.
  • Distractions. LinkedIn ads include a link to the advertiser’s profile and a link that advertises their advertising platform. These are distractions that will steal clicks from you. Especially if you’re not trying to advertise your own profile.
  • No pictures. Pictures are what makes the Facebook ads stand out. LinkedIn doesn’t allow any images in their ads.
  • Limited text. You can barely get your point across because they limit you to so few characters.

Don’t get us wrong, we are extremely impressed with LinkedIn’s new advertising platform. We just don’t think that it will be very useful for job seekers. Their ad interface is extremely easy to use, as you can see above, but that doesn’t help if the advertising isn’t valuable to you. More importantly, LinkedIn has a much better audience for most advertising needs than Facebook does (you won’t see ads for singles sites on LinkedIn, we hope). If you’re a vendor who is trying to sell software to HR professionals in Kansas, this is an amazing medium for reaching those potential customers. Tons of people are going to have great success with using LinkedIn’s advertising – we’re just looking at it from one perspective.

In fact, LinkedIn’s audience is probably more desirable to job seekers than Facebook’s audience is, but until LinkedIn offers cheaper prices and better targeting, using LinkedIn ads to make employers hunt you down will probably be a bust. You’re much better off using LinkedIn in its traditional sense as a professional social networking tool where you can connect with professionals and research people who work at companies that you may be interested in.

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4 responses to “Use LinkedIn Ads to Make Employers Hunt You Down?”

  1. Alex says:

    I agree that Facebook is a good way to go, especially if you are targeting a younger, or more social-media savvy company and need to save cash. However, if the “newness” of ads on Linked In will increase clicks. I think that a lot of people are so inundated with ads on Facebook that we have learned how to block them as white noise. With the fact that LinkedIn seems to be a more “grown-up” network (even if data shows that the 35 and up demo controls 41% of Facebook) perhaps ads will be taken more seriously. Plus if LinkedIn is smart they will read this post and tweak the advertising to allows pictures and PPC.

  2. Scheherazade says:

    Thanks for this analysis. Still trying to figure out who’s using LinkedIn regularly, and for what.

  3. Thanks for this post. I’ve been looking for ways to build traffic for my blog (also in the job search space). I’ve tried Google AdWords but it seems to be too vaguely targeted -even with the use of keywords. Appreciate the tutorial on getting started . . .

  4. […] economy, you have to be more creative. Willy Franzen wrote a couple of posts about students using LinkedIn and Facebook to advertise themselves during job search. To help prove his point, I’ve […]

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