Advertising on LinkedIn vs Facebook
Are you looking to target other businesses, but you’re not sure whether to use Facebook ads or LinkedIn ads?
Facebook advertising and LinkedIn advertising can be powerful ways to get more leads, appointments and clients in your business.
In this article, I’ll go through the pros and cons of both channels to help you make an educated decision on which social media channel has the highest chance of delivering you better results.
WAIT! Before you generate leads on Facebook and LinkedIn you need the right strategy… CLICK HERE to watch a video that explains the strategy we use if your goal is to get high quality leads and appointments.
Facebook ads vs LinkedIn ads: Summary
To compare Facebook Ads with LinkedIn ads, I’ll be looking at how Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads compared to each other in 3 main areas:
If you’re short on time, here are the results between Facebook and LinkedIn ads:
Facebook ads perform best overall due to the lower cost per lead, the larger audience size and the more advanced Facebook ad algorithm.
However, in some cases, LinkedIn can work best if you’re targeting a very specific type of business owner or business person. Facebook’s targeting is better when targeting a more broad audience.
For example, targeting business owners on Facebook would work better. However, targeting CEO’s of businesses between 10 to 50 employees would be better suited for LinkedIn because it’s more specific.
Rules for testing Facebook & LinkedIn ads
Before we start, here are a few things to keep in mind when testing Facebook & LinkedIn ads:
1. There are many types of advertising campaigns you can run on social media. For the purpose of this comparison, I’ll be focusing on what social media channel out of LinkedIn and Facebook will be best with the goal of generating more leads for a businesses targeting other businesses (b2b).
2. The answer of which social media channel is “the best”, will likely differ from business to business. There are many variables including your brand, your content, who you’re targeting and your experience on each social media platform. The goal of this article is to give you information to help you make a more educated decision. Like most things in marketing though, you need to sometimes just go for it and test it yourself to see how well it works for YOU.
3. This article is based on my own experience working with businesses using my done-for-you lead generation services running similar campaigns on BOTH Facebook and LinkedIn.
You can also watch the video version of this article here:
Facebook ads vs LinkedIn ads: Target Audience
What this means: How effectively you can find your ideal clients with a Facebook ad
What some people say: You can’t target business owners on Facebook very well. LinkedIn is the only channel that effectively does this.
The truth: You can target business people on both LinkedIn and Facebook effectively
What both channels have in common: On Facebook and LinkedIn, you can retarget people from your email database, people that visit your website and target people that have never heard about you before with data such as their:
- Job title
Facebook Ads Audience Targeting
One of the biggest advantages Facebook has is that you can target people based on their B2B demographic information (e.g. job title, industry, age, etc) AND their interests (e.g. interested in digital marketing, accounting, investing, etc)
Whereas on LinkedIn, you can only target people based on their B2B demographic info.
Why does Facebook’s targeting work so well?
Facebook has a lot of data on what people do and like. This means, that if you’re looking to target business owners on Facebook ads who are also interested in self-help or who follow online influencers, you can do this on Facebook (and not on LinkedIn). Or, if you’re looking to target business owners who are ALSO interested in sports, again, you can do this on Facebook very well.
See also: Why TikTok ads is beating Facebook ads
This demographic and interest targeting information gives Facebook a certain advantage over LinkedIn for some target audiences.
Facebook’s audience size
Another advantage Facebook has is that the social media channel has a much larger audience than LinkedIn. Facebook has over 2.4+ billion active users, compared to 450+ million active LinkedIn users. Facebook also has the added advantage of owning Instagram (over 1+ billion active users).
Because more people use Facebook, there’s a higher chance you can find and target the people you’re looking for.
See the video below to learn more about targeting business owners on Facebook ads:
Facebook lookalike audience
Facebook has another powerful targeting feature called “lookalike audiences”.
This means you can upload an email database of your existing customers or retarget your existing leads or people that consume your content and find more similar people.
This feature is only available on Facebook and gives Facebook a huge targeting advantage over LinkedIn (if you have enough data to point them in the right direction).
Note: LinkedIn does have an “audience expansion” feature, but in our tests, it hasn’t been very effective. This could change in the future… and if it does, we’ll keep you updated.
See also: How to create Facebook lead ads
LinkedIn Ads Audience Targeting
One of the biggest advantages LinkedIn has is with the detailed data they have for business owners.
When targeting higher-level business job titles or companies within a specific size, LinkedIn has a lot more data at its disposal to pin-point exactly who you want to target.
Unlike Facebook, which used to partner with other companies for some of its b2b data (and most of it is no longer available), LinkedIn has their own native data on people who have a LinkedIn account.
This is because when people sign up for a LinkedIn account, they will tell LinkedIn exactly who they are (their job title, who they work for, how big the company is, etc).
The LinkedIn advertising platform then allows you to enter that information to target the exact kind of LinkedIn users who would be your ideal client.
Targeting by LinkedIn company size
Another advantage LinkedIn ads has, is that you can target people based on “company size”. This is a very powerful targeting feature for the businesses I’ve worked with on LinkedIn.
For example, If you target people on Facebook with the job title “CEO”, you will target all kinds of different business sizes. That’s fine, if you work with all kinds of different sized businesses. But what if you only want to work with businesses with 10 or more employees? On LinkedIn you can tell them the exact size of a company you want to target.
Targeting Winner: It’s a tie
Both channels have very powerful targeting options. Facebook is better than LinkedIn when targeting people based on generic B2B information and interests and the fact that a lot more people have Facebook accounts vs LinkedIn.
However, LinkedIn’s targeting allows you to be more specific with the type of business owner (or person) you’re trying to show ads to.
Both can work well and ultimately the best platform for you will depend on YOUR target audience and which channel more easily allows you to reach them.
Facebook ads vs LinkedIn ads: Intelligence Algorithm
What this means: How smart the social media channel is in helping you deliver your ads to the right people
What some people say: Facebook is much smarter than LinkedIn because it will self-optimize your advertising campaign to help you get better results.
The truth: Yep, this is true. Once you point Facebook in the right direction (and assuming your targeting and message is good), then Facebook will look at trends in the data of those that see your advert and convert into leads.
If they notice a particular group of people that are converting the most within your target audience, they will start to show your adverts to more of those types of people. This happens automatically without you having to worry about it.
Because Facebook has way more data than LinkedIn, they are better able to optimize your ads.
Benefits of Facebook ads intelligence
Facebook has invested heavily on creating an advertising platform that delivers results with each Facebook ad.
Facebook want you to get results from your advertising campaign because they know if you do, you will keep paying them to run ads for your business.
Benefits of LinkedIn ads intelligence
LinkedIn is still behind when it comes to the intelligence of the algorithm on their advertising platform. Sure, you can split test (the same way you can on Facebook) which does help. But, they have a lot less data compared to Facebook which makes it harder for them to automatically optimize your campaign for you.
Facebook’s algorithm is so good that in some cases (if you have enough data and ad history with Facebook) you can target people in a location ONLY without any using detailed targeting options. Facebook’s algorithm is smart enough to know who is likely to convert when they see your ads without you even needing to change any ad targeting criteria.
This is why in many cases, running Facebook ads works better when you have a broad target audience and why running LinkedIn ads works better when you have a more specific target audience.
Intelligence Winner: Facebook Ads
Facebook’s algorithm definitely wins when it comes to optimizing your ads to show them to the right people. LinkedIn is still playing catch up on this one, but it will be difficult for them because of the amount of data Facebook has vs LinkedIn.
Facebook Ads vs LinkedIn ads: Cost Comparison
What this means: How much it costs per lead for advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook
What some people say: LinkedIn is more expensive than Facebook.
The truth: Yep, this one is also true. Overall, the cost for advertising on LinkedIn is more expensive than Facebook. However, don’t let this put you off from using LinkedIn ads. More expensive leads, isn’t always a bad thing, if the quality and ROI of those leads are higher.
Facebook Ads Costs
Overall, cost are lower on Facebook right now compared to LinkedIn. But each year, the cost of advertising on Facebook has been rising steadily.
More and more businesses are flocking to Facebook ads.
The more people who use the Facebook ads platform, the more expensive it will be for everyone to advertise on there. So yes, right now, it’s cheaper to advertise on Facebook (in most cases). But it will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years.
LinkedIn Ads Costs
Generating leads with LinkedIn ads will usually cost more than Facebook ads, but if you generate a high quality leads, with a high ROI, it might be worth paying a little bit more. That’s not to say Facebook leads are low quality either. All I’m saying is don’t let the higher cost per lead put you off.
For example, I am running a campaign for a business targeting high net-worth individuals on Facebook and LinkedIn and although Facebook generated cheaper and more leads, LinkedIn generated some very strong leads that quite frankly would have been almost impossible to get on Facebook alone.
Overall though, for most of the campaigns I run on Facebook and LinkedIn head to head, Facebook ads is still a lot more cost effective.
Where LinkedIn has a huge advantage is in generating free LinkedIn leads (not using paid ads).
Cost Winner: Facebook Ads
If this was a comparison of Facebook vs LinkedIn for generating leads for free (without ads), then LinkedIn would win. But, since we are comparing Facebook vs LinkedIn ADS then I have to give this one to Facebook Ads. Facebook ads is a lot more cost effective than LinkedIn right now.
However, because of the amount of variables that can affect the cost per lead and ROI, I’d recommend you test both channels.
So, what’s better, LinkedIn ads or Facebook ads?
To be honest, they are both good in their own way. But if I had to pick one channel, I do believe Facebook ads does have more advantages over LinkedIn ads right now (mainly because of its smart algorithm, lower cost per lead and huge user base).
Ultimately though, the answer to “Is it better to advertise on LinkedIn or Facebook?” will depend largely on your who you’re targeting and what social media platform they are most likely to be on.
So, here’s what I recommend:
If your potential clients are using both LinkedIn and Facebook, then run a campaign on both to compare the results. Don’t just look at cost per lead. Look at the quality of those leads too and your ROI.
Oh and make sure you have a good strategy for generating leads in the first place. To see the strategy we use for our own business and our clients watch this video to learn more.
Ashley Davis (or ‘Ash’ for short) is the CEO & Founder of Skyline Social. For over 15 years, he has been helping business owners with lead generation. Ash specializes in helping businesses get high-quality leads, appointments and clients each month in an automated, scalable and profitable way. You can watch his free Masterclass training to learn more.