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Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Arif Chowdhury
Online advertising stands out as an effective means to connect with your desired audience, foster lead generation, and expand your business footprint. However, it’s essential to recognize that not all online advertising platforms share the same attributes.
Certain platforms may align better with your requirements than others, Depending on your industry, niche, objectives, budget, and audience scope.
In this article, we will compare two widely embraced online advertising platforms: Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads.
Our examination will delve into their distinctions concerning user intent, target demographics, expenses, functionalities, and overall performance, catering to both B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) enterprises.
By the conclusion of this piece, you will possess enhanced insights into the suitable platform for your needs and how to navigate it efficiently.
User intent is essentially the purpose or objective behind a user’s online actions or search inquiries. It reveals what the user aims to find, the issues they wish to resolve, or the actions they intend to undertake.
Google Ads excels in targeting highly intent-driven searches. This means that Google Ads presents pertinent advertisements to users who already understand what they are searching for precisely when they need it.
For instance, if a user searches for “best CRM software,” they are likely to encounter advertisements from various CRM providers capable of providing a solution. Google Ads effectively captures users who are poised to make a purchase or take decisive action.
In contrast, LinkedIn Ads are most effective when targeting users who may not be aware of their needs or potential solutions until they encounter an ad that piques their curiosity or interest.
In practice, LinkedIn Ads display advertisements to users as they peruse their professional network, consume industry updates, or acquire new skills. For instance, if a user comes across an advertisement from a B2B company offering a free e-book on enhancing sales performance, it might trigger their interest, prompting them to click for more information.
LinkedIn Ads shine in generating awareness and curiosity among users who are not actively seeking anything specific.
Here are a few examples of intent-driven and interest-driven searches and advertisements tailored to both B2B and B2C enterprises:
Intent-driven searches and advertisements:
- B2B: “best accounting software,” “how to create a business plan,” “top digital marketing agencies.”
- B2C: “best laptop deals,” “how to lose weight fast,” “cheap flights to Paris.”
Interest-driven searches and advertisements:
- B2B: “strategies for growing your email list,” “tips for effective leadership,” “the future of work.”
- B2C: “Starting a podcast guide,” “Top books of 2023,” “benefits of meditation.”
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Audience refers to the collective of individuals who are likely to come across and engage with your advertisements, influenced by their demographics, psychographics, and online conduct. It mirrors your ideal customers’ essence, values, and online behavior.
Google Ads boasts a notably extensive reach compared to LinkedIn Ads. This characteristic can either be advantageous or disadvantageous, depending on your targeting preferences and advertising objectives. Google Ads grants access to billions of users across the expanse of the Google Search Network, the Google Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, and other affiliated platforms.
This means you can connect with users who are actively searching for anything related to your products or services, as well as those exploring different websites or engaging with videos that align with your chosen keywords or subjects. However, the expansive reach also implies that you may encounter users who lack interest in your offerings or don’t qualify as potential leads.
On the flip side, LinkedIn Ads offers a more refined and focused audience when compared to Google Ads. This attribute is particularly beneficial for B2B marketers aiming to engage with decision-makers and key figures within their industry.
LinkedIn Ads facilitates connections with a substantial pool of over 700 million professionals within the LinkedIn ecosystem. Consequently, you can connect with users keen on advancing their careers, acquiring new skills, or exploring fresh opportunities.
Moreover, you can target users based on their job titles, industries, affiliations, competencies, and other pertinent professional attributes. Nonetheless, this focused approach also implies that you may reach a smaller audience compared to Google Ads, potentially incurring higher costs per impression or click.
Here are some illustrative examples of audience segments and characteristics for both Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads, tailored to both B2B and B2C companies:
Google Ads audience segments and characteristics:
- Users in pursuit of solutions to their business dilemmas or aspirations.
- Users traversing websites or viewing videos related to their industry or niche.
- Users are exhibiting specific demographics or interests that align with your buyer persona.
- Users are on the lookout for products or services catering to their personal needs or desires.
- Users explore websites or engage with videos tied to their hobbies or passions.
- Users possess particular demographics or interests that mirror your customer profile.
LinkedIn Ads audience segments and characteristics:
- Users interested in enhancing their professional competencies or knowledge.
- Users are navigating their network or staying updated with industry developments.
- Users holding specific job titles, affiliations, organizations, or skills aligning with your target market.
- Users are intrigued by personal growth or lifestyle topics.
- Users engaged in network activities or immersing themselves in inspirational narratives.
- Users with specific job titles, affiliations, organizations, or skills reflect your customer profile.
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Cost, in the context of online advertising, signifies the financial investment required to execute an advertising campaign on a given platform. This encompasses aspects such as the bidding system employed, the minimum budget threshold, and the average expenses linked to each click (CPC) or per thousand impressions (CPM).
Google Ads employs a pay-per-click (PPC) model, where advertisers vie for specific keywords and are charged solely when a user clicks on their advertisement. The minimum budget stipulated for Google Ads stands at a modest $1 per day.
The average CPC within Google Ads exhibits variability, contingent upon factors such as industry, niche, geographic location, competition, and the quality score attributed to the ad. As reported by WordStream, the mean CPC across all industries for Google Ads rests at approximately $2.69.
Conversely, LinkedIn Ads offers a choice between pay-per-click (PPC) and pay-per-impression (PPI) models, granting advertisers the flexibility to bid for impressions or clicks and subsequently pay based on their selected preference. LinkedIn Ads necessitate a minimum daily budget of $10.
Similar to Google Ads, the average CPC or CPM for LinkedIn Ads is subject to fluctuations shaped by industry, niche, geographic parameters, competition, and the relevance score assigned to the advertisement. WebFX data indicates that, on average, LinkedIn Ads demand a CPC of around $5.26 and a CPM averaging $6.59 across all industries.
Evidently, LinkedIn Ads often incur higher costs in comparison to Google Ads. This disparity can be attributed to LinkedIn Ads’ distinct audience, comprising a more specialized and professional demographic. This exclusivity renders LinkedIn Ads particularly valuable for advertisers seeking high-quality leads.
However, it’s essential to recognize that this premium comes with a prerequisite for a higher budget and an efficient conversion rate to ensure the profitability of your LinkedIn Ads campaign.
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Features in the context of online advertising are the array of tools and options provided by a platform to aid advertisers in crafting, overseeing, refining, and evaluating their advertising campaigns.
Both Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads offer distinct types of ads, targeting capabilities, and analytics and reporting tools. Below is a brief summary of the features each platform provides:
Types of ads
- Search ads: Text-based ads that appear on the Google Search Network when users search for keywords related to your products or services.
- Display ads: Image or video-based ads showcased on the Google Display Network when users browse websites or view videos aligned with your chosen keywords or topics.
- Video ads: Short video clips displayed on YouTube or partner sites when users engage with videos pertaining to your products or services.
- Shopping ads: Product listings are featured on the Google Shopping Network when users search for products linked to your offerings.
- App ads: Advertisements promoting your mobile app across the Google Search Network, the Google Display Network, YouTube, and affiliated partner sites.
- Sponsored content: Native ads seamlessly integrated into the LinkedIn feed, visible as users scroll through their network or read industry news.
- Text ads: Text-based advertisements positioned on the right sidebar or top banner of the LinkedIn platform.
- Sponsored messaging: Personalized messages that surface within the LinkedIn Messaging platform as users engage in conversations with their connections or prospects.
- Dynamic ads: Customized ads occupying the right sidebar on the LinkedIn platform, leveraging user profile data to construct relevant and engaging messages.
- Keywords: Words or phrases relevant to your products or services that trigger your ads when users search for them.
- Locations: Geographic regions where you want your ads to display or exclude.
- Devices: Specific types of devices where you wish your ads to appear or be excluded (e.g., desktops, laptops, mobile phones, tablets).
- Audiences: Groups of users sharing specific characteristics or behaviors matching your ideal customers (e.g., remarketing lists, similar audiences, in-market audiences, affinity audiences, life events, custom intent audiences, etc.).
- Demographics: User attributes such as age, gender, household income, parental status, etc.
- Interests: Topics of interest to users based on their online behavior (e.g., sports, travel, fashion, etc.).
- Behaviors: Actions taken by users online based on their online activities (e.g., purchases, sign-ups, downloads, etc.).
- Job titles: Current or past job positions held by users (e.g., manager, engineer, consultant, etc.).
- Industries: Sectors within which users are employed (e.g., healthcare, education, finance, etc.).
- Companies: Organizations where users work or follow (e.g., Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc.).
- Skills: Abilities that users possess or endorse (e.g., programming, writing, designing, etc.).
- Other professional attributes: Additional aspects of users’ professional profiles (e.g., education, groups, seniority, years of experience, etc.).
Analytics and reporting tools
- Google Analytics: A web analytics service for tracking and reporting website traffic and user behavior.
- Google Data Studio: A data visualization and reporting platform enabling the creation of interactive dashboards and reports.
- Google Tag Manager: A tag management system facilitating the management and deployment of tracking codes and pixels on your website.
- Other tools include Google Optimize, Google Surveys, Google Attribution, etc.
- LinkedIn Campaign Manager: A platform for creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring LinkedIn ad campaigns.
- LinkedIn Insight Tag: A code snippet for tracking conversions and website actions stemming from your LinkedIn ads.
- LinkedIn Website Demographics: A tool that reveals the professional characteristics of your website visitors from LinkedIn.
- Other tools include LinkedIn Conversion Tracking, LinkedIn Audience Network, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, etc.
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Performance in the realm of advertising refers to the outcomes and results of an advertising campaign on a given platform, encompassing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as impressions, clicks, conversions, leads, sales, return on ad spend (ROAS), and return on investment (ROI).
Google Ads has the potential to deliver robust performance for both B2B and B2C companies, provided they possess a comprehensive understanding of their target keywords, audience segments, ad objectives, and adept conversion tracking.
The platform empowers advertisers to reach users who are actively seeking their products or services or exhibit a keen interest in their industry or niche. Google Ads can also serve as a potent tool for driving traffic to websites or landing pages, cultivating leads or sales, boosting brand awareness or loyalty, and quantifying the return on ad spend (ROAS) and return on investment (ROI).
In the case of LinkedIn Ads, high performance is attainable for B2B companies when they have a clear grasp of their target personas, the stages of the buyer’s journey, ad formats, and the efficacy of lead generation forms.
LinkedIn Ads enable advertisers to connect with users who hold decision-making or influential roles within their organizations or industries. This platform can be instrumental in creating awareness or generating interest among potential customers, nurturing them throughout the sales funnel, securing high-quality leads or sales, and quantifying the return on ad spend (ROAS) and return on investment (ROI).
Here are some illustrative examples of successful case studies and testimonials from both B2B and B2C companies that have harnessed the potential of Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads to achieve their advertising objectives:
Google Ads case studies and testimonials
- HubSpot, a leading CRM platform, leveraged Google Ads to amplify brand recognition, channel qualified traffic to its website, and yield a remarkable 27% increase in leads, all while reducing the cost per lead by a substantial 65%.
- Airbnb, the global online marketplace for travel experiences, employed Google Ads to connect with travelers in search of accommodation options, generate bookings on its platform, and remarkably attain a 47% higher return on ad spend (ROAS) compared to other advertising channels.
LinkedIn Ads case studies and testimonials
- Salesforce, a prominent cloud-based software company, harnessed the potential of LinkedIn Ads to target C-level executives and IT decision-makers, fostering engagement with its content and achieving an impressive 6.7-fold surge in leads compared to other social media platforms.
- Mastercard, the global payment technology company, utilized LinkedIn Ads to pinpoint affluent consumers with an interest in travel benefits. This campaign promoted its premium card products and delivered a remarkable 14% higher conversion rate compared to other advertising channels.
These instances underscore the versatility and effectiveness of Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads in helping businesses achieve their advertising objectives across diverse industries and target audiences.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are LinkedIn ads more expensive than Google Ads?
LinkedIn Ads and Google Ads employ distinct pricing models and are influenced by various factors that impact their associated costs. In general, LinkedIn Ads often command a higher cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM) compared to Google Ads. However, this higher cost is balanced by LinkedIn Ads offering more granular targeting options and access to a more professional and specialized audience.
To provide some perspective, the average CPC for LinkedIn Ads is estimated at approximately $5.26, whereas the average CPC for Google Ads stands at around $2.96. In terms of CPM, the average for LinkedIn Ads hovers at approximately $33.80, while Google Ads maintains an average CPM of roughly $6.05. Nevertheless, it’s important to acknowledge that the actual costs can fluctuate significantly based on factors such as the industry, level of competition, the quality score of the ads, relevance to the audience, and the chosen bid strategy for each individual campaign.
These variables contribute to the nuanced and dynamic nature of online advertising costs on both platforms.
Is SEO cheaper than Google Ads?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Google Ads each offer distinct advantages and disadvantages, particularly concerning costs and benefits. They serve as contrasting strategies for businesses seeking to enhance their online presence.
SEO, characterized as a long-term strategy, revolves around optimizing your website and content to improve organic search result rankings. One of its key advantages is its potential cost-effectiveness in terms of initial expenditures, as it doesn’t entail payment for each click or impression.
However, SEO comes with its own set of considerations. It can be resource-intensive in terms of time and effort, demanding ongoing updates, maintenance, and analysis to stay aligned with the ever-evolving landscape of Google’s algorithms and shifting user behavior patterns. Achieving and maintaining high search engine rankings through SEO necessitates consistent dedication.
On the other hand, Google Ads constitutes a short-term strategy where businesses pay for clicks or impressions on their advertisements within Google’s extensive network. Google Ads offers the immediacy of generating traffic, leads, and conversions, making it advantageous for quick results.
Additionally, it provides a relatively straightforward means of measuring return on investment (ROI). Nevertheless, Google Ads typically carries higher costs in terms of ad spend, as advertisers compete in bidding against each other for ad placement. This competitive environment can elevate the expense associated with each click or impression.
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How much do LinkedIn ads cost per 1,000 impressions?
The cost of LinkedIn ads per 1,000 impressions (CPM) depends on several factors, such as the target audience, the campaign objective, the ad format, and the bid amount. According to WebFX, the average CPM for LinkedIn ads is $33.80.
However, this is just an estimate based on industry benchmarks and may not reflect the actual CPM for each campaign. To find out the CPM for your specific campaign, you can use LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager tool to create and manage your ads, as well as monitor your performance metrics.
What is the lowest budget for Google Ads?
When it comes to Google Ads, there is no set minimum budget that you must adhere to. You have the flexibility to initiate your advertising campaign with an amount that aligns with your specific objectives and available resources.
Google Ads provides you with the option to establish a daily budget as well as an overall budget for each campaign. Additionally, you can specify the maximum bid you are willing to pay for each click or impression.
One of the key advantages of Google Ads is the ease with which you can manage your budget. You have the liberty to pause or halt your advertisements at any time without incurring any penalties or fees. However, it’s important to recognize that the budget you allocate to Google Ads plays a pivotal role in determining your campaign’s outcomes and competitiveness within the ad auction.
Should your budget be set too low, you may encounter challenges in obtaining sufficient impressions or clicks necessary to reach your intended audience or attain your desired campaign objectives.
Conversely, setting an excessively high budget could potentially result in wasteful spending on clicks or impressions that are unrelated or of low quality, failing to yield conversions or sales. Striking the right balance between your budget and objectives is essential to optimizing the performance of your Google Ads campaign.
Are LinkedIn ads cheap?
In comparison to other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn ads are not characterized by low costs, but they don’t necessarily fall into the category of being excessively priced either. The value proposition offered by LinkedIn ads is unique, potentially justifying their comparatively higher costs.
LinkedIn ads provide an opportunity to engage with a specialized, professional, and influential audience that actively seeks out business-related topics and opportunities. One of the defining features of LinkedIn ads is their precision in targeting options.
Advertisers can pinpoint users based on specific criteria, including their industry, job title, company size, seniority level, skills, education level, and other attributes pertinent to B2B marketing.
The investment in LinkedIn ads can translate into valuable outcomes, including the generation of high-quality leads, increased brand awareness, establishment of thought leadership, and conversions that often exhibit a higher lifetime value when compared to other advertising platforms.
The ability to tap into a niche and discerning audience tailored to business-related objectives can make LinkedIn ads a compelling choice for businesses aiming to leverage the platform’s unique advantages.
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Are LinkedIn ads cheaper than Facebook?
In terms of cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM), LinkedIn ads do not boast a lower price point compared to Facebook ads. According to data from Instapage, the average CPC for Facebook ads stands at a relatively modest $0.51, whereas the average CPC for LinkedIn ads is notably higher, hovering around $5.61. Similarly, the average CPM for Facebook ads is reported at $7.19, while the average CPM for LinkedIn ads is considerably higher at $16.85.
It’s crucial to emphasize that these cost differentials do not inherently imply that Facebook ads are universally superior to LinkedIn ads or vice versa. The choice between these advertising platforms hinges on various factors, including your specific marketing objectives, target audience, industry niche, creative elements of your ads, and the performance of your campaign.
Facebook ads often find favor in scenarios involving B2C marketing or products and services intended for a broad and diverse user base. They excel in reaching a wide spectrum of users. On the other hand, LinkedIn ads tend to shine in B2B marketing or when promoting niche products or services tailored to a specific segment of professionals.
These platforms each have their distinct strengths, and the optimal choice depends on aligning them with your unique business goals and audience demographics.
Both Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads stand as robust online advertising platforms, each offering the potential to connect with your target audience, foster lead generation and sales, and drive the growth of your business.
However, they possess distinct strengths and weaknesses that necessitate careful consideration before making a choice.
Google Ads emerges as the preferred choice for engaging users seeking your products or services or those showing interest in your industry or niche. It boasts a broader reach, a cost advantage, and a more extensive array of ad types compared to LinkedIn Ads.
Nevertheless, Google Ads operates in a highly competitive environment, offering relatively less precision in audience targeting and catering to a less specialized audience compared to LinkedIn Ads.
LinkedIn Ads, on the other hand, excels in reaching users who hold significant decision-making or influencer roles within their organizations or industries. It offers access to a more niche, professional, and precisely targeted audience.
However, this specialization comes at a cost, as LinkedIn Ads has a more limited reach, higher expenses, and fewer ad format options than Google Ads.
Selecting the ideal platform for your online advertising needs hinges on aligning it with your specific advertising objectives, budget constraints, audience size, and industry niche. Here are some general guidelines to aid in your decision-making process:
- Opt for Google Ads if you aim to connect with a large and diverse audience actively searching for or interested in your products or services.
- Prefer LinkedIn Ads when your objective is to reach a specific, professional, and niche audience comprising industry leaders.
- Consider Google Ads if you operate on a constrained budget or enjoy a high conversion rate.
- Lean toward LinkedIn Ads if you have a substantial budget or face a lower conversion rate.
- Utilize Google Ads when operating within the B2C (Business-to-Consumer) sector or niche.
- Leverage LinkedIn Ads when your focus lies in the B2B (Business-to-Business) industry or niche.
Remember that these guidelines are not strict rules; they provide a foundation to help you make an informed choice. Experimenting with both platforms or combining their strengths can also be a valuable strategy.
If you require further assistance with your online advertising strategy, do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Our team of experts is well-equipped to assist you in creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring your Google Ads or LinkedIn Ads campaigns, ultimately aiding you in achieving your advertising objectives and driving business growth.