As a B2B marketer, you’ve probably questioned whether Facebook or LinkedIn ads are going to be best for generating leads and making sales.

There’s so much information out there as to which is best – so I decided to do my own £450 experiment and report back on the results. But first, a little context…

Facebook has over 2.2 billion active users, compared to LinkedIn’s 610 million. Facebook also owns Instagram, meaning you can advertise there as well. But in this case, size doesn’t really matter…

What matters more is, can you get the right message in front of the right person at the right time? And, which platform allows you to do that at the best cost? Both LinkedIn and Facebook share some similarities in how the ads platform works, but they also both have a lot of unique features.

Facebook ads vs LinkedIn ads: The Experiment

As part of my marketing experiment series, I wanted to test LinkedIn ads and thought it would be beneficial to compare them to my Facebook ads.

The test I ran was directing people to my Facebook Ads Blueprint.

Targeting: On Facebook, I targetted a lookalike audience of my current customers in the UK. On LinkedIn, I targetted business owners, entrepreneurs and in-house marketers using their job title feature.

Goal: I wanted to test how much it cost on each platform to have someone download the guide. I’ve been running ads for this on Facebook for years, so Facebook has a little bit of an advantage. This is the first time I’ve run LinkedIn ads for this guide.

Creative: The ads I ran on both platforms were pretty much identical. I tested 4 images in each ad set. The copy was the same on them all. I essentially recreated my previous Facebook ads on LinkedIn.

The Facebook ad

Facebook ads vs LinkedIn ads

The LinkedIn ad

LinkedIn Ads vs Facebook ads

Budget: I spent a total of £229.62 on LinkedIn (over the space of 3 weeks) and £224.45 on Facebook (over the space of a week). I thought the comparison would be better based on spend rather than time.

Total spent = £454.07

The hypothesis

There seems to be a general consensus that LinkedIn ads are more expensive than Facebook ads, but to make up for that cost increase, you’re betting on two things:
1. Being able to target a more specific business audience (ie, people who have specific job titles at specific companies)

2. The intent of people using the platform. You could argue people on LinkedIn are in ‘business’ mode and therefore may be more susceptible to receiving business-related advertising.

I expected LinkedIn to be more expensive. It typically costs me between £1-3 for a blueprint download on Facebook. I expected to get downloads on LinkedIn for £5-7.

The Results

LinkedIn Ads

Total Spend: £229.62
Impressions: 4,203
Clicks: 84
CTR: 2%
CPM: £54.63
CPC: £2.73
Blueprint downloads: 7
Cost per download: £32.80

Facebook Ads

Total Spend: £224.45
Impressions: 18.941
Clicks: 253
CTR: 1.34%
CPM: £11.74
CPC: £0.88
Blueprint downloads: 93
Cost per download: £2.39

LinkedIn Results

LinkedIn Ad results

Facebook Results

Facebook ad results

As you can see, Facebook ads absolutely dominated LinkedIn ads. In the three weeks, I ran the LinkedIn ads, I only got 7 blueprint downloads, costing me £32.80 each. Much more than my estimated £5-7! With the Facebook ads, we achieved 93 downloads at just £2.39 each.

My impressions and clicks were also considerably lower on LinkedIn vs Facebook. With 4,203 impressions vs 18.941 and 84 clicks vs 253.

My CPM was much higher on LinkedIn, as well as my cost per click. It cost me £54.63 to reach 1,000 people on LinkedIn vs just £11.74 on Facebook. Cost per click was £2.73 on LinkedIn vs just 88p on Facebook.

Interestingly, LinkedIn did give me a better click-through-rate than Facebook (2% vs 1.34%). Perhaps this comes down to point 2 in my hypothesis… people on LinkedIn are more interested in business-related content and ads. Therefore, more people clicked. Or, perhaps it’s because my audience was more relevant, due to being based on job titles.

Is there value in advertising on LinkedIn?

What we’ve seen here goes with my initial hypothesis which was, LinkedIn is a much more expensive platform to advertise on. Just taking a look at the CPM, Linkedin is roughly 5 times more expensive than Facebook. Now, that might be okay, if you’re a B2B business and you’re trying to advertise products or services worth thousands or more… because you can afford to spend more.

But when you’re running a campaign like this to generate a larger email list/generate leads, Facebook is the winner. Facebook is still so cheap, that you can afford to target less-relevant audiences because you’ll still pick up the right people within that (at a better cost).

Also, the LinkedIn advertising platform is HORRIBLE. The interface is so clunky and hard to understand. But, with all that said… there’s a time and place for everything and despite Facebook winning here, I do believe LinkedIn is a solid advertising channel depending on your goals.

Let me know, have you had success with LinkedIn ads? 👇

Gav