As the digital marketing world continues to advance and broaden its landscape, it can be a challenge for brands to know which advertising options are right for their organization and which ones aren’t.
Two of the many options include LinkedIn Ads and Google Ads, and oftentimes, advertisers choose to focus their marketing strategy on one or the other (or both, if a budget will cater to it).
Of course, you can consult a LinkedIn Ads agency or an expert Google Ads strategist, but you can also play around with both to see which one suits your preferences – both platforms are designed to be user-friendly.
If you’re umming and ahhing over which ad option is the best for you, this guide will help outline the pros and cons of each, helping you reach an informed decision.
1 – Google Ads vs. LinkedIn Ads: A Comparison
Oftentimes, digital marketing platforms have nuances that can make it challenging to decipher which might be the best option for you. While Google Ads and LinkedIn ads, of course, have their similarities, here are the key differences.
The key contrast between the two platforms is their audience focus. While Google Ads is great for targeting businesses and consumers alike, LinkedIn’s primary focus is B2B (business-to-business) marketing.
Google Ads will allow you to target web users as a whole, and because it is the most powerful search engine, marketers can hone in on users anywhere and everywhere. With this wealth of audience potential, many marketers may not feel the need to consult LinkedIn ads, but before you dismiss them, consider the following….
LinkedIn is a business-focused social media titan that has laser-focused tools to help you market your brand directly to your dream audience of professionals. So much so, that the platform, as of 2023, is used by a whopping 930 million users worldwide.
Bear in mind, however, that while LinkedIn isn’t exclusive to B2B members only, it is primarily targeted at them, and B2C brands are advised to focus their advertising efforts elsewhere.
Audience Segmentation Options
Another contrast between the two platforms is their segmenting options. Google Ads gives you the following options:
- Interactions with website/app
- Buyer behaviour
This may seem like a lot but it’s actually a rather broad and vague selection, which can be problematic for brands in niche business areas or brands who have a very specific, tailored audience.
With LinkedIn, segmenting options are a different story, and you can really narrow that audience down. This includes segmenting areas such as location, industry, job title, interests, groups, education, experience, seniority, and more.
LinkedIn also has a useful feature called Matched Audiences, which allows users to blend their email lists and website visitors with LinkedIn members.
User Intent & Problem-Solving
The entire purpose of Google’s search engine is to allow users to search for products, services, or information (usually with the intent of solving a problem), which is what makes it appealing to marketers.
Although most LinkedIn users don’t use the channel for problem-solving purposes, bear in mind that LinkedIn’s other uses are extremely profitable for advertisers because they can tie in with professional pain-points.
Users may log into their LinkedIn account to post/search for a job, build their network, post a company update, and generally use the platform as an extension of their business website/service. This enables marketers to bolster LinkedIn’s in-depth and pinpointed demographic information to target the most lucrative audiences.
This then allows them to target business professionals who may benefit from their products/services to remedy a problem – either before or during the problem’s manifestation – making the user less likely to punch their needs into Google’s search engine.
There is a difference in the number of ad types the two platforms offer. Google Ads has a few more than LinkedIn, which includes:
- Call-only ads – These are direct click-to-call ads that can only reach users on a mobile device.
- Showcase shopping ads – These are ads that feature a description and an image that expands and produces more imagery and product info when clicked on or hovered over.
- Product shopping ads – These contain a product photo, title, description, store name, price, and possibly other details when clicked upon.
- Video – Video ads are self-explanatory. They can be standalone or in-stream ads that feature on Google’s partners’ sites.
- App promotion ads – These encourage users to download an app on Google Play or a Google partner’s app store.
- Image – These can be static or immersive images that can be clicked on.
- Responsive – Responsive ads can be text or image-based adverts that are designed to automatically adjust to ad space dimensions.
- Text – These ads are word/copy-only.
Whereas LinkedIn offers:
- Lead gen forms – These ads are designed to appear like small surveys that utilize auto-fill and provide the advertiser with contact details (specifically email) to then target later.
- Dynamic ads – Dynamic ads are native personalized ads that appear on desktop devices only.
- Text ads – These are PPC (pay-per-click) ads that you will see in the margin or inline area of your LinkedIn feed.
- Sponsored InMail – Cunningly disguised as direct messages, InMail uses a personalized approach to entice a user into opening a message on LinkedIn, which is sponsored advertising made to look like a friendly DM.
- Sponsored/direct sponsored content – You will see these native adverts directly on your feed.
Cost & Budget Requirements
A significant difference between the two platforms is the cost of advertising on either. While LinkedIn has many benefits, marketers require a larger monthly budget in order to successfully advertise on the platform.
Irrespective of what type of ad you prefer to use, marketing on Google Ads is generally far more cost-effective than on LinkedIn. This can vary depending on your industry, of course.
Reporting & Analytics
Any advertiser worth his or her salt understands the importance of metrics, and although both LinkedIn and Google Ads have similarities with their analytics tools (including clicks, conversions, and impressions), there are a few differences too.
Google Ads directly correlates with Google Analytics, allowing marketers to exceed the basic ad click tracking, and instead, focus on more in-depth website behavior tracking with options such as ‘session duration’.
LinkedIn’s reporting and analytics focus on the demographics of the users who interact with your campaigns, which can be useful for really fine-tuning your future targeting. While Google Ads does offer a demographics metric, it’s nowhere near as business-focused as LinkedIn’s.
Both platforms do, however, feature a conversions-tracking tool, with LinkedIn requiring an Insights Tag in order to monitor user behavior on their website by way of their LinkedIn campaign.
2 – Which Platform is Better: LinkedIn or Google Ads?
When it comes to B2B advertising, both platforms can be promising and there is no overall superior option, as the choice comes down to the unique circumstances of the B2B marketer in question.
This means the right option for you depends on your brand’s budget, goals, industry, and target audience. While LinkedIn boasts laser-focused precision for B2B advertisers, campaigns require a large budget each time, meaning Google Ads may be more affordable. However, because of the latter’s vagueness with targeting, the quality of the leads you draw may vary.
Ultimately, the best bet for marketers is to leverage both channels temporarily and test which is the most superior based on your brand’s individual needs and circumstances before launching a campaign.
For example, LinkedIn can be beneficial for nurturing and middle-of-the-funnel targeting, whereas Google Ads can excel in brand awareness and bottom-of-the-funnel targeting.
Before investing in either, however, it is important to focus on a few key areas before building your campaign, as your ads alone will not convert audiences.
Areas to look at before creating an ad include website optimization (for those who require leads to convert on a website landing page), an inbound and airtight marketing strategy, a realistic budget, and a level of customer service, should a lead wish to query anything before converting. Once these areas are sparkling, your ads will be the vehicle to conversion.
3 – Final Thoughts
Both LinkedIn and Google Ads are heavyweights in the advertising game and you can leverage one or the other (or both) to successfully market your brand.
However, both have their strengths and weaknesses, so ultimately, the best option (if having only one option is doable) is examining your company’s unique needs and situations and basing your decision on the information provided in this article. Good luck!
If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS and Tech companies grow their MRR through LinkedIn advertising, contact us online or send us an email today at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with someone on our team.