Social Engagements: LinkedIn aims to grow beyond B2B ads

The platform's head of marketing solutions in Canada talks attracting B2C clients.

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You’re reading Social Engagements, a series examining how brands are using social media platforms and tech to engage audiences. We’ve talked with InstagramSnap and Twitter. This week, we’re talking with Diana Luu, LinkedIn Canada’s head of marketing solutions.

LinkedIn is likely not at the top of the list of most consumer-facing brands when they’re thinking about where to place ads.

While LinkedIn has long been “one of the first places” B2B brands think about when it comes to advertising, Diana Luu, LinkedIn Canada’s head of marketing solutions is actively trying to change that perception.

Diana Luu HeadshotGenerally when consumer brands think of advertising on social the usual suspects are top of mind – namely Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for broad audiences, and trendy platforms like Snapchat or TikTok for younger audiences. But Luu argues LinkedIn should also be on that list. The platform, which launched in 2003 as essentially a place to post a virtual version of your old-school paper resume, has grown to more than 630 million members globally and is growing at a rate of two members per second, says Luu.

While the company does not publicly share many Canadian-specific stats, LinkedIn currently has more that 16 million members and is seeing 30% growth year-over-year, says LinkedIn Canada’s head of marketing solutions. Despite the growth it still has a ways to go to catch up to other social giants, such as Facebook, which has more than 24 million active users in Canada.

“We’re seeing… growth because people see value – they come to stay connected, informed and share,” says Luu.

Everyone, from college students looking for their first job to grandmas looking to stay current, has a profile on the platform, which serves not only as a place to post your resume, look for jobs, congratulate others on career achievements and boast about your own, but also as a place where companies can promote articles, videos and ads to targeted audiences.

And the platform is providing a direct way for “high-consideration brands” like Cartier, as well as car brands, such as Leuxs, Volvo, Audi, Mercedes and Porsche to directly target ads to LinkedIn members who have the buying power to purchase these luxury items, she notes, using relevant data that they themselves have provided.

“We have data when someone changes a job and in those moments it’s a great time to celebrate that professional achievement and that’s when they can insert that reward yourself with this [product],” explains Luu. “Whether it’s with a car or a watch.”
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Last year, for example, Volvo Car Canada and AOR m/Six Canada used LinkedIn’s video ads, sponsored content and carousel ads to target specific possible customers based on geography and career attributes. The carousel ads, which provide a highly-visual storytelling option for mobile users, achieved a 75% increase in click-through rate compared to static posts.

While other platforms have been publicly fighting trolls for years, LinkedIn was named as the most trusted platform by Business Insider for the second year running in late 2018, which is “important because it’s a huge indicator that people will be more responsive to ads and sponsored content,” claims Luu.

That doesn’t mean it has escaped controversy, LinkedIn has had its issues over the years. In 2016 it was reported more than 117 million LinkedIn accounts had been hacked and in the U.K. it’s been reported that Twitter and LinkedIn are currently under investigation as the European Union aims to enforce the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect last May.

While LinkedIn is less linked with controversy it’s still seen as a niche rather than mainstream platform for advertisers. So while it’s made some in-roads since Luu joined the platform more than eight years ago there’s still work to be done to be considered as a destination for B2C ads.