As happens when you are a company registered on social media sites we occasionally get sent invites to advertise on their networks.  We’ve always been proud to receive most of our business via referrals and word of mouth but when LinkedIn offers you $100 of free advertising it seems silly to say no.  The results turned out to be an interesting window into the words and phrases that are popular at the moment.

When creating adverts online it’s always a good idea to run more than one advert at once, you can then run them for a bit and keep modifying the one that’s doing the worse.  After a while you end up with some adverts that are pretty well tuned for the people you want to attract.  We didn’t bother modifying any ads this time as it was a short ad run but we did create a number of different ads with slightly different wording.

(Quick side note: When running ads it’s always a good idea to link them to your websites analytics.  Not just to separate out the traffic to your site but to link that traffic to actual contacts/sales etc.  Surely it’s better to get 100 clicks to your site where 10 become customers than get 10000 clicks and 1 customer.  Especially when you are paying by the click!)

To keep things easy we set a maximum spend of $10 per day and ran all of the ads below for 10 days…

Advert Clicks Impressions CTR
Cloud Computing

Let us show you how to get the most from powerful Amazon AWS services.

51 162168 0.031%
Electronics & Automation

Integrate your website with the real world. The ideas are endless.

1 10451 0.010%
VMware

We can help you adopt a Virtualisation solution that is right for you.

1 10552 0.009%
Amazon AWS

Let us show you how to get the most from powerful Cloud Computing services.

3 40700 0.007%
SysAdmin

Let us worry about the system administration of your server.

0 12724 0.000%
Virtualisation

We can help you adopt a VMware solution that is right for you.

0 10403 0.000%

As you can see, the Cloud Computing and Amazon AWS ads are identical with the words swapped.  The same is true for the VMware and Virtualisation adverts.

What does all this mean?

The Impression Count is the number of times that LinkedIn users have been show each advert.  LinkedIn decide when to show your advert and while you can pay more money to “bid” to a higher position it is linked to the text in the page that LinkedIn is showing to the user.  It is therefore safe to say that LinkedIn treat the title of your ad as more important that the text (Ads with the same overall text had very different impression counts).

CTR stands for Click Through Rate, how many and what percentage of the people that saw the ad actually clicked on it.  As you can see the numbers are low but at $2 per click the money goes down fast.

Results

Based on all the above we can make the following statements about the popularity of certain buzzwords:

  • A lot more people are talking about Cloud Computing than Virtualisation. This was quite surprising to us.  While Cloud Computing is the buzzword du jour Virtualisation is the pin that runs it and for the swing to be so unbalanced is slightly unnerving.
  • “Cloud Computing” is bigger than “Amazon AWS”. this makes sense, it’s a subset.  AWS is just one vendor of cloud computing services.
  • “VMware” is more popular than “Virtualisation”. no, wait, what!?  A very interesting find.  I don’t think anyone would argue that VMware is one of the biggest players in the Virtualisation market but for it to be bigger is interesting.
  • Advertising on LinkedIn is expensive! $100 for 56 clicks to our website.  Lets just say we are glad it was a free trial and we don’t need to heavily advertise :-)

I realise the sample numbers on this were low.  We would love to hear if you have any other statistics to back this up or blow us out the water.  Feel free to comment below.