The Case for LinkedIn Ads
When it comes to B2B marketing, the old saying rings true: you get what you pay for.
Most brands spend a substantial chunk of their advertising budget with the current leaders in search and social — Google and Facebook. But B2B marketers are missing out on a huge opportunity to reach their target audience if they’re not taking advantage of LinkedIn ads as well.
While LinkedIn ads can be pricey, the tangible business benefits they bring are worth the cost. Here are just a few reasons B2B marketers should start investing in the platform sooner rather than later:
1. A Business-Centric Audience
LinkedIn is a social network designed specifically for professionals, so it makes sense that most users are actively seeking out business-centric content. Whether they’re applying for jobs, updating their professional profiles, or interacting within industry-specific groups, LinkedIn’s 450 million registered members are searching for more than just social interactions with family members and friends. Given the professional nature of the site, LinkedIn users are likely much more receptive to ads geared toward their work-related needs.
2. Targeting Opportunities
Because it gives professionals job opportunities or career advice based on their qualifications and interest groups, LinkedIn has access to a treasure trove of industry-specific data about its members. B2B marketers can leverage this data to create a targeted ad campaign based on location, company name, industry, job title, skills, and many other factors.
Another advantage offered by this platform is the ability to target individual LinkedIn groups, which can help you find and engage with people who are interested in what you’re promoting. To take advantage of this opportunity, be sure to refresh your ad copy regularly. Recycling old copy too frequently can oversaturate and exhaust potential leads.
3. Lead Acceleration
Reaching a highly targeted audience is great, but it’s just as important to focus on the right people who also happen to be in the market for your services. LinkedIn’s Lead Accelerator tool helps facilitate lead nurturing so marketers can display their ads to potential customers based on where they are in the buying process — reserving the bulk of their efforts for those who are ready to close the deal.
According to LinkedIn, putting your lead generation efforts on the fast track to success is a five-step process:
- Identify and target your highest-value audiences.
- Develop relevant messaging that takes your prospects’ profile details and behavior on the platform into account; spread that messaging across display and social ads, as well as Sponsored Updates.
- Leverage the platform’s Autofill capability to boost conversion rates.
- Optimize the creative messaging in your ads through A/B testing (which the platform supports).
- Measure the impact of your program at every stage in the path to purchase through built-in reporting capabilities.
By completing this five-step process, B2B marketers can refine their approach and allocate their ad spend in a way that will get them the most bang for their buck. As Lauren Frye of Bizible explains, “Already, the tool has helped numerous companies across the United States decrease their costs-per-lead and increase their conversion rates by more than 50%.”
Related: 5 Ways to Take Your Campaign Viral
4. Better Opportunities for Increased ROI
Advertising on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter may help you reach a large audience, but what really counts is who you’re reaching specifically, and how you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship with them once you’re in contact.
LinkedIn allows you to optimize your efforts, spending time and resources on ads that will not only put you in front of business-minded customers and clients, but will also help you find those who are actively looking for your services. Because you won’t be devoting your budget to marketing efforts that fall short, you’ll be saving money and, in turn, increasing your ROI.
While LinkedIn provides an arsenal of tools for upping your B2B marketing game, it’s important to track the success of your display ads with established metrics of success, regardless of which platform you choose. Once you have a good idea of who you’re targeting and what kind of content resonates with that specific audience, you’re ready to reap the benefits of LinkedIn ads.
An Emerging Theme In Thematic Investing
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are popular vehicles for market participants looking to engage in thematic investing. Thematic investing looks to take advantage of future growth trends, including disruptive technologies. Given that forward-looking approach, stock-picking in the thematic universe is equally as hard, if not harder, than in traditional market segments.
Go back to the late 1990s, before the bursting of the Internet/technology bubble. Back then, investors stood an equal chance of selecting E-Toys over Amazon or some no longer in existence networking equipment maker over Cisco.
“History is littered with examples of prospering industries with no indication of which company will come to dominate the industry,” according to Nasdaq. “This suggests that successful thematic investing is more about selecting baskets of investments rather than single securities.”1
The ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF (DTEC) provides basket exposure to a broad swath of thematic investments. DTEC features exposure to not just one or two emerging technologies, but 10 such themes on an equal-weight basis.
The 10 themes represented in DTEC are as follows: 3D printing, clean energy, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data and analytics, fintech, healthcare innovation, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile payments and robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).
Generally speaking, fund issuers have been quick to respond to disruptive and transformative technologies, bringing products to market to tap these themes. Prior to DTEC coming to market late last year, there were ETFs devoted exclusively to cloud computing, cybersecurity, robotics and other themes featured in DTEC. However, few use the basket approach to themes employed by DTEC.
February, a rough month for U.S. stocks, highlighted the advantages of DTEC's multi-theme methodology. Seven of the 10 themes found in the fund finished the month lower, but DTEC was able to outperform the S&P 500 on a monthly basis.
Focusing on individual themes can be rewarding over the long-term, but not all investors have the risk tolerance for such a strategy. Consider this: the Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index jumped more than 48% in 2017. That type of performance is enough to seduce many investors, but that same benchmark slipped 7.60% in February, generating monthly volatility of 34.10%.2 Said another way, that robotics and AI index's February slide was more than triple the loss experienced by DTEC during the month.
While it probably is not accurate to call the indexes devoted to individual disruptive themes “old,” many use old school weighting methodologies. For example, the two largest components in the ISE Cloud Computing Index are Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN). Only two members of the S&P 500 have larger market values than Amazon while Netflix currently has a larger market cap than Wal-Mart (WMT) and McDonald's (MCD).
Holdings subject ot change as of 12/31/17
For its part, DTEC not only equally weights its 10 disruptive themes, but its 100 components as well, potentially reducing single stock risk in the process. As the chart below confirms, equally weighting stocks is rewarding across sectors and market capitalization segments.
Past performance does not guarantee future results
Annualized returns for the past 10 years show seven of the 11 S&P 500 sectors, when equally weighted, outperform cap-weighted equivalents, according to S&P. Three of those seven sectors – financial services, healthcare and technology – are prominent parts of DTEC's roster.
1 Source: Nasdaq Dec. 28, 2015 https://www.nasdaq.com/article/what-thematic-investing-is-and-its-strengths-and-risks-cm559209
2 Source: ETF Replay data
An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus which contain this and other information call 866.675.2639 or visit www.alpsfunds.com. Read the prospectus carefully before investing.
An investment in the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF (DTEC) may be subject to substantially greater risk and volatility than investments in larger and more mature technology companies.
There is no assurance that the market developments and sector growth based upon the themes discussed in the article will come to pass.
ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF shares are not individually redeemable. Investors buy and sell shares of the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF on a secondary market. Only market makers or “authorized participants” may trade directly with the Fund, typically in blocks of 50,000 shares.
ALPS Advisors, Inc. (AAI) has engaged IRIS Werks, LLC (IRIS) to produce analysis and commentary on ALPS-advised ETFs. IRIS currently has a compensated business relationship with AAI. AAI is not affiliated with IRIS.
The content and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and not the views and opinions of AAI. In addition, AAI assumes no responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the content written by the author.
There are risks involved with investing in ETFs including the loss of money. Additional information regarding the risks of this investment is available in the prospectus. Past Performance is not indicative of future results.
The fund is new and has limited operating history.
ALPS Portfolio Solutions Distributor, Inc. is the distributor for the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF. AAI is affiliated with ALPS Portfolio Solutions Distributor, Inc.
The author is not an investment professional and this article should not be considered investment advice. While the information and statistical data contained herein are based on sources believed to be reliable, the author takes no responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the content. Additionally, this article should not be relied on or be the basis for an investment decision. Information that is historical is not indicative of future results, and subject to change.
S&P 500®: A capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.
S&P SmallCap 600®: A capitalization-weighted index that measures the small-cap segment of the U.S. equity market.
S&P MidCap 400®: A capitalization-weighted index that measures the mid-cap segment of the U.S. equity market.
Indxx Global Robotics & Artifical Intelligence Thematic Index: The Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index is designed to track the performance of companies listed in developed markets that are expected to benefit from the increased adoption and utilization of robotics and Artificial Intelligence ("AI"), including companies involved in Industrial Robotics and Automation, Non-Industrial Robots, Artificial Intelligence and Unmanned Vehicles.
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