LinkedIn’s InMail ad placement is nothing new – the platform has been delivering Sponsored InMails to their users’ inboxes for several years. But somehow, advertisers (and LinkedIn itself) still seem slow to recognize the power of this tactic. Advertisers and agencies often opt for the seemingly greater exposure of the LinkedIn newsfeed through the promotion of sponsored content. And while LinkedIn Sponsored Content has its place in any B2B marketing plan, the high Cost Per Click – $15 CPC anyone? – can quickly become cost prohibitive, closing that avenue for a lot of small business or B2B marketers under a tight budget.
Luckily, the exact same set of audience segmentation tools that underpin the highly competitive LinkedIn newsfeed targeting is also behind InMail targeting. The ability to target by job title, job function, industry, or essentially any piece of user provided profile information, coupled with some compelling ad copy and an effective call to action, represents one of the most reliable, direct and consistently cost effective B2B tactic out there today.
How cost effective are we talking?
In recent months the average InMail Cost Per Send has hovered around $0.50, easily ten times cheaper than the CPCs seen with Sponsored Content in the LinkedIn newsfeed. In fact, it is not unheard of to see Cost Per Sends as low as $0.20. And with typical Open Rates of around 40%, InMails beat traditional email metrics all day long.
What’s the catch?
We’ve seen only one distinct drawback to using InMail as a priority lead generation tactic, but depending on the needs of the campaign and the nature of the promotion it can be a big one: campaign duration and timing. For advertisers looking to promote an extremely time-sensitive or short duration event, InMail is not the best placement because LinkedIn has metered the delivery of Sponsored InMails such that currently an individual’s message box can only receive one Sponsored InMail (from any advertiser) once every 30 to 60 days (LinkedIn varies this). This means that for an InMail campaign to be successful it must have enough time. I typically suggest a minimum of one month to reach a significant number of your audience’s inboxes.
In other words, it pays to plan ahead and schedule your InMail lead generation campaigns well in advance, and to always consider that copy must be carefully written to remain high-value for potentially delayed or irregular inbox delivery. The flip-side of this delayed delivery is also a strength of InMail in that the limited commercial nature of each user’s personal inbox yields much higher open and click rates compared to traditional email campaigns.
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