When it comes to digital advertising, the average Cost per Click can vary a lot between channels. Some are significantly cheaper, while others tend to be more expensive. But where is LinkedIn placed on this spectrum, and how much do LinkedIn ads cost? Today, we are finding it out.
Factors that influence LinkedIn ads cost
There is not a simple, definitive answer to how much LinkedIn ads cost. In fact, a single click can cost you anywhere between 2€ and 13€! As you can see, the difference can be quite big, and in some cases even more.
But why is that so? Because the cost of a click will depend on multiple factors, from segmentation to ad format and even competition. Let´s see them!
Ad format, Objective & Bidding Strategy
The first and most important factor that impacts your CPC will be your ad format, objective, and the bidding strategy that you choose to go with.
These factors go hand in hand because not all ad formats support all bidding strategies, and not all objectives support all ad formats.
Objectives & Ad formats
The objective section allows you to select the goal of your LinkedIn campaign. What are you trying to achieve with it? Do you want to generate more leads, or spread brand awareness with your latest video?
The answer to this question will enable you a selection of ad formats that you can publish on the platform.
Keep in mind that not all objectives support all existing LinkedIn ad formats, which include:
- Single image ad, also known as Sponsored Content
- Carousel image ad, or just Carousel;
- Video ads;
- Text ads;
- Spotlight ads;
- Message ads, also known as Sponsored InMail.
As we already mentioned, your bidding strategy options may vary depending on the ad format:
Ad formats such as Sponsored Content and Video ads include the majority of the possible bidding strategies, while others such as InMail only include one. Although, just to clarify about video ads, maximum CPV is only accessible if you select Video views as an objective.
But, let’s see what each one of these means:
Enhanced Cost per Click means that you will have to adjust your bid manually, and LinkedIn’s algorithms are not allowed to exceed it that amount. For example, you might decide that the maximum that you are going to pay for a single click will be 5€, and not a single cent over that.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will always pay 5€ per click. Sometimes, you will pay less because the amount is enough to win over the competition.
From my experience, this is the safest option, and the one that gives you the biggest control over your budget. It basically lets you decide your own LinkedIn ads cost, as long as it respects the platform’s recommended bid:
Of course, you can always bid lower, but you run the risk of not having your ad show up on the audience’s feed, or showing up less than it would be optimum for better results.
An automated bid means that LinkedIn’s system will bid instead of you in order to get the most clicks for your budget. However, it also means that there is no limit over how much you could pay for a single click. If LinkedIn considers that it could make you win over the competition, it will do it no matter the cost.
So, you might end up paying more than you would originally like to. And trust me, no matter how big your budget is, a click that costs 10€ is definitely not fun. 🙂
I personally don’t like using this bid strategy. The main reason why is because you might pay a really high price for a click, but it gives you no guarantee that the person will end up converting. And, if he doesn’t, you just wasted a lot of money on this click.
Selecting CPM as your bidding strategy means that instead of clicks, you will be paying per 1,000 impressions. In digital marketing, an impression is when your ad is displayed to an audience, no matter if it’s clicked or not.
On LinkedIn, your ad having 1,000 impressions means that it showed up on people’s LinkedIn feed a thousand times. However, unless your objective is brand awareness, this is usually not the most efficient way to get the best results. Especially if you want to generate more leads or bring more traffic to your landing page.
A maximum CPV, or Cost per View, is a metric that is used exclusively for videos, and it measures….well, you probably guessed it already. It measures how much a single video view would cost you.
As I already mentioned, this metric will only show up if you select Video Views objective. If you choose any other objective, even if it’s a video ad format, it will not be a possible option.
It lets you bid directly for a single view, and it’s usually much cheaper than a cost per click. However, it’s also not as efficient when it comes to tangible results such as lead generation, or downloads.
Maximum CPS, or what is really just Cost per Send, is a bidding strategy that is exclusively possible for Message ads (LinkedIn InMail). It allows you to bid for a single send of an InMail (text messages that are delivered straight to a person’s LinkedIn inbox).
As we just saw, on LinkedIn you can be charged differently depending on the ad format. In some cases, you get charged per click, while in others – per view or per message sent.
This is important to keep in mind when it comes to understanding how much LinkedIn ads cost. It is tightly related to your objective, and how much you are willing to pay per event (click, view, or message). Because other channels don’t always charge for the same events, it is not always going to be possible to compare them with LinkedIn.
Segmentation / Target Audience
Another factor that will have a huge impact on your LinkedIn ads cost is your target audience.
On LinkedIn, you have a wide collection of attributes to select from when you start building your audience, including:
- Company details – such as industries, names, connections and size;
- Demographics – the gender and age of your target audience;
- Education – covering degrees, fields of study and member schools;
- Job experience – including functions, seniority and years of experience, among others;
- Interests & Traits – such as groups to which your audience belongs to, or their interests;
Additionally, you can also do retargeting to your own database of leads, or to cookies collected on LinkedIn’s platform (matched audiences). You can also create a lookalike audience based on your existing customer or lead database.
But what does this all have to do with prices? Do some audience attributes cost more, while others less?
The answer is no, it doesn’t exactly work like that.
You see, when you advertise on LinkedIn, you compete with others advertisers by bidding in real time to get your ad show up on the user’s feed. Some audiences are higher in demand and have more advertisers participating in the auction.
Naturally, as demand rises, it will also mean that the recommended bid will continue increasing for everybody if they want to bid high enough to win over the competition.
So, if your selected audience has more competition, you will have higher costs per click/view/message as well.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to know the exact demand for a selected target audience. What you can do, however, is to test multiple audiences to see which one has the lowest recommended bid. You can do this at the same time by creating different campaigns, or within the same campaign over a longer period of time.
Another factor that will have a huge impact on your LinkedIn ads cost is your target country.
Some countries are generally cheaper to advertise to, while others significantly more expensive – especially when paired with the rest of your target audience.
For example, from my personal experience of trying hundreds of different segmentations, clicks from Latin American countries were always much cheaper than countries like Germany, UK and France. Especially in the education sector in which I am working, as we have a lot of competition from Germany and the UK. Of course, these prices have a lot to do with competition!
In fact, I often launch multiple campaigns in which the only thing that changes is the country, while the target audience and the creatives remain the same.
To show you the difference with a quick and practical example, I made up an audience of Directors in the Finance Industry with over 6 years of experience.
This is LinkedIn’s recommended bid for Spain:
This is the bid that LinkedIn recommends for the United States (with the exactly same segmentation criteria):
Crazy, right? The difference is huge! Also, if you take a look at the US one, other advertisers are bidding up to 23 euros per click! This is a crazy high cost for a single click.
And this is the same segmentation, but this time with Peru:
As I already mentioned, these prices are very, very closely related with the amount of competition in the specific region. From our example, we can conclude that more companies in the US are bidding for the same target audience as mine than in Peru. Which also makes a lot of sense as the US has a much bigger population than Peru.
Needless to say, the same observation applies to different cities within a single country. Usually, the competition in the country’s capital or big city will be higher than the one in smaller cities. So, if you have a limited budget, this information can help you make better decisions regarding your target regions.
For example, targeting Marketing Managers might be more expensive in Berlin than Hamburg or Munich. Although, there are always exceptions, of course!
Another key factor that might have an impact on your LinkedIn ads cost and average CPC will be the profile language of your target audience. This is an example of two campaigns that I had running at the same time, with the exact same segmentation. The only thing that changed was the profile language of the audience:
In my example, the Cost per Click of the campaign with Spanish language profiles was generally cheaper than the English language one. Of course, it doesn’t mean that this is always the case. So, it is always better that you run your own tests!
Ad relevance score
And last but not least, another important factor that will play role in the cost of your LinkedIn ads will be relevance score.
Different Marketing channels might calculate their relevance scores differently. However, what you need to understand for now is that this score is assigned to your campaign and creatives based on the positive or negative feedback received by the audience.
And no, this doesn’t mean that they will have to fill out a survey to confirm that they liked or hated the ad. Nobody would really do that!
Positive feedback means that your audience interacted in some way with your ad. Maybe they clicked on it, liked it, shared it, or left a comment. Or, what’s even better – they directly converted as a lead after clicking on your creative. The more positive interactions an ad receives, the more it means that it has a good quality and is highly relevant for the user.
After all, LinkedIn, just as every other Marketing channel, will prefer to show users ads that are relevant and engaging. Otherwise, neither users nor advertisers will be happy.
In this context, negative feedback is really just the lack of interaction. If your ad showed up thousands of times but only a tiny percentage of users clicked on it, it means that it provided little to no value to your audience. Which might also end up increasing your cost per click as well!
LinkedIn ads cost: wrapping it up
Before we close this chapter, there are a couple of disclaimers and conclusions that I really wanted to make.
First, LinkedIn’s average costs per click might be significantly more expensive than other channels. However, price is not the only thing that matters, because so does quality. Having said this, LinkedIn can be better than other channels for sectors that require high quality leads from specific niches.
So, even if the click itself is more expensive, the users might have a higher chance of converting or purchasing. Especially if you are using Lead gen forms.
Second, the examples that I’ve provided you are just this – examples. This doesn’t mean that the same rules apply for every industry or business model. I always recommend that people test, test and test, until they find what works for them!
And this is all from me for today! I hope you liked my article, and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments below! As always ,thank you for passing by and taking the time to read my content!