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The Power of LinkedIn’s Advertising in Higher Education

May 29, 2018
8 months, 3 weeks ago

Over a year ago, LinkedIn introduced LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms for Sponsored Content and InMail campaigns, allowing graduate marketers and admission officers to collect more quality leads from their ads using pre-filled forms. Because of the convenience of pre-filled, in-app forms, users are more likely to convert while marketers are receiving higher-quality conversions due to the accurate information gathered directly from users’ LinkedIn profiles. Additionally, these Lead Gen Forms see a lower cost per lead for the in-app leads than landing page conversions, improving the ROI for the campaign.

Need proof? Here’s an example of a higher education client we work with. We tested sending half of the audience to their landing page, while the second half were served these Lead Gen Forms. As you can see in the results below, the Lead Gen Forms saw a greater ROI than the conversions from the landing page.

Now, a year later, LinkedIn has added three new enhancements to its Lead Gen Forms in order to continue driving more reach, response, and a higher ROI for its marketers using lead generation.

Bid auto-optimizations for Lead Gen Forms

Marketers are now able to use automatic optimization in Campaign Manager for their campaigns using Lead Gen Forms. As a result of this auto-bidding feature, marketers will see more leads at a lower cost per lead. According to LinkedIn, Beta users saw an average 23% decrease in cost per lead while also seeing a 30% increase in lead form submissions.

Desktop delivery

LinkedIn originally rolled out Lead Gen Forms only for mobile devices, where getting users to fill out a form is especially difficult and time-consuming. The convenience of having a person’s profile information auto-filled made it much easier for the user to complete and submit the form. Now LinkedIn has extended the auto-fill option to desktop user as well using a pop-up window, giving marketers an easier way to reach people across devices.

Accessible lead management

With the increase in lead volume due to the success with Lead Gen Forms, marketers need an easy way to manage their leads. Through the LinkedIn platform, marketers can download leads or set up direct integration with a preferred marketing automation or CRM provider. With this enhancement, marketers can now also send their lead data directly to Salesforce Sales Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics 365, two new LinkedIn partners. If your CRM isn’t one of these tools, there are alternative solutions, like linking your leads to your CRM through a tool like Zapier.

These enhancements show great promise in helping improve Lead Generation campaign performance for Sponsored Content. However, it is also important to look at the bigger picture. In order to improve performance overall, taking a multi-product approach allows for your campaign to be seen and remembered across the platform.

For higher education, the three parts to the student journey include awareness, inquiry, and leads and enrollment. Each tactic on LinkedIn caters to different parts of the funnel. By using a combination of the tactics, a campaign can be sure to reach the student throughout to ensure maximum exposure and success.

What the student journey looks like on LinkedIn

Using an integrated, multi-product approach as pictured above will maximize your ad’s performance and boost conversions, as it creates brand familiarity and awareness over time without overexposure to one type of ad.

What does this look like in action for higher education marketers? We spoke with Matt Bohlen, Recruiting Supervisor for Graduate Programs at the University of Michigan–Flint, about his experience using LinkedIn as a marketing platform. “Prior to working with Carnegie, we had done very little with LinkedIn to reach our target market,” Bohlen said. “Since launching our most recent LinkedIn campaign with Carnegie, we have seen a direct correlation between the LinkedIn population and potential MBA students. Carnegie’s expertise has helped us to connect to this population.”

So, how did we help find success for the University of Michigan–Flint? We used a multi-product approach with both a Sponsored Content campaign and InMail campaign for their MBA program. As seen in the chart below, using Sponsored Content enhanced the results of their InMail campaign, as they reached students who already had brand familiarity further down the funnel.

LinkedIn continues to add updates and enhancements to their platform like Lead Gen Forms. Look out during the next few months for more auto-bidding features and new advertising opportunities across all campaign tactics to help continue to improve performance.

Questions? Feel free to reach out!

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