Facebook vs LinkedIn: Which is best for B2B marketing?

November 3, 2022

Social Media

LinkedIn is the #1 channel 94% of B2B marketers use to distribute content— is it because LinkedIn has always been the go-to B2B platform or because there's no other platform to use?

The thing is, we can't leave Facebook out of the marketing discussion. Meta's new technology, volume of users and data allow it to compete effectively in the B2B space. 

Let's analyse both platforms and come to a conclusion together.

What Do The Numbers Say

With almost 3 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter of 2022, Facebook is the most used online social network worldwide. In comparison, LinkedIn has over 700 million users with an estimated 50% being active. 

Facebook users spend about 33 minutes per day on the platform, while LinkedIn users spend a mere 17 minutes per month using the platform. 

It's clear that advertising and promotional activity on Facebook can reach a far larger audience, but as marketers, we don’t care about how big the audience is— but how big OUR target audience is. 

To know which channel to use in your B2B marketing, you should think of costs (surprise, surprise) and where does your target audience like to hang.

Which Is Cheaper: Facebook or LinkedIn?

Broadly speaking, you’ll pay less per click with Facebook—the average CPC for Facebook is about $0.35 globally, and $0,32 in the UK. The CPC benchmark for Linkedin is a whopping $5.58 globally (across all industries alongside a huge number of other variables).

This may not always be the case, but if you’re targeting a similar audience on both LinkedIn and Facebook, the latter often has a lower CPC. Let's say you're selling a big-ticket item or service—who cares if it costs you $100 per lead in comparison to $30 if you’re landing a $250,000 sale? You do, because why pay more for the same? 

Looking at cost alone, Facebook is well ahead of LinkedIn, but that’s only part of the story. Cheaper clicks are great, but you could be throwing good money after bad if the ‘clicks’ are not coming from your target audience.

Targeting Your Audience: LinkedIn vs Facebook

When it comes to reaching a B2C target audience, Facebook has 98 data points that you can use to target your ads, which overshadows LinkedIn’s ad targeting options. 

Both Facebook and LinkedIn cover the basics for B2B targeting—location, age, gender, education, job title, employer and industry. However, relevant job title, employer, industry data etc. are more likely to be populated and kept up to date on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has the option to target employees (or even past employees) of specific companies, by specific industry, companies of a particular size and beyond job title—job function and seniority. In addition, you can target individuals who are in specific business focused groups on LinkedIn with  specific skills they have shared on their profile. 

Meaning, it's way easier to target CTOs of financial services companies, with over 100 employees based in London with LinkedIn. Still, you can do it with Facebook as well—for example, you can target individuals with the job title of CTO working in financial services living within a 50 mile radius from London.

When it comes to identifying specific individuals in specific industries or at companies of a certain size, LinkedIn makes it easy to do and execute. However, Facebook doesn’t go down without a fight.

Remarketing & Lookalike Audiences

Facebook is way ahead of the game when it comes to ad technology: it offers a better optimization algorithm, greater traffic volume and a variety of ad types. You don’t need to tell Facebook that you’re interested in Entrepreneurism—you just click on something related and it now knows.

Fundamentally, what you can do on Facebook with respect to remarketing and lookalike audiences you can also do on LinkedIn, and vice versa—but there are some areas to consider:

  1. Website Audiences

Retarget by adding code from a particular platform to your site to deliver ads to your visitors. With both Facebook and LinkedIn you can segment the traffic by pages they visit, or don’t visit. For Facebook you need just 20 visitors to kick this off, and 300 with LinkedIn. So, if you have low website traffic, LinkedIn won’t work.

  1. Matched Audiences

Upload a list of email addresses of prospects to either platform, and they’ll match to their users and deliver relevant content. 

But which email address do you have—work or personal? If you have a vast list of work email addresses almost any will match to Facebook profiles—I mean, who uses their work email address to set up their Facebook account? On LinkedIn, users usually add their work email addresses, so this is where Facebook falls short.

  1. Account Targeting

Have a list of companies that you want to target? Upload it to LinkedIn to create a campaign, and refine further by using their data points to create a list of decision makers. Sorry, Facebook—LinkedIn has got you here!

  1. Lookalike Audiences

Target people who are similar to your customers by using data such as page fans, customer lists, or website visitors. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer similar functionalities to leverage campaigns to your audiences. 

Facebook’s technology is far ahead of LinkedIn’s, alongside a much larger user base and significantly more data points. However, results can only be as good as the data provided. Much like the issues with ‘Matched Audiences’, if you upload a list with unmatchable email addresses, the Facebook algorithm will have much less to go on. But you can leverage the Facebook pixel and base your audience of those that have visited certain pages of your site—such as a checkout page if you have a SaaS product, for example.

Facebook & LinkedIn Ad Types

We have compiled a brief overview of what ad types are available on both platforms and which ones are unique.

Sponsored posts

LinkedIn’s sponsored updates work similar to Facebook’s sponsored posts. Both offer sponsored posts with images or videos that show in the middle of your audience’s news feed, leading to more engagement. 

Facebook also offer the two further alternatives:

#1. Carousel ads – Originally created for e-commerce advertisers, but can definitely be used in B2B advertising. Carousel ads allow the user to scroll sideways through a handful of images.

#2. Slideshow ads – From a set of images you can create a brief slideshow, especially if you don’t have a good video, or you need to target regions with a slow connection.

Lead ads

Get leads directly from either Facebook's or LinkedIn's news feed, without sending users to your site. You can collect details like name, email, phone number, company etc. When a user clicks on the ad, your lead form will pop up, pre-populated with their details. 

Combine lead ads with a remarketing strategy, serving them to those that have already visited product pages without buying and offering a call back or demo to deliver solid leads. 

Linkedin ads you won't found on Facebook:

Sponsored InMail

Have the ability to send a form or an email style message to any of LinkedIn user. The InMail feature also uses LinkedIn’s segmenting features to choose a highly targeted group of users to send your message to.

Display & text ads

These ads can appear in multiple places such as a user’s inbox or on the side or bottom of the LinkedIn homepage. You can include an image or video, as well as ad copy.

There’s More To It 

By now, you may be thinking that with its almost limitless targeting options, ad types and lower cost, Facebook is the clear winner of the B2B battle. But wait. 

LinkedIn is far superior in delivering B2B leads in both quantity and quality. LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites & blogs. Facebook may have more monthly active users, but LinkedIn clearly separates itself as the go-to for B2B content distribution.

And The Winner Is…

This is where we tell you we can’t say one platform is better than the other for B2B lead generation. 🙈

Broadly speaking, if you have a small budget and are targeting small local businesses, Facebook could be your bag. If you have a larger budget and are targeting large corporates, then LinkedIn would be your go-to channel.

Our advice is to start with doing audience research. Both platforms offer self-service ad tools, so it is really easy to find where your audience lives, the size on each platform and a cost estimate for ads. From here, start testing ad types and creative with a small budget and measure conversion rates. Some simple maths will bring you to the average cost per acquisition. But keep in mind—although one platform may deliver more conversions for less money, always measure the quality of the lead and the value of the sale. 

Need help with your B2B marketing strategy?

At Growth Gorilla, we’re experts in all things social and how to use platforms to increase growth. Let's talk about your social media marketing challenges and needs—and find a solution. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach the treetops...

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