LinkedIn can be a powerful marketing and lead generation tool, particularly for B2B marketers. But, without a strategy for analyzing your LinkedIn marketing efforts, it’s impossible to know whether you’re on the right track or whether you need to shift course.
Research suggests that measuring ROI is the number-one challenge B2B marketers face, according to a report from Demandbase. Fortunately, as LinkedIn has matured, so have its marketing technology and analytics tools.
Marketers turn to LinkedIn to achieve two primary goals: to increase brand awareness and engagement through thought leadership, and to drive lead generation. Analyzing a few of the site’s built-in metrics can help illuminate what’s working—and what’s not—to achieve these LinkedIn marketing goals, ultimately impacting the bottom line.
LinkedIn’s built-in analytics offer a range of insights on your company’s page and the content you share. A quick click on the Analytics tab reveals various metrics to measure post performance, similar to the analytics you might find for a Facebook page.
These metrics allow brands to gauge how people are engaging with their content via their company pages. The number of clicks on content updates, likes, shares, comments, and company follows are all indicators of audience engagement that can boost brand awareness.
LinkedIn also packages these individual metrics into one overall engagement metric, which measures “the number of times members clicked, liked, commented on, and shared your content in both organic and sponsored campaigns.” Use this metric to get an overall picture of how well a piece of content is performing. LinkedIn allows you to compare your current stats with past performance, so you can see whether you’ve improved your effectiveness over the past week, month, or even six months.
Marketers should also pay attention to referral traffic to their website. For example, you may discover that a company blog post generates significant traffic from LinkedIn after you post the content to your company page. How much traffic and how long visitors linger are indicative of whether people are engaging with your brand and content.
Tracking which posts gain traction (and which don’t) can also teach marketers how to shape content to increase their company pages’ effectiveness. If you have a good understanding of which posts are performing better organically, you’ll have a good idea of which posts are good choices to sponsor, and use that knowledge to boost engagement.
A careful look at audience engagement can also reveal potential leads and influencers. Those users who are more apt to share content might be the type of influencers you want to nurture relationships with as potential leads.
If you’re using LinkedIn for marketing, you’ll want to know whether your efforts are reaching your target audience. In analyzing your audience’s data, there are a few data points to keep in mind.
Your company follower count tells you if your updates are serving to boost the number of people interested in your brand. If you see a spike in followers after you share certain styles of content, you know your content is resonating. LinkedIn’s follower demographics can break your company page’s following down by seniority, industry, company size, and/or function within the company. If a certain demographic is missing, you may want to tailor future posts to reach that under-represented segment.
However, follower count doesn’t reveal everything about your potential audience. You may find that some people are visiting your page without choosing to follow it. (LinkedIn lists the companies a user follows on the individual’s public profile, so some users may be more selective about which companies they follow). LinkedIn shows you the demographic profile of those who visit your page, so you can get a feel for whether you’re reaching the right people through both visitors and followers.
You also should note the connections your employees have, because when employees share your company-related content the reach is often greater than you could achieve from sharing content on your company page alone. If you have 20 employees who actively share company content, and each employee has 200 connections, that means that there are potentially 4,000 people viewing and engaging with content from your company.
Engagement data and follower demographics are handy indicators of brand awareness, but most marketers also want to know whether their efforts are converting followers into potential leads. LinkedIn now supports conversion tracking for sponsored content and text ads, allowing marketers to measure how many leads, newsletter sign-ups, downloads and purchases are generated from specific campaigns. The new feature allows marketers to see what campaigns, ads, and audiences are driving business leads.
The fact that so many B2B marketers turn to LinkedIn to reach their goals shows that the platform is a useful marketing technology tool. By implementing a full-fledged plan to analyze their campaigns, marketers can better make the case for devoting marketing resources to LinkedIn.