Social media marketing is one of the leading digital marketing strategies for both B2C and B2B, with 83% of B2B marketers incorporating social platforms into their marketing programs.
You might already have some assumptions about how each platform can be used – LinkedIn is for professional networking and Facebook is for fun, etc. But if you’re putting each into boxes, you are limiting what you can achieve on each platform.
Instead, read on about the features and drawbacks of both sites and where B2B marketers may struggle or succeed on each.
Each social platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and what may be a strength for one marketer could be a weakness for another. Comparing the features of Facebook and LinkedIn can guide you towards a platform that is tailored to your needs.
Facebook is still the most popular social platform in 2022, with 2.89 billion monthly users worldwide; it is the third most visited website in the world, behind Google and YouTube. This means, no matter who is in your target audience, you are guaranteed to find potential leads.
These users also spend more time on Facebook than on other platforms, at an average of about 34 minutes a day. The more time a user spends on social media, the more likely they are to encounter your content or ads.
Though Facebook is especially popular among B2C marketers, with 96% using Facebook, 89% of B2B marketers use Facebook.
If you’re looking to dive into Facebook advertising for the first time, you’re not alone; according to Wordstream, “the number of advertisers using Facebook has more than doubled in the last 18 months,” with 2 millions advertisers in the past two years using Facebook ads for the first time.
When it comes to how Facebook can help B2B marketers specifically, the numbers don’t lie:
- Average Click-Through Rate (CTR): 0.78%
- Average Cost per Click (CPC): $2.52
- Average Conversion Rate (CVR): 10.63%
- Average Cost per Action (CPA): $23.77
These numbers were found by Wordstream, and in comparison to other industries, B2B advertising on Facebook is quite affordable; compared to the auto industry, which had a CVR of 5.11% and a CPA of $43.84, B2B advertising is much more effective.
Additionally, the ad CTA buttons can nearly triple your click-through rates. Not only are more people seeing your ads on Facebook, but engagement is increasing as well.
Facebook’s massive size is also an advantage for advertisers. All of the data collected by Facebook can be used to better target your ads, so potential leads will see your ad before they might even realize they are interested in your offer. This data tells you everything you need to know about engaging with your target audience based on information collected from your ideal users and other users like them.LinkedIn
Facebook might have the largest audience, but LinkedIn is the top social platform for B2B lead generation. Though Facebook has more users, LinkedIn is more likely to have industry leaders you want to connect with as a B2B marketer.
LinkedIn has 722 million total users with 310 million monthly active users; an article published by LinkedIn in 2016 claimed there are 61 million high-level influencers and 40 million decision makers on the platform, which has most likely grown even further by now. LinkedIn also generated 80% of all B2B leads from social media platforms.
How users view the two platforms may impact online activity. LinkedIn is often seen as a more professional platform, so users may be more inclined to engage with professional or industry-related content. This could explain the difference in lead generation between Facebook and LinkedIn.
You can also better target your audiences on LinkedIn. While Facebook is great for B2C marketing, LinkedIn is often more up-to-date and accurate when it comes to B2B targeting.
If people most often use Facebook for personal use, there is less data to collect from those users regarding their professional lives. LinkedIn users are more likely to have their profile updated and accurate to represent their current occupation.
LinkedIn’s advertising supports much more precise targeting than Facebook. In addition to the standard demographic segments, LinkedIn has many criteria that allow you to break down audiences based on their company (connections, industry, size, follower of), education (field of study, degrees, member schools), and job experience (function, seniority, title, skills, years of experience).
All of these segments are especially important for B2B advertisers, which is probably why 92% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to promote their brands. B2B marketers believe LinkedIn Ads deliver the best value, with 58% reporting high ROI from LinkedIn ads.
Though Facebook has an incredible reach around the globe, organic posts still struggle to reach fans. With billions of posts shared every day, it is easy for your content to get lost. About 5% of followers see posts organically.
Despite Facebook’s impressive conversion rate, B2B companies on Facebook have an average click-through-rate of 0.78%. This number may be disappointing at first, but combined with an average B2B conversion rate of almost 11%, it shows the value of targeted marketing. Although not many viewers are clicking your ads, those who do are more likely to make a purchase, making them much more valuable leads.
The size of Facebook and the information it collects from users is a huge advantage to advertisers, but this can be less impactful on B2B marketers. Though many businesses utilize Facebook, it is still seen as a casual platform for personal use. This means that when people log onto Facebook, they might be less likely to look at work-related content and instead focus on B2C content.
This information collected is then more indicative of users’ consumer behavior and may not accurately represent their behavior as professionals.
Cost of Advertising
On average, LinkedIn Ads cost more per click than Facebook Ads. The average CPC across industries on Facebook is only $1.72, compared to LinkedIn which has an overall CPC of $5.58. This could in-part be due to the size difference of the platforms – you are more likely to attract more clicks from a larger group of people.
While the cost may vary wildly between platforms, CPC is not the only metric you should be looking at, nor is it the most important. Sometimes, it is worth spending more per click if it means more valuable leads.
The audience on LinkedIn is much smaller compared to the most popular social platforms, which immediately limits the number of people you can reach. It can also make it difficult to create large target audiences if you are narrowing down your criteria too much.
While this is initially a limitation, it just means your LinkedIn marketing must be more precisely targeted than Facebook marketing. You might need to run A/B testing for your audiences to see which criteria gets you to the right people. A concrete understanding of who you are trying to reach is necessary for creating an advertising campaign that reaches your target market.
Choosing a Platform
Even after comparing, it can still be difficult to choose one to prioritize over the other. While there are many elements affecting this decision, certain metrics and factors are more impactful than others.
Analytics and Engagement
You want to choose the platform that performs the best. To do so, you must compare how content and ads on each platform engages your audience and the value it adds to your marketing program.
Luckily, both Facebook and LinkedIn have Page Analytics that allow you to review how well your page is performing. Tracking and comparing important metrics like lead generation, overall engagement, CPC, and ROI will give you a clearer idea of what platform is most conducive to your goals.
ROI is one of the easiest and most important metrics to track. Whenever you spend money to further your business, you want to see some sort of greater return.
Comparing ROI for social media will tell you what platform is bringing in the most money, whether directly through sales or indirectly through brand recognition and audience engagement.
Where you invest money and how it affects your progress is entirely up to the needs and goals of your business. Comparing your returns is one of the easiest ways to determine what channels are more valuable and therefore what channels you should prioritize.
Ultimately, you have to make a decision based on what you think is best for your unique brand.
If you feel that you receive more valuable engagement on one platform despite saving money on another, you need to choose the channel that brings you closer towards your company’s goals.
The best part is, you don’t have to choose! Most marketers make use of several channels while prioritizing some. Use both Facebook and LinkedIn to engage audiences wherever they go, for personal and professional use.
B2B marketers face unique challenges compared to B2C marketing, and making use of both platforms may lead to a more effective and comprehensive B2B marketing program. Always check in on your progress to ensure you are always working towards your ultimate goals.
Thanks for reading,
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in October 2019 and has been edited and updated in January 2022.