LinkedIn has done very well for itself with advertising. Recruiters and B2B-ers alike flocked to LinkedIn advertising because of its ability to target specific professionals and industries. Facebook has also done well with advertising, but they’re mostly attracting consumer brands trying to reach their possible buyers. Now, Facebook wants to attract recruiters away from LinkedIn to advertise on Facebook.
Starting later this year, Facebook will allow its advertisers to target users based on their employer and job title. The new advertising system is currently being tested and will roll out in March. Facebook wants to attract job recruitment marketers so that it can directly compete with LinkedIn.
With this new advertising strategy, “Facebook can start going after two things,” says Jason Stein, president of the social media agency Laundry Service, “B2B targeting and recruiting.” LinkedIn has all but cornered that market for years, allowing advertisers to target potential hires as well as B2B targets via company and job title.
Before the change, Facebook only allowed advertisers to target ads based on whether or note someone likes a page. But, as Digiday points out, someone that likes the Coca Cola page may not be the best candidate for an opening at a beverage company. Now, Facebook will allow advertisers to refine their searches by employer and job title so that recruiters can target potential hires in much the same way they did on LinkedIn.
Of course, LinkedIn does have an inherent advantage. They are so great for B2B and recruiting because business people spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. And, when they’re on LinkedIn, they’re focused on business and business-related matters. Most of these same people have Facebook as well, and probably spend more time on Facebook. But, they expect a different type of content when on Facebook (fun, entertaining, interesting, etc.) which definitely makes it harder to market to them. Most people are on Facebook for fun, not business. It’s definitely possible to get them to focus on something business related, but it better be really good content.
The new advertising changes will also be helpful outside of the B2B/job recruitment arena. Brands can also use a person’s job title and employer to target consumers. For example, “if consumers work at Goldman Sachs…they’re much more likely to have a high discretionary income,” says Matt Britton, CEO at MRY digital agency. So, with that high discretionary income, they might be interested in purchasing luxury goods like Jaguar cars and Rolex watches.
While brands will benefit, it’s pretty clear that Facebook made this change to their advertising platform to try to pull advertising dollars away from LinkedIn. In the third quarter of 2013, LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions (which allows companies to recruit talent) generated $224.7 million in revenue. Marketing Solutions, which allows brands and users to promote LinkedIn updates, generated $88.5 million.
No matter what Facebook’s internal motivations were in making the change, it’s clear that this new version of Facebook advertising will change the way advertisers think about Facebook ads.