LinkedIn Ads vs. Facebook Ads – A Case Study

I recently ran two ads, one LinkedIn Adson Facebook and one on LinkedIn and the results couldn’t be more different.

LinkedIn now has their own Pay-Per-Click advertising called DirectAds.   You may not have even noticed the ads and that’s part of the problem.

Linked in has 3 types of ads, Banner Ads, Media Box ads and DirectAds.  You can access the DirectAds feature by going to the More menu at the top of your LinkedIn screen.  The Banner ads and Media Box ads are for larger budgets ($25,000+  wooheee a little rich for my blood!).

Here’s where the PPC ads appear in LinkedIn.  Did you miss them?  I know I have.



But I got a coupon from LinkedIn for $100 of free advertising.  So I thought, “What the heck, I’ll give it a try.”

I created two similar campaigns in Facebook and LinkedIn.  Unfortunately I couldn’t replicate them exactly because I was advertising an Event in Facebook and just advertising a sales page in LinkedIn.   The sales page and the Facebook event had the exact same wording.  I was advertising a Facebook Bootcamp event in Denver and limited my geographic target to only the Denver area.

When it came time bid for my clicks on LinkedIn, I was given a recommended bid of a staggering $4.23/click!  That click better be good!  I went with their recommendation and ended up paying $3.25/click.  Still a pretty penny.

Facebook ads recommend a $1.25/click bid which sounded still high but better than LinkedIn.  I ran both ads for about 3 days and here are the two results:


LinkedIn ad


Facebook Bootcamp adI know the Facebook ad results are a little hard to see, so here is a chart:


Facebook LinkedIn
Impressions 212,632 70,679
Clicks 74 23
Average Cost per Click $0.31 $3.25
Total Spent $65.09 $74.78
Conversions 7 0


Winner? FACEBOOK!!! I don’t know who you think you are, LinkedIn, charging $3.25/click but you better deliver some good value at those prices.  And I just didn’t see it.


Grandma Mary

Grandma Mary is a slightly cranky Social Media Edutainer, helping small businesses leverage the power of social media. Learning social media is wayyy more fun with Grandma Mary.

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  • I’m curious how many actual results that you’ve gotten out of that…do you have any confirmed attendees? Have been contemplating a FB ad myself, but just have been a little leery… thanks for the info so far!

  • Hi Diane –
    Thanks for your question! Since I was advertising an event, I did get confirmed attendees. Now it’s a matter of them actually coming to the event! And we know how that can go. But I am able to send them updates and connect with them. So that’s good. Good luck with your advertising!

  • Hi there. I found the exact same thing when I compared my Facebook and LinkedIn ads. In fact, the first day I ran my Facebook ad, I got a new website customer. I love how specific you can be with targeting, and I too, wonder how LinkedIn can get away with charging so much.

  • Hi Diane,

    Thanks for the comparison, it’s very interesting. Any chance that the FB ad has better stats because so many more people spend a ton more time there? Also, the ads I’ve seen on FB are uniform, look good, have a visual, and are always in the same, predictable place. Makes sense. The LI PPC ad is horrible and close to useless. Another possible reason why the comparison shows that type of ad has fewer clicks.

    I run an ad for my Nouveau Vintage Jewelry page on FB and have had very good results. Many clicks, impressions, and new fans—all for minimal cost. Haven’t been running it for too long, so I’m just interested in gaining a following and generating interest at this point. I know patience and consistency is important in advertising.


  • Hi Sandra –
    You are right on – FB ads look so much better that I think you are going to get better results. Plus you are sending them somewhere within FB where they are already playing. So glad you’re ad is running well and thanks for stopping by!
    Grandma 🙂

  • Thanks so much Alisa for your comment – yes I love the specific targeting too – it’s fantastic! I think those LI ads can’t be that expensive for long – no one will use them!

  • Hi,

    Interesting little experiment. I have dabbled in both Facebook and LinkedIn ads, neither too seriously and neither with any real results, except for 600 or so Facebook fans that have done nothing for us.

    I do have a couple of small critiques, if you don’t mind.

    1. You were advertising a Facebook event. Clearly more people are going to click and convert on Facebook. When people start doing that, Facebook will give you more impressions. Heavy LinkedIn users typically shun Facebook for professional use, and keep it strictly personal over there. Therefore, they probably wouldn’t be interested in a Facebook bootcamp event. The heavy Facebook users are a completely different story.

    2. The reason LinkedIn ads are so much more expensive is they have more targeting value. It’s true that on Facebook you can target by a variety of demographics, interests, employers, and so on. But again, most people are still using Facebook for strictly personal use, so they won’t provide information like industry, company size, job function, and seniority. These are all on LinkedIn. To be able to pinpoint these things is very valuable, particularly for B2B companies.

    Facebook Ads are great if you’re selling a Facebook Bootcamp event. But for so many who need to generate leads among specific employees in specific companies, LinkedIn Ads provide a much more valuable option. This is why some strategic marketing thinking is so important.

    Thanks for the case study!


  • Hi Carl! Thanks for your comments! I wholeheartedly agree, it wasn’t a completely fair experiment since the Events were within Facebook and being a Facebook Bootcamp, it naturally had more appeal.

    I do believe that the targeting is better on LinkedIn but if no one notices the ads are there, then it’s not much value. I still believe that it is hard to re-coup $3.25/click and that is too expensive. But you definitely have to take your market into account and where they participate. Great comments and insight, thanks Carl!

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  • Guest

    Just ran a test today on Linked in – targeted my ad to only women. But apparently that doesn’t work because Men were seeing my ad.

    Interface is ok, but the system is too expensive and the targeting doesn’t work well enough… yet

  • Guest

    Just ran a test today on Linked in – targeted my ad to only women. But apparently that doesn’t work because Men were seeing my ad.

    Interface is ok, but the system is too expensive and the targeting doesn’t work well enough… yet

  • Interesting that the targeting didn’t work! It is expensive that’s for sure! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Interesting that the targeting didn’t work! It is expensive that’s for sure! Thanks for stopping by!

  • This is a very good case study! I think the increasing in competition and bidding are very annoying. Split testing for your campaign is a huge key for me to run a successful campaign.

  • Thanks Justin! Split testing is an extremely powerful thing!

  • After running the same campaign on Facebook and Linkedin I come to the same conclusion:
    Linkedin is almost 10x more expensive per impression (CPM: $3.00 vs. $0.30)
    Linkedin effective cost per click is 3x more than Facebook ($4 vs $1.2)
    Linkedin ad are barely visible. I never saw my own ad, so I do not trust that I spend my money on something real.

    The only thing that linkedin has going for it is that it has way more precise targeting within the specific community I try to reach. I people do not specify their workplace, I cannot target them properly in FB. Also, Linkedin allows targeting by job position or interest. That all doesn’t work too well in FB. But overall, I think that FB is hands-down the winner.

  • Russ Moulton

    Whoa!  Impressive pricing differences.  Couldn’t figure out the dates you ran your testing. 
    Do you think the recent revamping of ads at LinkedIn will have any impact on the value or pricing?
    What additional value could you possible get from paying $2.94 more per click?
    Good information.  Thanks for the article.

  • roy norbury

    grandma mary my bootcamp was at glenwood springs when I left the Amtrack to take photo’s and the train”left me” in beautiful Colorado. With eleven grandchildren I had to keep “hopping” somehow west
    to san Francisco and home to sydney australia,re-visit denver on my bucket list. Oz gramps

  • Rhiannon Monks

    Hi, I found this article useful, but I think you have made an error in your F/B table (self generated). You state the CPC is 0.31 when in fact that is the CPM, so you are not effectively comparing the two (although still the FB results come out on top).


  • Sylvain

    Think twice before trying out LinkedIn ads. After you give your credit card number, it is quite difficult to anticipate how much it will cost you, and even harder to have them remove your billing info from their system.

  • wanda granata

    very usefull!

  • Guest

    I have been trying to understand both LinkedIn and Facebook without much success. I aim towards the commercial aviation community and really only seem to see job searches and some photos look like something you would post on dating services.

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  • Joanne

    I ran ads on Facebook and LinkedIn as well, and found the same results! Was advertising a webpage and had a pathetic number of clicks on LinkedIn. Perhaps people on LinkedIn are more focused looking for job opportunities, while people on Facebook tend to be open to more information.. You could try Google Adwords too, gave me good results as well 🙂

    Thanks for the post!

  • Key Security

    I ended up paying LinkedIn $6.25 per click (according to Google Analytics)

  • at those rates, LinkedIn should be showing me the profiles of those who clicked. Rip-off. And they just sent me an email telling me that my daily budget is up and if I double it then I’ll have twice as many clicks – or I’ll throw twice as much money away! 

  • I had almost the same experience. LinkedIn costed me a way higher. Nobody can imagine to give such a high CPC for those leads. None of them converted for me on top of that…

  • Niroshan

    winner will be decide after analyzing CPA

  • Leanne CableOrganizer

    I agree whole heartedly

  • focusedlife

    This was super helpful. I was curious to find out if there were any case studies regarding LinkedIn paid traffic…and here it is…for this I thank you and am very grateful.