Social media advertising for photographers: Facebook vs Linkedin

I’ve been promoting my photography content and services on Facebook and Google for a few years now, but I’ve never tried advertising on Linkedin until recently. So, last week I decided to test their sponsored updates in comparison to Facebook’s boosted posts.

To me, the only relevant comparison was to promote the same content to the same target audience.

On my local photographer portfolio website, I posted a short series of photos with Luxembourg city seen from the City Skyliner, the new sensation in town, on the first day it opened. I chose to promote this post because it was fresh content and it was of wide interest. Most people didn’t have the chance to visit it on the first day because it was a working day, so I knew it would draw a lot of attention.

luxembourg city skyliner photos

I chose the same targeting on my Facebook page and Linkedin company page, the main selected options being people living in Luxembourg and not connected to my pages. I chose different budgets: 4$ on Facebook and 25$ on Linkedin (who offered me a 50$ coupon to test their advertising, so I didn’t actually pay anything from my pocket). Here are the results, remember that in both cases I posted the link, and not directly the photo with a link attached:

Facebook 

facebook advertising cost per click

Yes, 1 cent per click, I’m a targeting genius. I’m usually getting results between 2-5 cents per click, so this time the content helped a lot. However, on Linkedin I’ve sponsored the same link:

Linkedin

linkedin advertising cost per click

28 cents per click. This pretty much sums it up.

I know what you’re gonna say, that I’m comparing clicks with engagements. Truth is, after carefully analyzing the results, most of the engagements on Facebook were actual clicks. And these are only the results from the promotion, without the organic ones.

In this case, the promotion on Linkedin was 28 times more expensive than the promotion on Facebook. But even if I compare a more expensive result on Facebook, the difference is still huge:

facebook advertising cost per click

Yes, most of the engagements were clicks. Again.

In conclusion, 4$ on Facebook bought at least 3 times more clicks than 25$ on Linkedin. Now 0.28$ per click is not a lot, considering that I’m paying similar for Google clicks. But at least I know that, on Google, people are really  searching for the services I’m offering, so the chances of getting tangible results out of those clicks is quite high. While on Facebook and Linkedin you mainly get awareness. I just don’t think the awareness I’m getting should be that expensive.

Regarding the audience, I truly doubt there are many people on Linkedin without a Facebook account. Or that many people are spending more time on Linkedin than on Facebook. I personally know a few cases, but they represent less than 1% of all people I know.

It’s a bit weird, because there are plenty more budgets spent on Facebook than on Linkedin, so Linkedin’s advertising should be much cheaper, when in fact is way more expensive.

I don’t even want to discuss Twitter, because their organic reach is pretty much dead and burried for me, and their advertising is more expensive than Facebook, Google and Linkedin combined.

I can’t say anything about ROI, my post wasn’t supposed to bring any income, but I highly doubt I would have had much better results coming from Linkedin than from Facebook. All networks have the same people nowadays, trust me. If you’re set on spending, you will spend, no matter where you see the ad that interests you.  Let’s just say I’m promoting portrait photography services. Will all the people who see the ad on Facebook suddenly forget about their jobs or job searching and pass the ad without even looking? Will all the people who see the ad on Linkedin suddenly remember they need a new headshot? I think not. Sure, I know that if they’re searching a portrait photographer on Google, they really need that service now, so the money for those clicks will be well spent. But that’s not our discussion here.

I don’t see where is Linkedin heading to, considering that they’re asking over 100$ for posting a job, while you can post jobs on Facebook for free (and promoting them costs a lot less).

Just a few final thoughts:

Truth be told, I’m not really happy with Facebook’s monopoly. But I’m even less happy that nobody else wants to compete with them. Linkedin has no real offer, Google has a messed up relevancy (yet their advertising really works), Twitter is only living off haters, disasters and tragedies, Instagram is Facebook’s toy, and Ello doesn’t even exist. I don’t understand Snapchat and I don’t want to understand it, because my target audience is not there, and when they’ll grow up they will also leave Snapchat.

It seems to me that Twitter and Linkedin are only getting advertising from people who don’t pay from their own pockets. You know how it works, it’s easy to spend big budgets on big campaigns and make a nice inflated report at the end, when you’re not spending your own money. That’s why you won’t see many small businesses anywhere else than Facebook and Google. I could look like a good strategy, but I don’t see them winning in the long run.

Featured photo: Facebook user.

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