A month or two ago I got some spam from LinkedIn offering $50 in advertising credit on their site. Since I'd just gone back to freelancing — perhaps the ad credit "offer" was not coincidental? — I figured I might as well succumb.
Succumb I did.
- First of all, to use the $50 coupon I had to also put in like $5 or $10 of my own money up front. Lame, but what's $5 or $10 compared to science?
- I put about 2 minutes of thought into my ad itself, and then tweaked both the image and the wording after a few days mostly because I noticed they were using like "repeatedly re-compress this JPEG until it's less than half a kilobyte" quality on my picture.
- The ad ran April 9 to May 4 with one accidental pause for a week early on.
- When I posted the ad, LinkedIn took the liberty of showing everyone "connected" to my profile this fact. Kinda embarrassing, but it's not like we take the site that seriously anyway… (I actually wrote this up because one of my freelance friends saw the post and asked me to share how it went.)
- Over 215k impressions, 43 clicks and 2 "leads"
- …basically a "lead" is someone presses a button requesting contact. The first (accidental click? spam?) had hidden his profile or something by the time I got to it although I see it's back now but doesn't list an email address. The second (accidental click? recruiter?) didn't seem quite sure what he wanted.
- LinkedIn did NOT stop my ad campaign when my account balance ran out...instead they kept billing. I emailed support demanding a refund, got back an almost smarmy response that "that's exactly what our fine print promises" but seemed to imply I would get a refund out of the Generosity Of Their Heart. (We're not talking tons of money, maybe $20 or so....it's kinda hard to sort out what money was extra vs. the initial I-don't-know how much balance I had to add to use the coupon)
- Overall a very solid "meh" — corroborates with what I heard back in my shareware days that Advertising ⋘ Customer Satisfaction/Networking/Marketing/Product. Maybe if you knew what you're doing i.e. a degree in business/marketing, but my "Impressions" is that I paid the Sucker Tax on this one.
Here's the targeting parameters I set:
In the aforementioned Mac/iPhone shareware days at Calf Trail, we let Google run something like a buck a month in ads — search only, not their "extended network" which I've heard is pretty much dominated by spam farms and scraper sites that may even run up completely fraudulent clicks. It was kinda fun to see mine turn up when I searched for the terms, but my gut feel is that it did zilch for brand/product awareness or anything like that. Maybe should have advertised on complementary terms instead of people already in the market, but...who looks at ads if they can help it anyway?
The moral of the story is that I confirmed my bias, and remain a believer in ads being as much of a leech on me as a producer as they are on me as a consumer. For science.