Facebook vs. LinkedIn Advertising: Who Wins the Matchup?

Facebook vs. LinkedIn Advertising: Who Wins the Matchup?


Clients constantly ask us which advertising platform is better for marketing specific programs. In the spirit of March Madness 2017, our digital advertising team hosted a matchup between fan-favorite, Facebook, and the underdog, LinkedIn. While we can make informed recommendations based on ongoing data analysis (call us digital bracketologists), there’s always the potential for an upset.

[Tweet “Matchup between fan-favorite, Facebook, and underdog, LinkedIn. A Cinderella story in the making?”]

Is this a Cinderella story in the making?

MBA Programs

Both Facebook and LinkedIn have solid targeting capabilities for MBA prospects, allowing for targeting based on criteria such as location, demographics, user behavior, education level and professional background. However, when capturing awareness from prospective MBA students, LinkedIn has an advantage over Facebook.

LinkedIn is geared more to a business-professional audience and has robust targeting methods, including years of experience and skills, that are currently not available on the Facebook advertising platform. The ‘years of experience’ option is especially valuable for MBA programs that require a candidate to have a minimum amount of experience. Skills targeting on LinkedIn allows MBA programs to reach prospects with desired skills — a tactic no other social media channel offers.

[Tweet “Skills targeting on LinkedIn allows MBA programs to reach prospects with desired skills.”]

Winner: LinkedIn


Law School Programs

A traditional law school with students comprised primarily of recent undergraduates who studied pre-law, psychology or political science to prepare for law school should consider where their audience connects socially. Many LinkedIn users are between 30-64 years old (about 61 percent), so this is a great platform for targeting prospects with years of working experience, but not as effective for reaching college juniors, seniors and recent graduates. This age segment (21-25 year-olds, let’s say) is more active on social channels like Facebook and Instagram.

We recommend targeting law prospects on Facebook over LinkedIn, using targeting methods including field of study (pre-law, political science, etc.), interests related to the LSAT and law school and any common feeder schools for your program.

Winner: Facebook


Graduate Education Programs

In the past, we’ve seen Facebook outperform LinkedIn when it comes to qualified lead generation and overall cost per lead, but over the past year, LinkedIn has given Facebook a run for its money. While Facebook continues to provide a more efficient cost per lead, LinkedIn has great momentum with many of their new and updated advertising solutions.

Both platforms offer detailed audience targeting options such as job title, field of study and employer. Facebook offers more options for interest targeting, but LinkedIn offers skills-based targeting, which allows you to hone in on specific skills — a real advantage for the niche education programs. However, we suggest testing out both platforms for yourself.

[Tweet “Facebook offers more options for interest targeting, but LinkedIn offers skills-based targeting.”]

Winner: OT (To Be Determined)


Who will Take Down the Net?

When it comes to generating brand awareness and program leads for the best value, Facebook and LinkedIn are both No. 1 seeds. Each channel provides effective options to target your prospective students and highly visual elements to help tell your program’s story. Though the channels have their advantages and are better suited for certain programs, we recommend testing both channels to see what works best.

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John Staak
John Staak
March 22, 2017