How to Use Social Media Advertising to Generate Leads: Part I

by John Hornell on November 1st, 2011 Lead Generation

In an ideal world you would be able to build brand awareness, increase authority and generate more leads through the power of organic search and social media engagement. Unfortunately, in the crowded milieu of the web, and with millions of Google Number One contenders, these organic activities sometimes don’t suffice. Here’s where social media advertising comes in.

Yes, you’ll need to pay a little extra but think about the benefits: your website gaining better visibility and your message getting straight to your target customer. If you could afford it, we definitely recommend spicing up your marketing activities with a dollop of social media ads… in addition to your daily nuggets of search engine optimisation, social media interaction and blogging, of course.

So what are the best advertising channels on the internet? Today we present a close-up of traditional Google pay-per-click campaigns and LinkedIn ads.

Google PPC

Before the advent of social media, Google ads were the primary advertising platform on the web. Google ads’ conversion success relies on people searching for a certain word or phrase, and clicking a link which then takes them directly to your website. They are usually positioned at a prominent spot in Google and you pay per each click you get (hence the name Pay-per-Click).

Because PPC ads rely on search, they have to be meticulously optimised for keywords. Practice shows that effective Google ads are those which sound appealing and inviting without being offensively promotional. So if you’re thinking of shelling out on PPC campaigns, make sure you word your ads very carefully – you don’t want to see your efforts go to waste. And if the ads are not generating enough leads, you should test the effectiveness of your ad copy and landing pages and refine them accordingly.


Based on an entirely different principle altogether, ads on the professional networking platform are proving to be resoundingly successful lead generators, especially for B2B campaigns.

Take for example our client, HiSoftware. After running ad campaigns on both Google and LinkedIn, the web content and software provider experienced a conversion rate lower than 10% with Google ads, whereas LinkedIn ad conversion rates soared to 24% while reducing cost per lead to ÂŁ7.78 after the first three months.

This proves that LinkedIn is winning hands-on in the B2B social advertising arena. The reasons are evident: unlike Google ads, which are based around search, LinkedIn ads target personas more precisely. By matching tightly defined parameters such as job, industry, company, age and/or location, LinkedIn adverts are more likely to be effective in driving qualified leads.

Of course, we can’t forget social media giants Facebook and Twitter, which have a lot to offer in terms of social advertising opportunities. We’ll deal with them in another blog article so watch this space!

Have you had experience with search or social media advertising? We’d love to hear your stories. 

About John Hornell

John is the founder and CEO of Brightfire. The business launched in 2004 and began focusing on Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation in 2010 working with technology sector clients The agency’s early success was recognised when it received Hubspot’s International Partner of the Year award in 2011. John was also delighted to be a speaker at Inbound 2013. A graduate of the highly respected Strathclyde Business School, John has 15 years marketing experience, working with a wide range of blue chip and investor backed growth companies. He is also a man for all seasons. An avid skier and telemarker he spent a few winters back in the day hanging out in Canada, New Zealand and Chamonix, France. Nowadays he gets back to mountains as often as possible.

Follow John Hornell