LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms: The Positives Come with Some Negatives
LinkedIn’s Lead Gen forms are excellent tools for marketers who advertise on the LinkedIn platform. With the forms, you set up an ad campaign and capture up to seven pieces of prospect profile information, as well as ask a customized question – all within LinkedIn.
You’ll find lots of advantages to this, including:
- You don’t have to set up a registration form on your own site for the ad campaign
- Lead Gen forms prepopulate fields for prospects based on their LinkedIn profiles, increasing the probability that prospects will agree to share profile info
- Lead Gen forms are designed and standardized by LinkedIn, saving you time and presenting members forms they are already familiar with
- Members generally trust LinkedIn, increasing the likelihood they will agree to submit their information even if they are only marginally aware of your company, or not at all
- Leads generated via Lead Gen forms are stored in the LinkedIn database, from which you can download them to an Excel file or use integration software to automatically export them to whatever CRM or sales/marketing platform your team uses.
But there are downsides marketers should be aware of as they forecast their budgets, cost per lead or click, and expected results when using Lead Gen Forms.
Using LinkedIn Sponsored Content ads as an example, one major issue is the fact that LinkedIn charges you for clicks from your Sponsored Content ads to your LinkedIn corporate page – even though you get no profile information from those visitors. It’s an issue because parts of every Sponsored Content ad are hyperlinked to your LinkedIn corporate page, such as the upper-left portion, where your corporate logo and corporate name are displayed. It’s not uncommon for a visitor who may be interested in your ad to first click on that to check out your company.
For each of these clicks, you are charged the same price as if a member agreed to send their profile info. And the number of these clicks can be high, because your logo and company name are prominently displayed. As a result, they can quickly eat up a material portion of your budget, leaving you with far fewer leads than expected if the member decides not to provide their contact information for your offer.
Similarly, a click on the “Likes” count button, which opens up to show a member the other LinkedIn members who have already liked the ad, incurs the same charge as a lead.
The same goes for a click on the “+ Follow” button, if you decide to use one – at least that’s optional.
Another potential downside to Lead Gen Forms housed on LinkedIn is members who may have an interest in learning about your company may abandon the effort when they learn they have to agree to send profile info to you.
With that in mind, before launching a LinkedIn campaign, determine your exact goals and objectives. For example, perhaps you’re conducting an Account Based Marketing campaign and want as many employees from your target firm(s) as possible to get the material you’re promoting. In that case, perhaps it’s better to put some non-gated material on your own web site, along with a registration form for certain high-value content.
One way to test how Lead Gen Forms affect outcomes is to run a pilot project on LinkedIn without forms and track the percentage of click–throughs to your site. Then put up a Lead Gen Form on the exact same campaign and run another report to see how much the forms reduced click percentage. Then you can determine whether the reduced click-through rate is worth getting personal information.
Finally, keep in mind not all of the data you collect is likely to be accurate, especially email addresses. It’s common for LinkedIn members to use a personal, non-corporate address – whether to avoid having sales and marketing communications going to their corporate email, or so they don’t have to update the address every time they switch jobs. There is substantial risk that your follow-up emails will be going to a prospect’s secondary email account, perhaps one the prospect uses only intermittently.
Read our six-part series on setting up LinkedIn ad campaigns: