Facebook Advertising Versus LinkedIn Advertising for Business – Part 1

by Todd Bertsch – Evolve Owner/President

To compare and contrast Facebook vs LinkedIn advertising we must first learn about each network’s users. What might work on Facebook may not work on LinkedIn and vice-versa. Learning about the differences in users will help us craft more effective advertising strategies in the future.

Throughout the next few months we’ll be comparing and contrasting each network’s differences in terms of PPC advertising, brand groups and more, but for now let’s start with demographic and behavioral user statistics.

LinkedIn vs Facebook Members

*Source – LinkedIn & Facebook

Obviously, Facebook is leaps and bounds ahead of LinkedIn in terms of members, but both networks are indeed huge.

It’s also important to consider the gender breakdown.

LinkedIn vs Facebook Genders

Facebook – Doubleclick ad planner by Google
LinkedIn – Doubleclick ad planner by Google

Ad Planner demographics are generated through demographic inference algorithms that combine third-party demographic data with Google sample data. The third-party demographic data is licensed from an industry-accepted consumer research panel operated according to industry best practices by a full-service research firm. The firm employs a variety of panel recruiting techniques to ensure the quality of their panel.

This phone survey from 2010 by Pew Research found that 63% of LinkedIn users were male and only 37% were female (Facebook gender statistics aligned with DoubleClick’s research). However, Google’s Doubleclick Ad Planner reports a perfect 50/50 split between genders on LinkedIn. Either a lot has changed for LinkedIn in the past two years or one of these studies is horribly inaccurate.  Alexa.com and Quantcast.com provided further clarification.

Alexa – linkedIn

LinkedIn Gender Statistics from Alexa

Quantcast – linkedIn

LinkedIn Gender Statistics from Quantcast

Both sites reported more females than males on Facebook, but neither could agree on LinkedIn. Considering Google’s massive pool of information, we’ll assume Doubleclick’s breakdown to be the best representation.

Next, let’s look at how age stacks up against the other demographic details.

Facebook vs LinkedIn Age



Alexa – Facebook

Facebook Age Statistics from Alexa

Quantcast – Facebook

Facebook Age Statistics from Quantcast

Alexa – LinkedIn

LinkedIn Age Statistics from Alexa

Quantcast – LinkedIn

LinkedIn Age Statistics from Quantcast

From these results, we can see that Facebook is more popular with those under 24 and LinkedIn is more popular with those over 35.

Now that we know who’s using these two social sites, let’s take a look at their income and education.

Facebook vs LinkedIn Income

Alexa and Quantcast show similar statistics, so it’s safe to say that LinkedIn users make more money than Facebook users.

Facebook vs LinkedIn Education

Higher income usually correlates with higher education, so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Demographic Research Summary

  • Facebook has way more members than LinkedIn
  • Facebook has a larger female audience than LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn has a 50/50 gender split
  • Facebook is more popular than LinkedIn with those under 24 
  • LinkedIn is more popular than Facebook with those over 35
  • LinkedIn is more popular than Facebook with those making more than $75,000 a year
  • Facebook is more popular than LinkedIn with those making less than $75,000 a year
  • LinkedIn users have more formal education than Facebook users

Now that we know some basic user demographics, let’s take a look at how these two social networks are actually being used.

LinkedIn User Behavior

Lab42 surveyed 500 LinkedIn Americans in 2011 and compiled their results into one easy-to-read infographic. According to the survey, most respondents said they used LinkedIn to either find a job or hire someone for a job. Industry networking was the next highest on the list closely followed by co-worker networking. Only 35% said they visited LinkedIn daily and only 32% said they visited a few times a week.

Facebook User Behavior

Polaris Marketing Research Inc. surveyed 1000 Americans in 2011 who claimed to have both Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. The full survey is private, but you can view the press release here. According to the survey, a substantial number of respondents said they typically post and share things on Facebook, but not on LinkedIn. 

LinkedIn vs Facebook Posting and sharing behavior

However, some male respondents said they were more likely to post on LinkedIn than on Facebook. In general, though, Facebook activity was much more prevalent than LinkedIn activity. LinkedIn has been trying to get its users to share and post more, but it’s just not catching on like it has for Facebook. Perhaps LinkedIn users are afraid to share the same things they would on Facebook because of their professional connections. No one wants to loose a job or a job opportunity over something they shared on a social network. And if you can’t share a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head without feeling self-conscious – What’s the point really?

Bunny With a Pancake on Its Head

User Behavior Research Summary

  • LinkedIn users are looking for jobs and job candidates
  • Facebook users are hanging out with friends

In this post we learned about Facebook and LinkedIn user demographics and behaviors. Most of this research probably aligns with what you already assumed, but it’s always a good idea to have facts over assumptions. Next month we’ll look at the differences between Facebook and LinkedIn PPC advertising and the following month we’ll look at brand groups. By the end of this mini-blog series you’ll have enough information to decide if you business is right for either of these two networks. Stay tuned!