Imagine this. You are a 5 Star Hotel chain. You have your own share of regular customers who consider you totally awesome. But then someone in your top management says – “We need more customers. I don’t care if they are quality people or not, we just need more numbers!”
So, you have a brainstorming session on strategies to invite more customers. Some new intern suggests a new idea, which even though sounds stupid and unprofessional, gets approved by the top management. With guns blazing and fanfare the idea is set into implementation stage – You send some of your middle management staff to the doorsteps of another 5 Star hotel with a placard saying – “Down the road there’s another 5 star hotel. Its awesome. Join Us”.
I wish no one does this in real life. And no one has done it yet to my knowledge. But when I saw LinkedIn Ads in Facebook, inviting people to join LinkedIn, this was the comparison that came to my mind.
Yes. LinkedIn Ads in Facebook.
It doesn’t seem that the Ads have been placed by LinkedIn’s HQ; its definitely the work of its India Office. I am no one to comment on whether its right or wrong, but it just seemed creepy to me. Not creepy creepy, but feels-odd-to-see kind of creepy. Almost gives one an impression that LinkedIn is desperate to increase its numbers and the Country Head of India is in risk of losing his job (No offense to the concerned person).
As the latest data conveys, total LinkedIn users in India are close to 24 million, with a online population penetration of 25.36%. Yes, it doesn’t come anywhere close to the number Facebook boasts of, but again, am sure LinkedIn is smart enough to understand they cater to a different category altogether. And in such a case when we see this “desperate” measure, seems like a lost cause or a decision gone wrong at LinkedIn.
The above said Ad wasn’t the only one I saw. There were different versions of it, one as shown below-
The way the copy-writing for the Ad, as you can see is done, looks pretty disappointing. One would even think it was a misguiding ad done by some other brand to get hits to their pages. But when I clicked on the Ad, LinkedIn login/signup page is exactly what came up, as shown below-
I am pretty sure no one has as much love for LinkedIn that they would spend their own money to promote them. Unless they are some crazy Venture Capitalist who badly wants to fund LinkedIn but has been turned down by them and now is out to show his love and affection for the social network. But well, that sort of things work only in the wildest dreams and Indian politics.
LinkedIn could have gone for Google Ads if it was serious enough. Not that Facebook Ads are upright wrong, still, for a brand name like LinkedIn coming up with Ads on Facebook, is childish. It can be argued that the same has been done since new users can sign-up using their Facebook account. That would definitely make life easier for the users. But companies like LinkedIn have to maintain a balance between doing the right thing to uphold their brand image and getting more people to log into their service. In that scenario, am not sure what exactly LinkedIn was thinking here.
As a personal request, if anyone working in LinkedIn India office is reading this, or if you know someone who does, I’ll be glad to know how this campaign turned out for them. No no, that wasn’t sarcasm. That was actual inquisitiveness for this bizarre thing I had the opportunity of seeing.
I haven’t stopped laughing since. But psychologists tell me that might be attributed to me having a irrational sense of humour.
Disclaimer: I saw these Ads last month. Thanks to procrastination, I kept delaying writing this post until I realized I have to go ahead with this before Facebook changes its UI again.