LinkedIn Ads vs Paved Ads: Reaching Professional Audiences

This article compares LinkedIn Ads with Paved’s new Ad Network. Not to be compared with Paved’s traditional email sponsorships. 

There’s a lot of advertising platforms out there. But only two platforms let you specifically reach a professional audience of working (or job seeking) people. 

Enter Paved’s Ad Network and LinkedIn Ads. 

While both platforms focus on helping you reach decision-makers, they go about it in completely different ways. LinkedIn serves ads via their newsfeed while Paved places your ads in relevant newsletters using something called programmatic email sponsorship (different to traditional email sponsorships).

Both platforms have similar targeting capabilities with key differences come in platform, audience and pricing. 

Which one is right for you and your organization will depend on multiple factors. Let’s jump in.

Fast Facts

  • The main difference between Paved and LinkedIn is where they deliver ads. 
  • LinkedIn serves ads via a user’s news feed or inbox. Paved inserts ads into relevant email newsletters almost like native sponsorships. In a nutshell, this is really a conversation of social media vs email marketing.
  • Both have similar ways of targeting, but LinkedIn has access to a more diverse user base. On the other hand, Paved curates their audience by manually selecting which newsletters to partner with. That means that Paved is good for a general professional audience while Paved is more niche (we’ll dive into this more later).  
  • Paved’s ads are delivered in a person’s inbox and are not impacted by ad blog or bot clicks. LinkedIn ads are delivered via a newsfeed or messenger app and are sometimes affected by fraudulent clicks.
  • If pricing is your main concern, Paved’s definitely going to give you more click for your buck. Pricing comes in higher on LinkedIn for every job title we tested. Head to the pricing section to get the full scoop.

Why User Intent Counts: Social vs Email

Think back to the last time you used social media. If you’re like most, you probably got lost in a mindless scroll for a minute (or twenty). Now remember when you last checked your emails… notice a difference? 

That’s one of the core benefits to email. When you check your inbox (even if it’s the promo tab), you’re there for real information. And your over-exposed ad blindness is at a rare low. This is pretty important considering we see a reported ~200 ads per day online (a number that apparently rises to 5k if you include other sources). 

On LinkedIn, user intent is a little different. LinkedIn’s users primarily try to self-promote, connect with other professionals, or get industry news. If you’re looking for a new job or want to sell something to your B2B connections, LinkedIn is your go-to social network.

It seems people actually enjoy spending time in their inbox compared to social media. This study shows 70% of people actually prefer to be contacted by email vs any other platform. 

Bottom line, if you want to capture people’s attention, go to social networks. But if you want to get someone to engage, head to their inbox. 


Who’s In The Audience

There’s a reason why Facebook is not in this comparison party. Their audience is everybody. Stay at home moms, business owners, 12-year old kids, unemployed people, the list goes on. 

Paved and LinkedIn’s key advantage is that they both cultivate an audience of professionals.

– TIP –
Paved’s newsletters are mostly centered around topics like business management, coding, design, startups, developing, tech and other related fields. So if you’re trying to target an audience outside that space, you might struggle to get a large enough audience. 

Both advertising networks will give you access to a global audience, but LinkedIn’s audience is much larger — it’s a melting pot of professionals from all industries and walks of life. You can target anyone from eccentric zookeepers to startup founders. 

In contrast, Paved’s audience is centered around working professionals in specific industries who are interested in specific skills (delivered by newsletter content). Unlike on LinkedIn, the user data is not self-inputted but rather collected via data from their email profiles. 

To put it simply, unless you have an audience in mind that Paved serves, you’re better off with LinkedIn.


Pricing on both platforms will shift depending on the type of person you’re trying to target. As both use a bidding system, your CPC and CPM will fluctuate due to demand from other advertisers. 

LinkedIn’s average CPC ranges from approximately $9 to $33. As an emerging platform, Paved comes in much cheaper with a range from $1.10 to $6.

Neither platform charges you monthly fees or commission. 

As of April 2020, here are some CPC stats for LinkedIn vs Paved:

Job Role Paved LinkedIn
Managing Director $3.30 $9.71 – $19.19
Director of Operations $.3.72 $11.34 – $22.65
Director of Information Technology $5.52 $19.25 – $33.16
Founder $2.90 $9.32 – $18.21
Vice President of Marketing $2.60 $10.69 – $20.59
Technical Lead $3.10 $10.70 – $20.55
Python Developer $2.13 $10.65 – $20.45
Graphic Designer $1.90 $8.42 – $16.33
Average CPC $3.15 $11.26 – $21.39

Note: Audience parameters limited to USA and job title. LinkedIn’s goal was set for lead generation with a newsfeed image ad type. Paved’s data is the average of winning bids during a 7 day period starting April 2nd 2020.

One thing to remember about setting your bid on LinkedIn vs Paved: LinkedIn will always try to fit your max daily budget. In some cases, the system adds on a little bit extra per click. On Paved, whatever you choose to bid is your ‘max bid’ — no matter your daily budget. 


Targeting Capabilities

Paved’s target parameters LinkedIn’s target parameters
– Predefined audiences
– Location
– Context (content engagement) 
– Job titles
– Company
– Demographics
– Education
– Job Experience 
– Interests and Traits

LinkedIn gives advanced users an edge

If you want to get granular and fine-tune your ad campaigns, LinkedIn puts some powerful tools at your disposal. It allows advanced users to zone into their target audience with a magnifying glass. The catch? You need to be an advanced user. And either way, it’s going to cost you.  

It takes a significant time investment to understand the inner workings of LinkedIn’s targeting and analytics. Something to keep in mind if you’re just about to get started.

Paved has two stand-out features

Paved’s targeting capabilities are just as powerful, but the UI doesn’t offer you the same level of maneuverability. Apart from the usual demographics, just two features give you the bulk of control. 

  1. Predefined audiences: Say you want to target “startup founders”. Or “startups that just received funding”. Paved has a library of predefined audiences exactly like that. You can also request your own custom audience builds.

  2. Contextual targeting: Target those who’ve shown an interest in a specific website, learned pro skills, and engaged with online content. 


Types of Ads

Paved Ad Format

Paved Ad Format

LinkedIn Ad Format

LinkedIn Ad Format

Native Email Ads

On Paved’s Ad Network, all ads are displayed as native content. They automatically match the look and feel of the host newsletter. In fact, the only way to see that the content isn’t placed by the publisher is the small *promoted tag in the bottom right of the block.  

This only applies to Paved’s Ad Network which is based on programmatic technology. 

Social media ad formats

LinkedIn has a wider variety of ads and formats including video, direct messaging, and ‘conversation.’ You can also run your campaigns on certain goals such as brand awareness or lead generation. 

When Usability Matters

As mentioned in the targeting section above, LinkedIn’s dashboard isn’t made for beginners. Tooltips do guide you, but you’re better off diving into the documentation if you have more specific goals. 

Paved’s navigation is simple and takes you through the flow of creating an ad pretty quickly. As the platform grows, new features get added. It can feel lean at times, but for some users, that’s part of the attraction.


Analytics and Reporting

Both LinkedIn and Paved use a dedicated pixel. The pixel feeds directly into your dashboard giving you analytics as a result. You can install this pixel on your website or landing page (both use Javascript) to track conversions and user events. 

– TIP –
While invisible pixels have been around for a while, Paved is the first to include a pixel for email.

Wrapping it all up

In summary, if you’re looking to target software developers in the USA, Paved is going to be much cheaper than Linkedin. For more advanced targeting, Linkedin is better.

LinkedIn is great to reach B2B audiences, but a lead is gonna cost you. Targeting is detailed, but also difficult to use, learn, and understand. 

Paved feels more agile. You’ll be able to push your budget further with a lower overall CPC. Plus you get access to ad space that hasn’t been overloaded by advertisements before. Social media ads are commonplace and easy to scroll past. Email ads — we’re not so quick to ignore.

– This article was written by a Paved team member –
Naturally, we think Paved is better. That said, we made this post objective to give you the most accurate info. If you have any questions or thoughts, we’d love to hear them.