Linkedin ads can be super-effective for many businesses. They perform best for things like MBA programs and credit card companies (both Amex and Visa use LinkedIn ads heavily).
But lots of different verticals can use them for great results. If your product or service has a high customer LTV (Lifetime Value), you should give them a shot.
In this post we’ll look at 5 best practices drive B2B success with LinkedIn ads.
Segmentation is key. Break up your larger audiences into smaller ones. Don’t just create a campaign for separate job functions i.e. marketing roles. Instead create a separate campaign for each level of seniority – managers, VPs, CMOs etc.
Building your campaigns in this granular way will give you better data to understand what content and offers resonate with different seniority levels and roles.
There are several different types of targeting we recommend breaking your campaigns into:
- Job title
- Job function w/ seniority
- Skill w/ seniority
- Groups w/ seniority
You’ll find that these different targeting options will produce different results. Some will suck budget, others will perform well. Trim the ones that don’t work and move more budget into your top-performing segments.
Name your campaigns by the audience, not the campaign content. There’s nothing we like to see more than an ad account built out and organized by audiences.
This has two advantages:
- Reused campaigns have higher trust levels – Linkedin trusts these campaign based on past performance. They will reward you with higher relevancy and charge less.
- By organizing campaigns based on audience targeting, you can effectively reach exactly who you want, and use the ad spend history from these campaigns to estimate future performance.
Use pipes to separate these audiences -> Sales Managers | San Francisco | Biotechnology
Ignore LinkedIn’s recommended bids! We’ve gotten the best results by starting our bids at the lowest bid in the recommended range.
So for example, if the recommended CPC bid is $13.41, begin at the lowest end of range at $11.17.
If you see that you’re not spending your daily budget with your max CPC bids, then increase incrementally until you start to hit budget limit. For example if your budget is $15 per day, but you’re only spending $6 each day, increase your bids.
Starting low and gradually increasing your bids will allow you to maximise your daily budget, and get the cheapest clicks possible for your targeting.
Also, always use manual CPC – despite what LinkedIn recommends, automated bidding strategies (we’re looking at you too, Google) tend to eat up budget quickly, with negligible impact on conversion metrics.
Marketing offers or calls-to-action (or CTAs) can be broken down into three different types: Low, medium and high friction asks.
Do a quick audit to see which types you are using, and if necessary, restructure your content to more effectively move prospects down the funnel.
It may help to map out your CTAs to the stages of the funnel for a visual representation. From here you can identify content gaps and structure your account for better performance.
Example: Read our blog post / Watch our video
This is great for brand recognition. As a top-of-funnel play, you might establish awareness with an interesting piece of content. Also, if prospects click through to your site, you can pixel track them for retargeting later.
Example: Download our whitepaper / Register for our webinar
For B2B companies – these are some of the most effective calls-to-action you can run on LinkedIn. You can even use LinkedIn’s lead gen forms (we’ll cover them in a bit more detail later) to capture leads directly from the feed. Once you’ve captured lead details, you can enter them into nurture campaigns using your marketing automation tool of choice.
Example: Talk to sales / Take a demo / Get a trial
This is a big ask. If people are hearing about your company for the first time, it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll hand over their details at the first point of contact. These types of CTAs are better suited for warmer prospects, such as those you are retargeting with matched audience uploads or via pixel-based tracking.
Ok so we’ve looked at the best way to target, bid and structure your offers. But what ad types should you be using?
Lead gen ads
Lead gen ads are pretty nifty. They allow you to skip the landing page experience, and leverage LinkedIn trust. Contact information is autofilled, so all the prospect has to do is hit submit!
This is ideal if you need to get leads quickly, as you don’t have to create new landing pages. Zapier can then be used to pipe these leads to your CRM or marketing automation systems.
One issue is that while these ads create a high volume of leads, they are generally lower quality. If someone decides to convert after reading 150 characters, they might forget that they’ve submitted the form, or be surprised when you contact them. But they are very effective for lead gen, it’s worth trying them out to see if you can lower your CPA while maintaining lead quality.
This is the best option for most advertisers. It’s engaging for prospects, and it’s not that expensive.
Our recommendations are that if you’re new to LinkedIn ads, try this format first. When starting out, go with a single image, rather than a carousel or other image option, it generally performs best.
These are the least expensive ad type that LinkedIn offers. It’s important to note that they are desktop only. They are generally low-risk because of how cheap they are, but the CTRs tend to be low also due to banner blindness.
These are a good option if you want to obtain a bunch of cheap clicks for top-of-funnel prospects.
Because you can use LinkedIns tight B2B targeting, you’ll know that you’ve reached the right prospects, and from there you can move prospects down the funnel on other cheaper channels – we like using Facebook ads, as the cost per click for retargeting these audiences is nice and cheap.
So, you’ve launched a campaign, gotten a few leads or purchases, but then results start to taper off. What can you do next?
Saturation is going to be an issue with any social platform. Because of the tight targeting you can achieve on these networks, people can quite quickly see your message too often and begin to ignore it, or even worse react negatively to it, or report it!
On a platform like Facebook, your audience can get burned out in as quickly as 1 weeks time. This isn’t the case with LinkedIn, as it’s a professional network people don’t tend to come back as often.
But what should you do if you have been given a poor relevancy score due to a lack of engagement, or people are fatigued with your ad?
- Our first recommendation is to switch up your creative monthly. Refresh your imagery first, then try changing some ad copy. These changes should keep you campaigns performing for about another month.
- If your campaign is still dropping in performance, it might be time to test a new offer. If you’ve been offering a whitepaper, try a demo offer, consultation or webinar. Mix things up to keep your audience engaged and interested.
LinkedIn can be an awesome acquisition channel, but it isn’t immediately obvious how to get the best performance from it. Also, the advice on best practices given by LinkedIn can often be misleading.
The above tips, while in no way exhaustive, should give you some ideas for building high performing LinkedIn campaigns in 2020.