What you need to know about LinkedIn ads...

What you need to know about LinkedIn ads


Good morning,
I’ve been fully immersed in a number of client projects this week, and LinkedIn has continued to favour prominently as a platform in our discussions. Since I had a lot of positive feedback on last weeks content about publishing tips on LinkedIn, I thought I’d follow it up with a part 2 in the series, and dig into LinkedIn ads this week. Several folks also asked about that too.  I’ve had some experience using Sponsored Content and InMail ads with clients. LinkedIn can be an expensive platform to learn lessons on, but over time we’ve been able to fine tune an approach that delivers traffic and conversions. What I’ve shared here is based on my learning, along with some great tips I picked up while attending Social Media Marketing World last year.
So… Grab that coffee or tea, and let’s dig in.
I may well still be brewing mine, or crawling out of bed as you read this. I’m playing in a 10pm hockey game Saturday night that I will have rolled in pretty late from! Honestly, who schedules these things? But the group of gals I play with suggested we get together for drinks BEFORE the game, so it will be fun. Not sure about the goals, but there will be laughter! It will be Kicking Horse Kick Ass (gotta love the branding) once brewed. You? Let me know!
LinkedIn ads are available from a company LinkedIn page, not from a LinkedIn personal profile page. When logged in as a manager on your company LinkedIn page, you can access ads under the “Admin tools” in the top right. Pull down to “sponsor your updates” and it will give you access to a campaign manager page. In campaign manager you can create an account for a single LinkedIn page, or for multiple accounts, if you manage more than one company page.

Why are LinkedIn ads great?

1. Data is up to date. B2B data is often out of date and people change positions a lot, but they update their LinkedIn. You won’t have wasted impressions

2. Targeting is incredible. It's far better than anything else out there.

3. Business mentality. When you’re on LinkedIn, you’re in “business mode”, so when you give an offer on LinkedIn that correlates with what they want, the engagement and conversion is high for B2B.

4. Gatekeeper is not there. The executive assistant might control a senior person’s email account or phone calls, but it’s rare that they will control the LinkedIn account. If you want the CEO, you can get them.

5. LinkedIn works.
Tests run for parallel ads on LinkedIn compared to Google ad words, Facebook, and Instagram, shows that LinkedIn wins on the largest deal sales.

Some challenges

1. Cost. Sponsored content is $6-9/click. LinkedIn sells ads based on a bid process.

2. No device level bidding. If you run sponsored content, about 70% of clicks will come from mobile, but you don’t have the ability to choose if you show up in mobile or desktop, so you have to make sure you show up well in mobile by default.

3. Day part. You can't control when ads are shown like on other platforms. In B2B it makes sense to only show ads during business hours, but LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to control day parts. Must be done through a third-party tool. Ad Stage is one to consider.

4. Relevancy score. If you and another advertiser are bidding the same, LinkedIn looks at each advertiser’s relevancy score, and if one has more click through generally in the past, that advertiser will win the bid for space at that price. You never know what your relevancy score is with LinkedIn other than the results you are getting. If you have to keep bidding up, your relevancy score is likely low. If you can bid lower and still get the space, you likely have a higher relevancy score.
Who is good fit?

High cost per click means it isn’t a good fit for everyone. For many business, Facebook, Instagram or Google ad words will be more cost effective.  However, if you fit the following criteria, you should consider LinkedIn ads.

1. Lifetime value of customer is high. If the lifetime value for the customer is over $15,000 LinkedIn is a great fit. Large enough pay out that you can make a lot of mistakes before you achieve success

2. Your business is in one of these three areas: B2B services/products, white collar recruiting, education

What kind of ads can you buy?

1. Text ads. Text ads appear in the right side of your feed. They've been around since 2008. They have a low click though rate of 0.03%. They're available on desktop only, using a 25-character headline, 75-character ad line, and appear as a 50 x 50 pixel image. They are the cheapest ad unit, making them good for very large audiences, and can bid down to $2/ad.

2. Sponsored content. This is a great ad unit. Ads appear right in your news feed, looking like updates, but are labelled as sponsored content. They have a much higher click through rate of 0.4%.  (4 people out of 1000 people click through) 70% + are mobile users. There is more real estate. You get a large image (1200 x 637 pixels), lots of room to talk - a 128 character intro, 38 character title. If you have an audience of 10,000-20,000 people can do really well with this. This ad style is the most popular.

3. Sponsored InMail. This is a new offering in the last year, and it has great potential, but it’s expensive. It's charged in a different manner than the first 2 options. You pay per InMail sent, ranging $0.35 - $0.85 per send. The beauty is in the targeting. You can target by job title, seniority, skills, groups they belong to, company, industry, education, and demographics (age, gender, geography). You can also exclude people, which can be handy from a competitive standpoint, since you can name specific competitors to exclude. InMail is expensive, but also get a 50% open rate.

4. Video ads. This is relatively new. Test so far indicate that videos under 30 seconds tend to perform the best. Videos can tell a company story or bring a product demonstration to life. You bid for ad cost by objective: Website visits – bid by cost per 1,000 impressions, collect leads – bid by cost per click, Video views – bid by cost per view. Audience targeting methods are similar to sponsored content options, which are excellent, and content shows up right in the news feed. Since costs are based on the bid process, it’s not cheap, but if it converts to a lead page with follow up, and a decent sized sale, it might be worth it. Video is definitely the way of the future on other platforms. In many ways, LinkedIn is playing catch up here, so you can still stand out.

The magic of retargeting

Retargeting, which is showing ads to people who have had previous contact with you – a website visit, previous ad click, given you an email address is most profitable for keeping you top of mind. However people don’t tend to spend a ton of time on LinkedIn like they do on other platforms. But they check in on Facebook – the average is 17 times a day. You can retarget on Facebook to your LinkedIn audience with an uploaded custom audience of email addresses. Matches are usually 40-50% with the email you have and what they used to register on Facebook. You can retarget with the same ad copy and offering on Facebook as what your campaign is on LinkedIn. By doing it that way, your costs are lower than on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn also offers matched audiences now. It’s just like uploading emails to Facebook to build a custom list. In an email match you can upload a list of 300 minimum to retarget, then create a campaign to target only owners of these email addresses.  Basically it will be more expensive on LinkedIn though, compared to Facebook, because of the ad bid process there.
There you have it! I’ll be posting this up to my blog in the coming week. Feel free to share it from here though by forwarding (icons are top right). If you do forward, I’d love it if you suggest they sign up to receive Five-Minute Marketing Tips on their own. Would you help me out with that?
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Until next week,
Go rock LinkedIn!

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