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Episode 003 Transcript: LinkedIn Ads Mastery

Did you know that mastering Linkedin Ads doesn’t have to be complex?

To show you, we’ve interviewed three LinkedIn Ads experts to give you their opinion and viewpoint on how to be successful with LinkedIn Ads.

From scaling to fine tuning, we hope you enjoy this deep dive.

Subscribe to BoostSauce to learn even more marketing and sales knowledge, faster

 

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When it comes to LinkedIn Ads, there are only a few people we turn to for amazing advice that works across the board for different goals.

Whether you’re in SaaS, eCommerce, or lead gen, you’ll be excited to learn that the recipes these experts will share will all help you hit your goals faster.

   

In Order Of Guests Below:

AJ Wilcox: Founder @ B2Linked

Since founding B2Linked, AJ has been honored to be invited to speak at 60+ conventions, such as Social Media Marketing World, HeroConf, Inbound, Search Marketing Expo, Pubcon, and Content Marketing Conference. He’s also proud to be featured on many great podcasts, such as Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas, and Social Media Marketing Podcast with Michael Stelzner.

Nuggets Dropped x54

“ If you have a customer lifetime value of somewhere around $15,000 or more, LinkedIn ads seems to be an absolute no-brainer.”

Alex Rynne: Content Marketing Manager @ LinkedIn

Alex is passionate about social media and the power it has to connect and inspire people around the globe. Today she helps manage Global Content & Social Media Strategy at LinkedIn, elevating the brand to marketers looking to grow their business and careers.

Nuggets Dropped x41

“We just want to get the most bang for our buck in terms of what’s resonating with the audience and then double downing on the creatives that are working well”

Ty heath: Global Lead for Marketing Development @ LinkedIn

Ty is the Global Lead for Market Development for the Marketing Solutions group at LinkedIn, the former President of LinkedIn’s Black Inclusion Group (BIG) and the Co-Founder of LinkedIn’s annual TransformHER conference. She is also a contributing author in the recently published books “The Professional Black Woman” as well as the “Black Female Leader” and full author of “Marketers of Tomorrow: A Step by Step Toolkit for Inbound Marketing“.

Nuggets Dropped x36

“Sales and marketing should sit down and talk to each other, you should all talk to each other more.”

 

LinkedIn Ads With AJ Wilcox

AJ: Go for AJ.

Johnathan: AJ, this is Jonathan and Matt over here at Boost Sauce, how are you?

AJ: I’m doing great, great to talk to you guys.

Johnathan: Awesome, hey, we’re the ones super, super thankful for this. We’ve been following you for awhile, I know you’re one of the premiere experts on LinkedIn advertising, so super, super thankful that you’re gonna be helping share some nuggets with our Audience.

I have with me our Director of Paid Social Matt Nelson here too, so if you’re okay with it, we’re gonna start with some questions and kinda see where this goes, is that okay with you?

AJ: Bring it on.

Johnathan: Awesome, so if you’re a brand new advertiser to LinkedIn, some of the common, I think, misconceptions that we see is that we, you know obviously, hear that LinkedIn advertising is expensive, you better sell something of very, very high margin in order to actually make it work.

Can you kinda get us started with you know, some of the objections that you might have when you’re talking to people who are thinking about LinkedIn advertising and how you basically solve those?

AJ: Absolutely, so here’s the thing, is that when people are thinking about LinkedIn ads, they automatically gravitate to targeting, ’cause the targeting is amazing for B2B.

We can target by job title, by department, by seniority, skills, groups, company name, company size, company industry, and that’s probably only about a fifth of what’s available.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: It’s extremely powerful.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: So everyone’s interested in that targeting if you’re in B2B.

Johnathan: For sure.

AJ: It’s a big challenge that, you mentioned that everyone seems to know about LinkedIn ads is boy, they’re expensive. I mean, the average cost per click is somewhere between about six and nine dollars, U.S. 

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: And because of that, LinkedIn has priced themselves out of the market for certain types of business.

So immediately what I tell people is, of course you want the targeting ’cause you’re B2B, but realize because it costs more upfront, you need more of a payoff on the back end to make sure that you see a return on your investment. 

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: So we find an average of, if you have a customer lifetime value of somewhere around $15,000 or more, LinkedIn ads seems to be an absolute no-brainer.

We’ve seen people make it work with less, and that just means that you’ve gotta be a little bit more efficient than your competition.

Johnathan: Sure.

AJ: But you can make it work. That’s what we try to start people with is, now make sure you’ve got a budget between about three and 5K a month to start. 

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: So that you can actually see the business impact, and it’s usually between those amount of spend where your data down to the conversion rate becomes statistically significant.


Johnathan:
 Got it, got it.

AJ: It’s pretty awesome by the end of, like a month to be able to say, yeah, we know that this is working, let’s scale it.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: Or no, this is crap, we should cut it.

Johnathan: All right, so I’m gonna give you two nuggets right there.

The first one that you basically said was in regards to the starting budget of 3,000-5,000 and the second one, which is another nugget, is gonna be in regards to the average lifetime value, what you said about 15,000 or higher, right? So if you’re not within

AJ: Yeah!

Johnathan: that ballpark already, you know maybe it’s not the best thing to get started because you do need an average, you know, pay-to-play kind of in this LinkedIn ads game, in order to see any type of traction.

AJ: Absolutely, and of course with it, you can make it work with less, but what it means is you’ve gotta be really buttoned up. You’ve got to have an amazing sales, follow-up nurture kind of sequence. 

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: And you gotta have the right content for it.

Johnathan: Got it.

AJ: So we’ll dive into that here a little bit later, I’m sure.

Johnathan: Okay, awesome. So let’s say that we basically fit that criteria, we have the budget, our lifetime values are that or higher. The first type of campaign that you would recommend getting started with, like what would that be?

AJ: For the vast majority of advertisers, I suggest starting with sponsored content. 

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: This is the ad that appears right in your newsfeed. It came out in 2013, and you can expect to pay somewhere between about six and nine dollars per click.

But because they’re in the newsfeed, they get so much more traction than the vast majority of other ads, meaning that with a very small audience, you can still actually drive traffic.

So we get super, super targeted, and we still get enough data to show for it. And expect about eighty plus percent of your traffic to come from mobile, just because people are in their timeline from the mobile app quite a bit.

Johnathan: Got it, okay. So basically, for the people who are unaware right now, in our world when Matt and I are talking about setting things up for our clients, whether it be LinkedIn ads or other type of platforms, there’s basically three things that we think are part of this.

There’s the audience, so whether it’s remarketing or direct, like you said, job roles, titles, seniority. There’s the ad itself, and then there’s like the offer, the call to action, right? So you just talked about the type of campaign. Is there anything from a priority standpoint that you see in regards to the type of audience that you should start with as well?

AJ: Yeah, so this is actually really interesting that you bring this up. We use an acronym to describe exactly what you just shared, And we call it AMO, and it stands for audience, message, and offer.

So from a message perspective, yeah, the image you use, the ad copy you use, it’s the ad format you use. And that’s all pretty easy to figure out. The audience, we just talked about, obviously there’s a targeting, that’s why we go to LinkedIn. But, oh, the offer is by far the most important part of any LinkedIn ad campaign. 

Johnathan: I’m gonna give you a nugget for that.

AJ: Oh, thank you, sounds great, I love the immediate feedback.

But yeah, if you send someone to an ad that basically just says, “Click Here to Talk to Our High-Pressure Sales Rep.” No one’s gonna click that ad. So you’ll end up with poor relevancy scores, and your ad will just shut off.

And if you send someone to the very top of the funnel, like here’s a blog post. Obviously, there’s very little friction there, but you’re still gonna pay six to nine dollars to send someone to something that doesn’t have a strong call to action.

And, eventually, you’ll have to go and tell someone, “Hey, it’s the boss, or the CEO, or the board. “Hey, we’re averaging like $1000 per conversion here.” Someone’s gonna say shut it down.

So what you wanna do is land somewhere in the middle, like take all the data content, something like a free guide, or a checklist, or a webinar, a free eBook, a free in-person event, something like that that’s of a lot of value to get them to be willing to engage with you. 

Johnathan: Got it, okay. Do you have a question?

Matt: Yeah, AJ, I’m sure you’ve ran into this frequently, and we do here as well, where, say a B2B software company comes to you, and they go, hey, when you ask them what their offer is, and all they say is, “Oh, I have a free demo.”

You just mentioned that the middle of the funnel is very, very important. When you run into situations like that when they’re like, “Well, all I have is a free demo.” What’s your approach to trying to get them to you know, expand their product offering, or you know, add some white papers, or free guides, or anything like that?

AJ: Well, there are a couple things that you can do with just a demo. They’re usually not very scalable, but they’re worth testing.

So the first would be just go ahead and try sending ads straight to the demo, and it’s about 95% of the time that fails, but about 5% of the time, the client actually has a product or a service that is so disruptive, people have been waiting for it, and they’re actually willing to engage.

Johnathan: Got it.

AJ: On a limited basis.

Johnathan: Got it.

AJ: And because you’re only paying when someone clicks, oh, nice.

Johnathan: Another nugget.

AJ: Because you only pay when someone clicks, obviously there’s not a whole lot of risk. They put the ad out there and no one clicks on it, it’s not attractive, well, then the worst thing is that we’re out, simply our So, pretty good.

And then the other thing is if they already have good traffic on their website, and to their , if it’s just a demo, we can start by just doing LinkedIn retargeting and having that kind of aid their Google and Facebook retargeting as well. And that can be a good place to start, ’cause they’re not willing to invest in content yet.

Johnathan: For sure. So, it sounds like, basically, the acronym AMO, which is missing one M, right? It’s just A-M-O. Is that correct?

AJ: Yes, that’s correct.

Johnathan: So, we just talked about the offer and how important that is to not come across as like something that’s like a high-pressure sales team, like a demo, or a quote, or a consultation, it sounds like. Which is very similar to what we call the PPC temperatures of all advertising platforms and like how that’s set up.

Now, you mentioned something really interesting in regards to… You may get more luck or better performance if you start with remarketing, or what people also call retargeting.

Can you explain to the people listening what that kind of audience is, and why that can be outperforming, maybe not volume-wise, but at least like a cost-per-acquisition wise compared to other audiences out there?

AJ: Yeah, the nice thing is, with LinkedIn’s retargeting, it is a little bit of a discount over just a cold on. So on a cold audience, we expect we’re gonna pay six to nine dollars a click, but if you’re approaching a retargeting audience, or, and this is special, a LISK upload audience, where you bring your own data, those audiences cost less.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: There’s less competition around them, and you can get a discount on your CPC.

Johnathan: Interesting.

AJ: So, start out with warm traffic, people who already know, “I can trust you,” and of course performance is going to be better anyway, down to the conversions, plus you’ll pay less per click.

Johnathan: And is that something to do in regards to that there’s also higher engagement, and because there’s higher engagement, that means the cost per clicks will be reduced too, or is that completely different?

AJ: Yeah, it definitely contributes to it. So, that’s one side, and then the other side is if you bring data to LinkedIn and say, just target these people, whether it’s website audiences you’ve delivered, or an email list…

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: …or a company name list, you go to them and say, essentially, just target this list. They didn’t have to apply very many audience segments on top of that, so they end up not having your bidding floor start as high.

Johnathan: Got it.

AJ: So, for most audiences, our bidding floor starts at $450-525. So, you pay, the lowest you pay is $450 or $525 for a click.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: But you bring your own data and all of a sudden, LinkedIn will let you bid like $300-350 sometimes.

Johnathan: Interesting, so there’s a way to circumvent that. I’m gonna give you another nugget for that, that was pretty interesting too. I didn’t know that.

Because, when we began the conversation, it was like six to nine dollars on average, but that sounds like, if you’re using LinkedIn’s own data, not your own that you’re bringing to the table, it’s kind of like a potluck.

AJ: Yeah, exactly! And, especially if your ads get really high engagement rates, then you end up getting really high relevancy scores, and then LinkedIn’s gonna show your ads more often.

Johnathan: Got it.

AJ: So, you end up getting more volume, and a lower cost. It’s pretty beautiful when you can nail that.

Matt: So, it seems like to me that it would be kind of a no-brainer for any advertiser for that matter just to launch remarketing campaigns on LinkedIn. Just because, just do those cost benefits.

‘Cause, in Facebook for example, they don’t give you those types of cost benefits. Typically, the cost per clicks are significantly more to head tier marketing audiences, so I think that should be a no-brainer for any advertiser then. Just to simply go into LinkedIn and at least launch some remarketing campaigns.

Johnathan: Yeah, cool.

AJ: Wow, that’s a great point! Now, I definitely should follow this conversation up with a little note on the limitations of LinkedIn’s retargeting because it’s a little bit nuanced here. It’s totally reliant on a cookie, and, of course, we know that about half of our traffic is gonna come from cookieless browsers that are IOS devices, so iPhone and iPad.

So, be aware that anyone who’s on one of those devices won’t ever make it into one of your audiences on LinkedIn, but it probably will on both Facebook and Google. 

Johnathan: Got it.

AJ: So, the other thing is that cookie pool only lives for 90 days, so that means you’ve gotta have a pretty solid amount of traffic to keep that pool full of people, ’cause it’s gonna recycle every 90 days.

Johnathan: Yeah, that’s interesting though too. I’m gonna give another nugget for that. So, when we talk about audiences, let’s go in that order actually. That makes it very very simple to follow.

Now, if we say that we recommend starting with remarketing, what would you then say is next from an audience perspective?

AJ: I think, you know, starting out with just warm audiences that are already on your website. What you know about them is that they are familiar with you in some format. What you don’t know is who they are professionally.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: So, something that you could do to start segmenting them is say, “We’re going to create an audience from everyone who’s hit our website, and then we’re only going to show retargeting ads to people from that audience who are, let’s say, manager and above, or director and above, or sea level, and maybe just the people who are in the marketing department.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: So, you can start actually segmenting to that audience; that’s pretty cool. And then, of course, if it’s just not worth your time at that point because you’re working with a pretty small audience and it doesn’t make sense to manage a whole channel if you’re only gonna spend you know, $50 or $100 a month.

Johnathan: Sure.

AJ: Then you can start really navigating LinkedIn’s native targeting, and trying to reach cold audiences.

Johnathan: Okay. Are there any insights from your remarketing audience, like with Facebook too, where we can see that your remarketing audience, people who have been on your site, or you know you have your email address, they’re composed of these job titles, seniorities, or types of businesses with a minimum employee count.

Is there anything that you can extrapolate from that, but then go to the colder audiences with that information?

AJ: I sure think so. I mean, it’s a little bit like causation and… correlation does not prove causation. So, if you create a retargeting audience of, let’s say, everyone who’s hit one of your landing pages or pages.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: So you know these are people who are actually pretty serious to place an offer. And you go and build an audience around them because you know these are the people who tend to convert.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: What you might extrapolate from that is, “Wow, everyone who converts with us is in marketing and they’re a decision maker.” But, what you might not understand is that you drove that traffic from some other format, or they’re still finding you from some other channel.

Johnathan: Mm. Got it.

AJ: And so you might say, “Oh, those are our customers,” when really, you’re talking about customers you already have, not the ones you could potentially have.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: Here’s something cool that I think everyone can do, whether or not you’re gonna spend a dime on LinkedIn ads. Is if you just install the pixel on your website, install it on every page.

Johnathan: Mm-hmm.

AJ: You go and open a LinkedIn ads account. Like I said, you don’t pay a cent for this.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: And you go into your audience demographics, I think it’s called “website demographics tab,” and you’re going to have LinkedIn data on all of your professional audience data.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: On everyone who visits your website, whether you’re paying for it or not from LinkedIn.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: And, of course, what they want you to see is like, “Hey, wow, we’re getting the vast majority of our traffic is from people who are not decision makers.” We know we do better with decision makers.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: Obviously, they want you to go and then start buying ads to reach more of the people you want.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: But this is really cool from a just, company demographics. So, if I were you, I would go right now and create a segment, just around the people who convert on your site, and then start getting website demographics around you know, what’s the professional makeup of the people who tend to convert. 

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: And then, just see. Are these the right people that you wanna work with? Or are they the wrong people?

Johnathan: That is amazing. I’m gonna end this podcast right now and do– Just kidding I won’t do that, but that is something that we’re gonna do right after.

I’m gonna give you another nugget for that too. That is quite, quite impressive.

Now, when you then, so, basically, we can take that understanding and maybe help that highlight which other audiences we wanna target after we do the remarketing. Is that kinda how you would recommend going about it?

Or, you mentioned earlier too that there might not be, like, correlation does not equal causation. Is there other types of audiences that are better for types of messaging or ads or offers? Or, is it kinda like a combo of all things you wanna make sure are all considered?

AJ: Ooh, that’s a really good question. The way I like to picture it is, right now we have combinations of offers and audiences, and what we’re trying to find out is the right combination, the offer that best fits the needs of the audience that we wanna attract.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: So, initially, retargeting might be a good place to start if you’re really budget conscious.

Johnathan: Mm-hmm.

AJ: But if you’re just trying to test audiences and you know that you’re a good fit for LinkedIn, you know a little bit of the budget, then what I would do is go out and create in what I call micro segments.

All the little pieces of audience that you think are a really good fit for you. So, a good example might be, if you’re targeting people who are marketing decision makers, for instance, I would go and create a campaign just around marketing managers, a separate one for marketing directors, a separate one for.

Johnathan: Interesting. I like that.

AJ: And I’m gonna launch the same two ads to all four of those audiences, and what I’m going to learn from running these is, hey, after you know, three or four days, we can already start to see, “Wow, CMOs really like this content, and managers don’t give a crap.”

Johnathan: Hmm.

AJ: just by making sure that they’re all segmented.

Johnathan: Interesting, so would you say of the acronym that you have of AMO, the audience and the offer sound like those are the two most important ones where the messaging is different, like that is not as vital. Is that the correct assumption?

AJ: Yes, I agree.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: If you just said we have an audience set and we have an offer set, and your job as an agency is just to run through messaging, and try to increase performance, I know that we can play with that all day long.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: And probably only increase performance 5-10%.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: Whereas, if you told me you’ve got free reign of an offer, interview the sales team, interview our customers, create an amazing offer that we know is gonna solve the pinpoints that we are going after.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: If I create the right piece of content, I can increase my conversion rate. 

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: So, yeah, it’s definitely offer is where you wanna concentrate on, I think audience is a given…

Johnathan: Sure.

AJ: …for your audience, for your company, and then the message really comes down to how you’re messaging whatever the offer is. And you can be a little bit creative there, but it’s not gonna make a big difference.

Johnathan: I love that, that is amazing. So, in regards to what you can prioritize when you are live with your campaigns, let’s just assume you are. The first step is looking at the offer and what you can change there.

The second one is then the audience and the third one is then the actual messaging.

I think a lot of people, and correct me if I’m wrong AJ, they spend a ton of time within the messaging and the ad component itself, which, like you just said, won’t really warrant enough lift in regards to what they’re hoping to achieve.

And they might then shut off LinkedIn ads and say, “Hey, this doesn’t work for us.” But the truth is, it absolutely could. They just didn’t focus correctly. Is that right?

AJ: I think so. If you start with a really solid offer, I mean, you could have the poop emoji.

You could have misspellings . It’s still gonna solve their problems, and still gonna be really attractive and have a high conversion rate.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: However, where we’ve seen playing with the messaging really help, is that just like any other social ad, if you’re running something on LinkedIn, you’re showing the audiences who aren’t actively searching for you.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: And so over time, they’re going to to it, and then it’ll become saturated.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: So what we’ve found is that saturation point on LinkedIn is usually between about 27 and 33 days.

Johnathan: 30–?

AJ: So that means you can pretty much run the same ad copy for 27-33 days, about a month, before you start to see your click through rates tank.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: And so you know it’s time to refresh.

Johnathan: So you said-

AJ: So if you know that-

Johnathan: Did you say 27-33 days on average?

AJ: Yes, 27-33 days.

Johnathan: Alright. Another nugget, I’m gonna give you that. Keep going, sorry.

AJ: And, the whole reason behind that, I mean obviously if you know Facebook ads well, you know that that saturation point is actually sometimes more like a week or a week and a half.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: And the reason why is because people check into Facebook 10 times a day on average.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ:  But on LinkedIn, they’re only checking once or twice a month on average. Obviously, we have some very active users.

Johnathan: Sure.

AJ: So just keep that in mind. So just make sure you’re playing with your messaging enough to keep things fresh, but realize that the offer is actually what’s going to convert.

Johnathan: That’s awesome. You can’t see this AJ, but Matt basically has poop emoji stickers on his laptop from our first talk at the conference.

So you must have known that, or something like that, ’cause that’s exactly the type of offer that we would launch here at boost. No, that’s super cool.

Okay, so, we basically took it through in regards to the ad fatigue that you just mentioned to the focus in regards to the offers first, audiences second, and then the messaging and the ads third. Is there anything you’ve seen different in regards to ad type performance?

Meaning, carousels, images, or videos for that matter, too. Or even the lead form ads that don’t even allow somebody to go all the way through the website but collects information in LinkedIn. Any nuggets you can share with us there?

AJ: Oh, yeah I have nuggets for every single one.

Johnathan: Okay!

AJ: So, just stop me so we don’t go too deep into any one.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: Let’s start with lead gen forms. So for anyone who’s not kinda informed on this, lead gen forms are similar to Facebook’s lead ads, where you’re able to fill out forms directly within the ad and not ever leave LinkedIn security. 

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: This is especially helpful for people who don’t have a really good landing page for mobile, or maybe they don’t have landing pages at all, and they just want to leverage targeting.

So, these work really, really well for probably about half of our clients, and about half continue to use their own landing pages.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: So here’s why you’d want to avoid, and then, why you might want to accept. So, you avoid them, if you want the traffic on your website so that you can retarget it. 

Johnathan: Mm-hmm.

AJ: You’ve obviously, if it stays on LinkedIn, you can’t retarget the traffic.

Johnathan: Mm-hmm, right.

AJ: You also want it if, or you don’t want it if you track everything with UTM parameters, ’cause obviously analytics, you can’t pick up traffic if it’s not on your own site.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: And, it’s also kind of hard to get that traffic or the leads out of LinkedIn. You’ve gotta use one of their approved partners, where they appear to pipe that lead out.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: Otherwise, you’re logging in once a day to download the CSBs, which totally sucks.

Johnathan: And human involvement makes that super slow too, and there’s gonna be mistakes made. I’m only speaking from experience.

AJ: Exactly, and we test that. On the other hand, the reason why lead gen forms are so good is because you’re going to see a much higher conversion rate on average. It’s 10-50% lift on your conversion rate.

Johnathan: Wow.

AJ: So, if volume is what you need, then yeah, you’re gonna want these lead gen forms even if you can’t track or retarget the traffic, and even if it’s kinda hard to get the leads out.

Johnathan: Okay.

Matt: And AJ, when it comes to lead gen forms, I know you mentioned that you get a lot better, you know, volume from that. What do you hear from your clients as far as the quality of those leads in comparison to a lead that came from a landing page?

AJ: Very similar to what you might have heard from Facebook, the same kind of deal. We’re asking people to do less, there’s less friction, and because of that, the lead’s quality tends to dip a little bit.

Johnathan: Interesting.

AJ: If you have really solid targeting, then of course you’re going to be getting the right people. But sometimes you’ll get people who, you know, the sales team will reach out to them and they’ll say, “I don’t even remember filling out a form with you guys.”

AJ: “I haven’t heard of you before.”

Johnathan: Yup.

AJ: So they’ve submitted, they actually did it, but it was just such a simple process. They just clicked, clicked on the ads that, “Ooh, that looks interesting” and hit submit with all of their information autofilled. And now they don’t even remember.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: The other thing is that they didn’t land on your landing page and learn more about what you’re trying to talk them through. They decided to convert after reading 150 characters at the top of an ad.

Johnathan: Mm.

AJ: So just, it doesn’t make quite the same impression on their mind.

Johnathan: Got it. That’s another nugget. Appreciate that. Okay. So next ad type, what do you think?

AJ: Alright, so those lead gen forms you can actually attach to two different kinds of ads on LinkedIn. There are four different ads.

You can attach them to sponsored content, which are right in the newsfeed, or you can attach them to sponsored Inmail which come right to your messaging box, your LinkedIn inbox. So keep that in mind. The other flavors of sponsored content, just like you mentioned, we have carousel, we have video ads.

Johnathan: Mm-hmm.

AJ: And those are kind of interesting. The video is just… you can’t retarget based off of how much of the video someone’s watched. I think that’s probably coming in the next quarter or two.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: Because they don’t have that, and video ads are pretty expensive. They start at six cents per two second view. 

Johnathan: Interesting.

AJ: Which is already three to ten times more expensive than Facebook for video.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: So because of that, I don’t love video yet, but it might get better in the future with retargeting. And then carousel ads, like it seems like a pretty direct copy of Facebook.

Just because, you know, it doesn’t hurt to have. But, for the most part, if we launched carousel ads, it’s not like we’d see a giant boost in performance, it just means that now we need, you know, three, four, five landing pages and three, four, five images from a client.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: And so often times, it just slows down our process.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: So we don’t love carousel, but you could sure make a case for it.

Johnathan: If you have the you know, assets and the ability to create all the different types of ads, would you recommend that, having that in the campaigns, too?

Or is there something where you say, hey, don’t put so many ads in there that you’re spreading the data and diluting it too much? Or, what’s your take on that?

AJ: Oh, I love it. So, we always launch only two ads creatives per campaign. Okay.

AJ: And the reason why, and this is very similar on other types of platforms as well, but on LinkedIn if you launch four, let’s say four ads in the same campaign, one is gonna get the majority of the impressions, one is gonna do okay, and then two are gonna get completely ignored.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: Like, might get less than 100 impressions.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: And so, if I’m gonna go through the effort of you know, building four different ads, I want them all to see the light of day and I want to know whether or not LinkedIn likes them, and people like them. And if they end up with two or three impressions before they get shut off, that was just a total waste.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: So for any campaign, I say start with two ad creatives. And then when one of them wins, pause the loser, and then launch a new .

Johnathan: Got it. Got it. So, are you, are you saying to make a variation off the winning ad so it’s almost like a smaller tweak, or do you introduce like a brand new ad type and also messaging potential?

AJ: Yeah, it depends a little bit on what your strategy is and what you’re trying to test. For a lot of our clients, we’re testing different offers.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: They come to us and they say, “We’ve got three different offers, so we’re gonna launch one ad per offer for two separate offers. And when one of those loses, we’re going to assume that the losing ad was the losing offer.”

Johnathan: Mm-hmm.

AJ: “And so now we wanna test, okay, how about the third offer that we had? And so, we wanna launch one ad for each of them.” 

Johnathan: Oh, okay, that makes sense. I like that, okay.

AJ: But on the other hand, if you’re starting with just one offer, and your messaging is just different motivations for why someone might want that offer, then, yeah, if you know that making them feel like a hero is more advantageous than trying to cause fear, then great. Try another variation that is more aspirational.

Johnathan: Right. Okay, awesome. Is there anything we’re missing AJ in regards to you know, the silver bullets, or, you know, you’ve done and learned through much, much hard work and a lot of data and a lot of dollars of ads spent.

Anything that we’re missing from this conversation so far?

AJ: So, let’s talk about the other two ad formats.

Johnathan: Oh, yeah.

AJ: Because there might be some nuggets here. So, the very first ad format that LinkedIn ever had that they released back in 2007 was called “Text Ads.” And they sit over on the right rail only on desktop.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: And so, they get looked over a lot. And the reason we know they get looked over a lot because they have a click-through rate on average of .025 percent. 

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: So, that’s 2.5 people clicking out of every 10,000 times these are shown.

Johnathan: Dang, okay.

AJ: So these are pretty much the definition of blindness, right?

Johnathan: Yep.

AJ: But, on the other hand, don’t look past them because, first of all, the traffic only comes from desktop. So if you have a poor mobile experience, or maybe you’re asking for so many fields that people just won’t fill out on mobile.

Johnathan: Sure.

AJ: Like, you just need that information, then this might be the ad unit for you. And then also realize that they’re LinkedIn’s cheapest ad format. You can bid all the way down to $2 a click for them. But most people are paying three to five.

Johnathan: Okay, awesome.

AJ: And then, we mentioned it a little bit- sponsored Inmail. So sponsored Inmail is really insanely expensive on average. And the reason why is because you pay per send, not per click. 

Johnathan: Mm.

AJ: So if you send an Inmail message to someone and it just feels like spam, it doesn’t feel like anything special, then it’s going to get ignored and you just paid 35 to 85 cents to send someone something that they were just going to ignore.

Johnathan: Sure.

AJ: So it’s quite a bit more risky than something like sponsored content or text ads, that we just talked about, where you only pay when someone clicks.

Johnathan: Right, right, right.

AJ: So what this requires is a very special kind of offer. So if he’s thinking, if I got this as an email, would it feel like spam? Or does it feel like a personal invitation?

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: Because if it feels like a personal invitation, it’s probably going to perform very well. If not, it’ll feel like spam.

Johnathan: Yeah.

AJ: So examples of offers that tend to work really well like this are free events, job offers, maybe something like because of who you are in the industry, we wanna give you early access, or a sneak peak, special VIP treatment.

An offer like that, sponsored Inmail will work great.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: Everything else, just avoid. ‘Cause you’re gonna pay 35-85 cents to send it to someone, you’ll have a 50 percent open rate, and now only a three percent click through rate.

Johnathan: Right.

AJ: Based on that. So you do the math, and you end up at like $26 a click.

Johnathan: Okay.

AJ: On average, that sucks. But if you have a special offer, you’re gonna be way above average.

Johnathan: Sure. So, it sounds like you just dropped three nuggets, and to not to annoy our listeners with a lot of clucking, I wanted to ask you real quick on that note.

Is there basically, have you seen advertisers out there that can basically take advantage of all the advertising formats in LinkedIn pretty well? Even if, like you said, they have to be creative in regards to, like, the Inmail ads that you just mentioned. Is that possible? Can people have that expectation if their execution is correct?

AJ: Yeah, there are certain kinds of offers, or, companies and offers, t



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Episode 003 Transcript: LinkedIn Ads Mastery

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