10,000+ Hours of LinkedIn Ads in 10 minutes

Some weeks back, I had the chance to return to the speaking circuit and talk to a group of marketers at the Irish Marketing Meetup about my 10,000+ hours of working with LinkedIn Ads.

My original post was picked up by a couple of other folks posting in the ads world and became a bit of a viral trend.

It was 42 core ideas that I’ve taken away from the time I've spent working with brands at Linkedin, some spending as little as €1,000, all the way up to others spending €10,000,000 per year on LinkedIn advertising.

With 10 minutes to play with, I was forced to condense it into the 5 most important themes to consider when advertising on LinkedIn. A technique I may use as a prioritisation exercise for more things in future.

The feedback was positive so I thought I'd share it in this week's newsletter.

Number 1: Organic basics first, Advanced ads last

Notion are a great example of this done well

Years ago, LinkedIn was just about jobs. Nobody cared about the feed. As a baby-faced 20-year-old intern in 2014, somehow I was trusted with calling up CMOs/Marketing Directors and asking their thoughts on LinkedIn as a potential marketing channel.

The most common response I got was "Hasn't crossed my mind, I don't have a profile"... LinkedIn then was not an easy sell.

Fast forward 9 years and the product team has done an incredible job of turning it into a research platform with a strong nature of value exchange s/o Tomer Cohen.

However, this gives members the ability to research and explore your brand, which requires you to have a solid front-of-house. Your brand needs a developed organic strategy before going live with ads.

In numbers, roughly around 30% of engagements of ads will navigate to the LinkedIn company page for deeper research.

I've seen this be as high as 50% in some instances. And the real kicker... if you use the Lead Generation objective, you will get charged for these clicks.

If company page clicks are reaching 50%, then it's theoretically of equal importance to your landing page. I've seen so many agencies and in-house teams just plough on with ads in the hope that paid will solve everything.

It might, but without a solid organic presence - it's unlikely.

Number 2: The Similarity Illusion

Treat the platforms differently

You need to beware of the similarity illusion of using multiple social media channels, especially Facebook and LinkedIn. The UX of the advertising tools may look and feel the same, but they're very different under the hood.

  • The targeting is not the same.
  • Facebook is interest-based, it's also much cheaper, so accuracy isn't crucial.
  • LinkedIn is expensive but the power is the quality of the 1st-party data targeting. It simply needs to be accurate.

The context is not the same.

  • Facebook is more casual.
  • LinkedIn is about value. Create value for your audience and you'll get the engagement.

The features look the same but... they're not the same.

  • The algorithms are different.
  • For example, lookalikes on Facebook are much more powerful than on LinkedIn.

If you transfer campaigns from Facebook over to LinkedIn directly in terms of targeting, content and features - you'll be wasting money. They both are incredibly valuable but treat them individually.

I go through this in-depth in a previous newsletter.

Number 3: 1P Power of LinkedIn, segment and personalise

Use LinkedIn targeting to create audience segments

With the high-cost nature of LinkedIn, don't blow your budget by doing expensive audience research.

Members on LinkedIn are generally, who they say they are so once you have your target personas defined, be deliberate with how you build campaigns. Take the time to segment your campaigns into groups of those who may have similar challenges. Build multiple smaller segments, rather than one large campaign that includes everybody.

This way you'll quickly know what content is working with what audiences and what's just not landing. It makes it much easier to scale quickly and tweak content to make it relevant to the specifics of the B2B buying committee.

The founder of Google doesn't have the same problems as the founder of Tuned Social. So in that case they shouldn't receive the same content and if they do, they'll behave very differently.

The quality of your inputs completely defines your outputs on LinkedIn.

Again, you can find my detailed version of this in a previous newsletter.

Number 4: Retargeting, The B2B Underdog

Lead with retargeting

I want to flip how most people think about this. Retargeting is usually considered a nice-to-have, but it's simply a must-have. I'd go as far as saying 100% of successful LinkedIn Ad accounts use retargeting. If you haven't already, get your insight tag working.

Once your insight tag is working activate all the retargeting options you can possibly think of and map how your content should flow.

Number 5: Optimisation won't save bad content

I didn't mention this one in the talk itself but I feel it's too big to leave out.

I've worked with some incredible LinkedIn advertisers, some of whom have to be up there with the best in the world. I'm pretty confident that with deep knowledge of how the platform works, an exceptional LinkedIn Ad expert can get surprisingly good returns from LinkedIn Ads without amazing content.

But... this is only ok in a situation where you're exploring if LinkedIn is potentially a channel that will work for your business, because average content is not sustainable and bad content is pretty much useless.

LinkedIns algorithm rewards high-quality content and creative. The better your ads perform in terms of CTR, the cheaper your bid price will be and the more quality audience will see it.

If your content is what the audience needs and your account and targeting set-up is correct, it will likely deliver great results and completely minimise the level of optimisation you need to do.

There's a clear point that I'm sure many B2B advertisers have faced where it's impossible to optimise bad content.

So don't underestimate the content you're distributing. Your biggest time investment should be on content, copy and creative.

And that's it…

Hopefully, you found the 5 lessons valuable and the piece has left you with something to think about. If so, you can help me by liking, comment your thoughts or sharing with your network.

If you'd like to work together...

We advise on, create and build everything I've mentioned above to help you be successful with your LinkedIn strategy.

So feel free to connect with me or book a call if you:

  • Have any questions about the content
  • Would like to discuss your own LinkedIn strategy
  • Want me to build a LinkedIn Ad strategy for your business