Everything PPC Advertisers Want To Know About LinkedIn Ads – Part 1
Contributor Sahil Jain shares the top questions asked by PPC advertisers at a recent educational event, along with the expert panelists' answers.
As a LinkedIn Advertising partner here at AdStage, we work with several sophisticated advertisers who are crushing it on LinkedIn. On the flip side though, we hear that some advertisers are not having as much success as they hoped for with LinkedIn Ads.
People want to know why: What is the secret to LinkedIn Ads? Is there a minimum time frame or test budget that must be allocated for success? How do you optimize your targeting? Why is it so so “expensive?”
We recently hosted a virtual event that addressed all of these questions and more. I was joined by speakers from B2Linked, the largest LinkedIn Advertising agency in the world, where we discussed why your LinkedIn campaigns are failing and what types of targeting you should be running to take full advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer. Over 300 marketing professionals attended the event, and there were dozens of great questions.
Today, I’m sharing these real questions from the event with real LinkedIn advertiser answers. The event focused on targeting, performance, and creative on LinkedIn, which is part 1 of the series — we’ll be hosting two more events that will cover measurement, bidding, and optimization at scale on LinkedIn Ads, and I’ll share that information here, too.
Q: Have you seen a correlation between audience size and duration of campaign that drives success?
A: When you have a large audience size and a large budget, you’re likely going to saturate that audience over the course of two to four weeks. On the other hand, if you have a very small budget, like around $50 per day, the chances of you fully saturating an audience of 30,000 to 100,000 users are very low.
Depending on how big the audience size is and how fast you’re reaching them through your budget will dictate campaign success. If you want to roll into that backwards, I would run the same ad content over one to two months (longer for smaller budgets) and watch the performance over time.
View your click-through rate (CTR) view to gain insight into what’s happening to your CTR over time. You’ll know when you reach the point of saturation when you see the graph take a sharp turn downward. At that point, you’ll know that you need to freshen up your campaigns.
Q: What are recommendations for B2C targeting? How do you use the options available for targeting when you’ve got a clear demographic but it’s not tied to an occupation?
A: LinkedIn obviously lends itself well to targeting occupations, but if you know your audience well enough and that persona is very developed, you can use the business targeting for a B2C play. For example, Nissan is an active B2C brand advertiser on LinkedIn. Here’s a Sponsored Update that was shown in my news feed.
A slightly different B2C use-case is when other channels cost more than a click on LinkedIn. For example, some clicks on AdWords can be > $125 so paying $7 per click on LinkedIn, while not as targeted, could be seen as getting a huge discount.
Conversion rates can be lower with LinkedIn as you pay less for that traffic. If you can make the targeting work for you, I highly recommend it.
Q: Does overlap targeting lead to competing on your own campaigns?
A: With LinkedIn, if you have any campaigns with overlapping targeting, the platform will not allow you to compete against yourself. It will take your relevancy score in a pre-auction phase from both campaigns and both ads that are competing for the impression, and will choose to serve one of them based on the auction at hand.
If you are running two separate accounts, you may be competing against yourself, but if your ads are within the same ad account, you will not compete against yourself.
Q: Is there any way to exclude a current customer?
A: Yes, in LinkedIn you can use exclusion targeting by company name. This comes in handy when you want to exclude competitors or current customers. This is particularly useful if you have a small customer base, such as less than 100.
By all means, jump in, and remove these folks by company name.
Q: If our target audience is between 25,000 and 100,000, do you have any areas of concern with this on LinkedIn?
A: Not if you’ve seen success in the past with this audience and you’ve proven that LinkedIn is a good platform for reaching your target audience. Obviously, tracking comes into question here because you do want to be able to attribute that.
If the sales allow you to spend a healthy budget on LinkedIn, then go all in and invest heavily. Just make sure your attribution is set up and you’re tracking past the lead level.
You’ll want to track everything as you go deeper into the sales funnel. For example, identifying the time and spend it takes to get a form fill, and the spend it takes to get a demo with a sales rep, may be two stages you’d like to attribute back to your advertising efforts.
Q: What is the minimum audience size that’s recommended?
A: LinkedIn’s minimum audience size is 1,000, and we’ve run quite a few campaigns right around the 1,000-person size for very small niche groups. But, you’ll need to think about if this is worth your time. It’s going to take the same amount of time to target 30,000 users as it is to target 5,000 users.
And, let’s say with a good CTR, your 5,000 audience size may turn around six clicks per month. Is it worth your time having to create that campaign separately? If you look at it that way, those clicks must be worth a lot of money to be worth your time.
Q: If I am targeting two different regions, how do I ensure my ads are running evenly in both places?
A: You can split this into two separate campaigns and then manage the budget between the two. Let’s say you’re targeting the U.S. and the U.K., but the U.S. is spending faster because there are more people using LinkedIn in the U.S. You can limit your budget separately by bidding $5 per click in the U.S. and $7 per click in the U.K.
There isn’t a true automated way of doing this to make sure impressions are split evenly, but some tools (like AdStage) allow you to set Automated Rules. For example, when the U.S. campaign has spent > $1,000, the software can automatically pause it, and wait for the U.K. campaign to catch up in delivering impressions.
Q: What do you do if you launch ads and they have a bad relevancy score?
A: First, you’ll need to find out if your ads have a bad relevancy score. You will see this immediately on Day 2 if impressions drop and by Day 3 it starts to bottom out.
On average, CTRs for Sponsored Updates are roughly 0.3%, while Text Ads yield about 0.03%. While this is just an average, some audiences may click on ads more often, so even if you CTR is around average, it is possible that it could be comparatively low for the segment you’re targeting.
So, if your CTR is average, you’re going to find that you’ll fill the budget based on your bids, but you’re going to be paying close to your maximum bid per click. (For example, if your bid is $6, your clicks could come in at $5.50 or $5.75.)
If you want a shot at improving your relevancy score, I would encourage you to try testing new creative. Try changing up your offer, your images, or your ad copy. Launching new creatives gives your ad a fresh chance of a higher relevancy score.
Q: When you change your creative, do you need to make a brand-new ad, or can you edit the content in an existing ad?
A: For Sponsored Updates, you won’t be able to edit a launched Sponsored Update, so you’ll just have to recreate it. For text ads, on the other hand, you can change change anything about the ad and it will reset the relevancy score.
If you change title, description or image, it will reset the relevancy score, and it should give you a fresh shot. Here’s the difference between the two ad formats.
Q: If you’re relaunching ads, do you risk saturating an audience by having them see the same ad too many times?
A: If your audience size is fairly large at 30,000 and you had about 2,000 impressions during the first time around, the chances of the same person seeing your ad when you relaunch it are pretty slim.
That said, if you figure you launched these ads the first time and it didn’t work very well, try switching something up, not in an effort to stay fresh so much, but in an effort to generate more interest. We recommend keeping things fresh whenever it makes sense.
Q: How many concurrent ads to you recommend running at a time in a Sponsored Update campaign?
A: LinkedIn decides pretty early on, usually within the first day, which ad is its favorite to serve. So while you may have four ad creatives to test, I would recommend only testing two at a time and A/B test each one to identify the winning creative.
Otherwise, by testing more than two ads at a time, those other variants are not getting a solid chance to be successful. They may not get enough data or impressions on each variant to draw any significant conclusions.
Q: There are multiple clickable items on a single Sponsored Update, such as a shortened URL and an image — what is counted as a click? Are there any best practices for the advertiser designing the ad?
A: A click of any kind on the Sponsored Update will count as a click. That’s definitely something you should take into account. However, if someone likes, shares or comments, and that activity is broadcast to the rest of their network, you do not pay for clicks that occur through virality.
For best practices, here’s what we recommend:
- Use a short link at the end of the ad copy to give the viewer an extra chance to click your desired landing page.
- Use ad character limits that will allow your ad to look the same across all devices (mobile, tablet, and desktop). Recommended character limits:
- 150-character introduction
- 55-character title
- 155-character description
This will minimize truncation of your ad. See the below example of a truncated post vs. an non-truncated post.
These are just a few of the top questions we received about targeting and ad creative on LinkedIn.
New insights on measurement and bidding strategies are next on our educational seminars, so if you have any questions of your own, add them in the comments here.