- Types of Advertising
There are basically three types of advertising on LinkedIn for self-service, which means that you can control the strategy, the copy, the style, and the frequency of your campaign. You can also stop, pause, or cancel a campaign at any point.
Text Ad-These are simple, and are 30 to 100 characters of text at the top of a LinkedIn feed. As you refresh your feed a new text ad will come up. This is the least effective form of advertising on LinkedIn because it’s often overlooked by the viewer.
InMail- LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail is their version of cold email marketing. There are a lot of pros to this type of advertising, it’s cost effective and you can still target your audience. Your return on investment will be lower and the effectiveness of the campaign is lower than the third option.
Sponsored Post-This shows up in your native newsfeed. It’s typically the second or third post in the center of your feed that most LinkedIn user will see as they go through their newsfeed. This will be some sort of graphic, white paper, article, or something below the company name, and it’s going to say “promoted” or “sponsored” in light gray, which indicates it’s a paid post.
Sponsored posts are the most effective method of LinkedIn advertising for manufacturing companies, but it is also the most expensive cost-per-click or cost-per-impression. These sponsored posts are mainly the most expensive because of the fact that you can do hyper-targeting and strategic campaigns to a very specific and focused target demographic. Therefore, LinkedIn can charge you anywhere from $8-20 per click because they know that you have total control over who sees it. They know it’s worth it if your product or service has room for a higher client acquisition cost. If the product that you sell is in the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars per client, like a lot of manufacturing companies, then it’s worth it to invest into sponsored posts. In the long run, your cost per client acquisition is minimal compared to the contract and opportunities that you’ll see and profit you will make once a prospect becomes a customer.
Poorly Optimized Graphics
When you’re running a LinkedIn sponsored post, you want to make sure that the graphics that you’re using for the post are customized and created fresh for your specific campaign. You don’t want to recycle graphics unless it’s applicable to the message that you’re trying to send. Graphics are something you’ll want to continuously update and refresh. Oftentimes in the newsfeed when someone has a sponsored post the graphics have not been created for this specific advertising platform. These graphics tend to be graphics the company already had in-house and they’re just using them because they need to place a graphic with the post.This means the size, clarity, and even relevancy to your post can be off, which is unprofessional. These companies usually don’t have the internal resources or they aren’t working with an agency that can produce good custom graphics for each post. There tends to be a reason why they didn’t go with a brand new custom graphic, and that’s a big miss because you want to be the most relevant to what your message is on your sponsored post, and the landing page that you’re sending the traffic to. Fresh graphics are vitally important to help get your message across and to make a good impression on your audience.
- Wrong Landing Page
Another issue companies face when using LinkedIn advertising is they send their campaign traffic to their homepage or to a page that hasn’t specifically been created or optimized for the campaign that they’re running. You always want to send paid advertising traffic to a specific page, and you don’t want to just send them to your homepage unless you’re running a campaign that is strictly for brand awareness. Sending traffic with a specific call-to-action means focusing on the relevancy of the text and the graphics that match the relevancy of the page. If people see your ad and have interest in your ad, they want to be brought immediately to a page that corresponds to that ad. Often companies want to send someone to their best page or overall homepage, but this isn’t the most relevant page to their ad. If the page matches the ad then you’ll see a significant increase or spike in the bounce rate once you look at your Google Analytics.
You don’t have to necessarily create a landing page through a landing page website like Lead Pages or Click Funnel or websites like that unless it makes complete sense for your company. If you redesigned your site properly or if your site was initially set up properly, then you will have internal pages based on your capabilities, technologies, or the services you offer that have a high UX, high graphic, call-to-action that you can send traffic to. Don’t send traffic to a page that has not been optimized before you started your campaign.
- Loose Target Demographic
Once you’re setting up your campaign in LinkedIn’s campaign manager, you’ll have 100% control over who sees your ads and who your target demographic is based on the information that people provide on their profile. This information can be their title, their geographic location, the company they work for, the school they went to, their job function, the seniority that they have, and it can all be used as target triggers when setting up your campaign. The key is you want to be as specific and strategic as possible and determine the tightest target demographic while also making sure that the number of people that come up in your results is high enough. This information can be found at the top right-hand corner of the LinkedIn campaign manager, and it will help you to ensure that your ads are actually going to be seen on a daily basis by your demographic.
The best tactic for this is to focus on company names. Each campaign allows you to have 100 company names that you can input and find their company LinkedIn page to pair with. Then you’re going to look for employees in those specific companies based on their job function, whether it’s purchasing, engineering, operations, sales, marketing, administration, etc. You can also find employees based on very specific criteria, but this can be a lengthy process and it’s a dangerous path to go down. Here are suggestions for each option.
- Title-This is a very strategic path, but a very risky one. It’s dangerous because the title that someone may call themselves may not encompass everybody. We highly recommend avoiding the use of titles unless you’ve done research ahead of time and know that a significant amount of your target demographic uses a specific title. Instead, use functions such as engineering, purchasing, operations, etc.
- Seniority Level- This would be the next filter to apply if you’re using target companies. You have options of VP, manager, entry-level, etc. You want to pick the level that makes sense. Ask yourself who are the decision makers and influencers for the products that you sell or services that you provide? Focus on getting in front of the decision makers or influencers, and then check the total number of people that LinkedIn is finding for your campaign. You don’t want it to be too small or you’ll be waiting a long time to get activity on your campaign if the quantity is very low. Ideally, you want your campaign to be in the 10,000-80,000 range of people returning on a searchunless you’re using a very strategic campaign where it’s acceptable to be in the 3,000-9,000 range.
- Companies- Focus on companies first. Put together a list of 100 companies from your sales and marketing that you could break down into various campaigns.
- Industries- This would be the next choice, whether it’s medical, pharmaceutical, construction, aviation, defense, business services, marketing and advertising, etc., but do some research first because what LinkedIn calls these industries might not be what you would call them. Find companies that you are already trying to prospect or current customers on LinkedIn and pay attention to the industry that they classify themselves as. This helps you develop trends and understand what industries are the best for your target demographic.
- Geographic- This option is focused on a specific geographic region. Besides the United States, you might want to break your campaign into micro-campaigns by region, East Coast, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, West or whatever makes sense for your campaign.
You want to use the minimum amount of filters with the maximum effectiveness and strategic approach for each campaign.
- Monitor Performance
You can’t effectively know if your campaigns are working without monitoring the performance of those campaigns through the LinkedIn campaign platform and more importantly through Google Analytics website traffic.
The best way to see if your target demographic is set up properly is to first look at the bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of people that come to your website and leave after viewing the first page, they don’t click on a second page. Expect to see similar to Google AdWords campaigns that aren’t set up properly. You’ll see percentages of 85% to 98% or 100% bounce rate. That basically means on that referral source from LinkedIn that 85% of the traffic is coming to your site through the ad and then leaving after viewing one page. If it’s a single landing page with a call-to-action on the bottom, then that will be fine and you’ll have to look at your conversions on that landing page.
The next way to monitor your performance through Google Analytics is looking at the average page viewed and time spent on the site. You want to try and make sure that people are viewing multiple pages on your site and they’re spending at least a few minutes. This depends on your products, services, capabilities, and how much content you have on your site which is going to dictate how long people spend on your site. This is a quick way to determine whether your campaigns are performing.
Another way to monitor your performance is to look at the click-through rate that you’re seeing on your campaigns within the LinkedIn campaign manager. LinkedIn produces content that says a good click-through rate is anywhere from .25% to .35%. In our experience, that percentage is extremely low unless you’re doing a brand awareness campaign either for your brand or a specific trade show you want people to attend. A standard LinkedIn campaign with a CPC, which is cost-per-click, set upshows the lower threshold should be around .5% to .6%, and you want to try and shoot for anywhere from .9% to 1.3% click-through rate if you can.
If you’re monitoring your campaigns, making adjustments, and testing on a regular basis, whether daily or every couple of days, then you want to aim for a higher threshold. If you can get your click-through rate up above .9%, then that is where you’ll start to see a significant ROI.
- Ad Rotation
The most effective way to run a LinkedIn ad is for each campaign to have four ads with graphics in rotation. If your target demographic sees your ad in their LinkedIn feed and they don’t click that ad for whatever reason, either the graphic is not optimized for them or they don’t notice it, then the next time that they come to LinkedIn or refresh their feed you want to show them a different ad with a different graphic. If you only have one or two ads in rotation, then they are only going to see one or two options. Having four ads is the most optimized way to show them four different styles or four different modifications of an ad, whether it’s a graphics change and a text change or just a text change, you want to have four different options. What you think might be an ad that would stand out in a prospect’s LinkedIn feed or the message you might think will resonate with the target demographic, is not necessarily the case. You cannot assume that what you think will perform best actually will. Typically, this is opposite. When you look at the data, you might see campaigns you didn’t expect to perform well actually have a higher click-through rate on engagement than others.
Keeping ads in rotation shows people different types of ads as prospects refresh their feed or come to LinkedIn throughout the day, week or month, and this will aid in better conversions.
- Bid Strategies
The way that the bid strategy works with LinkedIn is the same as Google AdWords or Facebook, which is you only pay a penny more than the next highest bidder. The issue that you’ll come across is people get gun-shy when placing a higher bid because they don’t want to spend the money or burn through their budget. You have to think about it like this, depending on the amount of time that your target demographic spends on LinkedIn, and how far down they scroll, how many minutes they spend per session, determines whether they’ll see your ad. You have to make an assumption about how long a prospect spends on LinkedIn, which is data that you don’t have at your fingertips. You have to assume that if you have a very low bid strategy,which LinkedIn’s campaign platform will tell you, and you’re at the lower end of that bid then people will have to scroll through their feed in order to see your ad.
You can ease into it by starting with a lower number and if your target demographic is set up, your campaign will move slower and you’ll burn through your budget slower. This strategy is fine, but if the target demographic comes onto LinkedIn and only spends a couple of minutes, and they click around a little bit, then they will miss your campaign. Of course, this is based on assumptions because there isn’t data that can provide time studies on your target demographic.
It’s much more effective to show up higher in the feed in either the first ad position, which is the second or third post that they’ll see, or the second ad position, which will be the 8th to 12th position in their feed. Focusing on the top two positions guarantees there will be a higher likelihood to see your ad once they’re fresh on the platform. People often get lost in scrolling or get distracted while their scrolling, so showing up in the first 1-3 ad positions is going to be the most advantageous and produce the best ROI. If you don’t want to burn through your budget, you might want to ease into it and start outbidding low and work out the kinks. Once you understand the platform and you feel like you’ve got your campaigns optimized then you can increase your bid strategy.
Understanding The Issues
Running a self-service campaign takes a lot of work, and you have to understand the different issues you face when going at it alone. The best solution is to hire a marketing firm that understands your business and what will work best, but if you do decide to work on your campaigns yourself, it’s crucial that you address each of these issues as they arise. You don’t want to be throwing money out the window because you don’t understand what you need to do to optimize your campaigns. If you understand these issues, then you’ll be better prepared to adjust your campaigns along the way and produce a better ROI.