Show Resources

Here were the resources we covered in the episode:

Forrester B2B Buying Insights

Website Demographics Episode

Frequency Caps Episode

Retargeting LinkedIn Traffic on Google and Meta

Join the LinkedIn Ads Fanatics community and get access to our 4 courses to take you from beginner to expert

Follow AJ on LinkedIn

B2Linked’s Youtube Channel

LinkedIn Learning Course

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Show Transcript

Why did Dracula fail at B2B sales? He was great with a single decision maker, but got nervous in front of stakeholders. Get it? Stake holders? We’re talking five advanced SaaS software strategies you’re not already using on this week’s episode of the LinkedIn Ads Show.

Welcome to the LinkedIn Ads Show. Here’s your host, AJ Wilcox.

Hey there, LinkedIn Ads fanatics. As he said, I’m AJ Wilcox, and I’m the host of the weekly podcast, the LinkedIn Ads Show. And I’m thrilled to welcome you to the show for advanced B2B marketers to evolve through a transformational journey towards mastering LinkedIn Ads and achieving true pro status. As of the time of this recording, it was Halloween this week in the U. S. So I felt obligated to tell a spooky joke in the teaser at the top of the show. I know it had nothing to do with SaaS. Please forgive me for that. So one of the biggest segments of LinkedIn advertisers is SaaS software, or what we call software as a service. Today, we’re going to dive into why SaaS is set up for success in LinkedIn. And I’m also going to give you five tips that you’re probably not already using in your SaaS software campaigns in LinkedIn Ads. And just for bragging rights, keep track of how many of you are already incorporating any of these and shoot me a note on LinkedIn and let me know. I’d absolutely love to hear what you’re working on. These are pretty advanced, so I’d actually be really surprised if anyone’s doing more than, like, two of them, but either way, for bragging rights, let me know.

In the news, Message Ads are apparently back? I know I’ve talked for lots of months now about how Message Ads and all of Sponsored Messaging seem to be being phased out, and LinkedIn had already said message ads specifically are gone. Now they’re back.I got a message at the top of Campaign Manager that says that the ability to create Message Ads is back now. I have to assume that some of you really big spenders were actually seeing great success from running these as ad formats and people spoke up to LinkedIn and then they had to kind of backpedal on their decision. What do I think of the ad format coming back? Look, if the ad format is performant for some, I’m still really glad that we have access to it. We do have clients that it works well for, mostly in higher education. So even though you’ve heard me say lots of times now that these were the most expensive ads on LinkedIn, and I don’t mind them going away. I’m actually really good there staying because I always appreciate the capabilities of the platform staying, even if they’re not useful to everyone or, or a hundred percent performant. I love having one more option, one more lever I can pull in very specific use cases, just because something doesn’t work well for the majority doesn’t mean that LinkedIn has to scrap it, uh, in my honest opinion. So what’s the harm in letting it stay an option? And if they don’t have to do too much to, to maintain it or, you know, they don’t have to add new features to it, anything like that. So I am glad to see that they’re back. I do hope that this means that we still have the option down the road for Message Ads and Conversation Ads being triggered from the newsfeed, like we’ve been assuming that we do.

All right. Do you have a question, a review or feedback for the show? Message me privately on LinkedIn, or you can email and attach a link to a voice recording from you, or even just drop the voice recording right there, and I’ll play them here on the show. I’m happy to either keep you anonymous or shout you out either way. So record yourself asking a question, commenting on something from past episode, and I’ll aim to include you right here in the show. A really good use of this would be to let me know if there are any tips, tricks, or hacks that you’re using in Sass that maybe I forgot to mention here. So, surface those and I’ll be sure to add them in a future episode.

All right, onto the topic at hand, let’s hit it. My very first tip for SaaS software on LinkedIn Ads is you can actually, I call this funnel acceleration. You can actually close deals faster by targeting the whole buyer’s committee.

So when we’re targeting someone with a solution, generally we think to target those who actually feel the pain. I call them the pain feelers. They’re the ones who actually need your product or service to do their job better or more efficiently. Or to be able to do it at all. But if your software is a larger purchase decision for this professional, there are, of course, going to have to go to their higher ups and get permission for it. So what you can do in SaaS software is, you obviously have these campaigns that are targeting the people that feel the pain, but you can also have another campaign that you can call funnel acceleration. And the whole goal is to target the other people who might be involved in that purchase decision. So think of something like in smaller companies, the owner or the CEO is probably going to actually physically sign off on that. In smaller companies, it’s usually going to beĀ  someone who’s higher up in finance, maybe like a VP of finance or a CFO, but in larger companies that gets delegated down to the lower seniorities. So you might also be targeting things like, individual contributor or manager, maybe even director level finance. You could target the more seniors. So let’s say you’re targeting an IT department and the person you’re trying to sell to is maybe a manager of IT. You can automatically target the director, the VP, and the C level of IT as well. The goal here is to surround everyone who that’s going to cross their desk, surround them with your message to make them brand aware. So now if you think about it, by the time this crosses their desk, they’re a lot more likely to say, Oh, I’ve heard of this company. This sounds like a good deal. Sounds like they’re good software. And they’re not such a huge risk. Yeah, I’ll sign off on it. And this is a way that you can accelerate those deals where your point of contact really does want to buy, they have it in the budget, they’re ready to go, but this is just a way of accelerating that and taking away some of the friction. The way that you’re going to do this targeting is usually by company name. So what you might do is take, let’s say the last 10 or 20 sales qualified leads that you’re working with. And upload just those company names into your targeting. That could either be done through a matched audience, or just manually typing in those company names. That’s actually the way I would go in this if it’s small. And then layer on those levels of seniority, or job functions. Because we are targeting specific companies, we do want to keep our targeting much broader. Because you do need an audience of at least 300 people in order to advertise. So that’s why you’re going to combine different companies and many job functions and many seniorities together. But this is how you can take advantage of funnel acceleration.

The next one’s a trick of how we can keep your customers longer. This is one that we’ll call decreasing churn by targeting your current users so one of the biggest pain points that we have in SaaS marketing Is that customer churn, you’ve acquired someone, they’re a user of your software, but then after the contract is over, or even if there is no contract, they drop off after some months, and if you could have kept them longer, it would have made it even more profitable for your advertising and you get an even higher ROI. So we obviously want to plug those leaks if we absolutely possibly can. Lots of times in advertising, we purposely try to exclude our current customers from seeing our ads because we’ve already captured them. We don’t want to keep spending money on them. But here is a case where we want to explicitly and specifically target our current users. So what you do is you take a list of either your current users, and upload them as a matched audience of contacts to show ads to. Or what you could do is, create a matched audience of just the companies who are subscribed. So you will get your user in that audience, but you’re also going to be getting their co workers, and maybe others in their department. So now you are explicitly targeting your customers, and what you want to do is show ads that make them more engaged in your software. Think of things like, hey, here are new breakout features that are coming out that you’re not going to want to miss. Or, here’s how you do something that a lot of people may overlook with our software. And what you want to do is get those users re engaged with your software, just in case they’ve stopped or they’ve kind of forgotten about it, you want to stay top of mind especially if you’re doing this around the time that customers renewal period comes around, this can be a great way of staying top of mind, reminding them why they need you so that they do include you in their budget for the following year.

As an added bonus here, you know, we talk about how the average cost per click on LinkedIn in North America is $10-16 well, all of that changes when you get really high click through rates on your ads , because you’re talking to your existing customers who already know, like, and trust you, they’re already very aware of you, they are going to click on your ads at a much higher rate than normal. So while normally we might be fighting to try to get above, let’s say half a percent click through rate, customers might click at 1%, 2%, 3%, 5% click through rates, and with those kinds of click through rates, When you are bidding by CPM, we talk about using maximum delivery bidding when your click through rates are really high. You can get your effective cost per click down to maybe even less than $1 in some of these scenarios. So this can be very, very high performance.

Okay, here’s a quick sponsor break and then we’re gonna dive into the last three advanced tips I’ve got for you on SaaS software.

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Okay, let’s jump into tip number three here, which is how you can save money by excluding your customers. And your competitors.

All right. We just touched on this in the last point, how you would use this kind of flipped, but talking specifically about those cold audiences that you’re trying to reach, people who haven’t heard of you before, and you’re trying to reach these net new audiences, you don’t want to be showing ads to your current, your past customers, and especially your competitors, because your competitors will click on your ads and they will try to charge you money, but it’s only because they hate you.

So for this one, what we’re doing is we’re taking that same list that we uploaded in the last tip. These are our, current and our past customers,and instead of targeting them specifically with a campaign, like in tip number two, here in tip three, we’re going to exclude this list from all of the other campaigns we’re running. You can also do the same thing with your list of competitors, go find every single one of them. You can either type them in manually into campaign manager or upload them as a list.

If you have a lot of them and make sure that all three of these lists are always excluded in all of your cold stage campaigns.And it’s funny because this is a real challenge for those who advertise on Google. I know because I kind of grew up in the world of Google ads and what happens. Everyone who is a competitor, they’re all targeting the same keywords, which means they’re all bidding on the same keywords, and they’re all manually searching to see, what their competitors are doing and how they look on the search engine results page or SERP. And of course, when you’re looking at ads there and you’re a little bit angry that your competitor is showing up above you, then what are you going to do? Well, you’re going to click on that ad. The same thing goes for if they see your ads on Facebook or. Snapchat or whatever, , if they think that they’re going to be able to charge you money by clicking, they’re going to do it and overall, you probably won’t see it in your data, but there will be little clicks here and there that you have to pay for that you really shouldn’t have had to. So one of the biggest beauties of the LinkedIn Ads platform is we can exclude companies, certain companies by name from seeing our ads. So if we do this, we can keep our competitors out. The only weakness here is that if it’s someone who is not directly working for the company, but maybe they’re a partner, maybe a service provider or something like that, you may not think to exclude them, so they might be seeing it. The other thing is one of your competitors, employees might still be shown because they don’t actually show that they are working for the company. Sometimes when someone creates their profile or updates it, hey type in the name of the company, but they don’t select the company page as being their employer. And because of that, LinkedIn doesn’t know who their employer is, and so even though you’re properly excluding, it might still let some of them through., But I would say this is very much a minority.

Okay, tip number four, this is increasing your win back rate by targeting past customers. Now I already talked about how you’d upload a list of your past customers so that you could exclude them. Well, now we’re talking about how we can upload that same list or use the same list you’ve already uploaded specifically for targeting. This would be great for targeting those users who’ve since moved away from your product. Maybe they went to a competitor, but you know that your service is better. So once they’ve tried out your competitor’s product, they are maybe more likely to come back after they’ve really seen the light. So we call this your win back rate, how many of your customers that you’ve lost. Can you win back? So what you can do is target your old users specifically with campaigns that are meant to try to win them back, to show them how much better your product is than any other competitor, to show where you are leading the pot. Again, if your messaging is really good here, it’s not going to cost you very much. They’re probably going to click at a very high rate. The list is probably pretty small anyway, so it’s not going to take a lot of budget, and it should be very efficient. You shouldn’t have to pay very much for , these clicks or interactions at all.

And finally, tip number five. This is how you can spy on your competitors for insights into what’s working well and what’s not.

So it used to be before LinkedIn rolled out the LinkedIn Ad library, which we’ve linked to in the, in the show notes, we’d have to actually go to their company page and click on their posts and their ads. And you’d only be able to see their last six months of sponsored content. Well, now this is a lot more powerful. We can go to this tool that LinkedIn created called the LinkedIn Ad Library. We can look up a competitor by name and see all the different kinds of ads they’re running. Not just Sponsored Content that you can see in the newsfeed, but you’ll also see their Text Ads, Dynamic Ads, and even Sponsored Messaging. Now the ad library isn’t going to show some really crucial things like the level of interaction that their ads are getting. So for instance, if you have a competitor who has an ad that has, 300 likes and a hundred comments, then absolutely what they are doing is working and you should be paying attention. On the other hand, if you see an ad of theirs that has zero comments, zero likes, you can pretty much assume that it’s dead. Maybe it’s not running or it’s not very engaging, which is okay. You can kind of ignore that. So if you want to see actually what the engagement level is on each of your competitors ads, you need to go listen to episode 82 of the podcast. It was an interview with Sander from Their very inexpensive tool gives you this access. So go check that out. There’s a referral code that I think gives you a percentage off. So definitely worth going to listen to that episode. But either way, if you can just see the ads that your competitors are running, that can give you good ideas. I do want to warn you though, don’t be in a hurry to copy anything that your competitors are doing. I mean, if there’s something that’s working really well, you can try to put your own spin on it. But any time that you copy, realize they’re trying to learn and test just like you are. And chances are they probably haven’t found a real home run that is beating you out. And so if you make your message look more like their message, it’s probably not going to perform very well. You’re just kind of diluting each other. So what I would do is use that as examples for what you could do. That’s new and crazy and attention grabbing and try to one up them. Early on in my career, I did SEO. And one of the best things that you can do in SEO is not try to trick the search engines, but go and look and see what are the sites that are ranking higher than me, what information are they providing that would actually be really good for the searcher. And what you do, you end up building your page into something that is a really authoritative resource. It covers all the angles that that searcher could care about, and you genuinely make that page more authoritative. You don’t have to trick the search engines, you don’t have to do anything like that. What you’re doing is just making what you do more valuable. I think of the things with ads exactly the same way. Be aware of what your competitors are doing, that’s great, but think of ways that you can one up them.

Okay. I just had to provide more value than what I promised. So right here after the break, I’m going to give you a sixth tip that’s absolutely going to help you with your SaaS software.

All right. So here are the episode resources, and we’ll come right back for that sixth tip.

Thank you for listening to the LinkedIn Ads Show. Hungry for more? AJ Wilcox. Take it away.

All right. Like we mentioned in the episode, the LinkedIn Ads library is LinkedIn’s answer to Facebook’s Ad library. This is where you can see all the different kinds of ads that your competitors may be running. So go check that out. The link’s right there in the show notes below. Also a link to episode 82 of the podcast, all about spying on your competitors ads. So go check that one out as well. If you’re looking to learn more about LinkedIn Ads or want to absolutely go pro, go check out the fanatics community. This is found at This is the community where you get access to all the other LinkedIn Ads experts who are bouncing ideas off of each other and then plus you’ll get access to all four of our courses. We’re going to keep building out that course library, but this is by far the best way I can think of for you to up level your game and become an absolute LinkedIn Ads expert. If this is your first time listening, welcome, I’d invite you to subscribe, but if this is not your first time listening, please do go and leave us a review on Apple podcasts, especially. It is by far the best way that you can say, thank you for all the hours that me and my team puts together to make this show happen every week. With any questions, suggestions, or corrections on anything that we’ve talked about, reach out to us at the email address,

All right. As promised, here’s the bonus sixth tip for SaaS companies who are advertising on LinkedIn. This is actually kind of a combination of things. The first is, you can use ads to target media companies for PR. Think about it like this, maybe using your LinkedIn Ads to target journalists, with messages that may want them to pick it up and talk about your company for free. That’s a great usage of your LinkedIn Ads. Anyone that you’d be interested in targeting specifically with PR related messages, target them with LinkedIn. We can do this. What about if your company is looking for additional investment? What you can do is specifically target VC and private equity firms with more messages about how your company is killing it. These could be ways of increasing your overall awareness from those who might be investors in the future. What about targeting potential channel partners, or maybe even co marketing partners? Maybe you want your founder featured on someone’s podcast, or a list of podcasts. You can target those who you know run podcasts in your industry. These are all great uses of LinkedIn Ads. I know this is a little bit of a potpourri, but it is really valuable to those who are running SaaS software campaigns.

All right, with that being said, we’ll see you back here next week. I’m cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.