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Show Transcript

Your LinkedIn Ads are going dark, and you don’t have any idea. On this week’s episode of the LinkedIn Ads Show, we’re exploring why your ads stop showing during the day.

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

Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics. As he said, I’m AJ Wilcox. 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 mastering LinkedIn Ads and achieving true pro status. Today, we’re talking about something that happens all the time with your LinkedIn Ads. But you have no idea when it happens. There’s no notification or visibility of any kind. In fact, it’s really even hard to tell that it’s happening, even if you know it’s happening and you know what you’re looking for. I’m of course talking about when your ads are shutting off for the day. We’ll talk about what causes it, how to measure it, and of course, how to avoid it happening.

The LinkedIn Ads Show is proudly brought to you by, the LinkedIn Ads experts.

We are the ad agency 100 percent focused and dedicated on LinkedIn ads, and we have been since 2014. You know, back before it was cool. We’ve mastered the platform, we’ve figured out how to get you the very best traffic at the very lowest costs, which, on a platform that charges such a premium like LinkedIn, this is what we’ve found to be the best way to increase your return on investment.

We’ve built reporting capabilities that even LinkedIn themselves can’t provide. So, just showing you, we give our clients the very best insights. If that sounds interesting to you and you want to explore possibly working together, schedule your free discovery call at b2linkcom/sh discovery.

First off in the news over the last couple of weeks, there’s been a pop up banner on accounts asking for additional business information. And what’s crazy about this is when this shows up, you can’t do anything in the account while it’s there. This has been particularly annoying because if you happen to be, say, I don’t know, an agency managing ads for a client, and maybe you’re not authorized to fill out this information on behalf of the client, there’s absolutely nothing you could do. If ads were running that you needed to urgently pause, or you had an urgent launch that was waiting, none of that mattered. This pop up stayed front and center on the campaign manager screen until you filled out additional legal details about the company.

LinkedIn, I know you can sense my sarcasm here. Please never, ever, ever do something like that again. There are so many ways that this information could be collected without prohibiting us from actually managing the account. Give us a countdown timer or something saying, We’re, we’re over. But your account will be inaccessible if you don’t fill it out by a certain date. That would be great. Totally happy. This way, we couldn’t do anything in accounts. And that prohibited us from launching ads that made you money. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

I want to highlight one of our reviews. The headline said, Quality Content. And I don’t know if I’m pronouncing this right, but Carl Hawley from France, he says, "I’m a new listener, but I binged the first 100 episodes within weeks and still going. I even listened to one episode eight times. I’ll let you guess which one. AJ knows what he’s doing. Keep going."

Now, I looked Carl up on LinkedIn and he’s really interesting. He is a life sciences marketer. Sure, which we’d expect if you were listening to a LinkedIn Ads podcast. But he’s also a cancer researcher. That’s playing double duty. And he does this for a firm in France called Inserm. Carl, I’m trying really hard to guess which episode you may have listened to eight times. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that maybe it’s episode six on bidding and budgeting, but let me know if I’m wrong. I’m guessing that one, because it’s the topic that if you understand it, you’ll save so much money on LinkedIn Ads that your competitors will be paying two to three times as much for clicks as you are. But you did say you made it all the way to episode 100, so maybe it was episode 89 that was the updated version on that topic? I don’t know. I’m not sure. I would absolutely love to hear which one it was. Thanks for the kind words, and trust me, that warms my heart and keeps us producing this content week after week.

All right, you listeners, do you have a question, a review, or feedback for the show? Message me on LinkedIn privately, or you can email us at You can attach a link to, or even just the voice file of a voice recording from you, and I’ll aim to play them right here on the show. And, as a reminder, I’m happy to keep you anonymous, or share your details and shout you out. So, record yourself asking a question, commenting on something from a previous episode, telling me how terrible I am, whatever that is, and I’ll aim to include you right here in the show. I want to feature you.

Let’s hit it.

All right, so we’re talking about when your ads go dark. And in order to understand this, we need to understand how LinkedIn’s auction system works.

You have your daily budget set on a campaign level. And then LinkedIn tries to spend that daily budget during the course of the day. But it’s really important to understand what LinkedIn considers a day. Because it’s, unless you live in the UK, it’s different from what your time zone is.

So LinkedIn’s entire billing system works off of the UTC time zone, which is the Greenwich Mean Time that’s based right in the UK. So this works great for you advertisers who are in England and the UK, amazing for you. But unfortunately, I don’t live in England, so LinkedIn’s new day starts at 7pm my time.

So here’s what happens. The new day starts for me at 7 pm, and our clients budgets for the day are new and fresh right at my 7 pm, and they start going strong. If they have a high enough budget, then they can last into the next day. But if not, they could feasibly spend all of their budget during the night time, when really only the people who are having trouble sleeping are the ones looking at their newsfeed. And we’ve done all kinds of tests about what time of day works best for ads and all of that, but I can tell you, the vast majority of you advertisers do not want your ads going full bore during the middle of the night..

So this is what happens if you follow LinkedIn’s bidding recommendations, where your rep tells you, you should bid really aggressively because you want to outbid your competition. You want to show up higher in the news feed. Well, what happens is you aggressively set your bid. So you’re winning every single auction from, you know , my time, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, midnight, 1am, 2am, you’re going throughout the night, and you are the top bidder, man. You are getting every single impression, every single click that is to be had. But, what happens is these are some of the most competitive times, because everyone’s budget is fresh, and back in the auction during these times, where there are very few members actually on the platform, navigating around, opening up ad inventory. And you need that ad inventory.

So when you’re an account spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, this is no problem because you’re going to have the budget to go full bore all day long. But what happens if you are running a small amount of spend? We’ve consulted with many clients who are spending like, let’s say, sub 1, 000 or 2, 000 a month. So they’ve got these very small daily budgets set. And what happens is you could actually spend the entire day’s daily budget before your audience even goes to work. We know LinkedIn is very much a professional platform. So we’re counting on people accessing it when they’re at work, doing their professional thing in the right mindset. But if you blow all of your day’s budget by 4am and then your ads aren’t even running during the best part of the day, that means that you’ve aggressively set your bids to the point where you’ve blown your budget way too fast.

What this means is you want to lower your daily what this means is you want to lower your bids. You don’t need to bid nearly as aggressively as LinkedIn tells you, and remember, LinkedIn wants you to pay too much for your clicks because they really love what that looks like for them at their quarterly earnings announcement. Believe me, you don’t have to bid that high, especially if you have small budgets.

This is especially egregious with the LinkedIn audience network, because on LinkedIn, there is some pacing that you can do where LinkedIn actually knows like how many people can I expect to be getting impressions and possibly clicking. And so you can see this pacing that happens throughout the day. But on the LinkedIn Audience Network, there is no pacing algorithm set.

It will spend any time it has an opportunity with your audience. We’ve seen it spend the entire day’s budget in 20 minutes. And we continue to see that happening until we lowered bids. So we suggest way underbidding and force it to stretch that budget out through the whole day.

So you may be asking yourself, AJ, what about maximum delivery bidding? LinkedIn’s default bidding method. This is the way that LinkedIn is able to predict the traffic patterns of your ideal target audience throughout the day. Since you’re paying by the impression, LinkedIn actually understands really well what your audience patterns are like, during the day, during the week. And so it’s actually really easy for LinkedIn. Well, easy. It takes a lot of math, I’m sure. Math that’s way beyond my understanding. But it’s much easier for LinkedIn to pace this out. And it actually paces it out pretty well. Except for one fact. You’ll notice that LinkedIn will tell you that it’s able to overspend your daily budget by up to 50%. Well, we’ve noticed that when we bid maximum delivery, we will see ourselves overspend the daily budget by 50% every single day, very reliably.

So I’m not that great at math, but I will tell you, I’m pretty sure that it is possible to stop paying when you’ve hit a daily budget, but that’s a different story for a different time.

All right, so if you’re using maximum delivery, it’s going to be a lot easier to time and make sure that your budget is spent over the course of the day, but there is a double edged sword here if the click through rates on your ads are not stellar and by stellar In the newsfeed, I’m talking about getting click through rates that are over 1 percent. Which on average LinkedIn’s newsfeed is like about half a percent .45 percent. So you’ve got to be at least double the average click through rate If you’re not there your effective cost per click will be significantly higher than what it would be if you were bidding manually.

I have actually talked to advertisers who say, you know what? I’m actually happy to pay two or three times the cost. My work doesn’t ride me about the efficiency. We’ve been spending like this for a long time. It’s actually easier for me to just set a daily budget, let maximum delivery deliver, and I get to sit back and not have to babysit. Okay. But that’s not why we have a job. Our job as an agency is to get you the very best performance possible. And we do that by doing a lot of extra work and babysitting these. I know a lot of you who listen, you’re really interested in doing the same kind of thing that we are, which is trying to get the very best performance possible, not paying more than you have to. So I’m going to share with you our tricks on how to do this.

If you want to go really deep into this, go listen to episode 89 that I was talking to Carl earlier about. This one goes way deep into the auction, how each of the bidding models work, and what gets you the best performance in what kind of situation.

Alright, so, If you know that there’s a possibility that your ads are going dark during the day, this is how to measure it. I’ve got three different methods for you to try out.

The first is if you happen to have a LinkedIn rep, you can ask your rep to pull you a special kind of report. We call it the Going Dark Report, but we’ve heard reps call it two different things. We’ve heard it called the Budget Cap Reporting, and sometimes the Daily Cap Report.

And it’s actually a really cool report. I’m looking at an example right now here off screen, and what it does is for a specific time range, a range of certain days, what it does is every row is a campaign, on a certain day and what it does is it tells you the time stamp of your last click that occurred that day And it gives it to you in UTC time, but it’s it’s also converted here to Pacific Standard Time But anyway with Excel, I mean just google it or ask ChatGPT.

What’s the formula to convert a time stamp to my time zone, it’ll give you a formula, super easy. Now what you have is every single day, for every single campaign, what time of day it shut off.

I’m looking at here, the same exact campaign on different days. One, it had its last click at 9:57am, so still very early in the day. And the same campaign a few days later. It’s last click came at 6:38pm. So really these are all over the board. There’s not going to be a perfect science here, but what’s cool here is that there is a way for you to identify, yes, certain campaigns are hitting their daily budgets before the end of the day. And there is something I can do about that.

Some of us don’t have reps, or you may end up with a rep who goes, I’ve never heard of that. I don’t know how to run it. I’m going to tell you how I do it without a reps help. My second method here to measure this is I call this like measuring it roughly. What I do is I switch my columns inside of campaign manager when I’m looking at my campaigns. I switch it to the budget and bid columns. Then I want to go to my timeframe and adjust it to where I’m looking at just what I would consider like the last two to three business days. And these are days where I know I didn’t make any significant changes.

All right. So now you have a list of your campaigns during that time period, a limited time period, where you didn’t make any sort of changes. Now look over in the column that says, Average daily spend, and right to the right of that is going to be a column that is your daily budget, and you can compare these two. Remember, LinkedIn is able to overspend your daily budget by up to 50 percent if you let it. If you’re bidding aggressively enough, then LinkedIn will overspend your budget. So what you do, you start comparing these columns, and if your average daily spend is significantly over your daily budget, could be by 50%, often times is, then you know you’re bidding too aggressively. If you’re bidding maximum delivery, you should probably go to manual and bid down. If you are bidding manually, then what you do is lower your bid, bid less aggressively, and then do the same thing over. Let it run for two or three days, totally unfettered, then you go in two or three days later, verify, compare these two and see how you did.

Now, if you look at it and your daily budget and your average daily spend are really close to each other, that’s good. You might be going dark some days, and you might be just barely hitting, and you might be coming under some days. This is actually not a bad place to be. In fact, I really like to have my daily budget sitting higher than that, higher than I actually want them to be, just in case I have a really good day of spend and I want it to go, I’m going to keep my bids low enough that on average, I’m only going to spend what my actual daily budget is.

All right. So you might look at these two columns and you might see your average daily spend is significantly lower than what your daily budget is, and that’s okay too. What that means is there’s an opportunity if you have additional budget, which if you have the daily budget set higher and you’re not spending it, you probably do. What you can do is say, I’m going to go and increase my bids and see if I can get a little bit closer. And that’s what I aim for is about an 80%, what I’ll call a fill rate of your budget. If your actual daily spend is about 80 percent of what your daily budget is, I think that’s really comfortable for me, but you can decide for yourself.

And that’s the way that I tend to do it most of the time because it’s, it’s kind of quick and dirty, but it is quick, but there is a third way that I’m going to walk you through. This one is a much more precise measurement. What you do is you export your campaign’s performance by day out to Excel, then you decide the date range you want to look at. What’s cool about doing this is, let’s say that you wanted to evaluate a Thursday, a Friday, and a Monday. Well, with Excel, it’s pretty easy to look at those weekend days and cut them out. You can just delete the rows of your Saturday and Sunday, and then you’re just looking at those days. If you’re doing it the quick and dirty way, you obviously can’t do two separate time frames and separate them that way. So, you might find yourself going, okay, I have to wait till Thursday to do this, so I can see my Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday all in a row. With Excel, you don’t have to worry about that. You can cut out weekends. Then what you do is calculate an average for that campaign spend by day and compare that against the budget that you have set for it. Now, if you’re an Excel guy or gal like me, you’ll appreciate the power of this option, but honestly, like I said, I really only use this in rare circumstances now. I tend to use the average daily spend column trick that I shared before most of the time, just because it’s quick and dirty. But I really like having this trick as a tool in my tool belt, just in case I’ve made significant changes to a campaign, like changed bids, changed budgets, changed ads, or, like I said, if I want to skip dates, like a weekend and just compare business days. I can do that a lot better in Excel. But if there are just a few campaigns and they’re without major shifts in them, I’m usually just going to eyeball it. And that usually works really well.

Now for you, elite listeners, I actually do have a fourth way to measure this and it is really precise, but we only ever run this report for a few accounts per year, and it’s not cheap. But if you’re interested in getting real precision in understanding exactly when your ads and campaigns are running out of budget for the day, feel free to reach out to me personally about it, and we can talk about it.

Alright, so using the methods that we’ve talked about, you’ve now identified that you do have campaigns going dark during the day, and which campaigns they are, but you don’t know what time of day they’re going dark. And that’s okay, we don’t need to know the exact time or anything like that, but what we do want to do is figure out what can we do about this so I stop going dark. Because I do want my ads live at least for business hours, if not throughout the majority of the day.

So when you’ve identified these campaigns, here’s what you do. You can decide to either, number one, lower your manual bid, and what this does is it saves you a bunch of money on every click. So let’s say that you’re bidding $10 per click. And you’re overspending your budget. If you reduce that to $8 per click, and now you’re actually spending your daily budget by the end of the day, you just reduced your costs by 20%.

And so if you track that all the way through your sales process, you’re now getting a cost per SQL, a cost per proposal sent, and a cost per closed deal, 20 percent cheaper. You just got a return on your investment that’s 20 percent higher. That’s pretty cool. So I love this whenever we can of lowering your manual bid and saving a bunch of money.

Number two though, let’s say it’s the same scenario. You’re bidding $10 a click, you’re hitting your daily budget, and even exceeding it. What you can do is raise your daily budget. And what happens now is at the same bids, you’re paying the same amount per click. Now you’re just able to spend more. Your daily budget is now higher, and you’re going to spend more naturally throughout the day. So this keeps your efficiency the same, gives you additional scale, and lets you be live for longer during the day. This is also not a bad thing, assuming that you just have the ability to increase your budget willy nilly.

We do have an option number three here. You can change your bid type to maximum delivery, where it will likely overspend your budget every day by 50%, and you’ll end up paying two to three times more for your traffic than you need to. There are advertisers out there who will say, That’s totally fine with me. I don’t mind paying too much. That’s not me. And it might not be you either.

And that ladies and gentlemen is how you avoid your ads going dark during the day before you’re ready for it.

So like we talked about episode 89 goes way deep into the strategy of bidding and budgeting. You’ll learn a ton there. I’m hoping Carl, that’s the episode you listened to eight times. It’s definitely worth listening multiple times and mastering. If you haven’t listened in a while, go check it out. Now, if you haven’t already joined our LinkedIn Ads fanatics community, go do it right now. Go to fanatics.b2linked. com. The link is in the show notes below. For a very low monthly cost, you get access to the entire community of some of the top minds in LinkedIn Ads all around the world. Answering each other’s questions, firing off like, this is what we’ve found that works. Are you guys seeing the same thing? It’s one of the greatest mindshare groups that I’ve ever seen. Plus, you get access to all four of our courses that take you from absolute LinkedIn Ads beginner to LinkedIn Ads hero. Now, if this is your first time listening, we welcome you, thanks for listening, make sure to hit that subscribe button if you want to hear this kind of geeky content about LinkedIn ads week after week. But if you’re a loyal listener, and this is not your first time listening, please do go and rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. It is by far the best way that you can say thanks for all the effort that we put into educating you free of charge here. Now with any questions, suggestions, or corrections on anything we’ve talked about, hit us up. Email us at And with that being said, we’ll see you back here next week. I’m cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.