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Show Notes: Episode Summary

In this episode of the LinkedIn Ads Show, host AJ Wilcox tackles the challenge many B2B marketers face: transitioning the success of LinkedIn Thought Leader Ads to Company Ads.

Here are the key discussion points:

  • Introduction: AJ highlights the common frustration of high-performing Thought Leader Ads not translating to effective Company Ads and sets the stage for strategies to bridge this gap.
  • LinkedIn Ads Updates: AJ shares recent news from LinkedIn, including proactive credits for incorrect costs in manual bidding campaigns and adjustments for double-counted EU conversions, praising LinkedIn’s transparency and trust-building efforts.
  • Listener Shoutouts and Feedback: AJ acknowledges a positive review from Helly Thuy Tien, a paid media specialist from Australia, and answers a detailed question from Caressa Kuk, a lead marketer from the Netherlands, about balancing Thought Leader Ads and Company Ads.
  • Strategies for Improving Company Ads:
    • Mention the Company: Have your thought leader reference the company early in the post.
    • Call to Action: Encourage followers to also follow the company.
    • Branding: Add company logos to images or videos in Thought Leader Ads.
    • Storytelling: Use Thought Leader Ads to tell the company’s founding or inspirational stories.
    • Retargeting: Create retargeting audiences from Thought Leader Ad interactions and test their effectiveness against cold audiences.
  • Optimizing Video Ads: AJ advises targeting viewers who watch at least 50% of the video for retargeting, as this indicates genuine interest.
  • Funnel Positioning: Thought Leader Ads are most effective at the top of the funnel but can also be utilized in the middle and bottom stages depending on the strategy.
  • Community Engagement: AJ invites listeners to join the LinkedIn Ads fanatics community for access to courses and group calls, and encourages feedback and questions via LinkedIn or email.

This episode provides actionable strategies to enhance your LinkedIn Ads performance and efficiently transfer the success of your Thought Leader Ads to your Company Ads.


Show Transcript

Your LinkedIn Thought Leader Ads are working great, but then when you run normal ads, they suck. You’re not alone. We’re fixing them on this week’s episode of the LinkedIn Ads Show.

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

Hey, 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. I’m thrilled to welcome you to the show for advanced B2B marketers who are looking to evolve and master LinkedIn Ads.

We know that LinkedIn Thought Leader Ads are great for getting cheap attention. But if they don’t improve the performance of the rest of your ads, then it’s a total waste, right? Today, I’m going to share strategies that can help you shift the high performance from your thought leader ads to your company ads efficiently.

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Alright. In the news. Here in the U. S., this is the 4th of July weekend. So for my U. S. listeners, I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing holiday. And you definitely get bonus points for listening to a work related podcast over a holiday. If you work closely with LinkedIn, you’ll know that twice a year they go on a two week shutdown for holidays. July 4th is one of those. So just be prepared, your reps probably aren’t going to be responsive to you for the next couple weeks. But support is still available if you contact the low level support, either through the chat in Campaign Manager, or through the help section sending an email ticket.

Alright, I got a couple of cool emails from LinkedIn here in the last few weeks. I’ve talked about these kinds of outreach before, but I got an email titled LinkedIn Ads Credit Available for Incorrect Costs in Manual Bidding Campaigns. So apparently, April 5th through 15th, so it wasn’t a very big swath of time, but during that time, there was an error where manual bids weren’t honored. So during that time, you might’ve noticed that your costs per click were significantly higher than your bid. I had a few people reach out who were saying the same thing. We all kind of scratched our heads and went, How does this make sense? We were bidding less than that. But I love that LinkedIn reached out proactively about this and said, Hey, just so you know, here are the nine accounts that were affected by this, and you’ll be getting a refund by September 30th.

As a business practitioner, emails like this, proactive outreach where LinkedIn is offering a refund for a mistake they made that maybe we didn’t even notice. That really helps instill a lot of trust. So LinkedIn, thank you for emails like this. I got another one that said LinkedIn notification about double counting of EU conversions. They said earlier, March 1st through 29th, some EU conversions were double counted. The data is now fixed, and they’re setting up internal detection systems to catch these kinds of issues faster. The way you might have caught this, if you were running campaigns that were running both in the EU and outside, probably would have seen a certain number of conversions. But if you were running campaigns that were just in the EU, you might see that your conversions were always an even number. 2, 4, 6, 8. And that might make me scratch my head a little bit, but it’s usually not something I think to reach out to LinkedIn about, so I’m so grateful that they caught it, and I’m so grateful for that little snippet here, that they’ve set up internal detection systems to catch this kind of thing faster in the future. Much respect from me, product team at LinkedIn.

I want to give a shout out to one of our loyal listeners. This is from Heli Thuy Tien, I hope I pronounced that right. She’s a paid media specialist at Shift, based in New South Wales, Australia. And Helly left us a review on Apple Podcasts. She said, "Must listen LinkedIn Ads podcast for marketers. Valuable and in depth insights to ace the LinkedIn Ads platform. I highly recommend keeping yourself up to date with the episodes on AJ’s channel for the latest insider tips. I keep tuning in weekly and that really helps my strategies on LinkedIn. Truly grateful for AJ sharing, and help with my questions. " And gratitude hands emoji. Helly, thanks so much. I really appreciate the kind words.

If this podcast helps you run your LinkedIn Ads strategy better and helps save you and your clients money on the platform, it totally makes it worth it. Do you have a question, feedback for the show, or even a review like Helly just left? Message me on LinkedIn, or you can email us at You can attach a link to a voice recording from you, and I will happily play them here on the show. And you can let me know if you want me to keep you anonymous, or share your details as well. Because I want to feature you.

I got a great question from one of our loyal listeners. Caressa Kuk, who’s the lead marketer at Ockto in the Netherlands. She said, Thought Leader Ads vs. Company Ads. She said, "Hey AJ, I’m Caressa from the Netherlands. I’m a great fan of your podcast. It really helps me to improve our LinkedIn Ads. Thanks to your podcast, I’ve started to use Thought Leader Ads, and they’re amazing on click through rate and cost per click, etc. I’m having campaigns with click through rates over 10 percent for Thought Leader Ads and 0.5 percent for exactly the same ads coming from our company profile. But here’s my question. As the bottom line goal with advertising is to promote the company, how do you see the balance between Thought Leader Ads and Company Ads? I’ve started Thought Leader video Ads and created a retargeting audience of those who viewed at least 97 percent. And then I target that audience with Company Ads. But I wonder how do you look at this challenge? Keep up the great podcasting work."

thanks for the great question, Caressa. What she brings up is really common because LinkedIn’s Thought Leader Ads are inherently very weak. We’re limited on the objectives that we get to choose. LinkedIn, please give us website visits as an objective. Please, please, please. We’re ultra limited on the posts that are eligible to be sponsored, and we can’t attach lead gen forms. So when you actually go to run Thought Leader Ads, you can get incredible performance, but then, how do you get that performance to translate to your company posts, where you have more control, and you can provide a better ad experience? So that’s the gist of what we’re trying to do. The good news is it’s a lot easier to transfer brand equity from an individual to a brand than it is to transfer it the other way around.

For example, I’ve had countless conversations with people who know me as the LinkedIn Ads guy from LinkedIn and YouTube. But then they ask me the name of my company, and if you think about it, this makes perfect sense. We as humans, we connect and associate better with people than we do with a faceless organization. We’re much more likely to remember who has a specialty rather than which company has it.

Now, this is kind of special. B2Linked is coming up on our 10 year anniversary. And one of the things that I’ve been actively working on for the last five or so years is to prop the brand up, B2Linked, to become more well known in LinkedIn ads and shifting the focus away from myself as the thought leader. And thankfully, it’s much easier to do this over time than it would have been to do it the other way around. Establish B2Linked as the thought leader around LinkedIn Ads, and then go try to speak publicly about how I’m authoritative on the topic because I work for B2Linked. Massive brands oftentimes get this the other way around.

If you think about it, HubSpot has probably spent hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising to be known as HubSpot. And so those who work for HubSpot get an inherent boost in their personal cachet. But smaller brands or brands who haven’t spent in the hundreds of millions of dollars advertising and branding their product or service It works a little bit differently. So what we’re trying to do here actually is possible and it’s not that much of an uphill battle

First of all, there are several tactics that we can use to shine the spotlight on the company using our Thought Leader Ads. So I’m going to give you a list of tips here for how you can shine that spotlight from your thought leader ads onto your company.

Number one, mention the company from the post. Have your founder or internal thought leader, whoever it is, who’s creating the thought leader ad, start the post by mentioning the company.

Having the founder or internal thought leader start the post by mentioning the company is a great way to build that association. Consider starting a post with something like, I’m so excited for what my team at company name have built. Or, here at company name, we’ve put something together that I think you’re going to love.

As someone reads the post, and it’s going to be very early on in the post, it’s naturally going to push this focus from the individual’s post to shining a little bit on your company.

Number two, consider a Thought Leader Ad where you make the call to action from it to follow the company. Expressly tell people in the Thought Leader Ad to follow this individual and follow the company. And it works especially well if you give them a good reason for it. For instance, make sure to follow company name, because every Friday we publish awesome industry research.

Number three, add the company logo to the image in the Thought Leader Ad, or if you’re using video, have it be a watermark on the video. Pretty straightforward, just having the logo visible so people can associate, this is the person I’m seeing, and this is the brand they represent.

Number four, have the Fault Leader ad that specifically tells the founding story, or an inspirational story about the organization and its purpose. Then it’s an individual who we’re going to connect with really easily. And it’s going to be them telling a story, which we as humans remember really well. And then from that mention, the company gets naturally mentioned and imprinted. And you can test if this is working or not. Create a retargeting audience of anyone who’s interacted with your Thought Leader Ads and run two campaigns with exactly the same ad, one targeting your cold audience, and another targeting only those who interacted with your Thought Leader Ad. If your Thought Leader Ads are doing a good job of warming up your audience, you’ll have higher click through rates from the audience that was built from interactions on your Thought Leader Ad.

If you don’t see a noticeable lift, it might be that it’s low budget, or you might want to go look at how you can improve the actual Thought Leader Ad post to become more attention grabbing, because it’s probably an attention issue. Although I don’t think this is going to be a problem for Caressa. She’s getting 10 percent and higher click through rates on her Thought Leader Ads. So, no big deal there.

Then what? Well, Caressa mentioned that she retargets those from her Video Thought Leader Ads that get to 97 percent of the video, and that is really good because those who make it all the way through the video are going to be a hot audience. Honestly, so few people make it to the end of a video ad that for most, it probably won’t build an audience fast enough to be useful to you. I’ve seen lots of video ads, depending on length and interest level, that get somewhere between about 2 to 4 percent completion rate. And this is admittedly a complete generalization, because the math may not actually work like this in reality, but maybe it’ll help make the idea a little bit more concrete for you.

Imagine that you run this Video Thought Leader Ad, and you pay for a hundred clicks, or interactions to the post. And only two to four people from that, end up in your retargeting audience, because that’s how many completed it. To get an audience to the minimum size to run of 300, you’d have to pay for between 7,500 to 15,000 clicks. Even though Folleater ad clicks cost less, they’re oftentimes between about 1 to 2 in North America, that’s still a lot of money. $15,000 to $30,000 to build a minimum sized audience. Now, in an ideal world, you’d have completion rates much higher than 3%, and not all viewers would create a chargeable click, so you’d fill your retargeting audience faster. But of course, your mileage may vary based off of your content’s performance. My recommendation would be to target 50 percent viewers, that’s generally enough of the way through the video to make a strong impression. But it’s probably also enough that someone actually paid attention to the video, and it wasn’t just playing on their screen while they went to the break room. It’s a nice, happy medium, in my opinion. But just because someone watched a percentage of a video on a post, does not mean that they’re a warm audience yet. But it does, to me, signal that they’re interested in a company’s subject matter. So I recommend retargeting those who watched that much of the Video Thought Leader Ad, and retargeting them with helpful and interesting content from the company. Research reports, guides, ebooks, webinars, podcast episodes. These are all great content. Then I like to retarget the people who interacted with those with a bottom of the funnel offer, like a trial or a demo, because they’re a lot more warm and interested at that point.

Where do Thought Leader Ads belong in the funnel then? I recommend Thought Leader Ads for what we call the tip of the spear, the cold audience that it’s their first interaction with the company. These are great as the top of funnel, because they create retargeting audiences so efficiently. I do regularly use them for the middle of the funnel as well, but because they’re quite limited, there’s less use for them admittedly. I have tested them at the bottom of the funnel as well, and they do well if they lead to a landing page, and the landing page click through rate is high. This is a metric you have to calculate yourself, because LinkedIn’s not going to show it to you. They’re going to report a click as any sort of interaction. But if you flip inside of Campaign Manager your columns to show you engagement, one of those engagements will be landing page clicks. You might see that you have a 10 percent click through rate on your Thought Leader Ads. A whole bunch of them are doing things like liking and commenting and clicking see more to read the whole post. Very few might actually be clicking on the actual landing page that you want them to go to.

Alright, any tactics or strategies I’ve missed, please reach out.

My DMs are free and open on LinkedIn, so hit me up there. Or you can reach out to us at

Okay, if you’re not a member of the LinkedIn Ads fanatics community, what are you waiting for? For a very low monthly cost, you get access to all four of our courses that lead you from beginner to expert on LinkedIn. Plus, you get access to all of these top minds in LinkedIn Ads. There’s even an upgrade to get on weekly group calls with me, so I can give you specific advice. If this is your first time listening to the podcast, welcome, we’re excited to have you here. Make sure to hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss an episode.

But if you’re a loyal listener and you’ve been listening for some time, the biggest compliment you can pay me is to go and leave a review on Apple podcasts and share your experience with the show. And of course, I’ll shout you out.

With any questions, suggestions or corrections on anything we’ve talked about. Reach out to us at Podcast@B2Linked.Com. With that being said, I’ll see you back here next week. And remember, I’m always cheering you on in all of your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.