Show Resources:

Ep 23 – LinkedIn Ads Reporting Insights You Didn’t Know Were Available

Ep 6 – LinkedIn Ads Bidding & Budgeting Strategies

LinkedIn Learning course about LinkedIn Ads by AJ Wilcox: LinkedIn Advertising Course

Contact us at with ideas for what you’d like AJ to cover.

Show Transcript:

Your LinkedIn Ads account is going great, but you want to raise. Here are the things you can do to bump performance, even if the account is already going great.

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

Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics. So if things are going well in your account, but you’re looking for some further wins. Well, I’ve got you covered. Today, we’re going to be talking about the optimizations that you can do whether your account has a couple weeks of spend, or whether you’ve been a heavy spender for years. No matter where you’re at, I’m sure you’ll definitely get something out of this. In the news, as of the time of recording, LinkedIn is on there twice yearly shut down. This happens twice a year, and it’s a whole week for the Fourth of July, and then a whole week at the last part of December. So not a whole lot happening over there. Not lots of new things coming out because they’re all on vacation, but support tickets are still being responded to, so all’s right in the world. On last week’s episode, I told you about how several of us advertisers noticed that our click through rates dropped significantly on June 16, across a whole bunch of accounts. After a little deep diving and data, it looks like the drop was mostly noticed by those bidding cost per click, and not nearly as much by those bidding either cost per impression or automated. So we’re gonna keep going, we’re gonna keep digging and I’ll definitely let you know what we find. But if anyone has insight as to what might have happened, I’d love to hear about it. Hit us up at Just one review today from riverton12 it says “AJ is the best. Full disclosure I work for AJ at B2Linked. AJ is the best at what he does. I have learned more since I started working for him than I could have ever imagined. He explained stuff so plainly and just gets to the point. What a boss.” I hesitated to read this one since it was from an employee, but I didn’t ask my employees to leave reviews. So I thought I’d go ahead and shout it out. Steve, you know who you are. Thanks so much for the kind words and making me sound like a douche by reading that out loud. All right. I want to feature you. So definitely leave your review. Let me know anything about you that you especially want me to shout out on air. And let’s keep these reviews cominng. All right, with that being said, let’s hit it.

So the topic of optimization when things are going well, but you want them to get better. And same kind of principle applies even if your accounts not going well, and you’re just trying to improve it. But this is a lot simpler when you can see pockets of success that you can capitalize on, and pockets of failure that you can take care of bid down, turn off all those things. In advertising, I like to think that we have two hurdles that we always have to get over with our ads. I’ve used this analogy before, where the first hurdle that we have to get over is we have to get people to click on the ads. They have to be interesting enough that someone will want to engage Then once they’ve clicked, now we need them to convert and take the action that we’re asking them to. And of course, many of you are in some heavy business to business applications here. So we can add some additional hurdles for things like getting them to mql status, like marketing qualified lead, or SQL, sales qualified lead. Maybe even all the way to close, where you’ve actually won the business. So think of these like funnel stages, because if you make it over one, but then totally trip and fall on the other, you’re not going to win the race, or you may not even finish. So we’ll talk about optimization techniques and things you should watch for on both of those hurdles, both getting people to click on your ads enough, and then getting those to convert. And I think it makes sense to focus on two different areas of performance, where we can eke some additional performance out of them. And so let’s start here with taking the worst things in the account and making them better. Improve the worst. things so the average collectively for the whole comes way up and makes the whole thing look better. And of course, this really depends on what your definition of poor performance is. Because poor performance to me could be you’re not getting enough volume, you’re not spending your budget, or your cost per lead or cost per conversion, or cost per click is just too high, and it’s dragging your performance down. So let’s start with probably the most obvious, if something’s not working, you can just shut it off. That means if you have a bad ad, or bad ads, or even whole bad campaigns, you can just go and hit pause on them and shut them off. Keep them from running. For audiences, you know, are not going to be profitable or ads that you know aren’t, this is a great way to just get the performance gone. If you are after cost efficiency, though. Let’s say this a campaign is going okay. But cost per conversion is just a little bit too high and it needs to get cheaper. One of my favorite strategies here is to just bid down. If you know that your ads are 15%, more expensive than they should be, then you can go and bid down by 15%. And you will lose some volume there, it won’t get nearly as many clicks. But the clicks and traffic you do get will be efficient. Let’s say that you listen to my advice in Episode 6 about bidding and budgeting, and you have something that’s performing not very well and so you’ve bid it all the way to the floor, the very lowest price you can bid. But let’s say you’re still spending too much or it’s still inefficient. Of course, you could shut it off. But you could also limit the budget, lower the budget down, because if all of your best performers are spending, you know, $50 a day, let’s say, and you take some of the worst and lower them down to where they’re spending maybe $10 per day. Sure, they may still be a little bit inefficient, but on average, the whole account is going to look better because you’ve minimized the bad performance.If you listen to Episode 23, where Sam Fonoimoana offered you guys his free targeting audit, which is amazing. If you haven’t gotten it, go get it. And you can use this for a lever that we call tightening our targeting. If you know something’s not performing very well, you could take a look at the audience and see if there’s any pieces of that, that you could trim out or cut off entirely, leaving you with a little bit less volume, but all the good stuff. This could be things like narrowing your company sizes to only those who can really afford you who are going to be top quality leads. Or maybe you’re including too many seniorities. Maybe the person who actually feels your pain is a senior seniority, meaning that they’re an individual contributor. And if you’re targeting, let’s say managers and directors, you’re probably paying too much for that traffic. And then what about your ads? Let’s say your ads performance is not great. There are some pretty simple things you can do to those. Again, on episode six, we talked about About the bidding and budgeting, and how your click through rate affects how much you’re paying. But if you’re paying too much or not getting enough traffic, one of the best things you can do is test new ad copy. If you have click through rates on sponsored content that are like, let’s say, 0.4%, you’re about average, you’re probably going to be paying $8 to $11 per click if you’re targeting somewhere in North America. So if you can launch some ads that increase, let’s say, you get up to 0.7 or 0.8%, click through rates, you’ll likely see your costs per click drop to around the $6 to $8 range, and immediately you’re 20%, 30% more profitable just because you’ve got more people interested in clicking on your ads. We found the best performance in testing to come from adjusting our intro text in ads so that’s usually the first AB test we’re going to run. But if you’ve noticed that your click through rates are coming down over time, you’re probably saturating that audience and it’s probably a good idea to give them something fresh. After all, if they’ve already looked at your ad five times and just said, yeah, I’m not going to click on that, then no matter what you do to the words, they’re still going to remember the creative the imagery. So try changing out your imagery, give it a fresh look and see if you can help improve your click through rates that wa. That will bring cost down and it will bring volume up, and that will cover a multitude of ills. Okay, here’s a quick sponsor break, and then we’ll dive into how you can improve your best performers.

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Improving Your Best Performers
All right, let’s jump into the levers that you have to improve on the stuff that’s already working in your account. The same rule for good performers applies here, where good performance could mean all kinds of things to you so you’ll have to pick and choose from here what makes the most sense. But good performance could mean that you’re getting a really low cost per conversion. Or maybe you’re hitting the right volume of leads or fully spending your budget. There are all kinds of things that you as advertisers will want to focus on, and you may be gold on, you may get bonused by so that’s what we’re gonna try to do. Find those particular levers and help them out. The first thing I like to do with great performers is bid them up. Because if you have a campaign that’s performing, let’s say 30% better than average to the cost per lead, if you go and increase your bids by 20%, you’ll now likely get a lot more volume, alot more clicks, and a lot more conversions, and you’ll still be 10% more efficient than average. I call that a win. Now, of course, if you ever increase your bids, you’ll also want to increase your budgets, because like we’ve talked about, if you hit your daily budget during the day, you paid too much for your clicks along the way. So make sure you raise your budgets high enough that your campaigns aren’t just hitting them in the middle of the day. You want that to stretch all the way to the end, ideally. Same thing here on improving your ad copy to improve on the already winning ads. So you’ve got ads that are doing great. Well, there’s probably a test that you can run that will get you 5%, incremental 10% or even 15% incremental gains. Test new ad copy, test new imagery, test anything you can to improve just a little bit because really, any increase in click through rate goes a long way to get costs down and volume pretty much as high as you need it. I got to consult on an account week that had 4% click through rates on their sponsored content, it was absolutely incredible. They were paying less than 30 cents per click from sponsored content. Oh, my heart just sings when it sees metrics like that. So of course, I was looking at that like a huge win. But then we go back 30 days and see that 30 days ago, the performance they were running at 7% click through rates. And so that means even after click through rates fell to half of what they were, and performance was still amazing. That means back then 30 days ago, they were getting less than 15 cent clicks. It’s incredible. So it doesn’t matter what kind of performance you’re seeing. If your ads have been running for a while, we see that the average is like 27 to 33 days when ads will start to fall off. Meaning if you’re looking at their click through rate over time, if you click on the performance chart, and sort by average click through rate. You can watch this happen after about 27 to 33 days of saturating an audience, you’ll see your click through rates start to drop off a cliff. So even if you’ve got great performance, you can make it even better or catch up to where it was at the beginning before the saturation by just changing things up a little bit. You don’t necessarily have to change the offer, you can just change the motivation and the imagery that people are actually seeing in the ads. And I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up your offer here because we’ve seen even when you have a good offer that’s performing well, launching a new offer can easily double or triple your results. So take a look at all of the different offers that you’ve run and how they’ve converted. And try to understand the ones that converted the best. What made them amazing. Can we go and create more offers like that? Do we see people like to attend our webinars? Do we see that they like guides about a certain topic? Or will they convert like crazy on checklists? Those are the things that you’ll find out for your own account. And test or try some new offers. We’ve also seen this quite often where, let’s say a guide was converting at 10%, which was a little bit below average, but not terrible. And then we just changed the title, change the name of the guide to maybe just hit on a different motivation or pain point that your customer might be feeling. The content of the white paper, the content of the guide doesn’t have to change, it’s still gonna cover all of the same great stuff, you’re just presenting it in a little bit different of a way. We’ve seen this literally double conversion rates. And because the design of your guide has already been done, there’s not a whole lot of work necessary here to just change the title on a PDF and swap it out on a web page. So there’s something that takes very little effort and can really, really pay off. Something else we’ve found to be insanely successful is to take off your marketing hat and put on your sales enablement hat. Go spend some time with your sales team, show them what your targeting is like show them the ads people are clicking on, show them the guides, people are downloading, get them in the mindset of where they know what their prospects are going through, so they can better tailor the conversations. This will also give you an excuse to learn more and get more feedback from sales that will help you optimize and close that loop quicker. I want to tell you about what I call data journey. Back in 2011, I was spending a good amount on LinkedIn Ads, and LinkedIn didn’t even have conversion tracking yet. And of course, it wasn’t going to come out for six more years, unfortunately. I was waiting for a long time. But for simplicity, I did all of my optimizations in the account based entirely off of click through rate. I figured that any ad that people clicked on significantly more was probably going to be the most interesting and was probably going to convert the best. Then I started getting access to my conversion numbers. Through analytics, I would run an analytics report, I would run a LinkedIn report, drop them into Excel, marry that data up, and then start doing these calculations of what is my cost per lead?, what is my conversion rate? And this is consequently, when I fell in love with Excel and data. Mmm, sexy, sexy. But as I was doing that, I noticed something that I thought was really strange. There was zero correlation between the ad that had the winning click through rate, and the ones that had the winning conversion rate, it was literally a coin flip, if the ad that I had just promoted to keep running was even the right one to keep promoting. So this opened my eyes quite a bit and I realized, you always want to take action on the results that are closest to the money. That means the furthest down the sales funnel, you can possibly get data, at least at a large enough sample size that it makes any sense. Since the closer you get to the money, the more the data means the more accurate it’s going to be. The more predictable it becomes. Then another few months later, I started getting a lot of mq l SQL proposals, closed numbers. And I did the same thing to them. I brought them into Excel and started doing all of this analysis. And I found that for every stage, the ad or the campaign that converted higher, it was a little bit more likely to mql higher, and then even more so an ad or a campaign that mql’d. at a high rate, it was even more likely to sql or proposal and then close at a high rate. So the principle here of this story is that you want to optimize for the deepest sales stage that you have enough data for because you can totally ignore poor click through rates if your conversion rates are amazing or lead quality is so high that you keep closing everyone who clicks. So who cares if an offer converts amazingly well, but you’ve spent $1 million on it and nothing has turned into close business. Or conversely, if your conversion rate is absolutely miniscule, but every conversion ends up closing, we actually have a client like this right now where their webinar is converting at 6% with cold traffic. And I would have looked at that and said, man, 6%, that’s really low for a webinar, we really haven’t hit the mark here. Let’s go back to the drawing board and try something else. But he is closing business like crazy. And based off of their deal sizes, they are running probably a 10 x ROI Right Now, this can be a little uncomfortable for those of you who are testing, because if you see something performing poorly, you may want to hurry and get rid of the poor performance. But if you can take a look at what’s happening after the realm of poor performance, let’s say it’s a bad click through rate. But wait until you’ve gotten some conversion and see if it’s going to make up for it. And I’ve mentioned that you want to make sure that you have enough data to actually analyze here. What I found is my results to the click through rate generally becomes statistically significant after about $1,000 in ad spend. Now keep in mind that is in North America and in the English language where it tends to be the most competitive. If as soon as you leave the English language, or really go outside of North America, your costs are going to drop significantly, meaning that you’ll probably be able to get enough data for even less money. And if you care about your conversion rates, and your cost per conversion. And again, if you’re in North America with a content offer that’s converting between, let’s say 12 and 15%. It usually takes about $5,000 in ad spend to get statistical significance around those values. And of course, you don’t have to spend that over one day or a month even. All you need is that amount of data to attribute. Now all mentioned, if you’re not converting at 12 to 15%, let’s say you have a harder offer like Get a demo, talk to sales, buy something now, or maybe it is a content offer, it just doesn’t convert very high, then be aware, you’re probably going to have to spend significantly more in order to get that same level of statistical significance. So I would recommend starting out with a really good content offer. From my experience 95% of the time, the math works out in favor of content, and getting a cheaper cost per lead, but then nurturing that person to a sales conversation, rather than just going immediately for the kill and going right to the sales conversation. But certainly, because it’s 95% of the time, you might be that 5%. And so I recommend that everyone test a little bit, and then you’ll know for your own brand performance. But if you have to spend $1,000 to get statistical significance for your click through rates, and $5,000 to get statistical significance for conversion rates. To get statistical significance for mql’s you may have to spend twice Or three times to get significance around sql’s, it might be three or four times more than that. So this is where we depart from where advertising as a creative endeavor and gets way more into an analytical and a predictive one. Any of you who are lovers of data? Oh, the world is yours. I’m calling it 2020 is the year of the technical marketer. Okay, I’ve got the episode resources for you coming up right after the break. So stick around.

Thank you for listening to the LinkedIn Ads show. Hungry for more? AJ Wilcox, take it away.

Okay, I mentioned Episode 23. with Sam Fonoimoana giving his free audit around your targeting, go back and listen to that episode. definitely take advantage of it because this is an audit that you cannot do yourself. Also, we talked a lot about bidding and budgeting and this one So if you need a refresher or want to go a lot deeper, go check out Episode 6, all about bidding and budgeting. And if you are new to LinkedIn Ads, go check out my course on LinkedIn Learning. It’s just over an hour long. And it covers pretty much what I would cover if you hired me to come in and train your team one on one. To bring me and it would be $500 an hour, but this course is either free, or I think only $25 if you don’t have access to LinkedIn Learning already, so definitely, I know which one I would choose. Take a look down right now at your podcast player and subscribe on whatever player you’re listening on. And please do rate the podcast. And of course I would love five stars, but if you just don’t think that my poor ginger soul deserves it, well, that’s fine, give me four. And please do go leave a review for the podcast. I’d love to shout you out. And especially I’d love to see a review on Stitcher. So those of you who are stitcher users, please go leave your review there. We’re up to I think like 25 now on Apple podcasts, which is fantastic. Thank you everyone who’s leaving it there. But Stitcher only has one right now and it could use a little bit of love. Any ideas for what you’d like us to cover in the show? Or topics? Or questions? Email us at I would absolutely love to hear from you. All right with that being said, I will see you back here next week. I’m cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiative.