Show Resources:

Episode 03 – 2020 Roadmap

Watch the full webinar from LinkedIn

Episode 16 – Ting Ba announcing Events and Live

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:

LinkedIn Ads Roadmap Update for the second half of 2020. Here’s the exciting stuff you can expect to see in your account soon.

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

Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics. So back in Episode 03, I walked you through the LinkedIn roadmap for 2020. And I’m sincerely decently surprised by how much has actually happened, considering the Covid disruption. I’m genuinely excited for these developments. And I can’t wait to explain why. We’ll also cover what’s new in your account right now so that you can start to test. But first, some further ado. So in the news, the biggest thing I’ve been hearing about is advertisers mentioning that the ads tab moved off the company page. And many of you may know this is how we spy on our competitors. We go to their company’s pages and click on the ads tab. And then you can see the last six months of sponsored content ads they’ve run. And I actually noticed this last week and said, oh, man, it looks like LinkedIn, taking things away. It’s a strike for privacy. But then a couple people over both Twitter and LinkedIn mentioned that it’s still there, you just have to scroll down further into the post section. And there you’ll see a little button for just looking at the posts that are ads, so they integrated into the rest of the feed. This is actually a better place for it. But I do wish they would have like, told advertisers about this move happening so that we didn’t worry that everything was being taken away. A couple of cool reviews the highlight, Todd-Ohio says “extremely informative. AJ holds nothing back and is truly an expert on LinkedIn ads.” Todd, thank you so much for leaving that. That means a ton to me. And then CocoPodcastSuchti says “absolute best podcast on LinkedIn Ads. AJ’s podcast is incredibly insightful and helped me so much with optimizing my own LinkedIn campaigns. I love that AJ gives honest recommendations and also talks about the points that he doesn’t agree with on LinkedIn.” True. “In my opinion, the absolute best podcasts on LinkedIn Ads. Thank you so much for this AJ, please keep it up best from Berlin, Cosima.” Thanks so much Coco. I appreciate that. I definitely gonna try keeping this up. Like I’ve talked about on previous episodes, the workload required to put one of these episodes together is really high. And I’m already quite busy, but I have every intention to keep rolling out high quality stuff. Okay, anyone listening, I want to feature you. So please review this podcast on whatever podcast player you use, you have access to, especially if I know you, I’d love to give you a shout out.

Okay, with that being said, let’s hit it.

So just recently, Candace Marshall, who I call a friend at LinkedIn. She’s the product marketing manager over the ad formats. She got to hop on a webinar, talking about the upcoming roadmap, as well as the recently rolled out features, and just in case you’d missed that webinar. I want to hit all of the highlights here. If you’d like to go watch the full webinar yourself, go down to the show notes. I’ve got a link where you can sign up and watch it. But let’s start with what’s new on the platform, what you can look in there and expect to see right now, In Q1 of this year, they rolled out new interests. And we actually got 28 new subcategories for things like home appliances, wearable tech, mobile tech, and a bunch of others. And Candace also gave some insight into how they pull this data, how they determine what makes someone interested in a topic. She mentioned, they pulled data from reads, likes, shares, influencers and topics that they might follow. And she also mentioned that they’re inferred based on profile similarities of other similar folks to them. And she didn’t mention the Bing Ads integration. But in I’m assuming this is still the case. They would also take if they had your Bing search history, they would use those topics to also inform your interests. So that may have changed and it’s likely not huge data set anyway, but interesting nonetheless. We’ve talked about this before, but they also released the company targeting. So there’s two new types of company targeting. One is company category, which is curated lists from LinkedIn, Fortune, Forbes, and probably a lot more to come. This is a really valuable resource for those who are looking to target just specific sizes of companies. And those who are really the movers and shakers in their industry. There’s also the company growth targeting, where you can target by percentage growth of company, which is really, really cool to me. They also released contact targeting where you can now target by device ID. So those of you who have device IDs from your programmatic advertising, now you can upload those and get to utilize them on LinkedIn inventory. We’ve talked about this how we get retargeting on engagement, so anyone doing video view, or lead form opens or submits you can now retarget or exclude, one of my favorite things, based off of those actions, and she recommended 50,000 video views in the last 90 days, or 1000 lead gen form opens in the last 90 days for their algorithms to work properly, which was really helpful to understand the scale needed for their algorithms to really optimize. Candice also mentioned that message ads and events and some other engagements like company page visitors are coming. Next is with the LinkedIn audience network. Now we’re actually going to have a full episode about the LinkedIn audience network, probably here in the next couple months. But like I’ve mentioned before, LinkedIn is pretty tight lipped about the types of websites that your ads might show up on if you enable distribution on the LinkedIn audience network. Candice mentions a couple others which were really interesting. She mentioned New York Times and Business Insider. Add that to the other ones that LinkedIn released in their announcement earlier this year, where it was like, MSN, and the Flipboard app. Also since June, you can actually retarget video views over the LinkedIn audience network, which is something I didn’t know about, which is actually really cool. Their full integration with integral ad science is now totally complete. And this is for those of you who are at large brands who need that pre-bid brand safety guardrail on everything that you do. And they also mentioned that moat and doubleverify integrations are coming and LinkedIn audience network as you probably know, because I just talked about video on it video retargeting. It supports both single image and video sponsored content. And some great news for you video advertisers, sponsored content now supports vertical video. So rather than 16×9 widescreen now you can do 9×16 vertical video. And it’s my understanding that if you use vertical video like this, it’s only going to show on mobile, it wouldn’t show on desktop, but I could be wrong on that one. LinkedIn have improved their previews, they call it a more accurate preview. So if they’re calling it more accurate, they’re not calling it perfect. But I guess it’s still better than the previous of the past where we would look at them and say, okay, but I still have to see it live because I really can’t trust this. And you can now delete individual creatives, which is something I didn’t even know because I’ve always deleted creatives directly from the company’s page. But this is great that we can do this within campaign manager, now. We still can’t delete campaigns, still can’t delete accounts. but hey, creatives as a start. In March 2020 of this year, LinkedIn released under the umbrella of sponsored messaging, conversation ads. They punctuated the value of this release by saying that the number of messages on LinkedIn, on the back end, has increased 400%. And in a survey, 89% of consumers say that they want to talk to businesses through messaging, but only 49% do. And conversation ads, if you didn’t know, are kind like the chatbot experience for LinkedIn ads, where you can give people different calls to action and based off of their responses, you can lead them down a different path and basically give them more ways to convert or interact with you. LinkedIn also recently released templates, which it used to take us about 30 minutes to build one of these conversation ads because it’s, it’s so complex, there’s so much to that logic. And now with these templates, you can really just pick something and go from there. Maybe give it some slight edits along the way and customize it. But it’s a lot faster to build now. And I know I mentioned in Episode 29 in the news, but LinkedIn just released visual reporting for conversation ads, and they’re calling it flowchart view. You can access this by going into your conversation ads campaign, selecting your creatives, and then clicking the flowchart button. And what you see is a really very beautiful, visual way of understanding how many people and what percentage of people are going down different paths in your logic there? I think it’s called a waterfall chart or something, but this is great. It was really difficult before to understand how each of your calls to action were performing. And now it’s quite visual. I love this. I’m a big fan. And if you listen to Episode 16, where we interviewed Ting Ba from LinkedIn, you’ll know about how in May of 2020 this year, LinkedIn released events. And that means that for free, a person or company can set up an event and even broadcast live from it. Of course, that’s as long as you’ve applied and been approved for LinkedIn Live. You’ve got to get access first. But as soon as you’re approved, you’re good to go. And page admins can actually invite their first degree connections as the company page. But you can’t invite people as an individual, it’s company only. And because of the whole Covid situation, they’ve actually sped up the approval process for LinkedIn Live applications. So it’s now down to seven days before you hear back, whereas it used to take up to three or four months to get approved. And if you’re trying to get approved, we know what they’re looking for, at least at the page level. They’re looking for at least 1000 page followers, and some posting of a video in the last six months. LinkedIn hasn’t specified anything about what they’re looking for to approve an individual, but I would guess it’s probably something similar. They want to see that you’ve worked with video, you’ve posted native video, and probably that you’ve got a decent level of connections or following. There’s also been a recent release of the reach and frequency metrics that we didn’t used to get. So now you can get your average reach and frequency to help evaluate how your advertising is going. And what was so cool with this one is the reporting for reaching frequency actually goes all the way back historical. And this makes sense because it really is an easy calculation for LinkedIn. All they needed to know was unique impressions. And then they can calculate all the rest of this quite simply. But I think this is great that we can now go back in time and see what our frequency looked like at different periods. And the last recently released feature here was in the bidding and budgeting, we now have lifetime budgets, and target cost bidding for lifetime budgets, LinkedIn says that this is a lifetime pacing of whatever your budget is. And they try to show ads just when your audience is on LinkedIn. So it’s kind of like day parting and scheduling, but you don’t actually get control over which hours, they just try to show it probably during peak hours. And this will be interesting to test, but I’m not overly excited about it. The same thing with target cost bidding, target cost bidding, will maximize your ROI based on the cost per click that you want to pay. And call me old fashioned, but I just don’t understand the problem of bidding a certain amount and realizing that I’m going to pay let’s say 10 or 20 cents less than that. But the value of this target cost bid. If you bid $8.75 per click, then you will end up paying $8.75 per click. So we’ve done some testing on this one and we ended up paying 20 or 30 cents more per click, because we were actually paying what we were bidding. But we didn’t actually see additional traffic, it seems to us like it’s just bidding and then rounding our costs up. But admittedly, this has been a pretty limited test. So I’d love to hear from you if you’re seeing the same thing. If anyone’s gotten target cost bidding to work well for them, please let us know. And also if you’re one of these advertisers, that this was a really awesome release for you. I would love to hear why I’d love to hear what makes target cost bidding so much better than just paying a little bit less than what you’re bidding. Alright, here’s a quick sponsor break, and then we’ll dive into what’s coming up for the rest of the year from LinkedIn.

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LinkedIn Live & LinkedIn Events

So the first category here is LinkedIn Live and LinkedIn Events. Now, obviously, most of this is done on the organic side of LinkedIn, but there will certainly be tie ins to the ads platform, the ability to sponsor some of these things to target audiences in the future, so this is why we want to pay attention to them. And personally, I’m really excited to use something like LinkedIn Events and LinkedIn Live to put on a live webinar, or even like a summit. And then just like we promote webinars now through LinkedIn Ads, we can also promote an event. And maybe this converts higher than it would be just from normal sponsored content. We’ll see, I’m excited. LinkedIn says that we’ll be able to download our event registrations. As of right now you can see who attended and who expressed interest, but there’s nothing you can do automatically from there. But in the future, we’ll be able to download that list, kind of like you can with a webinar currently. And in late 2020 or early 2021, we’re going to get the ability to sponsor a LinkedIn Live with Ads. And who knows how that’s gonna perform from a cost per attendee standpoint, but I’m sure excited to test. And of course, we’ll get to use LinkedIn lead gen form ads for gathering these registrations, which means we’ll get higher signup rates, and also the ability to retarget anyone who opened, but didn’t fill out or excluding those who’ve already filled out. And then we’ll also get the ability to retarget event attendees, they’ll become an audience that we can either include or exclude. So that’s a fantastic use of engagement retargeting. And the way that event notifications will work, LinkedIn says they will let the prospect know seven days ahead of time, and then remind them again three days, and then the day before that your events coming up. And we don’t know if this is going to be like an email that goes to them reminding, or if it’s just if they happen to be on platform, they’ll see it or maybe a push notification on mobile. But I do love the fact that there will be some sort of notification to try to increase our show rates.

Stories Ads

And if you listen to Episode 28, when we interviewed Michael Stelzner, we mentioned there would be LinkedIn stories, and even stories ads. LinkedIn says that the second half of 2020 is when LinkedIn is going to release stories, these real time experiences to all users And they’re already live to certain users. For instance, if you are in Brazil, France, the Netherlands, or Australia, you’ve already got access to this. But as they ramp up and roll out to everyone, I bet there’s a lot of millennials and Gen Zers, who will rejoice. They say to expect stories ad formats in Q3. So we’re getting pretty close to that. And if you’re wondering what it’s going to be like to sponsor story ads, I would say go check out Instagram and Snapchat and see what that’s like because obviously those are successful and LinkedIn is probably going to use them as the model. I would love to hear what you guys think would be a great type of story to sponsor when we get this ability. Things like a behind the scenes or look how we’re working from home during COVID. Sharing news, they will have stickers as well. So those might be some ideas of what you can do. But I’d love to hear how you guys are planning on using it. Stories are not something that I’ve played with a whole lot on the other networks like Instagram and Snapchat, so this is really a new world for me, and I’m looking for any ideas I can get. One thing that I’m really excited about with LinkedIn Story Ads is I think this is going to be brand new ad inventory all together, it’s possible that this will just be another sponsored content post. But it’s not in the other networks. And so if we have brand new inventory created, a new slot on the page, then especially right at the beginning, it won’t be competitive, we’ll probably get to bid the very floor, whatever that is, and still fill our whole budgets worth of traffic. So that’ll be fantastic.

Audience Insights

And if you listen to Episode 23, where I interviewed Sam Fonoimoana, we talked about how LinkedIn was going to be coming out with an ABM dashboard, like a company engagement report that you could see right within campaign manager. And this is going to be launching in sometime Q3 in 2020 this year. It’s going to be free and you don’t actually need to spend anything on LinkedIn Ads to get it. And I think it will be an update to the demographic reporting the free reporting that we get now. And I really hope they call it LinkedIn Analytics or something like that. So people think of it of using it alongside that of like Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics. Now, if you use Sam’s report, you’ll get all the interaction from every single known company, you can get thousands, I’m fairly certain that through this new reporting, you’ll probably only get access to, you know, maybe 20 to 100 at most. So if you’ve already gone to Sam at Stoke analytics, you’ve still got a better product than you’ll get from LinkedIn. But we’ll see in Q3 when it launches. We’ll get to see a demographic composition of the audiences. We’ll get to see by content, what that audience most cares about, as well as engagement metrics to see how each segment of that audience is engaging.

Document Ads

And then in Q4 of 2020, LinkedIn says we’ll be able to monitor and optimize our sales pipeline. With CRM integrations, so the way I see this working would be an integration with something like Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce and HubSpot. You’ll be able to pull those offline conversions in and know how many, let’s say marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads those campaigns drove. And I think this is a brilliant move. I’ve been telling LinkedIn for years they needed to do something with a CRM because wow, the value of LinkedIn Ads is in the lead quality, it’s not in getting the lowest cost per lead. I’ll step off that soapbox now. Organically, we’ve had the ability to create document posts for quite a while now. And these actually perform really, really well organically. And now LinkedIn says that we’ll be able to create document ads sometime during Q1 of 2021. With the document posts right now, you can post a PowerPoint presentation or a PDF or a Word doc and it’s kind of like a carousel ad where people can scroll through each page. And I have high hopes that when this becomes a document ad, will be able to use this for an immediate transaction of content. So I’m thinking things like ebooks and white papers and case studies. Maybe there’s a lead gen form, where as soon as that’s completed, the person is automatically given that piece of content. And on the back end, we don’t have to get our marketing automation system to gather that email address and send it off to their inbox. It would be so cool if we could just deliver it automatically. And LinkedIn does say that there will be a beta later this year. So if this is something you’re absolutely desperate for, get with your LinkedIn account rep right now and request access to that beta.

Products on Pages

The next release that LinkedIn mentions is called products on pages. And this is kind of like a G2 Crowd kind of competitor, where you’re going to be able to go to companies pages and leave reviews on their products. They also mentioned something thing about individuals being able to demonstrate proficiency. So maybe if let’s say you are like a HubSpot Pro, you could somehow get some kind of a connection to the HubSpot page or product with your review. The beta is going to be launching. And actually, I think the beta has already launched it was in the first half of 2020. So maybe some of you listeners are already part of this. I know I have at least one friend who’s part of it for a large European brand. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see this actually release out to everyone right at the beginning of 2021. But who knows they’ve been releasing things really rapidly lately, and maybe we see it later this year.

AB Testing/Split Testing

This next release I’m really stoked about they’re calling it AB testing or split testing. And I’m sure as many of you know, you can currently go into a campaign and set your creatives to either rotate evenly or optimize to click through rate. And in the past I’m sure you’ve heard me say, as attractive as It sounds to want to rotate your creatives evenly, it’s a really terrible thing for your ad performance. I call it the charge me more and show me less button. And the reason why is when it rotates your ads evenly, what it’s doing is it’s entering both ads into the auction evenly. But of course, both of them have different relevancy scores. So the one with the higher relevancy score will get a higher number of impressions at a lower cost. And the one with the worst relevancy score, it’s still going into the auction, but it’s losing a lot more often, meaning that you’re not getting those impressions that you’re hoping for. And when you do, you pay a higher cost per click for them. So with this new release that they say is coming in Q4 of 2020, you’ll be able to compare the performance of two campaigns that differ by one variable. And apparently the reporting will be based off of statistical significance, which is really cool. I’ve asked LinkedIn several times how this is going to interact with LinkedIn’s auction? And is it possible for LinkedIn to kind of gloss over the fact that these ads and variations are going to have different relevancy scores? I haven’t gotten a definitive answer, but I’m sure closer to release, I’ll have some more information to share about that.

Campaign Manager Lite

The next release is one that I’m not super excited about, but I definitely understand the value here. They’re releasing something called Campaign Manager Lite, which is kind of like a really simplified version of campaign manager, where you can boost posts directly from the company’s page, kind of like you can on Facebook. And this is really simple for those marketers who may not be as familiar with PPC advertising, but they still want to take organic posts and event posts and easily sponsor and extend their reach. That’ll actually be out pretty soon. They they’re saying Q3 of 2020. And of course, anytime you try to take a complex advertising product, like campaign manager and make it lite, it’s probably just going to take away a lot of options and control. So chances are I won’t be playing with this very much, but I definitely understand the value for advertisers who may not want to jump into campaign manager and learn all of these tips and tricks.

LinkedIn Business Manager

And then finally, LinkedIn is releasing something that they call LinkedIn Business Manager. Now, those of us who are at agencies who work with a lot of different LinkedIn Ads accounts, this is something we’ve been asking for for a long time. Those of you who are experienced with Facebook ads, you know, Facebook Business Manager. And it’s kind of like we’re an agency can have a single entity that they get access to that entity for the ads account, and then the business can add their employees to that entity. So right now, when a client gives us access to their account, we have to go in and add every single employee. And then if and when that employee leaves, we have to remember to go into those accounts and remove that person. And this would be a lot simpler if we could just remove the person once from the company’s business manager, and it would remove them from all of the client accounts. We’re still a ways out on this one. LinkedIn says it’s releasing in the second half of 2021. But there will be a beta early next year. So if this is something, if you’re an agency who does a lot of this, maybe request that from your rep. All right, that was a lot of good stuff coming out. So thanks for sticking with us. Right after the break here. I’ve got the episode resources for you. So stick around.

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


All right, you could actually go and watch the webinar that this was kind of a commentary on so check the show notes down below. It is lead capture so submit your information to LinkedIn and you can watch the whole webinar. The link there is down below. And then also go back to listen to Episode 03 about what’s coming in 2020 and what’s coming in in 2021. And you can see how much LinkedIn actually has released this year, even despite Covid. Also, don’t miss Episode 16 with Ting Ba at LinkedIn, where she told us all about the new releases of LinkedIn Events and LinkedIn Live, that goes deeper into what we’ve talked about here. And of course, if you are new to LinkedIn advertising, or you have a member of your staff who is go check out the course on LinkedIn Learning, the link is also down below. And this is one that I did with LinkedIn that really takes you from the very beginning of LinkedIn Ads all the way through going and creating your own campaigns, and it can get someone up to speed really quickly. It’s also incredibly inexpensive. It’s only about $25, or if you have a LinkedIn Premium subscription, it’s free. And it covers all the same stuff that I would cover in probably the first hour and a half, if you hired me to come and train your team at $500 an hour, so it’s a fantastic value. On whatever podcast player you’re listening to look down and hit that subscribe button. If this has been a value to you, I’d love to have you hearing more episodes. And also if it has been a value, hit the rate button. And I’d love to have this podcast really blow up and get more people hearing all the great tips and tricks they just can’t hear anywhere else about LinkedIn Ads. And if you will, leave a review on whatever podcast player you listen to. And I’d love to shout you out at the beginning of the episodes. And as always reach out to us at with any questions or suggested topics for the future. I’d love to give you what you’re hungry for. Alright, with that being said, I’ll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.