Episodes we referenced:
Ep 10 – What should you offer from your LinkedIn Ads?
Ep 15 – Benchmarking Your LinkedIn Ads
Ep 17 – LinkedIn Lead Gen Form Ads – Should You Use Them?
Ep 27 – Agile Testing For Your LinkedIn Ads Management
Ep 29 – LinkedIn Ads Saturation – Are you experiencing it?
Ep 30 – LinkedIn Ads Newest Features and Future Roadmap
LinkedIn Learning course about LinkedIn Ads by AJ Wilcox: LinkedIn Advertising Course
Contact us at Podcast@B2Linked.com with ideas for what you’d like AJ to cover.
You ask, we answer. The great Q&A episode of the LinkedIn Ads Show coming right atcha. Buckle up.
Welcome to the LinkedIn Ads Show. Here’s your host, AJ Wilcox.
Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics. A huge thank you to all you who submitted questions for our first Q&A episode. You certainly didn’t throw any softballs. So you’re about to get an eclectic mix of some of the most challenging issues that you’ll face on LinkedIn Ads. A quick dip into the reviews. Raul Hernandez Ochoa says “best in class. AJ delivers real value from experience, love the actionable insights.” Raul, thank you so much for saying that. I trust your opinion more than almost anyone out there. For those who don’t know, Raul hosts the #DoGoodWork podcast, and he is the master of systems and productivity. So he’s definitely worth listening to and following. And then Felicia Gheorghe, who’s a paid social pro at a company called DHI in Copenhagen says “Good stuff. Probably the best podcast on the interwebs. Hands on and no generic advice. Love it. Thank you, AJ Wilcox, for making this happen.” Felicia, I don’t know that I would agree that it is the best podcast on the interwebs. But heck, yeah, I’ll take it. I would absolutely love to feature you. So please leave a review wherever you tend to review things and I’d love to shout you out and feature you here.
Okay, with that being said, let’s hit it. Leonardo Bellini, from Italy, says my question is this one, “Which is the best trade off between available budget and campaigns granularity? If I have, let’s say, a 5000 euro budget, does it make sense to split the budget into say four campaigns?” I know you’re a big fan of running more campaigns in parallel using different audience targeting options. And Leonardo, this is a great one because I am a huge fan of splitting up audiences into smaller segments so that I can learn something. I treat each small segment like a private focus group that no one else can see. But if we break up too granularly, we definitely end up hitting some roadblocks. For instance, each campaign has to have a minimum $10 or 10 euro budget for the day, if you break your audience up into two smaller groups, each one could spend $10 or 10 euro per day, which is $300, or 300 euro. And if I take a look at a campaign after it’s spent $300, or 300 euro, my reaction is honestly going to be well, that is not enough data to actually tell what’s going on. So I need this to run longer. And then at the same time, if you take your 5,000 euro budget, and you break that up into 20 campaigns, just at the minimum of 10 euro per day, you’re going to overspend your budget by twice. So breaking up too small really does have its disadvantages. I like to shoot for about $1,000 per month or 1,000 euro per campaign. So if a budget is $5k, I’d probably do about five campaigns max. And then when budgets get into the $100k range, the six figures, I’ll go a little bit further, we can do 100 to 150 campaigns pretty easily. But don’t take these numbers as an absolute constraint. We run campaigns all the time with 300 people in them. So it just depends on whether or not it’s worth your time to manage a small audience and realize that it’s probably going to have to run longer than just a single month to gain any learnings from it. And of course, if you’re working with an agency like ours, who cares, you know, make us manage tiny little campaigns. That’s what we’re here for.
Georgiana Dumitru says, “Great opportunity, AJ, so I’m taking advantage of it. I would like to know if you ever build up campaigns for a B2C client and that it generated results? Thanks!” And Georgiana, this is a great question because I get asked about B2C all the time. The big challenge with LinkedIn Ads is it’s expensive, and it’s also more middle of funnel. And those two things don’t lend themselves very well if you’re let’s say selling handbags or or you have some kind of e commerce product. So most of the time, I’m picturing B2B when I’m talking about LinkedIn Ads. But we have found quite a few B2C use cases where it tends to work quite well. We’ve seen things like coaching programs, which that’s technically B2C. You’re training professional, but it’s the money coming out of their own wallet for that training. We found hiring and recruiting, obviously, that’s kind of LinkedIn is bread and butter that works quite well. We’ve seen things in financial services. We even had a helicopter transport company like the Uber of helicopters work extremely well. Some of the most efficient campaigns we’ve ever seen. We’ve seen travel higher ed, all of these things work. So in general, yeah, I think B2C isn’t the best fit, but there are certainly pockets and good use cases where it does make sense.
Daniel Borba says “video ads on LinkedIn, any and all questions around that topic”. Yeah, this definitely seems like it should be a whole episode. But I’ll touch on this one too. Video is really tough on LinkedIn. And it’s a lot better now that we have this engagement retargeting so we can start to do sequences, and you can do storytelling. The basics of why video ads are tough to make work on LinkedIn is, number one, they’re expensive. And number two, anytime you have a video ad, there’s inherently two calls to action. The first is going to be watch this video. And the second is going to be take some kind of action that we’re going to ask you after. And of course, you as sophisticated advertisers know, the more things we ask of our prospects, the less likely they’re going to be to do it or the more people we’re going to have dropped out of that process. And of course, they’re not inexpensive. LinkedIn has an opportunity cost when they show a sponsored content ad, they know that that is worth probably $8 to $11 per click. And so when you show video, they have to charge enough that they’re still going to get the same or more from that inventory. And because the video now has two calls to action, it’s inherently going to get less interaction, meaning that your cost per is going to increase. So I will do a whole episode on video ads. But here’s a basic strategy. Most don’t know this, but with video ads, you can bid cost per view, or cost per impression. Of course, that’s the only two options you get if you set the video views objective, but you can also bid by cost per click if that’s within a website visits or a lead generation objective campaign. So I’m a big fan of start by bidding cost per click with video just to take the risk away, test out your creative, and then switch to cost per view or cost per impression where it makes sense, if you can get your costs down because engagement so high. Make sure your videos have a lot of action within the first two seconds, because that’s all you get to grab people. And then make sure you’ve got a good thumbnail especially for those slower internet connections who can’t see that action. Give them something good to look at. And your subtitles have to be either burned in or uploaded as .srt files because 80% of the viewers will watch with the sound off so it’s got to look good with the sound off.
Guadalupe Molina says “I need to demystify what is a click. When I put website clicks as an objective and create an ad that links to a website article and I bid by cost per click, every time the money is spent, does that mean that a click goes to the website? Or can it mean that I’m bidding for any type of click, just as clicking on my brand logo, etc.? I cannot find this answer anywhere.” And Guadalupe you are in luck. I actually have an episode about objectives coming out very soon. So watch for that. But this is definitely where objectives get complex because if your objective If is set as engagement, engagement means any click so you’re going to get charged if you’re bidding by cost per click for likes, comments shares, a follow to your company page, a click to your company page, or a click to your landing page. So if you’re bidding by engagement, yeah, you’re going to pay for everything. The nice thing is though, the engagement is about 35% cheaper. So if your ads are getting pretty much only clicks to your landing page, engagements are a cool hack of being able to pay less for your clicks. But if you choose website visits or conversion, then what LinkedIn calls a click is only a click to your landing page. So if you open up your analytics, and you see that LinkedIn reports 20 clicks, but analytics only sees 16, what happens there is yeah, you paid for 20 clicks because LinkedIn technically sent them, but for people of that 20 dropped out or left or whatever before the page was finished loading. A lot of times this has to do with your page load speed. Especially because pages just take longer to load on mobile. So it’s definitely worthwhile to make sure your landing pages load fast for mobile, so that people don’t get bored of waiting for it to load and end up leaving. If your objective is lead generation, a click is when they open the form. So we’ll go a lot deeper into that one in a future episode, a very near future episode, but Guadalupe thanks for asking that.
And then Kristine Sergejeva have asked several different questions. Thank you, Kristine, I’m so excited to have these. She asks, “Can GIFs be used as LinkedIn ads?” And that would be like an animated GIF. Unfortunately, no, you have to convert that to a video and use it as a video ad if you want to use it on LinkedIn. I’ve tried animated GIFs in about every way I can think of. I even turned an animated GIF into a ping. So LinkedIn would accept it and still it doesn’t play the animation even though it does everywhere else on the web. She also asks, “I still do not have clarity, when and how much I have to increase the bid, if I start with the lowest bid.” And this is going with AJ’s strategy of bid the very minimum, don’t plan on actually spending your budget and you just want to minimize your cost per lead. So she says, “Will a higher bid also increase my click through rate or only impressions, or it depends?”. So Kristine, this is definitely one of those cases where it depends on a lot of different factors, but we’ll break them down here. How much you increase your bid or decrease really depends on the speed that you need to know at. So for instance, if you’re at the beginning of the month, and you have a whole month to spend the budget, you might want to increase by 10 or 20 cent increments until you start to see traffic come through that’s meaningful. But if you’re in a rush, let’s say you’re four days before the end of the month, and you’ve got a budget to spend, then you might move by whole dollars, you might increase by $1 or $2 and just see. The goal is to find that point at which you are bidding the least possible to still spend your budget. And whether you find that by incrementally slowly decreasing from the minimum, or starting at the minimum, bouncing high, and then backing it back to somewhere in the middle, the goal is just to eventually find that point of efficiency. And then to your second point here, yes, raising your bid can increase your click through rate. But I definitely wouldn’t count on it all the time. What happens is, if your ad is towards the top of the feed, it’s going to generally get clicked on a lot more than one that is further down the feed. So if your ad is in the first position, which is the second post on someone’s feed, then it’ll likely get five or 10 times the click through rate if it were in the second ad position, which is like seven posts down the page. But what happens is if your ad is performing well, if it’s getting a high click through rate, even if you’re not bidding very much so LinkedIn wouldn’t want to put you at the top. But if your ads get clicked on a lot, there’s really high engagement, then they’re motivated to continue to put you at the top, even though you’re not bidding a whole lot. So really the key here is having really good performing ads. And then you can get it to where you are bidding very low, but still showing near the top of the feed and getting a nice high click through rate. But of course, when you increase your bid, you will definitely increase your impressions. And this is because you are making yourself more competitive in the auction, therefore winning more auction, therefore winning more auctions for impressions, so you will definitely see more impressions. But watch what happens to your click through rate. If you’re bidding CPM, you will definitely see a change in in click through rates as you bid up and down. And that’s because a direct CPM bid totally affects whether you show up in the first position, or the eighth position, which would be like 50 something slots down. Christine also says “I had this bad experience, that each change that I make to a campaign, makes the campaign’s performance worse. Have you noticed this or is it just me? Is it just for sure period of time while the platform is adjusting to the requested change?” And Kristine, I haven’t found this to be the case. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if this is actually saturation. So go back and listen to Episode 29, if you haven’t already all about saturation. Because when you’re experiencing saturation, something that worked before, is just going to continue performing worse and worse. And it acts like a stair step pattern, where your click through rates will fall gradually and slowly. But you will dip down in chunks as you drop in your relevancy score, and start losing auctions quicker. It also could be the message or the offer. So don’t count those out. And remember that the best audience doesn’t mean that performance will be great. And what I mean by that is if you are narrowing your audience to more of the right people, it doesn’t mean that you’ll see performance increase necessarily, but it does mean that the lead quality that you generate from those should be better. So I wouldn’t count on this turning around by itself, I would suggest holding your audiences consistent. So define who the right audiences are and then test different messaging and offers against them until you see performance pop back up. And ideally stay for, you know, at least two or three weeks before you have to refresh anything. Then Kristine asks, “Is it normal that after I paused the campaign and then activated again, it takes like a day for the campaign to activate and starts with very few impressions.” And Kristine back in like 2012. LinkedIn used to claim that if you pause the campaign and then reactivated it, that it would reset your relevancy score. And so there’d be this learning curve that your ads and campaign have to go through again, before they really went back to normal. Now, even since, like 2012, when I heard this, I’ve done a lot of pausing and unpause in campaigns. And I have never actually seeing this occur. So I kind of think that it’s not true. And maybe that was just LinkedIn not wanting us to pause campaigns, so they continue making money. I don’t know. But what I find is the learning curve that Facebook advertisers go through is really crazy. I mean, it’s to the point where if you double your budget overnight, it’s like your whole account freaks out and it takes several days for the algorithm to catch up and go back to performing well. When you launch new ads, it’ll take quite a while for performance to kick in. And I’m actually really grateful because LinkedIn users, we don’t really go through that. When we launch a new campaign. When we increase bids. When we increase budgets, we don’t see a giant shake up like you’d see on something like Facebook. When we launch new ads, it’s normal for LinkedIn to show impressions for a day, a day and a half for it to get a feel for relevancy score, and then kind of go to its normal cadence. But even that learning that LinkedIn goes through is usually pretty kind. It’s giving really solid impressions, usually in pretty good inventory. So I actually really like that first testing period for ads. So I haven’t found that to be the case that pausing and unpausing campaigns really negatively affects them. It could be a relevancy score issue. So I would try changing up your ads, changing up your offers, and just see if you can get something with a high relevancy score that isn’t necessarily swayed too much, especially as saturation occurs. Along the same lines, she asks, “Have you noticed that normally for the first week of the campaign, it can perform really well, even with very low bids. But then starting from the second week, the platform seems to be just doing everything to push you to increase the bids.” Now, it is very possible that LinkedIn is purposely trying to trick you into raising your bids and disincentivizing you from bidding low, but I really only see this happening when my ads aren’t getting a great click through rate. So if you’re around average, or maybe slightly above or even below, I could see this happening as your relevancy score is dropping. What you get is lackluster performance, plus saturation when people have already seen your ads, and they start clicking at a lower rate. And then as your relevancy score drops, you need to increase your bids to stay competitive in the auction and get LinkedIn to keep showing them. So that’s probably what you’re experiencing. But if you can play with messaging and offers to the point where you’re getting like, .7, .8%, click through rates. Usually this isn’t an issue.
And Sean Possemato asks, “What kind of data does the insights tag give you from your website visitors if you’re not running LinkedIn ads?” So what Shawn is referring to is the free website demographics that anyone can get by opening up a LinkedIn Ads account and installing the insight tag on their website. You don’t have to spend a dime. And it’s kind of like Google Analytics or Facebook Analytics, where the platform is showing you what they can see from your website traffic. And this is great, I recommend everyone do this, whether or not you’re spending money on LinkedIn Ads, or whether or not you’re even B2B. There are reporting that you’ll see from this are things like job function, title of the people who are visiting your website, their company names. It’s like the last 20 companies or maybe the most interactive 20 companies, industry, seniority, company size, location, country or region and even county. And as a bonus here, if you’ve set up website retargeting segments, you can also break down all of your website demographics by these segments. So for instance, create a retargeting segment, even if you don’t plan to advertise to them, of just people who’ve filled out your forms and made it to thank you pages, or maybe just people who visit the Contact Us page. And then you’ll get to see the titles, the securities, companies of people who made it to those pages. And I think that’s really powerful information. In Episode 30, we mentioned that this feature is going to be getting a nice boost coming up soon. So I’m expecting a lot more information, but as of right now, it’s those whatever seven or eight different dimensions that you can break your traffic down by. And they will tell you traffic percentage. So what percentage of the job function of business development has been on your page, but they’re not going to show you click through rates or anything in more detail because they didn’t originate that traffic. They don’t know what actions people took to get there, or anything like that.
And Raul Hernandez Ochoa, the same one who left the review, so thank you, Raul. He asks, “Are there click to message ads coming to LinkedIn, like on Facebook?” And for those of you who don’t know, click to message ads on Facebook, what they do is they drive traffic directly into Facebook Messenger, where you can have a more powerful chat bot experience for that prospect. And truthfully, I don’t know, conversation ads on LinkedIn are really LinkedIn’s first foray into that chat bot experience. And I know there’s a lot of directions that they could take this. Partner integrations into things like MobileMonkey and WeChat, but we don’t know where that is on their roadmap or their list of priorities. I would say that if conversation ads as an ad format performs really well, they’ll probably try to make it more powerful and do something like this with it in the future, but truthfully, I don’t know.
And Biswarup Banerjee says, “How has the corona related crisis affected the ad spend on LinkedIn by companies?” And we did see a lot of big companies pull back spend during that first period of economic uncertainty. We also saw a lot of small advertisers quit entirely. And the effect that we saw, this looks like it caused costs per click to drop by five or 10%. And I had friends telling me that Facebook prices had dropped 10 to 30, maybe even 40%. I even had a friend who invests heavily in YouTube ads tell me that prices dropped to like a seventh of where they were, which is incredible, but it looks by now that most companies have really kind of gone back to normal, or at least close to normal. We also see a lot of new entrants into LinkedIn Ads because of budget that they had set aside for things like trade shows and conferences aren’t happening anymore. And that budget needs to go somewhere. And I’m so glad that those budgets are going into digital. Lots of companies coming into the 21st century. Okay, here’s a quick sponsor break, and then we’ll dive into the rest of the Q&A
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All right, let’s jump back into more Q&A, Chase Gladden, one of the best marketers I know in San Francisco asks, “What would you use as a minimum test budget, as well as what point would you decide a test has received enough impressions spend and conversions to declare a winner?” So number of impressions I don’t really care much about, but I find that 100 clicks is a good first test on conversions. At LinkedIn, $8 to $11 cost per click average 100 clicks is going to be $800 to $1,100. dollars. And I would call this sticking your toe in the water because after about 100 clicks, if you’ve got like one conversion, then you know that it’s performing really poorly. And if you’ve got like 20 conversions, you don’t know for sure that you have a 20% conversion rate, just because the data isn’t complete yet. But you know, it’s performing really well. So after 100 clicks, I know directionally whether or not it’s a good offer or good ads. In North America prices. It’s usually about $300 in spend before we see click through rates become statistically significant. So if your goal is just to find out what’s the message that gets my prospects to engage, you can usually do that after spending about $300 between two different ad variants. If you have a good content offer, check out Episode 10 for going really deep on offers, then it’s usually about $5,000 in North American spend before your conversions becomes statistically significant. So if you have a great budget, yeah, I would go at least $5,000 a month, run a significant test every month to the conversion. But if you have less than that, or just need to pivot faster, yeah, you can make these decisions a little bit quicker.
Anna Phillips asks a good one. She says, “Well, this is probably a better question for someone who works at LinkedIn. But why do you think the ad platform is so behind the times when it comes to customizing data, reporting, comparing different time periods, segmenting by platform device, etc. Like they just added the ability to custom itemized columns and to see frequency metrics maybe a month ago. Do you think there’s a specific reason behind this discrepancy between potential and reality? And do you see it getting better in the near future?” This one’s definitely going to get me in trouble, but I’ll answer completely and honestly, I don’t think that LinkedIn had much faith in its ads platform from the very beginning. It’s always been really expensive, and LinkedIn still make 60% of its revenue from recruiter. So LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has always really been the redheaded stepchild. I remember early on and LinkedIn Ads when it took two and a half years for them to roll out just a new UI change, because they only have like two developers, and they were both shared with recruiter so they couldn’t give the ad platform very much time or attention. And to LinkedIn’s credit, in the last few years. It really seems like we’ve seen LinkedIn realize that it has something truly special and trying to catch up. But of course, it’s very far behind. I don’t see LinkedIn products team using their own products, unfortunately. And I don’t know what this is like in all kinds of different industries. I don’t know if product is usually not using their own product. And I’m not sure whether Facebook and Google do this. But I see that as being a core reason why things get released that aren’t actually what advertisers want. So I would love to see people who are planning product and roadmap at LinkedIn, actually having advertising experience or actively advertising for a client on the side or something like that, so that they can actually experience their own products. And I think things would come a little bit better ironed out for us. I also think that there’s a level of arrogance within the LinkedIn corporation that won’t come across when you talk to an individual. When you talk to any of them, they come across as very much wanting the best for their advertisers and listening. But I bet that attitude and arrogance would be palpable in a leadership meeting, and I know that would trickle down to the product. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has done very well as an organization over the last several years with just constant growth. And I think LinkedIn is actually patting themselves on the back for seeing that growth. But I think that growth is actually happening in spite of them and their policies. I think this growth is happening because marketers are getting more sophisticated. We have better tracking and reporting, and attribution technologies that are helping us realize that we have this need for higher quality traffic. We can watch what happens after the initial conversion as it goes through the sales process. And LinkedIn has always had extremely high traffic quality. So I think marketers are turning around, even if LinkedIn thinks that it’s their products that are really taking the credit. I honestly think that if LinkedIn really understood what it had, it would work to sprint to become a world class platform. And I think it could be as long as they will use their own product and listen really carefully to customers. And even if LinkedIn really sprints and makes this happen, it’s going to be really hard to shake the image that LinkedIn has had for years of being “too expensive and it doesn’t work”. So right now is where you say. woah AJ, tell us how you really feel.
Okay, next one’s from Laurie Archer, who says, “This one may stump you. I’ve already reached out to LinkedIn support to have this answered, but they are unable to assist me. I work for a marketing agency, and I have a client who wants me to post ads promoting their products to their page and show up in the newsfeed of their followers. However, I need to use my own credit card for these ads, not theirs, and I don’t want them to have access to my credit card. I have campaign manager access to their account. So how can I post ads to a client’s page and use my own credit card to purchase them while keeping the number private? Any suggestions would be so helpful.” Laurie, this one’s not stumping for me at all. In fact, I’m really surprised that LinkedIn couldn’t get you an answer on this one. Here’s what you’ll want to do. Have the client give you account manager access to the account because right now you just have campaign manager and then have them make you the billing admin then you place your credit card in there. Now, the reason why this works, there can be only one billing admin. And only that person can change the credit card and even see the last four digits of it that’s on file. And of course, the client can still be account manager access, and account managers can actually change the billing manager. If heaven forbid you got hit by a bus or something, they could still make someone else the account manager. And what happens is, if the client changes to another billing admin, your credit card number would be immediately erased. So there’s no concern there at all. The account will just shut off until someone puts a new credit card in.
Our next one. Stacy Taylor says, “Great, I have a question. I noticed that when building different audience segments, if the audience is small, the estimated costs are higher. Often I end up grouping segments together to keep costs lower, that I would actually prefer to separate out to target the messaging better. Do you have best practices or research on audience size considerations? Do you have best practices research on audience size considerations in relation to the cost and message targeting?” Yes, Stacy, this is totally the case. The smaller your audience size is, the higher you have to bid to be competitive. And I’m not sure what causes this. It’s the same thing on Facebook. So it could be something like a smaller audience means that there are other bidders who are targeting larger audiences that you have to outbid for those members. Honestly, it could be artificial, where LinkedIn is just charging you a premium in the auction for being more specific. It could be a smaller audience produces fewer impressions anyway, so we have to bid competitively just to see traffic. And really, it could be all three or none of them. But I find that this can be overcome for the most part with just good efficiency of your ads. A tighter audience means that you can be more specific in your ad copy, which leads to higher click through rates, which lead to an increased relevancy score, allowing you to bid less and still get the same traffic. But sometimes you can’t and you end up just having to balance paying, let’s say 30 cents to $1 more per click as just the cost of getting data into your silent focus groups. Because that’s what these micro campaigns are is just data for you to understand how this segment of the population reacts to what you’ve shown them.
And I know I’m absolutely going to butcher this name, but Kaj Robert Karjalainen asks, “What would work best LinkedIn lead gen forms are driving the prospect to a landing page?” And then second part of the question, “Which objective works best with video ads?” So the first one about LinkedIn lead gen forms, Kaj, I’ve got a great episode for you. Go check out Episode 17 that goes way into more depth about lead gen forms. But basically, I would say if your goal is quality of prospect, send them to your landing page. And if your goal is quantity of number of prospects at the lowest cost, go with the lead gen forms and Episode 17 will explain exactly why. But your secondary part of the question here, you’ll want to check out the episode on objectives that’s going to come out here in the next few weeks. But like I explained a little earlier, I choose website visits or lead gen so that I can bid cost per click on my video ads to start with. That reduces the risk until I can find out if the ads perform well enough that I can bid by cost per view, or cost per impression and save money there.
Mayur Katkar says, “Can we put maximum targeting options to increase the lead relevancy?” And I think what Mayur is asking is, can we keep stacking different targeting together to make our audiences more relevant? And yes, you can absolutely do this. And I’m a big fan of it. But like we mentioned here a couple questions ago, the more targeting options that you pile on, the higher your floor price goes. So the more you’re going to end up paying. So I only recommend stacking what you would actually find helpful. For instance, if you just want a smaller audience size, I wouldn’t put something like like company size or gender or something like that on top of it just to shrink it down, because anything you add is going to increase your floor bid. So only ad targeting that you would actually find helpful and be more core around who your prospect is.
Okay. Ivy Hou asks, “I’d like to know how to do a budget and conversion forecast for LinkedIn ads as a new channel.” Now Ivy, this is absolutely deserving of a whole episode. And so I’ve added this to my list of content I want to cover. And we’ll absolutely do this on forecasting. But check out Episode 27 on agile testing, if you haven’t already. This is going to be extremely helpful for you in just seeing the strategy of how I approach something. But here’s the general outline of that strategy. I shoot for a $5,000 a month budget if I’m in North America, if I’m targeting outside North America, I can budget less and then within the first $1,000 spent all know about what my conversion rate is. And my conversion rate and my cost per conversion is essentially going to tell me what can I expect from this platform? Is it a total fail? Is it a total win? Or something in between? And then check out Episode 15 on benchmarks. So you can take a look at your cost per click, your click through rates, and your conversion rates along the way to see if you’re in line, ahead, or falling behind. And then get ready to pause or revert if you see performance slide. Every new test that you do, take it as that, it’s a test and something that could be a bad test. So be willing to revert and say, Ooh, okay, my hypothesis was wrong. Let’s go start something else. And you’ll definitely want to set internal expectations with your boss, with the board, the CEO, whoever, that this is a pilot and your goal is performance and not just randomly spending an entire budget, whatever that is. I think it would be way better to come in under budget and know that yeah, looks like LinkedIn could be an efficient channel for us, rather than just saying, well, I had a $5,000 budget. So I spent it, but I didn’t spend it well, because then you’ll look at the performance of that spend after and conclude that LinkedIn is too expensive and doesn’t work, which I’ve heard so many times. It’s not even funny.
Alex Pethick says, “Hey @wilcoxaj, I’m a fan of your podcast. Thanks for all the advice you provide. I’m curious, have you noticed that LinkedIn has removed the ads tab from the company profile pages? Any idea how to see competitors ads now”? Thanks, Alex. Yeah, this one threw me for a loop too. In recent episodes, I’ve mentioned that I found where that was. You go to the company page, and then just scroll down until you see the ads filter above all the posts, and then you’ll still get it. So it’s still there, but it just moved.
Jeffrey Donnelly asks, “Why doesn’t the platform allow users to identify their wants and needs and connect advertisers to those wants and needs?” And this is one that I really wish we could do. For the longest time we had search platforms like Google where people were showing their intent, what they wanted and what they were searching for. And then you had platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, where you were showing someone your personal traits. But there wasn’t anything that blended the two. When I heard that LinkedIn was up for sale, I was just hoping and praying that Google would buy them so that we would get the world’s biggest search intent database, overlaid with the professional trait data that only LinkedIn has. But of course, Microsoft bought them. So I didn’t quite get my wish here. I know, they’ve tried to do this a little bit with interest targeting at least at one point, I don’t know if it still does, but it’ll take into account someone’s Bing search history. So anyone that they know of who’s searching on Bing, they can get that intent data. But I’m imagining that’s a very small segment of data that probably doesn’t influence things all too much. And in Episode 30, we talked about what’s coming on the roadmap, and that we’re going to get products on pages, which is kind of like a review mechanism. And maybe we’ll see, once we have something like that maybe there’s a way we can signal interest or desire for a certain class of products. And then advertisers could, let’s say, if we’re trying to choose a new CRM, we could signal that interest and CRM advertisers would naturally show us more ads.
Caroline Wyly asks, “I’ve had good performing ads and some embarrassingly poor performers. With the poor performers, no matter how much budget tweaks, change in copy, audience, etc. Nothing worked. What made it even worse is that it was a lead gen campaign and the few leads that did come through we’re not have the right seniority. Not much insight from LinkedIn either.” And Caroline, I think this goes down to two different things. Usually, I can trace good ads back to a good offer. So check Episode 10 to learn more about offers. And I can usually trace bad performance back to bad offers. And we face the same challenge where if a client gives us a not very interesting offer, and we’re trying to craft ad copy, and creative to try to make that look good, there’s only so much lipstick that you can put on a pig trying to make it look pretty. So changing or adjusting the offer trying to get it to where it’s providing a lot of potential value to the prospect where it’s showing a lot of perceived value to the prospect. Usually those offers will be easy to write high performing ads for and they also help them convert better. But anytime leads come through that don’t match my specific targeting. I think that’s a completely different issue. So the first thing I would say is check to see, do you have audience expansion enabled on these campaigns? This is the worst offender, because that box is checked by default, you’ve got to really be vigilant to make sure you’re unchecking that. And it allows LinkedIn to stick anyone they want into your existing audience. So that’s most likely the case make sure you go and uncheck that. And likely you’ll start getting seniority is coming through that actually match your targeting. But this could also be viral traffic. And what happens is anytime in your target audience that someone hits like, comment, or share, it then goes out to their network. And it’s not abiding by the targeting that you chose. This usually happens in smaller quantities, it might be like, you got 20 leads, and then you get one that’s viral. And then if you see a seniority that doesn’t match what you’re targeting, but you go, okay, it was only one of 20. It sounds like this is happening to a good percentage of them. So that might not be it. I would also check your targeting and make sure that you’re not excluding, rather than including people of seniorities. I’ve seen that happen a couple times. And also realize that the way that seniority works on LinkedIn, people can have multiple seniorities. So it could be that you’re targeting, let’s say, VPS. And LinkedIn thinks that they are a VP at one role, but then they’re an individual contributor at another that could happen to. You might want to check your definition of what LinkedIn considers senorities to be versus yours. Like for instance, I would look at a doctor or an attorney who runs their own office or practice and I would say, oh, they’re probably owner, partner, C-level, some kind of mix of those. But then I look in LinkedIn and LinkedIn calls them directors. So be aware that maybe what you call a certain seniority might not be what LinkedIn calls them.
And Efrat Dekel asks, “What’s the minimum list size I can use in practice in LinkedIn website retargeting ads?” Efrat, you need at least 300 people that LinkedIn has identified within the last 180 days. So that’s the absolute minimum. Although I would say if you’re advertising to any audience that only has 300 people in it, you might as well not run it, because that’s not going to produce very many leads. Although, of course, I’m sure that targeting is going to be great. And the caveat here is that LinkedIn needs to actually identify these people. So let’s say you have 600 visitors to your website, but 100 of those aren’t LinkedIn members. So LinkedIn wouldn’t be able to identify them, so they’re not going to make it into your audience. And then let’s say half of that traffic, is using an iOS device like iPhone or iPad, or Safari browser or Mozilla. And so they make it into the audience, but then their browser just throws the cookie out. And now they’re no longer part of that audience. So you might find that even though you sent 600 people, LinkedIn still saying you’re too small to actually advertise to these people, because you’re under the 300 person limit. In practice, usually need to send six or 700 people to your website before this becomes large enough to use.
All right question by Annie Rose. She says, “Most of the times my ads I create in LinkedIn are incomplete due to strict violations. I would love to know what the most common mistakes and intermediate advertiser would commit in building a LinkedIn Ad, and what are the do’s and don’ts?” Annie, this is truly deserving of its own episode, and I’m going to make that happen. We want to do something on policies, procedures, and what happens when you get disapproved. But here are a couple of nuggets to chew on in the meantime. Every ad at LinkedIn is human reviewed. Sometimes it’s up front and you might see you’re waiting four to 24 hours for your ads to be approved before they start running. But sometimes they go live immediately. And that review is done after the fact. And you would only see this happening if your ads were live. And then they spent a little bit of money and then got disapproved later. We’ve had ads rejected for things like being related to COVID. Dealing with initial coin offerings like crypto related things, advertising alcohol, using excessive punctuation, mentioning LinkedIn in the ad copy will get you disapproved. And also, we found this is not an explicit podcast. So I’ll say any swears worse than the a word will get disapproved. Sometimes if you get something disapproved, you can get it by by just resubmitting because it can be a very subjective thing whether or not someone thinks that this infringes on a policy. The other thing you can do is you could try posting organically, and then just boost that organic post since most of the time boosted posts don’t go through the same review process, at least from my experience.
Okay, last question here from Glenn Schmelzle, who’s a good friend, he asks, “Do you compare the incumbents click through rate to the click through rate before saturation, or after when you’re doing AB testing?” So this is a little bit complex. When you start running an ad, it’s probably going to have a high click through rate at some point. And then over time, as people have seen it before, you’ll see click through rate slide and start to perform worse. So he’s asking when you’re running an AB test, let’s say you leave the winner from before and you test something new. And then you compare that A and B. Do you compare B’s click through rate or cost per click with the click through rate when A very first started, or now after it’s saturated a little bit? And this is a brilliant question. My answer is absolutely before because when an ad very first launches, you really get a feel for what that ad is capable of, how interesting it is. And saturated. can be affected by so many things like how active an audience is, or how long you’ve been running it. So I think the statistics you should care about are definitely before. However, I wouldn’t suggest launching something new against something that’s old. Because what happens is the thing that is new, LinkedIn looks at that as a risk, because it doesn’t know how that new ads going to perform, but it does know the old one. So it’s safer to keep running something that’s old, not performing well, then testing something that’s new and could potentially be a great performer, or it could be terrible. So what I suggest doing, if you have a winner from your AB test, go ahead and pause your whole A and your B and then recreate your A along with your new B. Then both ads and LinkedIn’s eyes are brand new, and they’re both going to get compared side by side properly.
And guys, I had so many more Q&A questions for you, but we’re already going on too long. So I’m going to save these for our next Q&A episode that might be in, let’s say 20 or 30 episodes, so keep sending in your questions, I’d love to feature you. Alright, here comes 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.
I mentioned several great resources throughout this episode. So check them out down below in the show notes. There was Datanyze and BuiltWith that are really good for finding out which companies use certain products. I also mentioned a whole bunch of episodes like Episode 10, Episode 17. If you’re not already caught up, definitely go back and listen to those those are absolute gems. And if you’re new to LinkedIn Ads, the best course that you can take is the one that I did with LinkedIn on LinkedIn Learning. It’s called advertising on LinkedIn. You can’t miss it. There’s a chubby ginger dude pointing at you smiling, that’s me. And all I can say is the price is right. I think it’s $25 for the course, if you’re not already a LinkedIn premium member and get it for free. And it’s the same information that I would teach you, if you hired me for $500/hour to train your team one on one. So I highly recommend that one. Next, make sure you’re subscribed to this show, look down, hit the subscribe button if it’s not already hit. And do rate the podcast because I want anyone who sees this and is considering to give it a listen. And then please do review it. Every review helps and I totally want to shout you out. So whatever podcast player or service you use, leave a review for the show and I’d love to read it out. As always, email us at Podcast@B2Linked.com with any show ideas, suggestions, feedback, or topics we should cover. And with that being said, we’ll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.