Show Resources:
New! View your company page followers.

New update to the playbook on targeting from LinkedIn

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Show Transcript:

Here are five more common LinkedIn Ads mistakes. Are you making any of them? Just fix them quickly, and your boss will never know.

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

Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics! One of our most popular episodes was the top five mistakes that LinkedIn advertisers make. That was Episode 18 in case you missed it. Make sure you go and listen to it is super valuable. Well, we tend to see a lot of mistakes happening so we put together five more. Again, in no particular order, you may be making some of these and others you might not. So let’s jump into it. First, though, in the news, LinkedIn rolled out a new bidding interface. And it’s not out to everyone, at least at the time of recording here, but it’s on its way rolling out to everyone. And you’ll notice it still defaults to auto bidding, but now that’s called maximum delivery. And then within parentheses, it says auto bidding. The other option is manual bidding. And for each of these options, you can select the optimization action that you would like LinkedIn to optimize towards. So that is your clicks, leads, just impressions. And it’s been interesting to test these out, but we still see that we get the best results from either auto bidding, if we have high click through rates, or bidding manual, enhanced CPC and bidding low if it’s below. There was a great announcement that I’m super excited about. You can see the link in the show notes below. But now LinkedIn allows you to view your company page followers. And when you go and check that out, it will tell you the month that that person became a company page follower. So I’m really excited to use this data to visualize the growth of our company page. And I hope you are as well. Episode 31, if you remember, was an interview with Ryan Mcinnis from LinkedIn about the Brand and Demand playbook that they released. Well, they also released an updated version of the Targeting playbook. You’ll also find that link there in the show notes that you can go and download that and check it out. I have kind of a mixed reaction to this one. I really like that when they updated it, they called the seniority that they call senior, they actually labeled it what it is, senior individual contributor. The vast majority of LinkedIn advertisers get tripped up by senior because they think oh, senior managers, senior directors, senior VPS. That’s not what it’s talking about. It’s actually referencing someone who’s not entry level, but not yet a people manager. It’s exactly what they’re saying. It’s an individual contributor, that they call senior for some reason. So that was really cool to see them point out. But I was put off a little bit because going through there, you’ll see that they include a recommendation for enabling audience expansion. And if you’ve listened to more than like three episodes, you know my stance on audience expansion and how I think it’s utter and complete garbage. So maybe research it and take that advice with a grain of salt, realizing that some is probably good, some might not be so good. But you’ll want to make that call. It’s probably worth checking out at least what LinkedIn recommends. What LinkedIn recommends for targeting is a lot of what we recommend too if you’ve been listening. A shout out to Ron Halpern, who left a review for us, and he says, “One stop shop for all LinkedIn ad info. This podcast is my secret weapon at work. It keeps me up to date and current on things that make me invaluable. Thanks to AJ, his passion and his ability to break down the very info around marketing on LinkedIn. If you’re looking to run ads on this platform, you must listen to AJ. The performance benchmarks he shares make it worth it 100% on their own, but he is so ridiculously abundant with his knowledge, even a hardened pro would find his podcast valuable.” Ron, I’m so glad that me and the team can be here to be your secret weapon at work. We’re super happy to superpower you and sincerely thanks for leaving such a stellar review and sharing it out to the world. That’s so incredibly meaningful to us. The next is from BarrettDastrup, who says, “Can’t believe this info is free. I’ve been listening consistently for less than a week and have already applied multiple bits of advice I’ve picked up from AJ. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for just getting to the point and packing this time with only the useful information. no fluff here. Love it.” Barrett, I’m so glad you appreciate that no fluff style. Personally, I just can’t stand content where it feels like they’re trying to hold stuff back or they themselves don’t have a deep enough understanding to go deep. So I’m so glad that you appreciate that as well. That’s definitely our style. Okay, I totally want to feature you. So make sure you leave a review on any podcast player that you use, and I’ll totally give you a shout. And if you don’t want to be shouted out publicly, well instead just tell your friends at work about the show privately or leave a review with an anonymous name. Okay, with that being said, let’s hit it.

Wrong Objective
Again in no particular order, one of the biggest mistakes that we see is people selecting the wrong objective. Last week’s episode was Episode 34, all about objectives. So make sure you go and listen to that to go a little bit deeper here. But at a high level, when you’re presented with LinkedIn objectives, and you see something like oh conversions, and you think, yeah, I’m going for conversions, and you select that option, I would totally understand where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is usually optimizing for max, and not for cheapest or most efficient. What this means is, if you’re optimizing for conversions, LinkedIn is going to go out and bid as high as it needs to, to try to get the most amount of conversions. And they’re not optimizing for what we see most advertisers care about, which is getting the right volume, but not at crazy costs. So go and listen to last week’s episode about objectives to dive deeper into them. And it’s really helpful to understand what you think you’re optimizing towards, versus what LinkedIn actually is optimizing towards, or at least attempting to. The one that really seems to trip people up is the lead generation objective. Because everyone goes in and goes, yeah, I’m generating leads, that’s what I’m looking to do so they click that, just to find out that when they create the campaign and start creating ads, that can’t send traffic to their website, because lead generation as an objective, ropes you into only doing the native lead generation form ads. So they’re definitely worth understanding at a deeper level. And do make sure that you put in the work to understand what each of the objectives do, so that you can ensure that you’re selecting the proper one. And if your goal really is to spend all of your budget and you don’t care about efficiency, then the objectives that LinkedIn gives, you actually should line up very nicely. But if your goal is efficiency, you’ll probably end up using an objective differently than LinkedIn would recommend.

Wrong Size of Budget
The next big mistake here in our list is advertising with the wrong size of budget. And we covered budget in Episode 19 really deeply, so go have a listen to that. But this really goes both ways. Advertisers with too large of a budget, and advertisers with way too small of one. The most common here is we regularly see advertisers who read our recommendations of you know, budgets of $5,000 a month, and say, “Well, I don’t really have that kind of budget, but I’m gonna give it a shot anyway.” And of course, you’re dealing with small sample sizes here, so some tend to get lucky and they’ll close a deal in a very small amount of spend, or they’ll happen to get a really high conversion rate with just a few clicks. But most don’t really get lucky like that. And just remember that the real value of LinkedIn is in the lead quality, which really isn’t measurable from the platform itself. To adequately test the lead quality, you’ve got to get these leads into your CRM and compare them against other lead sources. So that you can tell that, yes, LinkedIn ads are generating traffic that are so high quality, that even though we have to pay three to five times more for each lead, they’re definitely worth at least three to five times more to me. We talked to a lot of people who are saying, let’s advertise for a month, and then we’ll see if the return on investment is there. And I always have to stop them and say, well, you’re not going to see a return on your investment after one month when your sales cycle is six to 10 months or even 15 months or longer. So same warning, if you go in with too small of a budget, or too tight of a timeframe that you hope to see results in, you’ll probably be a little bit disappointed. But what about the other side? What about having too large of a budget? Usually, what happens if your budget is too large, you’ll end up just paying too much for traffic. And then later, when you do your analysis, LinkedIn will look really inefficient. And you’ll end up cutting the budget anyway. The way that this works is if you’re using auto bidding, LinkedIn is going to look at your massive budget and say, “Oh, I’m going to bid really insanely high to make sure that I can spend all that budget to this audience.” But if you’re bidding really intelligently, let’s say you’re using manual bidding, you’ll still likely end up bidding really high manually, just to make sure that you can spend your budget. And as you know, as your click costs go up, so do your costs per lead. And the channel will end up looking really inefficient. At some point in the ecosystem in the in the bidding auction environment, you end up passing this point of diminishing returns, where LinkedIn will keep charging you more for each click. But, it won’t when you additional traffic volume in the auction, it won’t get you additional impressions, you’re just paying more for each individual impression. So I’m a big fan of starting out small start on smaller budgets. And then once you’ve nailed it, then worry about scaling it. And if you’re scaling up from starting low, it’s really easy to see that line of diminishing returns, as you said, “Oh I raised my bids from $14 to $14.50 and my cost per click went up by 50 cents, but I didn’t get any additional impressions for that money.” It’s a lot simpler to do. So as you’re pitching your boss or the board or the CEO, or whomever, make sure you ask for a budget, usually to start with between $5,000 and $10,000 per month, and then it’s really easy to scale up or even back from there. Okay, here’s a quick sponsor break. And then we’ll dive into more common mistakes.

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

If the performance of your LinkedIn Ads is important to you be to linked is the agency you’ll want to work with. We’ve spent over $130 million on LinkedIn Ads, and getting you the lowest costs and the highest quality leads is our focus. And we’re the only media buying agency to be official LinkedIn partners, and we don’t have a sales team. So you’ll deal with a LinkedIn Ads expert from day one. Fill out the contact form on any page of b2b, to chat about your campaigns. Or Heck, send a carrier pigeon or smoke signal, our mission is always to make you look like the hero. Alright, let’s jump into the next three common mistakes that you might be making on your LinkedIn Ads.

Not AB Testing
One big mistake that we see people make is that they’re not AB testing, they’re not running any testing in their account. And for the record, this topic deserves its whole own episode. But just touching on it lightly. Because LinkedIn targeting is so tight, and so good, it enables you to get to run, like what I call silent focus groups. You can use your targeting to define very specific small, tight knit groups that all have something in common. And if you run the same ad, or the same two ads to these two separate audiences that are similar, but varied by one thing, it’s really like getting to run a focus group. And you get to find out what your prospects like what they don’t like, and what will get them to convert. So for instance, if I’m targeting marketing decision makers, I could make it really easy for myself and just target job function of marketing, and seniority of everything manager and above. And that’s one campaign. It would be really easy to manage. Ceate two ads within it, and I’m done. But the problem with that is that you’ll end up with all of the results that you get with nothing to compare it to. And if results are bad, or if they’re good, you don’t have any sort of levers that you can pull, or even learn from. So instead do something like a separate campaign for marketing managers, another for directors, another for marketing VPs, and a final one for CMOS. And you run the same two ads across them, and you find out, Oh, wow, it’s less expensive to reach CMOS than we thought, or marketing managers aren’t really resonating with our content. Those are the types of insights that you can get. A lot of times we see campaigns with only one ad running in them. And that sure seems like a waste, because it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to create one additional ad. And then you’ll get to learn about what motivation is driving your potential customer, you can look at the cost per click, and the click through rate to understand how engaging each version of the ads are. And of course, down the line your conversion rates as well. So if you’re only running one ad, you’re missing that ability to have a second version to compare against. So you just kind of have to take whatever performance you get. And then we also see the opposite of this mistake, which is also a mistake of trying to test too much. Because LinkedIn is targeting ability is so good. Many are tempted to create way too many audiences or way too tight of targeting that creates tiny audiences. Now remember that every campaign has to have a minimum budget of $10 per day. So do the math at you know, at least $300 per month for each campaign and see if that would make you overspend your budget. So don’t create so many campaigns that even at the minimums you’re gonna overspend your budget. And even if you don’t overspend your budget, you may end up getting so few results on each small campaign, that you don’t really learn anything about those audience segments anyway. You’re going to look at them at the end of the month and say, I can’t take action on a campaign with only 20 clicks. So maybe I’ll let this go for another month. And then that goes on adn on. My personal rule of thumb is to make sure that each campaign has a budget of at least $1,000 per month, at minimum. And that way, if I have a an introductory budget of $5,000 per month, I’m not going to go and create 20 campaigns. Along the same lines as over targeting. There’s also running too many ads at a time. And of course there are exceptions to this rule. But in general, I would say don’t be tempted to run more than two ads inside of any given campaign because if you do Some of your variations will get fully ignored. And then I wonder why would you even worry about creating variations that will just get labeled with a poor relevancy score, and they’ll never see the light of day. They’ll never get enough data to actually compare anything. So if you run two at a time, you’ll always get enough data across both of those variations to at least get a flavor of what’s going on. We covered this in Episode 29, about Ad saturation. But if you have more than two ads in a campaign, it will cause your campaigns to be able to be shown to the more active members, more often. Which sounds good, except what you’ll end up doing is fully saturating the most active users of LinkedIn, and then not giving proper coverage to everyone else. But if you’re always running two at a time, you’re going to saturate pretty evenly.

Targeting Too Broadly
The next mistake we see is targeting too broadly. And there’s a couple different variations of this, there’s where your audience size is too large, or your targeting is too broad, and you’re going to be getting less qualified people in there. We’ll tackle that one first. So if you’re targeting too broadly, it’s probably because when you were setting up your audiences, you were feeling this FOMO or fear of missing out, because you were looking at the targeting options and thinking, Oh, well, we’ll be missing out on that one lone diamond in the rough, if we don’t include the adjacent department, to the people that we’re actually trying to target. In my mind, I see the these like, like concentric circles, or even a Venn diagram, where your most core audience is the very center, and they’re the ones that you should fully concentrate on. And then once you’ve fully covered your most core, the highest impact users, then you can start looking at ways to branch out and reach a few more people that way, I’m sure we all have a story where we got some golden lead from someone who, when we looked at them on LinkedIn, they didn’t fit the targeting criteria that we would usually call the perfect customer. But try to overcome that FOMO and instead, just worry about fully attacking your absolute core of prospects first, then once you’ve nailed it, you can scale out more broadly. On average, your core group of users will be the most efficient. So don’t get FOMO and think, well yeah, I guess an accountant could be interested in my service. We see this one quite regularly, where we see audiences get built with too large of a size. And what happens here is you won’t learn much about your audience, because you’ll see all of those results coming into one large segment. And like we talked about before, if you’re just looking at one large segment, there’s nothing to compare against. So if we talk about that original example, targeting marketers, breaking them up by seniority, so that you can learn what levels of seniority interact with your content, or offers in certain ways. But it doesn’t have to be seniority. You could break up by geography, or skill, company size, basically anything that you want to compare performance for, and then learn from the difference. You can break up your campaigns, I really like to see audiences between about 20,000 to 80,000. So if I have an audience that’s much larger than that, I’ll just find some arbitrary excuse to break it up into into two or three or five. So then I’m learning exactly what my ideal prospects like what they don’t. And I get to learn from that silent focus group. Alright, I’ve got the episode resources coming up for you. So stick around.

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

So check out these articles that we talked about in the news section. The first is and these will be right for you in the show notes. There’s a link where you can see how to view your company page followers. That’s really cool going all the way back historically on the month and year that that person started following you. Super cool, I was excited for that. The next is the article on the new update to the playbook on targeting from LinkedIn. So definitely worth having a look to see if they’re suggesting anything that you haven’t considered before. And then if you’re trying to learn LinkedIn Ads, or if you have a colleague, or a friend who is, check out the course that I did with LinkedIn Learning, I think it’s only $25. Or it’s free if you have a professional subscription to LinkedIn. And it’s a really good intro to LinkedIn Ads. Take a look down at your podcast player and make sure that that subscribe button is all lit up. That way you’ll make sure to not miss an episode. And please do rate the podcast and leave us a review. If you’re willing to I’d love to shout you out. And as always, reach out to us at with suggestions for episodes and topics, questions, or anything your little heart desires. With that being said we’ll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.