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Show Transcript

You’ve seen that button hiding off to the right in campaign manager called performance chart. What does it do? And why do I love it so dang much? Welcome to the LinkedIn Ads Show.

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

Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics. Well, if you’re anything like us, you’re constantly testing and tweaking and adjusting things to improve your ad performance. That means you’ll need to see your KPIs change over time. You can do this in Excel with pivot tables and pivot charts. But that tends to take a lot of time, and it’s really monotonous. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that if something is cumbersome or time consuming, it’s naturally not going to happen as often as it really needs to. Luckily, the performance chart option in campaign manager is surprisingly powerful and easy to access. So today, I’m going to walk you through exactly how to access it, and how to use it to improve your ad performance.

First, the news. This week, I had a LinkedIn Product Manager reach out to me after listening to the last episode about boosted posts, and corrected me on something. He said, all ads created on LinkedIn go through the ad review process to ensure that the ad is adhering to the LinkedIn Ad policy. There are two types of review methods that we use. AI Model Review, this can happen almost instantaneously where ads are immediately approved. When this review happens, your ads can be published almost instantaneously. But it’s only done for ads, where the AI model on LinkedIn side has a high confidence in its decision that the ads don’t have any sort of an issue in them. If the model’s confidence is low, then the ad is sent for human review. And during human review, he said this process can take between 24 to 48 hours. So I wanted to throw that out there as a retraction. I also want to say I’ve seen the human review take up to 72 hours. And I see this especially on text ads, usually sponsored content tends to get published a lot faster.

Okay, I wanted to highlight a review that came in Swimmer 10 said, “Great show. Thanks, AJ, we are listening. I love your show and have missed it. Can’t wait to see more shows this year. Thanks for the great content.” Thank you so much Swimmer 10 It’s always great to hear the feedback that you’re listening and that you appreciate the episodes. We should be releasing episodes a lot more regularly. Now, we actually have a member on our team who is committed to helping me get these episodes out more often. So hopefully, you’ll see a lot more coming. And of course, I want to feature you please do go and leave a public review. And I just heard that Spotify is now accepting reviews. We have a whole lot on Apple Podcasts, but I would absolutely love it If you guys would be able to go out of your way. You’d be doing me a huge favor to go on to Spotify and leave a review there. And of course, anything I see all give you guys a shout out. Alright, on to the topic at hand, let’s hit it.

It’s pretty rare when LinkedIn does a feature better than Facebook. But every once in a while this happens, I can actually count on two fingers, the number of times this has happened. But years and years ago, LinkedIn Ads had a feature that I and many other advertisers really, really liked. The first thing that you saw when you logged into your dashboard was a customizable chart with the ad performance tables down below. And one of my biggest complaints about Facebook has always been the difficulty in visualizing your ad performance over time with trends. Well, then LinkedIn redesigned the platform to become much, much more Facebook like when they released objectives in 2019. And unfortunately, one of the features that disappeared was the chart, despite it actually being way way more helpful than the way that Facebook handled it before. Thankfully, it didn’t die entirely. It still lives on the platform, although now it takes an extra couple clicks to get to. So what it is is a performance chart that you can tell it exactly what kinds of metrics you want to see and over what time period. Whether you want to analyze campaigns, campaign groups, or even individual ads, you can just simply select them in your normal campaign manager view. And then look for the button in the top right that says performance chart. Or if you don’t select anything, or filter anything from campaign manager, it’s just going to plot your aggregate performance for whatever you’re looking at in campaign manager at that moment. So once you open the chart, you’ll notice along the top that it will say Display Clicks. You’re almost always going to want to click that and pick some other metric to look at because clicks is about the least helpful metric I can think of to start with. You’ll notice that you can see metrics like your clicks, your impressions, and your spend. But raw counts of things like clicks and impressions really aren’t helpful without context. And I’ll give you an example. If I told you that I have an account that got eight clicks yesterday. You just tell me Is that good or bad? Well, of course, you’re gonna say, Well, I don’t know, what’s their budget? Did they have 16 clicks the day before? Do they have a multi million dollar monthly budget? Or are they only budgeting for four clicks? So that would be a problem. So how do you make these metrics helpful in really any context. The easy way to do it is you turn them into a percentage, you divide it by something and make it a ratio. So anytime I’m in the performance chart, one of the first things I’m going to go for is I’m going to change display clicks to average click through rate, or cost per click, or cost per lead, or cost per conversion. I will say the one simple metric that isn’t a ratio, or percentage that I do find helpful is your total spent. And this can be helpful for budgeting. You can see how much you’re spending by day, you can see if that decreases or increases over weekends. So, I do still like total spent that basically every other metric there, I only care about if it’s a percentage. Now I mentioned that you could select different campaigns or ads or even campaign groups before you click on performance chart. But one thing that we’ve really enjoyed watching is you can actually put a search filter into the search box in campaign manager. And then anything that matches that search filter is automatically going to be included in your performance chart. So for instance, anytime that we’re running lead generation form ads, we always put LF in the campaign’s name. And then that means if we wanted to chart performance of lead gen form campaigns, we could just go to the search box and just type LF. And then we can hit performance chart. And it’s only going to show the performance of those filtered campaigns. The same thing goes with ad types. If I want to look at just my text ad campaigns, I’m always going to put TA in the campaign name to tell me which ad format I’m using. And so if I type TA it’ll filter there. This is really helpful because if you combine text ads with any other ad format, your average click through metrics are going to become totally useless. And that’s because text ads have such a low click through rate compared to every other ad format. So whatever you have in your campaign names, you can use here as a filter, so you can try to get them into the performance chart. A really cool feature I like is that if you’re charting multiple campaigns or multiple ads, there’s a little switch in the upper left that says aggregate. You can flip it off to disaggregate those campaigns or ads, and then it will show you a separate trendline for each campaign or ad that you’re looking at. And this is really helpful to look at, but realize you can only disaggregate if you have three or fewer campaigns or three or fewer ads that you’re looking at. So that’s a little bit of a limitation. But I like using this if I want to compare different audience segments against each other. So for instance, I could go and increase my bids a static amount, or a set percentage across several different campaigns where the targeting was the same, but they’re just different by their seniority levels. If I increase two campaigns by 50 cents a piece, did my manager segment increase as much as my director segment that might tell me if one of these segments is more competitive than the other? Another test that would be really fun is wondering if, after pausing a campaign and then unpausing it later, after a certain amount of time, does it cause the ads to go back into the learning phase for LinkedIn’s auction? It’d be interesting to find out if time being paused affects which one is selected as the winner and therefore receives more impressions. Any other ideas for cool tests you guys have, please share it with us. Send us an email at I’d absolutely love to hear from you what you’re doing. Okay, here’s a quick sponsor break, and then we’ll get to dive into the limitations and the gotchas of the performance chart.

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Alright, let’s jump into the weaknesses and limitations here. In my mind, the biggest weakness of the performance chart is that we can’t overlay metrics on top of each other. Thankfully you can do it if you need to. But, the way that you do it is you have to go in export your data by day or by month, or whatever sort of granularity you care about, but usually by day, and export it into Excel, where you can actually build your own helpful chart. If I could do this, here are a few ideas of what I would want to do. For instance, I would chart total spent on the same chart as costs per click so I can see how maybe small bid changes affect how much the account spends in total, that could help me in predicting what a bid change might do for my budget for the month. I would also like to chart costs per click on the same chart as cost per lead, or cost per conversion, if you’re using the website conversions. And then maybe after something like a bid increase, I could see if increasing bids 20%, did it result in a 20% increase in my cost per lead, or maybe bidding higher would give me access to a more valuable audience, in which case, my conversion rate could be higher and I might spend 20% more, but have a cost per lead that comes in maybe only 10% more. I haven’t found this type of thing to happen on LinkedIn, but it’s sure nice to compare and see if we can learn how the platform is handling our individual bids and all that. I also think it would be fun to chart cost per click on the same chart as conversion rate. And that would allow us to do something like test to see if bidding more aggressively reaches an audience that’s more likely to convert or if it’s unaffected. Another weakness is that the performance chart can’t aggregate more than 300 campaigns or ads at a time. So if you have a large account, let’s say you have 500 campaigns, you’d either have to export it to Excel and do it manually, or just analyze in smaller batches, or by ad format, or by some smaller segment that you have. It’s not going to show you the data and combine it if you have more than 300 entities in there. Another weakness is that if you’re using lead gen forms, it will let you chart your cost per lead, but it doesn’t give you the option of your conversion rate, which I think is arguably more important, since it wouldn’t be swayed by your bid, or any cost changes, or increases in competition on the platform from your competitors. Same thing goes with cost per conversion. There is a metric for cost per conversion, but you don’t have the ability to choose conversion rate. Even if we did have conversion rate, we know that LinkedIn’s definition of a conversion, a website conversion, is is skewed. What they do is they combine both your view through conversions and your post click conversions into that one column of conversions, which I don’t think is helpful because so much of the time your view through conversions are much, much higher than your actual conversions or form fills that would have come in, especially if you’re running text ads, they tend to rack up the view through conversions. So even if we had it, it probably wouldn’t be very helpful. But, we can still do this in Excel.

The LinkedIn product team likes to use a phrase that says if you could wave a magic wand and change the product, what would you want it to be able to do. And I know that LinkedIn listens to the podcast. So here I’ll say, hey, LinkedIn team, consider this my voice of the customer feedback session for the performance chart. Here’s my wish list of the top three things that I wish I could do with the performance chart. Number one, I want to be able to overlay different metrics on top of each other, like we talked about before, where I could show a trend line for total spent, at the same time as a trend line for cost per click, or cost per lead.

Wishlist item number two, what I wouldn’t give to see bids or budgets here on there. We could see what day a bid or a budget was increased or decreased. And then what sort of effect it had on the rest of the campaign for that day. This really could function as an account change history, which by the way, all other ad platforms have and LinkedIn still doesn’t. We can see certain changes on the account and when they happen. Bids and budgets would be really interesting. I’d love to see quality score or relevancy score at the same time. So that would all be really, really helpful, but of course, I still would love and account change history. Please, please, please give us that.

Wishlist item number three, I would like to customize my own metrics. So for instance, when I’m using sponsored messaging ad formats, it doesn’t make sense to compare click through rates against any other ad format, because of the way that LinkedIn defines a click with sponsored messaging. LinkedIn calls an open have one of these ad formats as a click. And so when you see your click through rate, it will say like a 55% click through rate, but of course, that is not the case. Generally, these ad formats have around a 3% click through rate and so the difference between a 55% click through rate and a 3% is giant. So what I would do is I would go and create a custom KPI in the dashboard to rename cliques. And I would say the new definition for a click is clicks plus sponsored messaging clicks minus sponsored messaging opens. And then I would also create a new click through rate metric based on that so I could compare click through rates across all ad formats and have the same definition. I could calculate a cost per click that works regardless of which ad format you’re using. Alright, keeping it short and sweet today, I’ve got the episode resources for you coming right up. So stick around

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

Hey, LinkedIn Ads fanatics. I hope you enjoyed that episode. Here’s some great resources you’re going to love. First off, I did the course with LinkedIn Learning about LinkedIn Ads. It’s really an intro into everything LinkedIn Ads. It’s fantastic if you’re just barely getting into the channel, or newer to the platform and they’re looking for a resource to learn from. It’s incredibly inexpensive. There’s a link right there down below in the show notes. So definitely check that out if you’re in that situation. If this is your first time listening or heck, your 50th, but you’re still not subscribed, please do look down at your podcast player right now, hit that subscribe button. I’d love to have you back here next week. And if you like what you hear, please do rate and review. Especially go to the Spotify page for the podcast and leave reviews there. That would be the most helpful because that’s brand new and honestly, you’d be helping us out a ton by getting us out to more and more audiences to people who want to know more or the right way to do things on LinkedIn Ads. With any show feedback or episodes or topics you’d like us to cover, please do email us at And with that being said, we’ll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn ads initiatives.