Here were the resources we covered in the episode:
Contact us at Podcast@B2Linked.com with ideas for what you’d like AJ to cover.
Is it time to fire your agency that’s managing your LinkedIn Ads? I’m going to walk you through what your agency should be doing on this week’s episode of the LinkedIn Ads show.
Welcome to the LinkedIn Ads show. Here’s your host, AJ Wilcox.
Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics! Because we run a LinkedIn Ads agency, we really get a front row seat into the tactics and management that other agencies are doing for their clients. We get to audit their accounts and take over accounts that they used to manage. We also realize that not everyone is able to work with us. So in this episode, we’re going to be covering a lot of what expert management of a LinkedIn Ads account looks like. And of course, if you’re an agency, and you’re not doing some of these things, take the advice to heart and see if you can improve. A lot of these things are hard lessons that we ourselves have learned over time, and we’ve even lost clients over. So we’re holding ourselves just as accountable to the standards, as well as you and we’re trying to always improve. We’ve certainly learned from some bar mistakes. And that’s what this episode is all about. And we hope that this will help you better evaluate the service that you’re getting, so that you can get it elevated. And of course, if you’re not an agency, if you’re managing your LinkedIn Ads strategy in house, I do hope that you’ll get some value from this about how you can improve your own strategy as well. And if you think we missed anything here, let us know in the comments, or shoot us an email so that we can include it in future episodes.
First in the news, I got an interesting email from LinkedIn this week that was titled Inaccurate Engagement Reporting for your LinkedIn Video Ads. It says between December 2021, and January 2022, we discovered and fixed an issue that may have affected some metrics for sponsored video ads. Due to a technical error, you may have also viewed inaccurate campaign data for the timeframe of September 23 2021 to November first 2021, we recommend that you consider generating a new report for more accurate metrics. So this is really interesting, what it looks like LinkedIn did is they noticed that there were some over reporting going on in their campaigns. We’ve seen the same thing from Facebook, so this isn’t a huge surprise. But they’ve now corrected it. And if you’ve already generated that data, you can go back to those time periods and regenerate your reporting. This happened to probably eight different accounts that we were managing during that time period. So you may want to go take a look at your ad account and see if you had some missed reporting happening during that time as well. We also noticed this week that LinkedIn’s new navigation features are back, it doesn’t look like anything changed. They took it off the market for a little bit and now it’s back on. If you notice any changes, feel free to let us know, but it looks pretty similar to us. Okay, that’s it for the news. Let’s hit it.
From my experience, there aren’t very many add professionals out there with a lot of experience in LinkedIn specifically. And LinkedIn is very much a different beast, it appears quite similar to Facebook in a lot of regards, but the strategies are totally different. So in this first section, I’m going to be sharing a lot of the qualitative nature of maybe how you can feel out how experienced your ad manager is, there are a lot of questions that you can ask and just gauge from their response, how adept they are at it. And I should mention that everyone has to start somewhere. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work with someone who doesn’t have a ton of experience. But I would just hope that you would ensure that you’re not paying premium rates for less than premium service. If someone is just dipping their toe in the waters and learning LinkedIn ads, you shouldn’t be getting charged rates that are maybe for experienced agencies. First off, you can ask them about their experience on the platform, and just get a very direct answer from them, how many accounts they’ve managed, how much spend, how long they’ve been on it. Listen for how they talk about general strategy, how do they talk about how they utilize LinkedIn as different ad objectives? Or how they think about the different ad types? How do they use them strategically? Or how do they use them in tandem with your goals? A really big one is how do they talk about bidding and budgeting? Because those things are really crucial in getting low costs from LinkedIn. Because the network is already so expensive, it’s really important to make sure that you’re getting the best costs possible. How do they talk about different offers? Do they take a one size fits all kind of approach? Or do they work with you to strategically select offers, and they have a scientific approach to that level of testing? Find out what resources they use to stay educated. Obviously, if they’re listening to this podcast, that’s a great indicator they care enough to stay up on a topic and dive in really deep, but find out what other types of resources they’re including and they’re using. It’s also good if they’re doing their own testing on other ad accounts to try to learn, but obviously, you may not want to be an agency’s guinea pig as they’re testing new strategies that aren’t proven. You might want to ask them about how often they refresh ad creative, and how often they do new ad launches, how they determine when something is old and saturated, and now needs to be replaced? Do you catch them just parroting back what they’ve heard from LinkedIn? Or did they talk more from experience? And not that it’s a bad thing to do what LinkedIn recommends, but if they take all of LinkedIn’s advice, they may not have very much experience or done much testing themselves. And then you have to ask yourself, why not just let your LinkedIn account rep do all of the management, if your agency is just taking all of their advice anyway? Here’s some things that are more about the marketer themselves. Every time you talk to them, do you learn something new? That could be an indication of how excited they are about their craft? And truly how deep their knowledge base goes? Do you feel like you can trust them? Have they lost any of your trust by maybe flaking out on something they promised to do, but didn’t end up doing? Or have they been wrong on something and you’ve caught them in being wrong? And if you do catch them being incorrect on something, do they freely admit their mistake and take ownership? Are they honest? Are they transparent? I know it’s a big deal to me, when I’m working with someone, I don’t expect everyone to be perfect. But I do expect that they will own up to a mistake. If every time you talk to someone about something that has happened wrong, and it’s always someone else’s fault. It’s always someone else’s problem. They always have a great excuse for why they didn’t play a part in that, that’s a good sign that you’ve got someone who isn’t willing to admit their own mistakes. And I lose respect very quickly for those kinds of people who can’t admit when they’re wrong. Are they constantly giving recommendations for ways to improve the account? And how about the attention they provide to you? Do they take a long time to reply? Do you get short answers or answers that feel like they didn’t really read your email? These could be a signal that you’re not really a valuable client to them. And maybe it’s because your account is maybe on the smaller end of what they usually manage. Or maybe they specialize in another platform and LinkedIn Ads is just kind of a bolt on for them. So they can’t really give it all that much attention. And of course, we know that an agency can’t act like an internal employee. You can’t expect an agency to reply immediately and go and do tons of tasks for you like an internal marketer would. The way that the agency model is set up is that account manager usually has multiple accounts, and multiple other clients that they’re managing. So we definitely accept the fact that they’re not going to act like an internal employee, but we do expect that they’re going to give you good responses, good service, and obviously try to respond quickly. Are they constantly coming to you with new thoughts and strategies about the platform? Do they stay up to date on LinkedIn Ads trends and new products that LinkedIn is coming out with? Are they willing to test new things? Or even be the ones suggesting new tests? How ofte are they in communication with you? Do you sometimes go days or weeks without hearing from them? Or do you feel like if you weren’t bugging them, would you never hear from them? This one really bothers me. Did someone sell you, but then when it came to actually get started, they pawned you off onto some marketer who has much less experience and maybe they’re overburdened and responsible for way too many things or other channels? That feels like a little bit of a bait and switch to me. And during that sales process, I would share hope they are being really upfront about who’s actually doing the management. And of course, like we’ve said, everyone needs to start somewhere. So definitely no knocks on having an entry level person managing an account, but if they’re brand new to LinkedIn, and responsible for running Google and Facebook, too, there’s no way that they’re going to be hyper trained and knowledgeable enough for years. We get around this a little bit because we focus only on LinkedIn Ads. And so it’s one channel that we have to train our employees on. So we can get them up to speed much, much faster than if we were trying to train them across multiple channels. How about are they honest about their performance? Do you catch them maybe taking credit for something that occurred on a different channel? Or that someone else did? Did they try to sugarcoat their metrics? And if something isn’t working, are they flexible? Can they pivot strategies and think outside the box? Do they seem overly optimistic about performance? Are they trying to sugarcoat like we’ve talked about, if they’re telling you that everything’s looking really good, but when you look at it, it doesn’t feel like it’s doing that great. Maybe they’re just trying to keep you as a customer longer by giving you a good report and lulling you into thinking that things are going well, when they may not be. How about how do they handle your concerns? Do they just brush them off? Or do they address them head on? Some marketers like to act arrogant, like you’re stupid and that they know what’s better? And usually, to me, this feels like a defense mechanism for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable managing what they are, and I would hope that you’re not being subjected to something like that. Okay. Here’s a quick sponsor break, and then we’ll dive into the quantitative measures on how you can evaluate your agency.
The LinkedIn Ads Show is proudly brought to you by B2Linked.com, the LinkedIn Ads experts.
We as marketers want to be where our customers are. If you’re a B2B company, chances are LinkedIn is the channel that you’ll want to be on. But this is a platform that’s both expensive and cumbersome by nature. It takes an expert to tame the beast that is LinkedIn Ads. If you want to get the right message to your ideal customer at the lowest possible costs, B2Linked is the agency for you. We’ve learned the ins and outs of LinkedIn Ads. For the past eight years, we’ve spent over $150 million on the platform. And we’re official LinkedIn partners. So you’ll be working with LinkedIn Ads experts from day one. You can apply to work with us on the contact page of B2Linked.com. We’d absolutely love the opportunity to work with you. Alright, let’s go ahead and jump into it.
What about performance? Are they hitting your goals and getting good performance? One great way of telling this is comparing them with benchmarks to see if they’re outperforming or underperforming, what the averages are on the network. To understand the benchmarks, go back and listen to episode 15, where we go really deep into that. If they’re below benchmark, which happens because marketing is all about constantly testing. And we never know what’s going to work and what won’t. But if it’s below average, are they making optimizations and trying to get them above. LinkedIn doesn’t have a change history like Google does. So you can’t go in and see how many changes or how often changes are happening in the account. But at least if you see real effort, that could be a clue that you’ve got someone good working on your account. Is your click traffic or your leads, actually, within your ideal customer persona? There’s a lot of tools that LinkedIn gives us to be able to narrow down your lead quality, and make sure it’s the very, very best leads that you’re bringing in. So if you’re seeing a lot of low quality leads, or people outside of your ideal persona coming through in your leads, and they’re not doing anything about it, that may be a clue that they don’t totally know what they’re doing. You’d certainly want to see them going in and actively adding exclusions and trimming audience targeting down to adjust and make sure you’re getting the very best. What about this? Are they invested in performance further down the funnel? Or are they focused just on the front end data that they can get from campaign manager? This is a little bit challenging, because a lot of marketers aren’t technical enough. They’re maybe not super skilled at CRMs, or Excel, but if they’re not technical enough to blend the front end data from LinkedIn campaign manager, and the back end data from your CRM, maybe they’ve got an internal resource that they could bring who is able to do that. You just want to make sure they’re not leaving you high and dry, or saying something like, well, that’s not possible when it actually is. What about what features they’re using? You could ask if they’re using audience expansion, that is immediately a red flag that they probably don’t know what they’re doing, because I’ve never seen a case where audience expansion performed well. Are they using lead gen forms? Lead gen forms generally have a much higher conversion rate, but sales will talk about them, resulting in a lower quality lead. So it’s very worth comparing between lead gen forms and landing pages. If they’ve just defaulted to one and they haven’t asked you about the other, then that could be a red flag. Or they asking about getting access to your CRM, or being able to report from the data in your CRM. That is super important on LinkedIn. If they only boost posts, that could be a clue that they are really experienced in Facebook, but don’t really know LinkedIn all that well. Go back and listen to episode 51 all about boosting posts. What about the bidding method that they’re using? If they’re only using the defaults for anything, that could be a clue that they don’t really know what they’re doing. We found that if click through rate is really good max delivery is the best way to bid. Most of the time click through rates are in that position where it’s actually better to pay by cost per click. And if they’re only using one bid type, that could be a clue that they don’t know what they’re doing. What about the targeting? Are they targeting too broadly? Do they have multiple job functions or multiple types of personas, all lumped in one, same campaign? Go back and listen to the last episode, Episode 65, all about segmentation. Also look at your audience sizes. If every audience is over about 150,000 people, generally that tells me they don’t have a solid targeting strategy. So that’s worth looking at for sure. Do they do all of their analysis inside of campaign manager? Or do they pull data out into Excel or some other dashboard where they can get a deeper look? There are a lot of insights that you can only get by bringing the data into a different platform. So I hope they are. Here’s a really big one for me. There are a lot of agencies that won’t actually give the client access to the LinkedIn Ads account. That lack of transparency really bothers me as a marketer, because they could be doing things like misreporting, lying to you about what your data is doing, or telling you certain costs, but then adding a markup on there, which you may not want to be paying. If you do have access to the account, and I really hope you do, you can do a little bit of analysis yourself and see do your numbers that you see match up with what the agency is showing you. That could be a great way to compare and see if they’re being totally transparent and honest. So I hope these were helpful and understanding what your agency should be doing, or at least could be doing. And certainly, I hope it’s helpful for you internal marketers to help you manage your own account better. Is there anything that you look for that we might have missed? Shoot us an email or leave us a comment? We’d absolutely love to include it in a future episode. All right, 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.
All right down in the show notes, you’ll see links to Episode 15 that’s all about benchmarks. So you can compare your performance and see how you’re actually doing. Episode 51 we do a call out to and it’s all about boosting posts so make sure you listen to that one. If that’s something that you’re curious about. I also just barely mentioned the episode on segmentation. It was the most recent episode, you’ve probably listened to it if you’re listening to this one. But if not go back and listen to it. It’s definitely one of the ones that you’ll need to listen to. If you’re trying to learn more about LinkedIn Ads. Or if you have a colleague who is, go check out the course that I did on LinkedIn Learning. The link is right down in the show notes and it is by far the highest quality course and the course with the lowest cost out there for LinkedIn Ads right now. So check that one out and look down at your podcast player right now. If you’re not already subscribed to this podcast, hit that subscribe button. We’d love to have you around next episode. And please do go leave us a review. We absolutely love to hear from you. We get emails all the time from you about what you’re learning from the podcast and what you’re getting out of it. Please go leave those in the reviews so other people get the news about what they should be learning as well. With any questions, future topics or feedback to the show, email us at Podcast@B2Linked.com. And with that being said, we’ll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.