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B2Believe Event

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Show Transcript

LinkedIn’s B2Believe event happened last week in San Francisco and shared some groundbreaking stuff for LinkedIn Ads. Just in case you missed it, I’m recapping all the highlights 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. For my US listeners, I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday. I sure did. I ate way too much. I brought my VR headset and watched all the kids play a game called Richie’s Plank Experience. I don’t know if any of you know this game. But it basically takes you to the top of a building and you can stand out on a plank, and basically feel what it feels like to step off a building. I watched one of my nephews totally like sprint right into a wall. It didn’t hurt my VR headset, thank goodness. But definitely one of the best things I’ve ever gotten to watch. I also got to geek out with my father in law about home automation, and new advances in ham radio communication. So like I mentioned in the teaser, LinkedIn hosted an in person event live in San Francisco. Tt was right on the pier. It was beautiful. It was well organized. And honestly one of the most impressive events I’ve ever seen Many of the sessions were recorded for being able to watch remotely. So you’ll see a link down in the show notes below to go and watch for yourself if you’d like to get caught up. But I especially wanted to highlight some of the best parts, just in case you didn’t have time to attend, or even watch the recaps. So also, the day following was a day just for partners called Partner Connect. And there was a bunch more content, but most of it was just for partners under NDA. So I’ll share as much as I can, but I won’t be able to give you much by way of recap there. But I do want to say a huge thanks to my friends at LinkedIn for the great conversations and the fun times we got to have. A special shout out to Purna Virji, who is a great friend. She’s making huge waves at LinkedIn. She used to be a Microsoft Ads evangelist. She is absolutely magic on stage and her session did not disappoint. I love getting to meet and hang out with your team Purna. Thanks so much for letting me hang with you. And also a special shout out to Dan Philippi. Always great getting to catch up with you. Dan was the manager of a team that used to have the most elite ad reps. So when I very first got started advertising on LinkedIn, he and his team who I owe a great deal of gratitude for everything they taught me and showed me all about LinkedIn Ads. Okay, before we get into a recap of the event, there is some huge news out there to share. So the first one, I want to give a hat tip to Alisa Gammon, a great friend of mine. She shared with me that Facebook released their B2B targeting globally. There are five segments that we now get to use. So number one, business decision maker titles and interests. And this is people who are business decision makers based on their job titles that Facebook has, as well as interests. Number two, there’s IT decision makers, and this is people who are IT decision makers based on their job titles. Number three is business decision makers. And meta creates this by using a combination of job titles and interests. And it’s looking for decision makers in Engineering, IT, Operations, HR, Strategy, or Marketing. And make note this is not necessarily just the C suite or chief, although it does include them. Number four, we have new active businesses with buckets of less than six months old, less than a year old, and less than two years old. And this is based on company pages on Meta being set up in that time period. So if a new page gets set up, then Meta is assuming that it’s a new business. And then number five, the fifth targeting facet that we get on Facebook is company size. They have small being 10 to 200 employees, medium being 200 to 500. And then large enterprises, which is 500 plus employees. And I’m telling you about this because I’m imagining that most of you listening are in B2B. And most of you are probably also responsible for the Facebook Ads channel. If you want to take advantage of this, you can find the B2B segments in ads manager under detailed targeting, you’ll click on demographics, then work, then industries. Although if you’re looking for the new active businesses, that’s under behaviors, and then digital activities, I’d love to hear about your experience. If you’re also using these segments to test especially against the same types of segments that you’re using in LinkedIn Ads. Obviously, the targeting isn’t nearly as good. It’s not nearly as precise. It’s not nearly as accurate or even up to date, but it is going to be a lot cheaper. So hey, maybe it works. Next item in the news is a doozy. Back on November 17th, advertisers got an email in their inbox called Exciting Changes Coming to LinkedIn Messaging. It looked innocuous enough, but there were some big things announced in here. So let’s talk through them and make sure we understand them. First, if you didn’t know, LinkedIn is coming out with a focused inbox, and I’ve had access to this now for many months, and I have to say I kind of like it. The idea is you have two different inboxes. One that is your Focused Inbox, where it’s most likely to be the things that are of important to you, and then others that are probably going to be spam. When I look in my unfocused inbox, I see a lot of Sales Navigator Inmails being sent out that are most likely unsolicited, or what I would call spam. So this ramp began on the 16th of November here in 2022. And so if you don’t already see it in your inbox, chances are you’ll see it here in the next few weeks. That one’s obviously mostly around organic for LinkedIn. But if we read further, we’ll start to see the impacts on LinkedIn Ads. The next announcement here is Conversation Starter Ads that are launching in Q2 of 2023. It says we’re introducing Conversation Starter Ads, a new way to engage in conversations with your audience. Conversation Starter Ads will appear as a rotation of ads in a fixed placement in the inbox, encouraging members to click to initiate conversations in the focused tab. This new ad eliminates the 30 day frequency cap for today’s sponsored messages, which is actually really cool if you listened to the last episode all about frequency caps. But here’s the biggie. The email says timed with the launch of Conversation Starter Ads, we will sunset Message Ads. So that means if you are using Message Ads, these are going to be going away in Q2 of 2023. It also says it’s going to convert all of your existing Conversation Ads into Conversation Starter Ads. So the recommendation here is shift your budgets away from Message Ads and into Conversation Ads as soon as possible, just so you can take advantage of the automatic conversion. Like I said, it’s a big deal. The next one was Click to Message Ads that are coming out in Q1 of 2023. So we’re getting close for that one. It’s a new ad format that grabs the members attention in the feed, and then invites them to engage in conversations to learn more about your product or services that will occur right in the focus tab. And for those of you who are in the EU, I’m sure your biggest question is our Conversation Starter Ads and Click the Message Ads, will we get access to that? The answer is no. LinkedIn says they won’t be available to target members in the EU. So like I said, big stuff happening. That’s a big announcement that just kind of went under the radar. And I was excited to share it with you. Okay, now to the topic at hand. Let’s hit it.

Opening up the event, Greg Willis, who’s the Vice President of Global Sales at LinkedIn, he mentioned that in business to business, we’re lefties in a right handed world. I love that because I’ve always felt like B2B has gotten the shaft. Google Ads has never cared about B2B. Facebook has obviously been very focused on B2C, and hasn’t given us very much love in B2B at all. So I sure love that thought. Then we had Mel Selcher go on stage who’s the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at LinkedIn. And she talked about promise making being something that brands do how we promise to fix a problem. She used some really cool examples like the iPod, because it was not the first mp3 player. Shout out to my Diamond Rio fans. Apple’s promise of having 10,000 songs in your pocket, really propelled it into a new space. She also used the example of James Watt, who was the inventor of the horsepower. Steam engines were so powerful, but miners didn’t understand or trust them. So they just kept using horses to do their work. So he went on to express that the steam engine has 10 horses in a machine and people got that promise of a wow, this is more powerful. She used the example that coke doesn’t market itself as a sweet Brown and fizzy drink and neither should you and B2B. Coke isn’t trying to explain what it is the specific features of the drink. No, Coke is talking about how you feel and what sort of experiences you have while you’re enjoying it, and family and the good feelings around you. So if coke isn’t marketing itself as a sweet, brown and fizzy drink, neither should you and B2B. Products don’t speak directly to consumers, but promises do. Your promise really is your vision. She used an example that I absolutely love being a diehard B2B fan. She said B2B is amazing. You have ServiceNow, Salesforce, Block, and Nvidia. She said all of them have a market cap that is greater than Nike, Coke, Adidas, and GM combined. These are B2B companies, and they’ve totally reinvented our world. And it’s harder to reach the buyers for B2B. We don’t necessarily understand the buyers of B2B tools, the same way that we understand the buyers of shoes, but that’s really changing.

Then, Jim Habig took the stage. He’s the VP of Marketing for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. My big takeaways from his were, don’t make a promise that you can’t keep and make your promise valuable, make them memorable. He used examples of TV commercials. One for commerce tools with Will Arnett in it. One was a HubSpot ad that was talking about aiding pirates. And another was a Salesforce ad with Matthew McConaughey and a hot air balloon. This is big talent. This is big money. These are big brands. Llike I’ve always felt like B2B should be.

Next I want to talk about Gyanda Sachdeva’s presentation. She’s the Head of Product at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. Her presentation was all about the LinkedIn Aads Product Roadmap, which of course had my ears perked up. She talked about a new ad format, letting us promote individual employees posts with their permission. That’s one I’m especially excited about because with LinkedIn Ads, we’ve only ever been able to boost a post from a company page. It’s going to be a big deal to boost posts from individuals. She talked about Click to Message Ads, like we talked about in the news. She talked about Document Ads, but those have already been released now for some time. She talked about Conversation Starter Ads, which again, we talked about in the news. She also talked about connected TV solutions, and instream video ads through LinkedIn Ads, which I think is going to be really interesting. For those of us who are buying media for TV, Gyanda also talked about what they’re doing around identity. She said that in B2B, we have the user, we have the advocate, we have the financier, and the decision maker. And they’ve had to rethink the definition of marketing identity, especially with all of the privacy concerns that have been coming up recently. She advocated reaching the groups of buyers, not just individuals. She said we don’t need individual identity, we need group identity. And by the way, I totally disagree with this. I’ve seen this over and over with other ad platforms, when they feel like politically, they have to take power away from the marketers, this is never in our best interest. It’s never a feature or a benefit. So please don’t communicate it like it is one. Next, she talked about what they’re doing on the product roadmap for measurement. She talked about how difficult it is that when we’re marketing using many different platforms to have our data in so many different places. So LinkedIn is going to be coming out with what she calls Clean Rooms. These are trusted places to put your data and LinkedIn’s to create a clean data set. And this is across multiple channels. You’ll be able to run reports and get insights specifically for something like if a particular customer is going to get lost, how you can then reactivate them. We will also have access to website actions, which is grouping people into behavioral patterns. And she said there’s no extra code to setup, I’m imagining that means that all of this is going to be powered by our existing insight tag. What I love about the Clean Room is this is effectively what we’ve already built internally for our agency. We’ve got this really cool data warehouse, where we store everything and have complex queries to pull it out and assemble it in the ways that we want. We inject it into dashboards, we inject it into Excel reports that we can give our clients. We’ve done lots of cool stuff. But now with these Clean Rooms, it sure sounds like that’s going to replace a lot of what we’ve already built internally, which is just fine with me. She mentioned a revenue attribution report that is already going to be able to sync into Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics. And she also mentioned a new B2B index that’s coming out that’s judging the creative quality of a brand and the audience intent, as well as the investment of a brand. And so there’ll be able to put us all on a B2B index, where we can measure ourselves, which really isn’t that much different for any of you who have ever gotten a content marketing score from your LinkedIn rep. It sounds like it’s just that but going to get a little bit more advanced. And finally, she talked about a B2B marketplace where every B2B product has a place to connect with it and see who in your network can vouch for it, or you can ask questions. There’ll be expert articles, you’ll be able to test drive anything right from LinkedIn. And she made sure to let us know that even with all of this that’s being announced, it’s not nearly even the whole list of what’s being innovated for us marketers. Definitely one of the most exciting sessions I got to attend. All right, here’s a quick sponsor break. And then we’ll dive into LinkedIn Chief Economist talking about what to expect during the upcoming recession, as well as a conversation with Ben Stiller.

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All right, let’s jump into Ben Stiller’s interview. So this was Ty Heath from LinkedIn, she got to interview Ben Stiller on stage. And it was all about pushing creative boundaries. First of all, for some backstory on this, I got a chance to talk to Ty Heath behind the scenes. And she said that Ben Stiller flew in on a red eye that morning, and got to do a little bit of a VIP event before this show. She said that he was really kind, he asked real questions and really gave his full attention to those VIPs, it was really cool to see someone who is quite frankly, really, really famous. And he genuinely seemed like a really cool guy. He opened up by saying, hey, just so you know, I know nothing about business. And this is the first time I’ve ever heard the phrase B2B. So of course, this is when most marketers start to tune him out and say, okay, you don’t really know anything about what we do. But I really appreciated his insights into the creative process. He talked about his creative process, being just expressing himself in a way that’s honest and meaningful to him. He said, I didn’t think about what I was doing, I just did what I wanted to do. You don’t label it when you’re young. He also said creatively, it’s very difficult to figure out what people are going to want. Eventually, if you keep creating what you think is funny, and doing your own thing, then people will start to appreciate that. And of course, when he’s talking about creating what he thinks is funny, we should restate that in our minds as creating something that engages or that catches people’s attention. But of course, in his career, making something that was funny was really the goal. There was a conversation that I thought was really, really interesting. He said, sometimes you’re right, and sometimes you’re wrong about what you think is funny. And he laughed, saying, I’ve been wrong a few times. But when you’re wrong a few times, you start to question, do you have it? And that’s the scary part because you have to take those chances and be willing to fail. You have to know that failure is definitely an option and it will happen and it’s not fun. But it’s also part of the process. He talked about risk. You have to risk because if you play it safe, you’re not going to please anybody or break any new ground. And I love this quote, “We all know that there are real world consequences when we fail, but it’s not the end of the world. When things aren’t going good. It gives you the creative space to step back and ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. And if you’re doing it for the affirmation of everyone else, of course, that feels good, that’s the wrong reason to be doing it.” So I ended up getting a lot more out of that conversation than I thought I was going to from a movie star.

Next, the CMO of the company ServiceNow he shared things in a fireside chat kind of format. He talked especially about brand and how there’s this exponential effect when your brand overlaps into your demand category. He talked about it as a Venn diagram. And so when your brand Venn diagram overlaps with your demand that creates this exponential effect. And I forgot to mention, his name is Michael Park. But Michael mentioned this new initiative that they have called Rise Up. And he said, they’re recruiting a million partners to stand up and deploy ServiceNow for their customers. And it’s this low code app development, which sounds really cool for people who are looking for careers, who may not be technical enough to get into heavy code. That’s really cool. My favorite quote from this one was, “Brand is the purpose and the purpose is the brand.” It has to be in the DNA of what the company stands for, otherwise, it’s not authentic. I’m sure you can notice a lot of conversation around branding.

Okay, and then the one that I think is by far the most interesting, Karen Kimbrough, who’s the LinkedIn Chief Economist, she talked about marketing in today’s macro economic climate. She basically got up on stage and gave us a forecast of what to expect if we’re going into a recession. Oh, I thought this was so interesting. She talked about how 2021 was a year of growth. It was like driving full speed on the freeway. The US was averaging an 8% growth in GDP, and how that kind of growth just isn’t sustainable. In economics, when something goes up, it’s eventually going to come down. Then we hit 2022. And she said it’s like merging onto a different freeway where the traffic is quite a bit busier, and you’ve slowed down to about half speed. So maybe you’re on a 70 mile per hour freeway. And then all of a sudden, now you’re going 35. That’s what happened to us this year in 2022. And then in 2023, she said, it will slow down even further. It’s like, we’ll be in bumper to bumper, zero mile per hour traffic. So now that she’s scared us, we can talk about the realities here. So here’s why it won’t be as bad this time, as it was in 2008. I know a lot of you are older than me. And you probably remember a lot more. In 2008, I was just graduating from the university. And so that was the very first economic pullback that I remember. But I’m so glad that economists are paying attention to what has happened in the past so we know what’s going to repeat. She said back in 2009, peak unemployment was around 10%. And then in 2020, it was up to 14.7%. But in the next year into 2023, she expects peak unemployment rates to be around 4.8, maybe up to 5%. So we’re talking about a third of where it was just in 2020. During the COVID 19 pandemic. She also mentioned that the labor market remains tight. That tech and real estate are a little bit scary right now, because those are the headlines we’re seeing about Meta laying people off and Amazon and all that, but not all industries are cutting. She said that internally at LinkedIn, they’ve noticed that their ads business is down about 5% year over year, so just a little bit softer than it was last year. So I felt really great about that. She also gave suggestions on investing in our team. She said, especially try to build resilience in your teams, invest in your talent, focus on internal mobility, those are the kinds of things that are going to help you retain your staff. She also looked at the marketing industry in general, and analyzed all of the skills that are being requested in marketing, job postings. She said customer experience is mentioned in 49% of all job postings, web content writing that’s present in 39%, analytical skills are present in 35%, creativity skills in 31%, and content marketing was present and about 30%. So these are the skills and they’re mostly soft skills that are in demand for marketers. And this makes a lot of sense to me. She talked about in bad times, if you make investments, it can become an opportunity. We all know someone who’s pulling back budgets right now in preparation for a recession. But she said time and time again, from all of these studies that they’ve done, doubling down in those bad times, leads to increased sales advantage and increased profit advantage during the following years. She mentioned that the 2008 recession lasted about 18 months, the one in 2020 for the pandemic, it only lasted two months. She’s expecting something for this recession, that’s just going to be moderate. And she said we’ll be out of it for 2024. She said it’s maybe going to last six to nine months. And recap that recessions in the US happen every six to 10 years, and usually last on average about nine months. This was also really interesting, she mentioned that the Asia Pacific region doesn’t appear to be heading into a recession. Most economies are but Asia Pacific, doing great. She gave us this little statement to consider, recessions are short, sales cycles are long. Karen, I really appreciate your outlook on that. It gives me a lot of confidence. Being a marketer right now, even in the face of watching some budgets get cut and all of that. 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.

If you want to watch any of these recordings, I have a link to the whole event. They’re set up as webinars on the LinkedIn marketing solutions page. So check that out in the show notes below. Also, if you or anyone else is looking to learn more about LinkedIn Ads, maybe you’re just looking to get trained or just getting started, I did a course with LinkedIn Learning all about LinkedIn Ads. It’s linked to in the show notes below and it is by far the most detailed and the least costly course out there. So I highly recommend it. If this is your first time listening, welcome, excited to have you here. Make sure to hit that subscribe button so that you hear all of our content here in the future, in case this was helpful to you. And if this is not your first time listening, I would encourage you to rate and especially to leave a review for us. It’s a great no cost way to support all of the hard work we do to put into this podcast. With any tips, suggestions, corrections, anything you’ve got, reach out to us at And with that being said, we’ll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.