Show Resources

Here were the resources we covered in the episode:

Ep 43 about Gen Z Market Research on LinkedIn

Sarah Weise LinkedIn

Ep 65 about Microsegmentation

Sarah Weise’s LinkedIn Learning Course on Market Research

Certified Marketing Experts Certification

Follow AJ on LinkedIn

NEW LinkedIn Learning course about LinkedIn Ads by AJ Wilcox

Youtube Channel

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Show Transcript

LinkedIn Ads is a market research tool. Yeah, you know it. We’re talking about market research 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 a long time, I’ve treated LinkedIn Ads as much of a market research tool, as an ad platform. You’ve probably gotten a little bit of a taste of this, if you’ve been listening for a while. Especially episodes like 65, where we talked about micro segmentation. So if you haven’t listened to that episode, definitely go back and add it to your queue. But today, I wanted to cover market research and let you into these additional uses of LinkedIn’s fantastic ad platform. Of course, all of this is made possible by LinkedIn’s incredible targeting.

First in the news, LinkedIn first cohort of certified marketing experts just graduated this week. During episode 76, n the news section, I announced the opening of LinkedIn’s Certified Marketing Experts Program. And it’s basically an ad certification exam that you can take to show your prowess on LinkedIn Ads. It’s actually really complex. It has four levels, and it’s its own learning management system all baked in with tons of different lessons. If you haven’t checked it out yet, first you become a certified marketer, then you fulfill some requirements to become a certified insider, then you can rise up to being a certified expert in training. And then once you’ve met the requirements there, you can graduate to a LinkedIn certified marketing expert. All of these levels, you can then add to your LinkedIn profile as a certification, which is really cool. I was lucky enough to be selected for their first cohort. So LinkedIn flew six of us out to their offices in New York City, inside the Empire State Building, for a few days. And as of recording, I just got back in yesterday, I have to say it was awesome to get to hang out with the other six graduates in New York, we had great food, great collaboration opportunities, and learning together, I’ll be posting a synopsis of the event and some of my learnings and takeaways, and they’re probably already out by the time you’re hearing this. But if you want those details, make sure you’re following me on LinkedIn and go find that post. You’ll also find a link in the show notes to that certified marketing program. So if you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend you go and get signed up and get certified. Seriously, if you’re hardcore enough to listen to a podcast all about LinkedIn ads, you really deserve the credentials to prove your geekiness. Okay, I’ll get off that pedestal. The next news item really got me excited and then let me down on January 24 of 2023. LinkedIn rolled out the ability to break down performance by device type. We were so excited when we noticed it. And we posted about it. The way it worked is within campaign manager, you go to break down, and then in that drop down, you’ll see either impression, device type, or conversion device type. And then it would break out your actual ad performance by desktop web, mobile app, and mobile web. Well, we posted about it got excited about it started playing with it. And then within hours, it was gone completely. Not sure what happened. But while we had it, we did notice some discrepancies. If you go under impression device type, it displays all metrics broken down by device type. Where if you go into conversion device type, it only displays conversion metrics. But the conversion metrics between the two are a bit off. So maybe it was a rollout that LinkedIn didn’t intend to roll out yet. Maybe someone accidentally hit the button. I don’t know. But we’re highly anticipating its return. And I know I am reaching a bit on this, but it feels to me like exposing the metrics around devices and how they’re interacting is the first step to allowing us to target by device, which is a feature I’ve been pleading for since 2013. All right, let’s jump into the market research topic on hand. Let’s hit it.

First, I think it helps to define what market research is. The definition I got when I just binged it. That’s a thing, right? Binging it? Anyway, is that the action or activity of gathering information about consumers needs and preferences. And if you listened at all to Episode 43, where I had Sarah Weise on the program. She is a market researcher. This is what she does for a living. So in that episode, we did talk a little bit about market research. But that episode was mostly about a survey we did about how Gen Z uses LinkedIn. But we went ahead and linked to her LinkedIn profile as well as that episode in the show notes. So feel free to go check that one out to get caught up. Okay, so market research is all about gathering information about needs and preferences from your consumers. So why in the world am I talking about doing this on an ad platform? Well, my reasoning is very simple. The targeting is so good. It allows you to create like little focus groups. And then based on the behaviors that we see, and even the differences between groups behaviors, that tells us what someone is willing to engage with, or maybe what they’re not willing to engage with. For instance, if you look at click through rates, they’ll really tell us who’s interested. And if you are offering some sort of a conversion, the conversion rate will tell us how intensely interested they are enough to actually convert. Years and years ago, I remember reading the book, The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. And although I’m not a huge proponent of the methodology found in that book, one of the things he mentioned that I really liked was he used Google Ads back then to test different titles for his book. So what he would do is hit put both titles that he was considering into an ad, and run those ads, and then see which one got more conversions. I think he ran them to something like a landing page that said, click here to be notified when this book becomes available or something like that. I remember thinking that was a little bit misleading, a little bit skeezy. But the concept really carried with me. And I realized early on that because LinkedIn is targeting allowed us to target by very specific elements of who someone is, as a professional, we could do testing much in the same way. And actually even better if you ask me, so much of the communication I’ve had with market researchers, has been them trying to find people who fit a certain criteria, they have a certain level of experience in business, or have a certain seniority, or in a certain company size. And all of these are things that just by the virtue of LinkedIn targeting, we can already do very, very easily. One of the ways that I’ll use this is within a single campaign. So we’re targeting the same person, I will AB test ads to test different ideas, or even different motivations. So for instance, one of my ads might be fear inducing, like I’m trying to communicate, if you’re not paying attention to this concept, you’re gonna be behind in your career, and you’ll get fired and passed over for promotions, that kind of feeling. And then the other ad might make them feel like more of a hero. Because you’re doing this, you’re ahead of the curve, you’re gonna be lauded as a hero within the company. And what I’ve done there is just figured out to a certain type of professional, which concept is actually more engaging to them. So that’s really cool. You can also really do the same thing that Tim Ferriss did, where you have two ads, each going to a different offer that doesn’t exist, and then have a conversion action to sign up for early access or expressing interest. Another way you could do this is by AB testing audiences. So let’s say you have the same two ads, you put those into two different campaigns that are identical except for one difference, what you’re looking for is to see a lift in one of those audiences, Episode 65, all about micro segmenting. This is all about that, you have the same targeting, except you can break out campaigns by something. One of the ones I really like to break out by is by level of seniority. So all the other targeting stays the same. But maybe one campaign is targeting managers as a level of seniority. And then another one is targeting just directors, another one just VPs and another one just C level. And then we get to compare performance differences between the different levels of seniority. You’ll get to find out something like does my content speak to executives, or low level management, or even individual contributors. Based on the engagement of each seniority, you could consider creating new offers just for them. And again, click through rate, it’s going to tell you your level of engagement. CPCs, or CPMs, could tell you what it costs to get in front of a specific segment. And then conversion rates can tell you how invested someone is in actually taking the next step. And I know it’s crazy, I think you just assume that if you’re going after someone who’s in the C suite, it’s going to cost more to reach them than someone who’s a manager or someone who’s an individual contributor. But that’s not the case. So many times we’ve done this test. By being able to speak relevantly to a C level audience, you get click through rates high enough that it actually costs less to reach them than it does to reach someone of a lower seniority, which is obviously already a cool learning in and of itself. Your boss is probably going to be really excited when you tell him or her that it’s actually cheaper to reach a CMO or a CIO or a CTO than it is to reach a manager of IT. Obviously creating new segments new audiences can be a lot to manage within an account. So if you don’t want to actually do this through micro segmenting and breaking out different campaigns. You can also do a little bit of this through the demographics tab. If you’re on the demographics tab, you can break down your ad performance by company size, by industry, by seniority, and quite a few other things. With company size you can find out do larger companies interact with my content better, or smaller companies, or enterprises. Industry is obviously pretty self explanitory. Seniorities, we already talked about. You can also break out performance by location, but one thing I’ve learned is that when you’re breaking down by location, be aware that earlier time zones in the day will be over represented in your data, if you are hitting your daily budgets. What I mean by that is, if I was just targeting North America, for instance, if I have a combined daily budget of like $50, it’s totally possible I could spend that entire $50, just on the East Coast, like New York and Toronto are getting into the office that day and turning on their computers and booting up. But if you’re not actively hitting your daily budgets during the day, then location will be a lot more accurate. You can break down by job function. So like, does someone in accounting, care more about what you’re advertising than someone in finance. You can also break down by job title, but I will say that it’s a little bit less helpful for market research, just because it’s so granular. But if your targeting is really on point really tight, then maybe job title will be a lot more helpful. All right, here’s a quick sponsor break, and then we’ll dive into how to use LinkedIn Ads to find out which keywords are most engaging.

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Alright, let’s jump into how we use LinkedIn Ads to test different keywords. So you may have the same ad copy, the same offer, but you might be curious if one keyword peaks someone’s attention more than an another one. As a recent example of ads I was launching, it was for a client who has software where a machine learning model does a lot of the work. So what I did is I launched ads, the same version, but one of them talked about AI like artificial intelligence, and another use the words machine learning. And if everything else is the same, all except for that word, it gives us a lot of certainty that using the word that got the highest click through rate, maybe it’s most topically interesting. Wth the rise of chat GPT, and DALL-E, the image generating service through AI, the word AI has gotten a lot of headlines recently. So I won’t be surprised if this test shows that AI is more interesting than machine learning. Just as another example, if you were targeting marketers, you could try having the word marketer and the word marketeer. And everyone’s got an opinion about the word marketeer. So I’m not pushing it by any means. But it is another example of some sort of a keyword test that you can do from within your ads.

Now, if anyone’s listening who actually does do market research, I’m sure you are putting your glasses up closer to the your face and saying what you’re talking about AJ is not actually market research. And that’s correct. It’s more a lot of audience testing. But you can actually use LinkedIn Ads to do actual market research. For instance, the offer in your ad could be a survey to get responses, or to elicit participation from specific audience segments. Market researchers are usually given specific constraints around what they need. So if they have 300 participants, but they need 350, it’s not crazy to think that you could go on to an ad platform and pay a little bit more participant just to fill up the study. So for instance, if a market researcher needs more surveys from people in a certain corporate environment, they might pay $50 to $100 per participant, but it might still be worthwhile. Something we’ve seen to be successful is offering gift cards in exchange for a participation in a survey. And that tends to work well on LinkedIn Ads. So then that leaves us with what do you actually do with the data you collect while you’re doing this market research? I think the obvious answer is to make hay while the sun shines. When you find anything that’s performing better, optimize towards that top performing ad copy, or those offers, or those audience segments. You may be really surprised if one segment of your population really becomes your core audience that the whole company’s marketing team turns to focus on. And you can find this because LinkedIns amazing targeting is helping you do it. If a certain segment is performing well. You can go and raise budgets on those top performing segments. You can increase bids to try to get more of that traffic. You can go and write more ad copy like your top performing copy. You can go and create more offers like your top performing offers. And of course, all along the way, if there’s a segment that isn’t delivering, you can pause it, you can bid it down, shut it off. This really is the magic of being able to micro segment your audiences because really anything that we want more of, we can turn those dials up in a way that we couldn’t if they were just combined into one larger campaign. Being able to raise budgets and raise bids on those super high performers, and turning the dials down lowering bids lowering budgets on the segment’s who aren’t performing. If these were combined into one campaign, you have no levers that you can pull to get more of what you want. You can also craft new offers for that high performing segment. If you know one segment is performing better than anything, go out and start creating specific content for them. They’re obviously hungry for what it is you’re offering. 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.

Alright, all of this is going to be in the show notes below, but Episode 43, we’ve got the link to that. It was the one all about market research around Gen Z on LinkedIn with Sarah Weise. I’ve also linked to Sarah Weise’s LinkedIn profile. Episode 65, was all about micro segmentation so we’ve linked to that as well. You’ll also see a link to Sarah Weise’s LinkedIn Learning course, all about Market Research Foundation. If this has been interesting to you talking about market research, you’ll definitely want to go to the source and learn deeper about what’s involved. I linked to the certified marketing expert certification down there as well make sure you go and get signed up and participate. If you or anyone you know is looking to learn more about LinkedIn Ads, check out the course that I did with LinkedIn Learning all about LinkedIn Ads. The course is an hour and a half long, it’s relatively simple, and it covers a lot of the topics we talked about here on the podcast. It is by far the best course I’ve seen on LinkedIn Ads, especially given its cost, it’s extremely affordable. If this is your first time listening, welcome! So excited to have you on board, make sure to hit that subscribe button so you’ll get to hear all of our future episodes. And if this is not your first time listening, please do go and review us. We spend about six hours per week creating these podcast episodes. And we do it out of the kindness of our hearts. The best way that you can say thank you if you’re enjoying these is to go and leave us a review, usually on Apple podcasts. But if you find anywhere else that you can leave a review we’d love that too. And of course, we’ll give you a shout out to thank you. With any questions, suggestions or corrections about the podcast, 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.