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Show Transcript

What standing in the way of your prospect buying your B2B product or service. It’s the buyers committee. Today on the LinkedIn Ads Show, I’m going to teach you how to turn these into advocates instead of roadblocks.

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

Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics! In B2B, we can reach the end user, but most often, someone else needs to sign off on the purchase. We call these individuals, the buyers committee. And although our end user really can campaign internally to try to get the deal done, it can be very profitable to help them along. On today’s episode, we’re going into detail about who the buying committee is and what we say to them. And make sure to stick around to the very end, as I’m going to share the exact methods of targeting that I use to reach the buyers committees. Let’s go ahead and get started.

First in the news, we got an email back on March 15, from Romina Bin Mac Donnell from LinkedIn. And she said that on May 22, message ads will begin to sunset. And you may experience slower campaign delivery. As I’m reading into this, it’s probably something like a quarter of the profiles on LinkedIn are going to be sunsetted each week. I think many of us are used to LinkedIn having things roll out on Tuesdays, it looks actually like things are starting to get rolled out on Mondays instead. Because May 22 is a Monday. She said as of June 19, advertisers won’t be able to create new message ad campaigns. And then by July 31, message ad delivery totally ends. So there’s going to be that gap between June 19 and July 31, where you can’t create new message ad campaigns, but they will still deliver to that last few people who still have access. In the past, we’ve talked about the new ad format that’s replacing them being called click to message ads. It looks like they now have a new name. They’re called conversation starter ads. And she says, “Conversation starter ads are a new messaging ad format that appears as a rotation of ads in a fixed placement in the inbox. They encourage members to click to initiate conversations in the focus tab. And they will replace today’s sponsored messages. As with message ads, conversation, starter ads will not be available in the EU.” Now this is AJ again, I was really hoping that this new ad format would allow us to start advertising in the EU that maybe somehow they made it around the GDPR regulations, but it doesn’t look like that’s the case. She goes back on to say, what action should I take? To minimize disruption to your message ad campaigns, we encourage you to switch from message ads to conversation ads by June 19. And this is all 2023, obviously. Conversation ads will automatically evolve into conversation starter ads, starting on May 22, with availability increasing over time. Conversation ad campaigns require no attention at this time. I’ll definitely have more to share on these because we are in the beta for conversation starter ads. So I’ll have more info to share on that in the next few weeks. On March 20, we noticed several of our client accounts had access to the new AB testing tool. If you’ve been listening for a while you may have heard us talk about this. This is a tool that we’ve heard LinkedIn talk about for years now. Well, it looks like it’s actually just been rolled out. If you don’t have access to it yet, just wait because it’s probably being rolled out a quarter or a sixth at a time. And again, launching on Mondays. So check your account. If you don’t have access check next Monday. The way you can check to see if you have access to this tool is you go under test in campaign manager and then when you go to click on create test, we used to only have brand lift test, but now we have AB test. The call out inside of campaign manager says test different variables like your ad format, your creative content, your audience, or ad placement to see what performs best. As we dove into it to see what kinds of tests we could create, I was actually really disappointed. And that’s because you can choose to test an ad or an audience against each other or a placement against each other. But even if you do ads testing against each other, the test says it will automatically create two campaigns to test the two versions of your chosen variable. So that means you can’t just AB test your current creative inside of a single campaign. It’s going to arbitrarily create two brand new campaigns that after the test is over, these are just cluttering your account. We are very much proponents of an evergreen account strategy, trying to reuse campaigns whenever possible. Because those campaigns you’re investing spend and trust and history into them and by continuing to use those, not only to keep the clutter of your account out. But it also allows any new ads I launch inside of that campaign to start with higher relevancy scores to cost less and get better reach right out of the gate. So we have yet to test the new AB testing tool, but I would love to hear from you guys what experience you have. Same thing, if you’ve already run any of these conversation starter ads, please reach out to us. We’d love to hear about your experience. I wanted to highlight one review. Nunosbpereira mentioned that this is the best LinkedIn podcast. They mentioned, “I’ve learned practically all I’ve had to learn through this podcast, what an amazing resource” and Nunos I wasn’t able to tell from your username, who you are or where you’re located, but I just want to say thank you so much for leaving such a glowing review for us. It absolutely warms my heart to know that our podcast has been such a great learning resource for you. Alright, for those of you who have not left a review, I want to feature you so make sure you go and leave a review for us. With that being said, let’s go ahead and hit it right into our main topic.

So we’re obviously talking about the buyers committee. And this is predominantly a topic in B2B. But B2C also has a buyers committee, it just doesn’t function the same way. In business to business, we have these buying decisions that are more complex, they’re decisions that take longer and involve more people. More often than not a B2B purchase decision is one that is more expensive. So we have these larger deal sizes and the purchases being made through a budget, rather than coming out of someone’s wallet. We know that buying is a decision that is very much made emotionally. But in B2B, oftentimes, we’re still going to buy emotionally, but we just have to rationalize it to others, the end user is still going to be affected emotionally by their pain point. And then that end user has to convince everyone else in the buyers committee to move the deal forward. I love this about B2B that these decisions are made from a budget, meaning that it’s already been set aside for and our end user is just trying to make decisions about which tool or which product ends up being taken from that budget. I also love that the deal sizes are large, and that it’s a more complex sale, because that’s more data for us to be able to analyze. And as I’m sure you know, I’m a huge data geek. In business to consumer there is still a buyer’s committee Ask anyone who’s done door to door sales, more often than not, you’ll hear, I got to check with the wife or I’ve got to check with the husband or the partner. So we know that there is this buyer’s committee happening. But now we need to understand who it is who makes up the buyers committee. First off, we have the end user, I call this person the pain feeler. They’re the ones who experience the pain that your product or service alleviates or solves. Then generally the boss of the end user gets involved in this decision. They’re the first line of defense the first person that the end user has to convince. Lots of times the boss’s boss gets involved in this decision as well. Everyone who’s responsible for that budget may have to provide some buy in. Then if it’s a large enough purchase, which in B2B, it usually is there’s usually someone involved from finance. In larger companies that might be someone like director level or manager level in finance. But in smaller companies that might go directly to the CFO or the VP of Finance. Large companies usually have a role set aside for purchasing or onboarding from vendors. And they usually have a title dealing with buying or procurement. It’s a standardized role for onboarding new vendors. If you’re targeting smaller companies, oftentimes, the main decision is being made by the CEO or the founder or someone else in the C suite. Alright, so who else could be in the buyers committee? One of the ways that we’ve found to be really successful is talk to some of your sales reps because your sales reps will find out who it is who’s standing in between them in their deal. Listen for statements like, well, I need to get sign off from x, from some role, or some person in the organization. Make a list of all of those types of roles that tend to be in the buyers committee. And you can take them into account in your marketing. We’re obviously talking about how to leverage the buyers committee within LinkedIn Ads. So I want to give you a recommendation that we want to reach the buyers committee with ads. So let’s talk about what the value is for reaching them.

First off, brand awareness helps a ton for the buyers committee. The way this works is if someone signs off on a deal or with a vendor, if that vendor or deal doesn’t perform, it’s a risk to them looking bad because they signed off on that vendor that didn’t end up performing. By the time this deal crosses someone’s desk. You want them to be able to say, oh, yeah, I’ve heard of this company before they must be legit. Otherwise, they may feel like they have to go and do more research. And if they have the power to shoot down or veto the deal, if they come across something that makes the vendor look less trustworthy, they may just shoot the deal down right there, then it’s going to be a lot harder to convince the buyers committee why they should go along with the deal.

So here’s the campaign setup that you might want to have for targeting these buyers committees. First off, these should be a separate campaign, because you don’t want to intermix your messaging that’s going to your end user, or what we’ll call your your ICP. And this is for three reasons. Number one, you want to report differently because this traffic is going to perform quite differently than when you’re targeting your end user. Number two, we like to use micro segmentation of your campaigns for more control and visibility. And number three, we definitely want to hit them with different messages, and maybe even different offers than we would target with our ICP. What about ad formats? You’re probably going to want to hit the buyers committee with ad formats that are more friendly to a brand awareness kind of approach. You want to get them brand familiar, but you’re not necessarily asking them to take action. For this, I absolutely love using text ads. They’re super low cost, and they’re really high on impressions and frequency. The big downside here, they’re only going to show on desktop, and most users on LinkedIn or on mobile anyway, so you may not be able to fully reach your buyers committee, but it’s a great assisting ad format. Next, I think sponsored content makes the most sense, usually single image ad, but I could totally see a video or a carousel ad doing good awareness work here. Sponsored content is more expensive than text ads. So costs are going to be higher, and click through rates might actually be lower than when you’re targeting your ICP. And you probably don’t want to expect conversions. Although it’s not too uncommon to have conversions come in, because someone in the buyers committee wants to go and answer questions for themselves or do their own research. You could also do dynamic ads, especially follower ads, or even spotlight ads. And they are a little bit more costly than text ads. But I could definitely see someone from the buyers committee following the company because they want to learn more about it before they make the purchase decision. All right, here’s a quick sponsor break and then we’ll dive into how to message the buyers committee.

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

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First off, what messaging would you use, as you’re talking to the buyers committee, we find that more often than not our ad copy when we are targeting the end user or our ICP, they have a pain that needs to be solved. And it’s a very specific pain. But the buyers committee, they’re oftentimes aware of this pain, but they don’t experience it intimately the same way that your ICP will. They understand it in concept they’ve heard about this pain through meetings or emails or something. But you can still talk to this pain at a high level. And your call to action from these ads are likely going to be things that are more like learn more than download now. And you want to help them be brand aware rather than having to ask them to take action. Don’t be too worried by these folks not having high click through rates. The goal here isn’t a click, the goal is to be in front of them as often as it takes to gain their mindshare. What about offers? What are you offering these people? Well, obviously, we talked about your call to action of learn more, but you could send them to a blog post or a web page or more about the company. It could be a video to tell a story. Obviously we know in marketing storytelling is so powerful. Any way that you have to tell the story of why your company is trustworthy and why it can help solve this pain. It’s going to be an asset to you. We would highly recommend don’t gate anything here. Everything you share, make it ungraded because you don’t want to add any friction. All right, I’ve got the episode where you sources for you, along with our recommendations of exactly how to set up your targeting to hit the buyers committee. It’s coming right up, so stick around.

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

For the resources from this episode, Episode 65 of the podcast goes all into micro segmentation so if you have questions about that as a strategy, or how you can use it on LinkedIn, go check out that episode. If you or anyone you know is just getting started with LinkedIn Ads, check out the course that I did with LinkedIn on LinkedIn Learning, you’ll see the link in the show notes. And it is by far the highest quality and the lowest cost course out there. If this is your first time listening, welcome, so excited to have you here. Make sure you hit that subscribe button so that you’re hearing all of these episodes as they come out. But if this is not your first time listening, please do go and rate and review the podcast on whatever podcast player you have. Most of the time this is done on Apple podcasts. That’s where the majority of the reviews come in. And that is by far the best way that you can say thank you. It’s a zero cost way of supporting us. With any questions, suggestions, or corrections reach out to us at

All right, as promised, here’s the targeting of how we go about to actually reach the buyers committee. First off, we want to use company name targeting, because usually we know the name of the company that we’re already talking to, so we can type in up to 200 company names or we can upload a list as a matched audience. And you can have up to 300,000 companies when you’re doing the match audience. Then you’ll probably want to layer on the roles at those companies. More often than not, we use a combination of the job function and the seniority ways of targeting on top of those companies. And that’s because it’s the broadest way to reliably target. And we want larger audiences here, because we’re targeting by company. And since targeting by a limited number of companies usually results in a smaller audience size, we want to maximize that and reach as many people as we can, that could be part of the buyers committee. Otherwise, we’re going to be paying higher costs. And it’s going to be harder to get in front of the people that we want to be aware of our product. Remember, we’re not being stingy here, we’re trying to reach as many people as we can, as opposed to campaigns that we might run to our ICP, where we want to be totally specific to those who are most likely to have our pain point. But with these buyer committee campaigns, we want to be a little bit broader. So you’ll be targeting the end user in your other campaigns, these are the pain feelers. But you also want to reach their co workers. A lot of times, that’s the job function and the seniority of your pain feeler. And of course, you can exclude the individuals on a contact list so you’re not reaching your pain feeler here. But I would argue that it’s not a problem if they’re seeing your ads as well here. But you want to reach their department and level. You’re gonna get your pain feeler and their co workers in their department. Next, you want to hit their boss, and maybe even their boss’s boss. So that’s their job function with one or two seniorities up. So let’s say that the person who feels your pain is the senior seniority. When you get to reach their boss, you want to get manager and director. If you’re working with large companies, you can go after the procurement roles. So that’s a job function of purchasing. And you probably want to use either all securities, or maybe everything, but entry level and training. If you’re at small companies, and you want to hit the CEO, you want to use job function of business development, you heard that right, and then add a CXO, or a C level seniority, that’s gonna get you the President and the CEO at the smaller companies. How about in finance? If these are smaller companies, you’re probably going to want the VP and above, VP and CFO level finance. If you’re targeting larger companies, it might be someone more like a senior or a manager or a director level. I’ve got a little bonus hack for you here. If you have a contact list that you might upload to LinkedIn, to be able to target a bunch of these individuals, what you can do is if you have their company address, the, in Excel, you can strip that out and leave just their company’s domain name, then you can turn around and upload that as a matched audience as a full company list. So that’s how I would take something that would have been a list of contacts, and we’ve turned it into a list of companies to go after. Just a word here on audience sizes. So let’s say that there’s 10 people at each company who you could feasibly see as being in the buyers committee. That means to get over the initial hurdle of needing 300 people in your campaign so that you can launch, you’ll end up needing at least 30 companies on this list just to get over that. So realize we’re not going to be spending very much on these audiences anyway. Even if you might have to pay a higher cost per click, or a cost per impression to get in front of them. You’ll probably have to bid higher anyway, because these ads aren’t nearly as relevant to your buyers committee as they will be to your ICP. Alright, hopefully those were really helpful hacks. We’ll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.