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Click to Message Ads early sneak peek
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Are you prepared for the LinkedIn Adspocalypse come down into my prepper shelter. And let’s talk about the end times. I promise I have enough mashed potatoes and root beer to get us through the turbulence 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, my apologies for skipping a week of recording recently, I went on a much needed vacation with my wife over spring break. We ended up going on a cruise down to Honduras, and Mexico. And it was absolutely amazing. But now I need to work on losing those four pounds that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Pesky pounds. Like I shared in the teaser, we’re talking today about changes to the platform that may come. And I’m super geeking out in this episode, so I’ll leave it at that for now. Let’s jump into the news for this week. First off Vidmob, who has an official LinkedIn partner, they released a study recently all about how people are interacting with video ads. And it’s a really solid study, lots of good data. I couldn’t even begin to plan a test like what they’ve done. They analyzed all different types of things that video ads might include. They might be length, or color contrast, or whether a logo was present, or who the subject of the video was all of this stuff that is very subjective with video, but they have incredible data for it. I’ve linked you to an article on LinkedIn by Cooper Nefsky, who’s head of partnerships at Vidmob. And he wrote it up really well. Here were some of the quick points that I pulled out. For all objectives. videos that are shorter than 30 seconds tended to have the best engagement. So that’s a great reminder, we should keep video ads short. Make sure your logo is burned into the video. There is quite a bit of advice out there saying like don’t dwell on your logo and don’t try to make it a big branding piece. But honestly, I totally agree with what they said, because they noticed an average 17% lift in click through rate when the brand logo was present during the first few seconds opening. Another great tip here was to make sure you include a human storyline when possible. They said especially in the consideration phases of advertising in those objectives, that human storylines tended to play much better. This one’s not a big surprise. But I’m really glad to see the data around it. Brighter colors and high contrast works really well in the awareness objectives. And this makes perfect sense, because it makes it a thumb stopper. This is what we’ve always recommended with static ads in having bright and high contrast and colors to what else is on LinkedIn. So this was really cool to see. I was also really impressed, they had three different reports. One that was industry agnostic, they had one specifically for financial services, and another one where all of their examples are tech. So I highly recommend go check out those reports. I was really impressed. I also got an email recently. And the subject line was credit available for paused LinkedIn ads that were launched in error. As I read into it, LinkedIn realized that there was a glitch that happened back in December of 2022, where some paused creatives went through a review and actually went live despite being paused. So this may or may not apply to you, it actually only applied to like four of the accounts that we manage. And I don’t know how big that credit is that we’re going to get. But I do just want to take this chance to commend LinkedIn for going back after the fact and letting us know when they’ve caught an error and refunding us. This is something I haven’t seen on any other platform, at least doing it this actively. And I have high praise for LinkedIn to reach out with these types of things. I had two reviews I want to highlight this week, a user by the name of India9076 Sorry, if your name is India, I don’t know how to figure out who you are. So I can’t thank you by name. But they said, “Great podcast. I’ve learned a lot from listening to this podcast, great for those who are looking to scale up their LinkedIn activity.” India, thanks so much for leaving that. We also have a review left by BillyGubby. He’s the Pps Director at pink sheep out of the UK. He left a review that says, “Great as always consistently great, useful info from AJ.” Billy, I really appreciate you saying that we work hard on consistency. So with that being said, I want to feature you. So if you’re listening and you have not left us a review yet, please do go leave us a review. And I want to give you a shout out live here. Okay, on to the topic at hand. Let’s hit it.
Back during episode 92, in the news section, we talked about a glitch that had happened. Many advertisers noticed that several features had disappeared. And it only took a few hours for LinkedIn to realize and start responding to the community letting them know that this was just a glitch and everything actually did return to normal within a few hours. But it did get us thinking what is the future of LinkedIn Ads? How wouldn’t be respond, what would we do if any of the features that we know and love and use were taken away from us? Of course, we know that change is absolutely inevitable on every ads platform, and LinkedIn is no exception. Just ask SEOs who lost referring keywords from Google Analytics back years ago. Or ask the Google Ads folks who all of a sudden had no control over Google starting to show their ads for close keyword variants that they weren’t even targeting, regardless of match type. Maybe ask those Facebook ads, folks who are upset that every 10 minutes, the platform’s UI totally changes, it makes it more complex to navigate and find where things are. Or when Facebook shuts down accounts left and right, and you have no recourse or human review process when your business is hurting. I’ve probably beaten this dead horse way too much here. But there’s so many examples of this happening with digital marketing platforms. So if things do go away, how can you be prepared for it? I think when you actually understand and know a platform, inside and out, everything becomes a lever. I talk a lot in broad terms on this show. I’ll talk about how certain ad formats don’t work, or certain bid strategies aren’t effective? Well, the truth is, there’s probably some case maybe except for audience expansion, where every option could be used to your advantage. So what I want you to get out of this is not only concrete things that you could do to prepare for platform changes. But I also want you to think deeply and critically about how the platform works, I want you to understand it and learn it inside and out. So that you can roll with the punches when and if something changes. Also is one word of warning, don’t be too reliant on any one thing in the ad platform. That means don’t be married to one ad format, or an objective, or a certain targeting type. We actually had a client, they started out by using several different ad formats, and they found sponsored messaging to work really, really well. And they’re based in Europe. Well, then, as many of you know, in Europe, GDPR killed the sponsored messaging ad formats. And once message ads went away, we ended up losing the client, because they were too reliant on that one thing. And we definitely learned from that experience, we should have helped them to make sure that they were running a wider variety of ad formats and hedging their bets there. But we’re always sad to lose a client. So we want to help you understand the ads platform at that deep level. I want to help you think critically about how LinkedIn Ads works, and what you can do to work around these things. When this glitch happened, it also made us wonder, could this have been actually an accidental early rollout instead of just a simple glitch. So if these things actually do roll out in the future, and we lose features, let’s talk about what you would actually do if some of these things were removed. Alright, here’s a quick sponsor break. And then we’ll dive into what to do if any of these glitches actually do get rolled out.
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Alright, let’s jump into how you can react if any of these glitches do become permanent. So first off, one of the things we noticed is that text ads as an ad format were removed. For each of these features being removed, I’m gonna go through the same framework listing, why would this be bad if it happened? Why it could possibly be good. The things you could do instead. And then finally, the likelihood of this actually being rolled out permanently. Alright, first off with text ads being removed. Why would this be bad? Well, I think removing text ads would be terrible. We love them as branding reinforcement on our other ad formats. They get so many free and cheap impressions. And they’re especially good for those on very small budgets. But let’s flip the tables here. Why could this actually be good for LinkedIn or even for us? I could definitely see LinkedIn doing this because text ads take up valuable real estate on desktop for users. And because they’re very inexpensive clicks, LinkedIn probably doesn’t make very much money on them. We’ve also noticed that outside of North America, text ads rarely actually make sense because LinkedIn still enforces the same him to dollar floor bid on them as when they launched back in 2008. So in other areas of the world, people are getting clicks for less than $1 from sponsored content. So text ad clicks are actually more expensive. Alright, so let’s say that we actually do lose text ads in the future. What could you do instead? Well, dynamic ads are about three times the cost, but they do take up three times the real estate, and get three times the click through rate. So you might be able to argue that it could be worthwhile to use it. And they are often a couple bucks less expensive per click than sponsored content clicks. So a spotlight ad might be worth testing into. Alright, so how likely is this actually going to happen, I would actually give this about a 60% chance of happening eventually. And one clue I’ve got, we actually did see something with text ads change here a couple years ago. LinkedIn used to promote the top text ad in the three pack to the very top of the page as a text link. And LinkedIn internally used to call this ad slot, the one by one, it was visually out of place, and it made no sense. And then they killed it. I didn’t especially have much of an opinion on removing that. But one of our clients got so much performance from that inventory, that once it was taken away, they were forced to abandon it. And it really shook up their results and their whole approach to the platform.
Okay, the next thing that advertisers were reporting back during that glitch, they noticed that inside of the website visits objective, you could no longer bid by max delivery. Alright, so why would this be bad? Well, anytime someone takes bidding options away from us, it’s always bad. Bidding options are one of the best controls and levers that we have to optimize costs on the platform. But let’s think about this. Why could it be good if this happened? Well, I can kind of see LinkedIn logic here. If you’re trying to get people to click on your ads to go to your site, maybe in LinkedIn’s mind paying by the click makes more sense than paying by the impression. It’s a bit of a stretch, but maybe I could make a case for it if I were there internally. Alright, so say this happens, what could you do instead? Well, since paying by the click is the cheapest way to pay on LinkedIn 90% of the time, I may not miss this particular feature. But we know that paying by the impression is actually more economical when you have really high click through rates. So if I were running ads that did get really high click through rates, I would probably try launching the same ads to the same targeting but in a different objective that would allow me to use maximum delivery. I’d probably start with engagement, I might consider the conversion objective as well. Alright, so likelihood of actually happening, I would give this one probably a 1% chance of happening. I really think that this is sincerely a glitch, it wouldn’t make that much sense to me.
But here’s the next glitch, we noticed that spotlight ads were gone. We could no longer create a spotlight ad. So why would this be bad? Well, this is bad for anyone who is having success with spotlight ads. Losing any ad format is rough for those who are currently having success with it. But I’m sure there are some people who really rely on and really like spotlight ads. Alright, so why might this be good for us? Well, dynamic ads in general really aren’t my favorite ad format. The only bright spot for me is follower ads. It’s by far the best ad format for getting more followers to accompany page. So LinkedIn, removing spotlight ads wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for me. But if you take away follower ads, then I started to have a little bit bigger of an issue with it. Alright, so if spotlight ads go away and you wanted to use them, what could you do instead? Well, I think single image sponsored content ads are great. And in my experience, they tend to be about $2 to $3 per click more expensive than spotlight ads. But now since we don’t have a bid floor, you could try running a similar ad to what you were running in your spotlight ad and just run it as single image sponsored content. And now just bid manually lower, so that you’re paying in the range of what you’re paying for spotlight ads. What about likelihood of actually happening here? This one could actually happen if LinkedIn decided, say, for instance, not enough people were using it to justify the maintenance. Since I don’t know how many people are actually using these, I’d probably give it maybe a 20% chance of actually happening.
Then we noticed the glitch that message ads were gone. The reason why this glitch caught my attention is because LinkedIn had already let us know that they were going to be sunsetting or getting rid of message ads. So when this ad format disappeared, I started to get concerned because if a bunch of weird things happen, I can just assume that it’s a weird glitch. But because a bunch of weird things happen and the ad format that we were expecting to go away actually went away. That made me question if it’s possible that this was actually an accidental early rollout, rather than just a simple glitch. So we know that message ads are actually going away. And by the time you listen into it, they may actually be gone. So this might be a little bit of a moot point to cover this. But why would it be bad to lose this ad format? Well, again, losing any ad format is sad for those who found success with it. It’s such a unique ad format and you can’t do this kind of functionality on any other platform, being able to pay to message someone. But why could this be good that it’s going away? Well, it’s an ad format that’s always been LinkedIn’s most expensive traffic. And I haven’t found many scenarios where they work very well. Outside of very VIP offers and warm audiences. The price has always been a huge turnoff for me. So honestly, good riddance. But for this one, what will we be able to use instead? Thankfully, we’re about to get much better options to replace message ads. We actually published an article last week on click to message ads that are going to be rolled out soon. More on that in a future episode, but check out the article about it in the show notes below if you want to get some early insight. So now the likelihood of this actually happening? Yeah, this is 100%. We’re definitely gonna lose message ads. So I do have some advice for you some best practices to help you stay ahead of the game, just in case platform changes could derail your performance. Three pieces of advice here, number one, don’t be a one trick pony. Test different objectives, different ad formats, different messaging, different bidding methods, be willing to test everything. And then that way, you’ll have some backup things in place, just in case something fails or disappears or changes. Advice point number two, don’t get comfortable on the platform. Realize that there’s going to be changes and they will be disruptive at some point. So just start to expect the unexpected. Advice point number three, make hay while the sun shines. And that means if you have something that’s working well, keep using it, enjoy it, appreciate it. I had a glitch early on where I could target audiences down to an audience size of one. And that was back when the platform only allowed targeting of 1000 plus. I knew it was a glitch. I knew it would be caught and patched at some point. So I prioritized tests and I had fun with it. And boy, you really missed the things that you had once they’re gone. 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, we talked about the click to message ads early sneak peek. So check that out in the show notes. You’ll see there’s a link to the article that we wrote there. There’s also a link to the Vidmob study that was done by Cooper Nefsky. Great article, great study, definitely check that out. If you or anyone you know, is looking to learn more about LinkedIn Ads, I highly recommend the LinkedIn Learning course that I did with LinkedIn on LinkedIn Ads. That’s a mouthful. But it is by far the highest quality course at the lowest cost for LinkedIn Ads, check it out. And there is a nice quick link there in the show notes below on that one. If this is your first episode, you’ve listened to welcome, thanks for coming, and make sure to hit that subscribe button. But if this isn’t your first time listening, if you’ve gotten any value out of the podcast, please do let us know in the form of a rating and review. We’ve had lots of people leaving on Apple podcasts, but also Spotify. It really is the best way that you can say thank you for us putting this content out. All right with any questions, suggestions, or corrections, reach out to us at podcast at B2Linked.com. And with that being said, we’ll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.