When your LinkedIn Ads performance isn’t up to par, how do you go about diagnosing the problem? And beyond that, how do you fix it? Here’s a systematic approach you can take to troubleshooting:


The Two Hurdles


In digital advertising, there are steps we need our target audience to take in order to progress towards whatever end-goal we have in mind. At B2Linked, we refer to these steps as “hurdles” because it can often be a challenge to get our audience to perform the desired actions.


When it comes to LinkedIn Ads, there are usually two hurdles we’re trying to help our audience overcome: first, click and, second, convert.


The Click Hurdle


Before our audience can fulfill any conversion goals, we first need to get them to click our ads.


So if your clickthrough rate (CTR) is below average, your cost-per-click (CPC) is higher than average, or your click volume in general is low, then your problem lies at the first hurdle.


How do you fix this? Here are some reasons why your audience might not be compelled to click (with solutions):


  • Your ad copy doesn’t communicate the value of your offer well or doesn’t solve a major pain point. So test new ad copy that better touches on your audience’s needs and why your offer is the solution.


  • Your audience targeting is off. So use the Demographics tab to see which criteria you can exclude from your targeting to reduce the number of unqualified people seeing your ads.


  • Your image or video assets aren’t attention-grabbing enough. We recommend running imagery that stands out against LinkedIn’s color scheme, so use colors like orange, red, green, or yellow. For video, make sure the content (like your ad copy) hits on a pain point and communicates value. It might also help to use real people in your video (as opposed to animation) or adhere to video length best practices (keep it less than 30 seconds).


Now, before we move on to the conversion hurdle, it’s worth noting that performance can look fine and dandy at the conversion level, but if click performance is poor, you can optimize for even better conversion performance by optimizing for better click performance.


The Conversion Hurdle


Once our audience has clicked, our next goal is to encourage them to convert.


So if your conversion rate is lower than average, cost-per-conversion or cost-per-lead (CPL) are higher than average, or conversion or lead volume in general are low, then your problem lies at the second hurdle.


How do you fix this? Here are some reasons why your audience might not be compelled to convert (with solutions):


  • Your landing page or website experience is poor. Maybe navigating your site is confusing, the messaging on your site isn’t compelling, your site loads slowly, etc. There are numerous things that could be wrong here. The solution in general would be to optimize for a high-converting website or landing page.


  • Your offer is low in value. Like your ad copy, your offer needs to solve a major pain point your audience suffers from or adds value in some way. If you suspect your offer is the reason for poor performance, test a new one that’s higher in value and more relevant to your audience.


  • The friction of your offer outweighs its value. Your offer should change depending on where your prospects are along the customer journey. Your audience likely won’t convert on an offer that’s asking too much of them compared to what they’ll be receiving (for example, asking a cold audience who has never heard of you to book a demo). If this is the case, test a different offer that’s higher in value and lower in friction. Click here for more on selecting the right offer to promote on LinkedIn Ads.


  • Your lead gen form or form on your website are too high in friction or use messaging that isn’t compelling. Having too many form fields or asking for things like phone number or a short-form response increases the amount of friction for someone to opt in. The solution is to reduce the number of form fields or change what information you’re asking for. Also, like your ad copy, make the messaging around your lead form relevant and valuable.


Exceptions to the Rule


Now that we’ve covered what the two hurdles are, how to identify the contributors to poor LinkedIn Ad performance, and how to fix them, let’s quickly discuss a couple exceptions to the rule.


Attribution at the Click Level


We call the first hurdle the “click” hurdle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a user needs to perform the action of a click.


In the case of your ads driving traffic to your website, your audience doesn’t need to click in order to do this. They can see your ad and then go search for you in search engines or visit your website directly.


So instead of measuring clicks, you might measure change in website traffic in general. Or, if you really want to get granular, you can create a conversion that tracks website visits. This will allow you to track both view and click conversions as they relate to website visitors.


In most other cases, though, actual clicks are what you’ll likely be measuring at the click level.


Additional Hurdles


We’ve outlined two of the most common hurdles related to LinkedIn Ads performance, but this is not an exhaustive list. Depending on your goals, you may have additional hurdles you need to help your audience overcome.


For example, if you’re running Video Ads, one additional hurdle you might add is watching a certain percentage of your video prior to clicking.


Or if you have a multi-step conversion process on your website, you might track every step of the funnel as a hurdle.


These are just a couple of examples. The hurdles you use to measure success may be unique to you, but the process we’ve laid out of identifying hurdles and then pulling levers to optimize for better performance remains the same.




When optimizing for better LinkedIn Ads performance, we can either throw spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks or we can troubleshoot systematically. We hope you can use this guide to diagnose your own LinkedIn Ads performance and optimize for even better results.


What other LinkedIn Ads questions do you have? What challenges are you currently facing? Comment below!


P.S. If you want to avoid the embarrassment of reporting on poor ad performance to your boss for the nth time or lack the time, resources, or know-how to manage LinkedIn Ads yourself, consider booking a discovery call with us.


Our 12 years of expertise, scientific approach, and proprietary ads management tools uniquely position us to help you optimize and scale your LinkedIn Ads for efficiency.


If this sounds like something you’d like help with, we’d absolutely love the chance to get to work with you!


Written by Eric Jones


Eric Jones - B2Linked