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Your 6-step checklist for LinkedIn ad success

August 20, 2021

If you are a B2B marketer, you have probably been using LinkedIn as a channel for either organic or sponsored content – or both. But are you really using it to the best effect? Here's our essential checklist to get the best return for your LinkedIn spend...

In our daily work with LinkedIn campaign planning for B2B lead generation campaign execution, we often see companies encounter a common set of pitfalls that can decrease their advertising ROI. Thankfully, these issues can be identified and fixed easily by keeping the following six best practices in mind. Read on for tips to improve your campaigns.

1) Audience targeting

CBC - Your 6-step checklist for LinkedIn ad success 1bLinkedIn's Campaign Manager targeting tool is the best in class for B2B brands when it comes to targeting specific B2B buying centres. As with other platforms, LinkedIn includes filters that refine whom you will reach depending on your campaign objective. Campaign Manager’s audience targeting interface gives you precise combinations between demographic and firmographic filters to communicate a personalised, relevant message to the proper accounts and buying centres.

You can even target specific industry verticals and/or narrow the audience to concrete job titles within specific companies.

LinkedIn provides many more nuanced targeting options for you to explore. Here are three things to keep in mind when creating audiences:

      • As a starting point, create an audience of at least 50,000. Though it can be tempting to create a hyper-narrow audience (e.g. 2,000-5,000), we recommend beginning with a broader reach that can be refined further if need be
      • Use targeting exclusions to eliminate students, interns, trainees, and companies with less than 10 employees if applicable
      • Test variations of your audience to evaluate ad engagement rate and lead quality (e.g. should 'Member Interests' be 'Job Title' instead?)

2) Campaign setup

When developing your LinkedIn campaign structure, it's essential to use a consistent naming structure and ad group hierarchy. Consider how the hierarchy will give analysts clarity when monitoring, reporting, and developing insights on ad performance and audience behaviour over time. Creating a clear naming structure for your ad campaigns will keep you organised, especially when you begin to split test creative variations.

Attributes to include in the naming structure are:

      • Product or service name
      • Campaign title
      • Campaign objective
      • Audience targeting criteria: geo/job function

A standardised naming structure also helps your organisation in other regions or departments to identify useful campaign performance data for knowledge sharing across your company.

3) Campaign objective selection

Setting a specific objective for your campaign helps you achieve your business goals more efficiently. A campaign objective is the primary action you want your customers to take when they see your ads.

LinkedIn offers the following seven objectives:

      • Brand awareness
      • Website visits
      • Engagement
      • Video views
      • Lead generation
      • Website conversions
      • Job applicants

By defining a specific campaign objective, you provide clear direction to LinkedIn about what you want to accomplish. In return, LinkedIn offers campaign customisation elements such as unique ad formats, CTAs, and other creative options that help achieve your desired outcome.

So when you are promoting your next webinar, you may benefit from selecting the Lead Generation objective paired with the 'Sign up' CTA button for your registrants.

Depending on the selected objective, LinkedIn will optimise the campaign by serving ads to users within your audience who are most likely to take the desired action.

Testing across different campaign objectives is crucial to gaining deeper insights into audience behaviour tendencies and providing the right user experience. Focus on creating unique sponsored content that prompts action toward the chosen goal.

4) Bid type and amount 

Finding the right bidding approach is key to achieving more efficient results with your LinkedIn campaign. The advertising space on LinkedIn is competitive and limited, so ads compete for an audience's attention in auctions through a bidding system. The bid amount represents how much you are willing to pay for a specific result against your competition in the auction, and your bid type tells LinkedIn whether you want to pay per click or per 1,000 impressions (CPM).

The right bid type and amount may depend on several factors, including overall objective, audience, campaign budget, duration, and the number of ads. Click-Through Rate (CTR) is a crucial factor in generating more results from your media budget, especially when using the CPM bid type. When clicks are a primary objective, the following formula can be used to help validate your decision:

      • CPM Clicks = (Budget / CPM)*CTR
      • CPC Clicks = Budget / CPC
      • If CPC Clicks > CPM Clicks, switch the campaign to CPC

Three things to keep in mind when choosing bid type and amount:

      • You can test CPC bidding to manually optimise for clicks at a lower cost
      • Allocate campaign spend evenly across multiple ad variations and split tests to improve click rate and decrease cost
      • Allocate a more significant percentage of the budget to the first half of a split test to gain insights more quickly. Reduce ad spend after an initial ad optimisation

5) Split testing

Split testing LinkedIn sponsored content allows you to bring multiple creative hypotheses to a target audience and receive real-time, data-informed feedback that can increase your return on ad spend.

As a starting point, test three to four creative variations for each audience group. The variations should feature a differentiated key creative element for each test, e.g. CTA, image, or intro copy.

After one or two weeks, you will see which variant produced the most efficient results across content reach and audience engagement KPIs. Use this data to form insights about what creative elements resonate most with your audience to inform future content.

Split test example:

6) Cross-channel measurement

Integrating LinkedIn with your website is vital to understand referred users' behaviour on-page and to determine the relevance of your content to your audience. Do they interact and read the content on your landing page? Do they convert to your newsletter or lead bait?

The tracking pixel, also known as the LinkedIn InsightTag, is a snippet of code a developer can easily implement on your website to track page views and conversion actions coming from LinkedIn. You can use this data to determine if you are targeting the right audience and gather insight into whether or not your website’s content is appealing to your audience.

In addition to understanding user behaviour across channels, the LinkedIn InsightTag enables you to create custom audiences for retargeting based on actions taken on-site.

Lastly, it is essential to mention UTM parameters. These are tracking markers that you can add to a URL pointing back to your website to track where visitors come from (in granular detail) in Google Analytics. UTMs are particularly helpful for tracking visitors from specific social media posts, or emails to understand what content qualifies for attribution. This data allows you to optimise your B2B media and content mix to boost conversions and increase advertising efficiency. 

If you want to know more about how a LinkedIn media campaign can help you reach target accounts and generate leads, let’s talk. Give Ralph Krøyer, Managing Director of CBC, a call on +45 35 25 01 75 or email him directly at rk@cbc.dk.

In the meantime, if you would like a little inspiration from the results we’ve achieved for similar businesses to yours, take a look at our work section here.

Topics: Lead generation, Digital Marketing