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Is Expanding to LinkedIn Ads Right for Your Business?

Are LinkedIn ads right for your business? The short answer is, “It depends.” In the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, it is vital to stay informed on all possible channels for expanding your brand, capturing new audiences, and generating more revenue. One of the channels to consider as part of your digital marketing strategy is LinkedIn.

How do you know if LinkedIn ads would be a good fit for your business?

Here are a few considerations to help you decide:
  • Whether LinkedIn as a channel is a good fit for you based on your goals
  • Various campaign types and ad formats and how to choose the right ones to achieve your goals
  • What optimizations you can adjust in order to improve your results
  • Two examples of test campaigns performed by Unfair Advantage across different market verticals
Read on to discover if expanding to LinkedIn ads is right for you!

Consider Your Marketing Goals

Goals will determine the types of campaigns you run in LinkedIn. Consider the following questions: How is success defined for your advertising efforts? How does LinkedIn marketing fit in with other current marketing efforts? Are you focused on acquiring new clients by increasing brand awareness, or are you remarketing to previous engaged users? The three common objectives within LinkedIn marketing campaigns include:
  • Building Brand Awareness – this is an upper-funnel initiative, where success is measured by increased traffic volume to your site
  • Driving Engagement – the success of this campaign type is determined by strong engagement with posted media, including likes or shares of your content
  • Lead Generation – KPIs will differ for this campaign type based on what actions you’re driving your leads to take. This could include filling out a LinkedIn-generated lead form, capturing an email address, downloading a whitepaper, or executing a purchase. Metrics such as click-to-conversion rate, cost-per-acquisition, and ROAS may be utilized to measure success

Solidify Your Audience Targeting Strategy

Once you have decided that LinkedIn ads are an option that could meet your marketing goals, your next consideration is how to target the audience that will help you reach those goals. Depending on your goals and the audience that you would like to reach, LinkedIn has five primary categories of criteria for selecting who will see your ads. These are:
  • Company
  • Targets users based on company connections, followers, industry, company name, or company size
  • Demographics
  • Targets users based on age and gender
  • Education
  • Targets users based on degrees, fields of study, or member schools
  • Job Experience
  • Targets users based on job function, seniority, title, skillsets, or years of experience
  • Interests
  • Targets users associated with specific LinkedIn member groups or member interests
More information about the audience targeting options available and how to set them up can be found in this video tutorial , Keep in mind that the more targeting criteria you select, the fewer people your campaign will reach. LinkedIn recommends no more than 2-3 targeting facets per campaign.

Use Your Goals to Determine Your Ideal Campaign & Ad Type

Once your goals and audience targeting strategy are clearly defined, LinkedIn has several ad formats to choose from. Audience targeting and marketing goals will guide which ad format or combination of formats will best fit your campaigns. Formats include sponsored content, sponsored messaging, text ads, or a combination of the three.
  • Sponsored Content Ads are a form of native advertising that appear in the LinkedIn feed, across both mobile and desktop, and are available in image ads, carousel ads, or video ads. This ad type is great for showcasing different display creatives, such as product photos or intro videos, along with your ad copy. You would select this type of ad if your primary goal is to drive awareness for your business through sharing impactful content, showcasing products or services, or promoting an event that your brand is involved in
  • Sponsored Messaging Ads deliver personalized, targeted messages that appear in users’ inbox or conversation boxes. These ads typically have the highest engagement amongst LinkedIn ad types and are ideal for generating leads. The downside to these ads, however, is that a user can only receive 1 message ad from your brand within a 45-day period
  • Finally, there are Text Ads : like text ads in Google, these are a pay-per-click equivalent that appear on a user’s LinkedIn desktop and are ideal for generating either website traffic or quality leads
If leads are the primary goal of your campaign, the best approach is to utilize LinkedIn lead form templates, which allow you to create a lead form for your user to fill out while remaining in the LinkedIn platform. The less information you request within your lead form and the more auto-fill information that you can leverage from LinkedIn, the better.

What Do Optimizations Look Like?

Before launching your campaigns, determine your primary KPIs and communicate clear measurements of success. Your KPIs and progress toward success will inform possible optimizations for the campaigns and ad sets. Primary levers available for optimizing LinkedIn ad campaigns are similar to those used in Google ads, and include:
  • Adjusting campaign bids and budgets based on which campaigns are best driving to your desired goals
  • Adjusting your audience targeting, by either adding or removing criteria, based on the quality and quantity of your traffic or leads
  • Performing regular ad copy analysis and testing new creatives in order to determine which ads are the most effective at driving toward your desired outcomes

Two Recent LinkedIn Expansions We’ve Tested

Scenario #1 : Manufacturing plant consulting business, with a goal of generating lead form submissions for sales retargeting. This client had previously run LinkedIn ads, but had only used single image ads which pushed users to the client’s website. Scenario #2 : B2B Ecommerce business, with a goal of generating lead forms for sales outreach. This client had not previously run any LinkedIn advertising.

What Were the Results?

Scenario #1: Success!
  • In 2020, the client was only using single-image ads within the LinkedIn platform and pushing users to their website to complete additional actions
  • In 2021, Unfair Advantage implemented both messaging ads and boosted content ads and used LinkedIn lead-gen forms to capture user information within the platform for sales team outreach
  • With the same budget as previous LinkedIn efforts, Unfair Advantage increased conversion volume 571% at an 85% lower CPL
Scenario #2: Valuable Learnings
  • For the duration of the testing period, Unfair Advantage ran both sponsored content and message ads (one variation based on audience targeting parameters such as industry and job title, the other variation based on a lookalike audience generated from previous sales leads’ email addresses)
  • All variations utilized LinkedIn lead forms
  • While the non-lookalike sponsored content campaign was the clear top performer, overall, the CPL was not sustainable and lead quality was poor

Main Takeaways

LinkedIn can be a powerful platform for businesses looking to expand into new channels; however, it will not be the perfect fit for every business and their goals. A clearly outlined budget, testing plan, and agreement on performance metrics are the keys to setting the stage for your LinkedIn test.

Is LinkedIn for You?

The short answer is, “It depends.” And it is often worth evaluating LinkedIn with a strategic test. However you decide to utilize LinkedIn advertising for your business, it is important to remember your primary campaign goals, determine your target audience and ideal ad format, and communicate a clear plan for measuring success. Once campaigns are launched, monitoring both your KPIs and the quality of your engagements, site visitors, or leads (depending on what goals you have for your campaign) will ultimately inform whether or not LinkedIn is driving successful outcomes for your business. Contact us to learn more about the Unfair Advantage approach to digital marketing, including our social media best practices, and more.

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