Is LinkedIn Different?
The big difference between LinkedIn Ads and other online advertising platforms is that it is not based on keyword targeting. It’s advertising by profile targeting (job title, geo, company info, career, academic info, etc.) With 9 billion content impressions in LinkedIn feeds every week, how do you make your brand stand out… especially if you can’t use keywords to target individuals interested in your service?
What are your Options?
LinkedIn advertising falls into two main categories: self-service and managed campaigns. Self-service (which is the default mode) is just like any other PPC platform. You manage the campaigns, making tweaks where you see fit such as changing the ad text, upping bids, and so on. The main difference here, when compared to something like Google Ads, is that there is a minimum bid of $2 per click (or thousand impressions).
Managed campaigns however are…’managed.’ LinkedIn will pair you with a team of LinkedIn experts who basically advise you on how to get the most out of your campaign. Think of it as a kind of automated bidding strategy. Except instead of artificial intelligence (AI) telling you what to do, it’s real people back at LinkedIn HQ. Needless to say, this option incurs an extra cost. To qualify for a managed campaign you need to spend over $5,000 per month on LinkedIn Ads. Even then, you’ll have to speak to one of their sales consultants to determine if you qualify.
Types of Ad
There are three main types of ads available to LinkedIn advertisers: sponsored content, text ads, and sponsored InMail. Each of these ad types gives you quite a bit of flexibility in how you can reach potential leads.
Sponsored Content – is exactly what it sounds like. You can write a LinkedIn article, create images or a video, and then pay to promote it. Once the content has been published on your personal or your company profile, you pay to increase the post’s reach. So, rather than being limited to your profile’s followers, the ad is shown to other LinkedIn users who match your targeting demographics. As a side note, we would recommend you publish content on LinkedIn regardless of if you’re going to pay to sponsor it. Not only does it increase your visibility on LinkedIn, but it can also give you a small SEO boost.
Your content will be tagged as sponsored once you’ve paid to promote it. This is a good option if your profiles are optimized on LinkedIn and your content is engaging. If you’re not very active on LinkedIn but want to drive more website traffic, this is not the best option.
Sponsored Content Best Practices:
- Use custom or at least non-stock-looking images to make your content stick out. Posts without images don’t get as many clicks.
- Add CTAs to the content, so you can drive the readers to your website. If you have other related posts, link to them from the LinkedIn article for further reading.
- Use URL tracking codes to measure site visits or conversions from LinkedIn so you can calculate the campaign’s ROI.
Ideas for how to use Sponsored Content Ads:
- Use brand-related videos to promote general awareness. This is especially useful if you’re trying to increase company name recognition or you’re re-launching your brand.
- Use products & services-related videos in the post to generate leads. More product-focused ads can be used when you’re aware of who your target buyers are and the features/benefits they want.
- Long-form content, like an article that helps a potential reader’s personal development, is a good fit for LinkedIn. Generally, when people access their LinkedIn account they are focused on their career, work in HR, or have a specific sales-related task in mind. Remember that when you’re pushing out content to your professional network.
Text Ads – are very similar to traditional PPC display ads. When interested viewers click on the ad, it takes them straight to your website. LinkedIn text ads function in the same way any other PPC ad does. You need to provide LinkedIn with some ad text and an image to display. Then you put in the demographic parameters for the type(s) of users you want to target. As mentioned above, these ads still function well even if you’re not very active on LinkedIn.
Text Ad Best Practices:
- Use images to attract eyeballs
- Include a strong, clear, and specific call to action
- Write a headline worth reading
- Write from the reader’s perspective, not yours, because it’s all about them and their interests.
Ideas for how to use Text Ads:
- Text ads can be great if you want to test a new product or brand name on your target buyers. You don’t have a lot of space, so it’s perfect for testing something that can be easily summarized.
- Going back to the “why” people are on LinkedIn, personal development focused content like quizzes or downloadable white-papers/PDFs can be good content to pitch on a text ad. If a user is taking a few minutes to skim their LinkedIn they might be looking for an interesting diversion.
Sponsored InMail – A sponsored InMail is very different than sponsored content or text ads because it’s more direct. Sponsored InMails puts a message into a LinkedIn user’s private mailbox. The InMail will display like a normal direct message but it will be tagged as sponsored. As this type of ad is more direct, it is best used with a highly targeted message.
If you’re sending an InMail to a user, you need to be sure it is relevant to them. When it appears in their personal inbox there can be a sense of invasion of privacy. So, it must be worth their time. InMails can also be used to promote time-sensitive offers or events like webinars or conferences. When there’s a sense of urgency or high value, it can justify the cold outreach. So take the time for detailed research (e.g., make sure they fit your buyer personas) on your target audience before sending a message.
Sponsored InMail Best Practices:
- Use the recipient’s name, maybe even twice
- Keep it concise, under 1000 characters
- State a clear and specific action you want them to take next
- Write a subject line, stating what problem you’re solving
Ideas for how to use a Sponsored In-mail campaign:
- Option 1: follow-up InMails with current mail lists or website visitors. The campaign reaches out to contacts you already have email information or have contacted previously on another platform. You’re testing to see if LinkedIn is where they will respond.
- Option 2: InMail promotions specific to related user profiles
- Option 3: brand intro InMails to specifically related user profiles
- Option 4: downloadable white-papers & pricing sheets to related job titles. The campaign offers high value/ detailed content directly to the decision makers involved in purchasing your product.
- Option 5: lead gen InMails promoting your services with a LinkedIn lead gen form or a CTA to a landing page with a lead gen form.
As mentioned above, targeting via LinkedIn works differently than it does on other pay-per-click platforms. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions offers these basic targeting options:
○ Location (required)
○ Company Name (current employer listed on member’s profile)
○ Company Industry
○ Company Size
○ Job Title
○ Job Function
○ Job Seniority
○ Member Skills
○ Member Schools
○ Fields of Study
○ Member Groups – up to 100 active groups
○ Member Gender
○ Member Age
When you set up a campaign, a maximum of 100 selections is permitted per targeting option. To expand the reach of your campaign, enable Audience Expansion. You can also reach customized audiences with Matched Audiences. You can also use the matched Audiences feature to help you run account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns to specific account lists using Account Targeting as well as re-engage your website visitors with Website Retargeting. Or you can match and target any contact lists or leads you’ve developed with Contact Targeting.
Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail
Even with well-crafted ads and laser-focused targeting, you need to consider a wider strategy. As well as creating your ads, you need to build effective landing pages. Otherwise, you’re wasting money on getting leads to your site without actual conversions.
Another important but often forgotten task is tracking your results. If you’re using the Google Tag Manager tool to track other aspects of your digital marketing, then you can track your LinkedIn Ads performance there too. Without setting up tracking you won’t be able to see how well (or badly) your ads are performing which in turn makes A/B testing more difficult if not impossible.
LinkedIn Ads In the Real World
If you want to get the best from your PPC ads, you need to remember to write from the reader’s perspective. Because… people don’t care about what you do. They only care about what they can get from what you do. This is especially true on LinkedIn where the users are business-focused compared to a more personal or casual frame of mind when using Facebook or Instagram. This advice doesn’t just go for text, it goes for pictures too. Use relevant, attention-grabbing, images appropriate for this professional setting. If you’re on a budget, check out creative commons images.
When you write personalized content, segment your audience while still making sure you’ll have enough reach. For example, divide your audience by job title, function, industry, company size, and seniority. Tailor your message accordingly and keep the targeting segments small and focused. And as always, test frequently by using variations of your ads. See what works best. Then do more of those. And repeat this process on an ongoing basis.
And one final tip: budget and bid wisely. Ensure that you’re measuring everything to improve your ROI. Use the Campaign Manager to fully track performance by monitoring impressions, clicks, costs, and to make sure you’re tracking landing pages and forms in Google Analytics. Then use these metrics to maximize your ROI by testing, testing, and more testing.
Want To Advertise on LinkedIn?
Don’t have a $5,000 a month budget for LinkedIn ads? Or, want to have a professional manage it for you? Then, we can help. The first step is a chemistry meeting… making sure that we’re a good fit. If you’re interested in hearing more, check out our PPC pricing page to see how much we charge to help you get the most out of your PPC.
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