With over 100 million users, LinkedIn is the most popular social network for business professionals. Aside from using LinkedIn to find jobs or employees, if you target other businesses, maintaining a presence on LinkedIn can also help you generate leads and customers.
An Overview of LinkedIn Ads
In addition to creating groups, answering questions, and posting updates to your profile, you can also engage with users on the network by participating in LinkedIn Ads. LinkedIn allows you to target ideal prospects for your products and services via PPC (pay-per-click) ads, and setting them up is easy. However, getting ads to perform well is an entirely different story. If your LinkedIn Ads account is not set up correctly, you can waste a lot of time and money.
Just like Google AdWords calculates a quality score for PPC ads by analyzing the performance of your campaigns, LinkedIn does the same thing. But unlike Google, LinkedIn calculates a quality score by considering just two factors: all-time CTR (click-through rate) and your bid. Google, on the other hand, looks at multiple factors like CTR, historical performance, first page bid estimates, relevancy, and landing page quality. Obviously, LinkedIn ads are not nearly as advanced as Google AdWords. CTR and your bid are really the only two levers you can use to control the success of your LinkedIn campaigns.
So, as long as you keep your CTR up and your bid in line with LinkedIn’s recommended big amount, you can run a successful campaign.
What an Effective LinkedIn CTR Looks Like
Wondering what an acceptable CTR is? I recently did some research and discovered that .025% is the magic number. Essentially, for an ad to be served, it must maintain an all-time CTR greater than .025%. Your bid will determine where you fall in line with your competition (I recommend starting off by bidding toward the top of the bid range and optimizing down). However, LinkedIn may not even consider your ad if your CTR is not greater than .025%.
When trying to improve the performance of your PPC campaigns across any medium, it almost always comes down to account structure. An organized account structure will ensure highly relevant ads are shown to highly relevant audiences. LinkedIn is no exception. If your account is set up correctly, maintaining an acceptable CTR and running a successful campaign can be done with minimal difficulty.
3 Steps to Constructing Highly Effective LinkedIn Ad Campaigns
1. Create campaigns specific to each target audience. LinkedIn allows you to target people within their network by selecting multiple filters including job title/type, industry, employee size, geography, gender, and LinkedIn group membership. Like paid search where you create highly relevant campaigns or ad groups around highly relevant keywords, LinkedIn functions best when you create campaigns around highly targeted audience filters. If your business targets small and medium sized businesses for instance, you should create two campaigns -- one to target small businesses and another to target medium sized businesses.
2. Only use one offer in each campaign. Although running multiple offers in each campaign might make things easier from a setup standpoint, it can make the optimization of your campaigns difficult. Between your audience filters, your offer, the ad copy, and thumbnail image, there are multiple variables that can impact the performance of your ad. Keep it simple. Select one offer that you think will work best for the audience you're targeting. If you want to promote the same offer to two audiences, set up two different campaigns.
3. Specifically focus ad copy on your target. By keeping each campaign focused on one specific audience and one specific offer, it makes it that much easier to tailor your ad copy to the audience you’re targeting. For instance, “free industry whitepaper for SMB owners” is more likely to attract clicks than only using “free industry whitepaper.” Be sure to speak specifically to the audience you are targeting, and your CTR will benefit.
Have you experimented with LinkedIn's advertising platform lately? How have your ads performed?