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July 24, 2020

How to Use LinkedIn Ads in Your B2B Marketing Strategy

By Anton Chow

With over 700 million members, LinkedIn is the platform of choice for B2B marketing. As a source for constantly updated professional profiles, LinkedIn is a valuable medium for directly advertising and connecting with your target audience: business buyers.

LinkedIn allows you to reach and target professionals based on criteria like job title, company, seniority, and professional skills. Unlike other social networking sites, your LinkedIn audience is in a highly professional mindframe.?

This unique value proposition results in a platform that is especially receptive to educational content. At roughly 9 billion impressions for content each week, LinkedIn helps you make the most out of your content marketing strategy.

Here’s how you can implement LinkedIn ads to start scaling your B2B marketing strategy.

Precision Targeting

You may notice that LinkedIn’s ads are more expensive than ads on traditional channels like Facebook or Google. For example, Message Ads are priced at an average of $23-58 per click.

But there’s a reason behind this price tag. LinkedIn’s platform has a much higher lead quality, especially when it comes to a B2B context.

As mentioned before, LinkedIn lets you precisely target the professionals that you want to reach. For example, you can choose to filter your audience based on professional attributes like current/past company and job title, industry size, and skills.?

LinkedIn Targeting Attributes
LinkedIn's professional targeting criteria.

LinkedIn also helps you narrow down your audience segmentation with demographics, such as age, gender, and location. If you’re looking to set up retargeting ads, use LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences option to build a custom audience of past website visitors or account and email contacts.?

Through LinkedIn’s targeting tools, you can narrow down your target audience and streamline your campaigns.

Experimental Ad Formats

Before choosing your ad medium, think about your goals to choose which ad format works best. Is your objective to build brand awareness or a funnel for lead generation? Here’s a starting point for some objective-based advertising on the Campaign Manager dashboard.?

LinkedIn Objectives
Objective-based advertising through LinkedIn Campaign Manager.

You'll then be able to create effective ads that meet your goals. LinkedIn is constantly exploring new and exciting ways to present ads. Right now, there are 4 formats to choose from and test within your ad strategy:?

  1. Text Ads?
  2. Sponsored Content
  3. Message Ads
  4. Dynamic Ads.

Text Ads are one of the most simple types of ads. They’re a brief 2-3 lines of text with a header and small image located in your audience’s sidebar when they’re using LinkedIn on desktop. This type of ad comes with a CPC or CPM option.

Next, Sponsored Content is typically what you see in your news feed. Sponsored Content consists of targeted content in an image, video, or carousel display format with introductory text. One major takeaway for promoting your content would be to pair LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms with the CTA button on your sponsored ads.?

Lead Gen Form
Lead Gen Forms’ two-step process for easy form fill-in.

Lead Gen Forms help auto-populate forms with your audience’s information, leading to an easier lead-conversion process and ultimately, higher conversion rate.

Linkedin Message Ads are targeted messages sent directly to your audience’s LinkedIn inbox. This type of ad can be used to help potential leads discover your product and introduce your value proposition with a CTA.

You might want to check out LinkedIn’s newest messaging format: Conversation Ads.

Conversation Ad
Conversation Ads to turn conversations into conversions

Like Message Ads, this ad format takes place in your audience’s inbox, but is used to take the conversation further in a more engaging way. The difference is that marketers can implement multiple CTAs for content relevant to where your lead is in the customer journey.

Last but not least, Dynamic Ads are a great way to engage prospects with personalized ads. This format uses audience data like a user’s photo, company name, and/or job title within the advertisement for a tailored experience.?

For LinkedIn ads, you’ll also be able to view your audience before you launch your campaign. This way, you’ll be able to schedule your ads based on your audience size. To keep your content fresh, aim for a low ad frequency - for every 48 hours, LinkedIn recommends 4 ad pieces.?

LinkedIn Campaign Manager

Now it’s time to keep track of how your ads are performing.

LinkedIn has a built-in analytics tool called Campaign Manager that you can use to track useful?

KPIs with respect to the content that you put out. On the dashboard, you’ll be focusing mainly on average click-through-rate (CTR) and cost-per-click (CPC).

LinkedIn Campaign Manager
Track average CTR and CPC with LinkedIn's Campaign Manager dashboard.

Here are some format-specific, performance benchmarks for cost-per-conversion rates from SocialMediaExaminer. You want an average CTR and CPC that are higher and lower than their respective benchmarks.

For Sponsored Ads, the average CPC is $7-11 with an average CTR of 0.39%. If you’re offering particularly relevant content, you would typically see a 15% conversion rate. By dividing the cost of each click by the conversion rate, you’ll be paying roughly $30-60 per conversion.

On the other hand, Text Ads have an average CTR of 0.025%. However, they’re LinkedIn’s most affordable ad format at a CPC of $3-6.

Message Ads are the most expensive format with an average CPC of $23-58 and a 3-4% average CTR. Typically half of LinkedIn messages are opened, so you want to aim for an open rate that’s greater than 50%.

Taking these benchmarks into account, you can view the performance chart to see how your data trends in a historical context. That way you can easily view campaign metrics and subsequently, adjust your content strategy as necessary.

Conclusion

After reading this blog post, you’ve learned how to target your audience, select an ad format, and analyze the performance of your LinkedIn ads.?

The advantage for B2B marketing on LinkedIn over other social networking channels stems from its massive user base of business-orientated professionals. With highly specific targeting and experimental ad formats, you can create timely, personalized ads that resonate with your audience’s business needs.

Overall, LinkedIn Ads is an exceptional tool to promote your educational content, especially when paired with an organic LinkedIn strategy.

Check out our health check services for your Google and Facebook ads.

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