LinkedIn Ads are created in Campaign Manager and while there are standard best practices in general, I would try to focus on ad tips and best practices with respect to running ads on LinkedIn. This is a slightly deep dive topic that is relevant for someone who has already started using LinkedIn Ads. If you are new to LinkedIn Ads or, are trying to learn from the basics, I would recommend going through my previous two blog posts:
Best Practice 1: Web Page & Landing Page basics
A seamless user experience is desired today. Your web pages and landing pages capturing leads must be mobile-optimized and in-sync across all channels. Try to maintain the same look and feel when a user comes to your website from any source, be it Google search, emails, or even if they come to your website from LinkedIn Ads. They should experience a seamless user flow and they should reach your desired call to action as little clicks as possible. Using a standardized layout for website and all landing pages with one wordpress theme like elegant could be very helpful. For example, if you use lead gen forms on LinkedIn to capture leads, try to have minimum form fields, which users will be comfortable filling in; second, if you are not using lead gen forms and are driving traffic to your website or landing pages instead, try to maintain the exact same number of form fields.
Quick pro tip: Having an email ID for subscription is enough – however, capturing first name, last name, and email ID is good enough for the first-level lead capture. Try using an email automation tool like Aweber or Convertkit.
Best Practice 2: Relevant Content & Messaging
In LinkedIn Ads, your target audience should get the context of your ad when they see it for the first time, and they should understand it explicitly if it is really meant for them. They should reach a landing page that fulfills their set expectations in the first step, and when they download the asset/marketing material being promoted, they should receive the exact same asset.
Quick Pro tip: For example, User Flow 1: A LinkedIn sponsored ad promoting a whitepaper download should have the image of the cover page of the whitepaper itself, and the message should address the target audience, “Hey Doctors”, Download this whitepaper to learn more about US FDA regulations this year.”
User flow 2: Upon clicking, the landing page should have the larger thumbnail of the asset being promoted in the step above with bullets as to why they should be downloading this whitepaper.
User flow 3: Upon form submission, they should receive the whitepaper with the exact same cover page as expected by your target audience.
Best Practice 3: AB Test Ads & Variations
AB Testing is usually manual and behaves differently than any other advertising platform. Creative and content rotation is very important in a successful campaign’s performance.
Test out your ad creatives and ad copies for at least 7 to 10 days.
Quick Pro Tip: I would recommend having at least 4 ad copies and creatives in one campaign, removing the worst performing campaign creative and ad copy every 7 to 8 days, and allowing it to run for another 10 days for observing the ad campaign performance.
Best Practice 4: Frequency Cap & Number of Ads
LinkedIn recommends running 4 updates simultaneously (mix of ad creatives and ad copies). Basically, your target audience can see up to 4 pieces of unique sponsored content every 48 hours
Quick Pro tip: Remove the worst performing ad every week and update with the revised/new ad while maintaining 4 ads in total.
Best Practice 5: Right Audience Targeting & Size
You can find the audience size in the upper right-hand side while setting up audience targeting.
Showing impressions to your target customers is of the utmost importance. The higher they are, the better are the chances for your ads to get clicks, and thus, desired leads. You should aim for 100,000 and above in audience sizing to see better conversions. It is usually difficult for ads to show up effectively when your audience size is lower than that. Anything above 1 million in sizing becomes too broad to target. Additionally, the narrower your targeting becomes, the higher prices usually go for your ads to show up, be it a CPC or CPM bid.
That being said, there are minor exceptions to the rule above based on the type of business you may be operating in.
Quick pro tip: 2 to 3 filters work best for audience targeting. For instance, mixing Locations with Job Function and Seniority works well.
Best Practice 6: Bids and Auctions
Cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) or cost per click (CPC) are 2 broad bid types possible when running LinkedIn Ads. CPMs is about asking LinkedIn to show more impressions, which you are charged for. CPCs, on the other hand, are leaving the onus of performance to the platform. You pay only when someone clicks an ad.
Quick Pro Tip: CPMs work better when you are looking for long-term campaigns with sustained budget spends, for instance $200/day for 2 months. CPCs work better when you have heavy competition and need quick wins. A best practice and pro tip in this case would be to bid on the higher side of the suggested bid range.
Best Practice 7: Retargeting, Audience Matching & Targeting
You can setup URL-based retargeting lists, which work with a minimum threshold value of 300 or above. The larger the size the better it is. Audience matching rate behaves erratically in my experience. Any match rate less than 70% is best to be avoided. Audience matching is available for email IDs or for a list of accounts you may want to target.
Quick Pro Tip: The account list upload works very well for account based marketing as objectives.
Avoid hyper targeting and target junior guys in your targeting too, as these guys grow up fast and act as catalysts to influence decision-making in organizational buying, later.
Best Practice 8: Utilize Website & Campaign Demographics
All the matched audiences or retargeting lists you create can provide you with a significant amount of data about the website demographic of your audience within those lists. It’s a great way to look at insights around the industry, job titles, seniority levels, etc., that your audience may belong to.
While it’s good to know, there is no significant way to use this information when running your campaigns to be honest.
Best Practice 9: Always on Campaigns
When you are always on and targeting a set of audience, you are keeping your target audience occupied. When you pause or stop, you leave the opportunity for others to start targeting your audience. Second, LinkedIn Algorithm takes a while to start serving or even pausing ads; therefore, the time gap is best avoided when you are always on. If budgets are limited, spending over $100 per day per campaign based on your budget’s availability is a good way to plan budget allocations ahead of time.
Best Practice 10: Use More of lead gen forms in B2B
Lead gen forms are very popular with a lot of advertisers on LinkedIn today, as they ensure pre-filled form submissions within the ad platform. Your customers no longer need to go to your landing pages all the time. Moreover, conversions are far better when you ask your target audience to submit details on Lead gen forms rather than submitting on landing pages.
Learn more about Integrating Lead Gen Forms with Your Marketing Automation/CRM System
While I covered the ten such best practices above, there may be more as LinkedIn Ads continue to evolve, especially when they are trying to launch forecasting and BETA versions the of objective-based advertising.