I run a LinkedIn advertising agency, so I’m a heavy user of the AdStage platform. I’ve managed LinkedIn advertising in both brand and agency settings, and I’ve found several tricks with AdStage that advertisers can’t do through the native LinkedIn interface, and I just had to share!
You may have read my 2 previous LinkedIn guides, “The Beginner’s Guide” and “The Advanced Guide.” As I was considering topics for my 3rd installment, I kept saying to myself, “I’ve got a much more efficient way to do X if the readers had AdStage.” After the 10th time of reaching that conclusion, I decided that I would position the 3rd guide as ways to use my favorite tool to get access to hacks for LinkedIn advertisers, instead of just going into more depth.
Since this is on AdStage’s blog, I figured they might not mind that direction. Turns out I was right. So, without further ado, here’s how I use AdStage to hack LinkedIn advertising!
These tips and tricks tend to fall into 2 categories:
Time Savers – Things that you can do with the native LinkedIn Ads interface, but you can save time using AdStage
New Functionality – Things you can do with AdStage that you cannot through the native interface
Group Campaigns into Folders
One of my favorite features in AdStage, by far, is the folders. They’re essentially an organizational bucket in which to place campaigns.
These can be thought of in a few different ways:
Ad Groups/Ad Sets similar to AdWords and Facebook Ads where you can group by audience.
When an advertiser has multiple campaigns targeting a similar audience (like if you target HR Directors by title as well as job function), it’s helpful to keep all of those campaigns together in a folder for easy management
Grouping campaigns by account.
As an agency, it’s difficult to manage LinkedIn accounts due to the compartmentalization; but with AdStage, those issues go away. If you have access to multiple accounts, you can place their campaigns in folders to keep them in one easy place for management while still keeping them functionally separate.
Keeping legacy campaigns separate. I often see LinkedIn advertising accounts with past campaigns lingering around that are no longer in use. In the native LinkedIn interface, you can hide unused campaigns, but it’s awkward to work around them in AdStage. Instead, create a folder to toss all the campaigns that you won’t be using, and keep them out of the way.
I use them in each of the above ways, in different circumstances. However you decide to organize your account, folders will be crucial to that organization.
Prevent Competitors from Seeing Your Ads
You know that your target audience sees your ads, but what you may not have considered is that whoever fits that audience at your competitors also sees your messages. Wouldn’t it be great to keep the prying eyes of your competition away? Here’s how!
It’s worth noting that you can do this exclusion with the native platform, but it takes a significant amount of time if you have many campaigns.
There are two ways you can exclude competition within LinkedIn. You can either exclude individual companies by name, or you can exclude the industry in which you operate. Company name is usually the most straightforward as long as you don’t have more than 100 top competitors.
AdStage has a bulk editor feature to make changes to multiple campaigns at once. This feature is ideal for excluding your competitors.
Go to your campaigns view, and check the boxes for all the campaigns you’d like to edit.
Click Edit Settings.
Scroll down to ‘Set Exclusions for Company Name / Industry / Size,’ and click to expand Exclude Companies by Name.
Type the company name of each competitor, as AdStage finds the company matches for you.
Also, I recommend excluding your own company to keep your own company from clicking on your ads and wasting impressions.
Click Save Settings, and watch all of those exclusions permeate across all of your campaigns, saving you masses of time.
Your competitors suddenly see you go dark. Was it because you stopped advertising? Did you find the channel to be ineffective? Leave them guessing, and see what happens.
Create Text Ads and Sponsored Updates in Bulk
A/B testing is important to any online advertising campaign, but it’s crucial to success with LinkedIn . The problem is that creating alternate variations of an ad is takes far too long, and wastes productivity. I use AdStage to remedy this. As of this week, you can quickly make ad variations, and maintain proper attribution control over every URL.
For instance, if you want to test 2 different messages against 2 different images, it now takes 45 seconds to do rather than the 10 minutes it used to. I don’t recommend having more than 2-3 ads live in each campaign, but I’ve talked to some advertisers who do. Whichever strategy you use, it’s a time saver.
While advertising on LinkedIn, you don’t get a chance to control when your ads are published due to the approval queue. While the queue keeps content clean in case the young’uns are peeking over your shoulder as you surf your updates, it does introduce a large degree of imprecision to your ad launches.
When I start tests, I want them to both begin at optimal times, and begin at whole days (after all, what are you going to do with 3 hours of data on a new ad launch?). This is how I accomplish a timed launch in AdStage:
Create new campaign (or select existing campaign), and pause it.
Go to ‘Automated Rules’ and ‘Create Rule.’
Choose your campaign.
Select the ‘Schedule Campaigns’ rule.
Select ‘Choose Schedule,’ and tell it to run for the day of the week that you’d like it to launch.
Give your rule a name like ‘Tuesday [Account] Launch’ (replacing [Account] with a descriptive name of the account for reference later.)
Let the rule run and email you when it does.
As soon as you notice the campaign(s) live, go pause the rule as it has done its job.
Using this tactic, you can ensure your ads run on a schedule where 100% of the data generated is useful and on the precise day you’d like to begin.
Reduce CPCs with Dayparting
LinkedIn costs per click are calculated by using supply and demand. The majority of audiences in the United States visit during the morning when they are just getting into the office, so the supply of visitors is the most plentiful during this time.
Demand for ad clicks, on the other hand, is somewhat fixed, because LinkedIn doesn’t natively support dayparting. This means that the ad serving engine affixes cheaper clicks during the morning hours when ad clicks are most plentiful and more expensive clicks during the times of the day when clicks and members are less plentiful.
If you hit your daily budgets each day, it makes a lot of sense to only run during the times that are most traffic-efficient and take advantage of lower costs.
Do this by:
Go to ‘Automated Rules,’ and ‘Create Rule.’
Choose your campaign(s).
Select the ‘Schedule Campaigns’ rule.
Select ‘Choose Schedule,’ and tell it to run during the most efficient hours of the days you specify.
Give your rule a descriptive name like ‘[Account] dayparting morning.’
Let the rule run automatically, and sit back and watch the magic happen day after day.
Advertise on the Most Profitable Days with Dayparting
Over time, you may find that certain days yield more profitable traffic. For instance, you might find that traffic that comes in early in the week has a higher conversion rate than traffic on the weekends, or that content pieces perform better on the weekends when members have time to catch up on reading. If you have no problem filling your budget during the times of highest yield, then why not run only during those times?
These efficiencies take time and testing to find, but as soon as you do find them, using AdStage’s rules-based app is by far the best way to take advantage of these highest-probability traffic times.
Use the same steps as above to set this rule up.
Agencies: Use One Tracking Code for All Clients
It’s no secret that AdStage offers a conversion tracking pixel, while LinkedIn’s native interface does not. You may not know, though, that the conversion pixel is the same across all of your clients if they’re all inside of your single AdStage account! Send the same code snippet to all of your clients for implementation, and don’t worry about having to regenerate a different snippet for each client and advertising channel.
Generate your tracking code once, and use it for LinkedIn advertising, Facebook Ads, AdWords, etc.; and use it for all of your clients.
Get an Alert When Your Budget’s Depleted
One request I get fairly often from clients is to run a certain amount of budget through LinkedIn and then pause to evaluate success.
Using AdStage’s automated rules, I set up a pretty cool hack:
Choose your campaign (this only works for a single campaign. I’ll explain why later.)
Select the ‘Pause Campaigns’ rule.
Set your time zone.
Set your IF condition to ‘SPEND > $1400’ if you’d like to pause a campaign at $1500 spend (again, I’ll explain shortly).
Select Choose Schedule, and tell the rule to run daily at whichever time you’d like, and using data from the last 30 days.
Give your rule a name like: [Client] > $1400 Notify.
Under ‘Choose what happens’, set the rule to ‘Email me a list.’
Make sure your email is in the recipient list so you get notified when your spend threshold is triggered.
Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes:
AdStage is running a check on that campaign daily to see if it has spent greater than $1400. If your client asked to have it shut off at $1500, you’ll get an email the day it’s close. (Feel free to have your rule trigger earlier if the campaign spends quickly.)
This only works on a single campaign since the rule is checking each campaign to see which fits the criteria, and it does not add together total budget.
For step 8 above, you could have told the program to ‘Apply changes and email me a list,’ which would pause your campaign, but I like to be alerted when it’s close so I can pause when I’m comfortable.
Use this for simple tests to stay within budget. If you have multiple campaigns, I’d recommend giving each a budget percentage and setting one rule for each campaign to trigger to keep under budget.
Get a Preview of Your Ads Across Devices
So many times, I’ve had a boss or client ask for screenshots of my Sponsored Updates before they go out. If you’ve tried to get these from the native platform, you’ve realized how difficult that is to do for desktop, and how impossible it is to see on mobile and tablet devices.
With AdStage, it’s easy. All I do is the following:
Click into any campaign.
Click Sponsored Updates.
Click Create/Add Sponsored Update.
Simply fill out your information in your ad, and your preview will be visible below.
Click the tabs Mobile, Desktop, and Tablet to get the screenshots you need. The only catch is that your company logo may not show on the preview, so be sure share this fact with your requester.
There you have it– previews to show your boss/clients with next to no work.
Copy Settings from Existing Campaigns
You probably know by now that LinkedIn’s targeting won’t let you target anything more than 100 items in a particular field. That isn’t a problem for things like Seniority, but it can be especially problematic for fields like Company Name, Skills, or Groups where you may want to list more than 100.
If you have entered 100 of anything, you will know how tedious it is to do and how little you’d want to do it again.
That’s why one of my favorite AdStage hacks is to build a campaign in my own account and then load settings from the version in my client’s account. This hack enables me to quickly build out and evaluate audiences, without having to gain access to someone’s account during a client consultation.
Within the native LinkedIn Ads interface, you can duplicate campaigns, which is nice, but it limits you to duplicating a campaign within your own account. The interface also limits you from duplicating a Text Ads campaign into a Sponsored Updates campaign. There are no such limitations in AdStage.
To copy settings from an existing campaign, follow these steps:
From anywhere within AdStage, click Create Campaign.
Select ‘LinkedIn Ads.’
Choose the account you’d like to create the new campaign within under ‘Account.’
Click Load Settings From, and begin typing the name of the campaign whose settings you’d like to copy, and select it when it pops up.
Change ‘Campaign Type’ to the type of ad unit you’re running (if copying a Text Ads campaign to a Sponsored Updates campaign, or vice versa).
Give your campaign a name.
Watch all your campaign targeting settings magically appear, allowing you to build a new campaign very quickly.
You may find yourself wishing that it copied the ad units from the previous campaign too, but don’t. You should be tracking each ad individually so conversions can be traced back to the exact audience that drove the action. Do yourself a favor, and recreate the ads anyway. Here’s a guide to help you walk through that process.
Empowered with Time and New Functionality
Hopefully you’ve found these hacks helpful at giving you back your time which you would normally be spending with very tedious, manual processes. If you have any other hacks that I didn’t talk about, please share in the comments!
AJ Wilcox founded B2Linked.com for specialized LinkedIn Advertising consulting. Having managed many large, sophisticated, corporate accounts, he\’s uniquely qualified to help B2B companies expand their demand gen channels. He\’s a triathlete, avid hiker, and exotic car lover. He lives with his wife and 3 kids in Lehi, UT. For personalized help or training on LinkedIn advertising, give him a shout.