How Much Do LinkedIn Ads Cost? [Q1 2018 AdStage Report]

How Much Do LinkedIn Ads Cost? [Q1 2018 AdStage Report]

In the first quarter of 2018, we analyzed over 2.5 billion LinkedIn ad impressions and over 3.4 million clicks from AdStage customers. Based on our data, we saw year-over-year CPMs increase 29%, while year-over-year CPCs decreased 12%.

Q1 2018 LinkedIn advertising performance

We observed the following median results among marketers using AdStage products:

  • LinkedIn CPM: $6.59
  • LinkedIn CPC: $5.26
  • LinkedIn CTR: 0.13%

Dive deeper into the Q1 2018 PPC Benchmark Report for the latest trends.

Supply & demand

First quarter 2018 Y/Y spend remained unchanged among same marketers, while Y/Y impressions dropped 41%. We saw very little Q/Q spend change (-1.2%) during the first quarter, while Q/Q impressions decreased 15%.

LinkedIn CPMs decrease by 18%

Our AdStage data shows Q1 median CPMs decreasing for the first time after four consecutive quarters of increasing costs. The 2017 year-end CPMs were up 57% going into 2018, but declined to $6.59 by the end of Q1 2018. We’re yet unsure if the dip indicates a new trend, or if the lower prices are reflective of seasonal swings.

Marketers that we studied reacted to increasing CPMs in 2017 by choosing to keep budgets flat, or pull back slightly. However, lower CPMs are a good signal that maintaining spend will continue to return increased reach of LinkedIn users.

LinkedIn CPCs increase by 4%

First quarter 2018 median CPCs continue to be well below last year averages, down 11.6% Y/Y. Marketers are benefiting from lower engagement costs while budgets continue to buy more impressions. This is a positive trend for new marketers looking to allocate budget for LinkedIn Ads.

We have early indications that CPCs should remain below the 2017 average through mid-year, and at least $1.00 less per click than the high median CPC of $6.31 we observed in Q3 2017.

 

LinkedIn CTRs increase by 58%

The data from marketers using AdStage showed increasing CTRs throughout 2017, with median CTRs increasing over 112% in 2017. Our data shows Q1 2018 median CTRs dropped slightly ending at 0.13%, a 58% Y/Y increase over Q1 2017. The overall upward trend is a result of better engagement on LinkedIn ads, a good indicator that new LinkedIn Marketing Solutions features are paying off.

As with CPM, it’s too early to say this first quarter CTR correction is the new normal or if we can chalk it up to season swings (the consensus around here is leaning towards seasonal). We’ll learn more as we dig into the mid-year data.

 

What to expect in 2018

While last year presented us with increased prices and a bump in engagement, marketers may experience a cooling period during the first half of the year. As increased competition continues to be a factor, marketers will need to be more strategic with their spend and focus on strategies that prove ROI.

Last year we saw the release of Audience Network, Lead Gen Forms, and Matched Audiences. All welcome advancements that made LinkedIn more attractive and productive for B2B marketers.

Video is key to clicks

Video is no longer a nice to have, it’s a necessity. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is all in on video and is providing helpful tips to nail down the right strategy for your objective. Released at the end of Q1, video for Sponsored Content is now a powerful medium for the toolkit.

Combine LinkedIn video ads with Matched Audiences and Lead Gen Forms, and there’s no question video can work in your favor. In fact, LinkedIn is on record stating that “users are sharing video 20 times more than other content like images or posts.”

According to Buffer’s 2018 State of Social Report, 85% of businesses are planning on creating more video content in 2018.

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Additional Budget For A/B Testing

Testing is an ongoing process and new ad types are not always winners with every target audience. With lower CPCs and CPMs relative to last year, it’s safe to allocate more budget to testing which mix of content and placement work best for the target objective.

According to The CMO Survey, reported B2B marketing budgets up over 9% for 2018. That includes a portion for digital, which should factor into grow and testing strategies.

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Increased competition

As Linkedin releases more ad features, such as their new Bid Auto-Optimization for Lead Gen Forms, we can expect marketers will see better results from their spend.

In 2017 the overall spend on LinkedIn ads increased 23 percent among marketers on AdStage. We expect that spend will continue to increase as LinkedIn develops new and better ways to connect with leads.

Experts expect brands to shift more budgets to LinkedIn

AJ Wilcox of B2Linked, who manages some of the biggest LinkedIn ad accounts in the world, expects companies to shift more budgets from Facebook to LinkedIn. “The B2B environment on Facebook has gotten rough with job title and company targeting being taken away,” AJ said. “Couple that with the fact that Facebook CPMs are rising rapidly, and I think we’re about to see a lot more brands invest more heavily into LinkedIn due to the quality of traffic and the reach they can’t get on Facebook.”

Takeaways and insights

Based on the data from Q1 2018, here are our main LinkedIn insights:

  • Advertisers are getting better results with the same amount of spend
  • CPCs are down, which provides room to grow and experiment
  • Video for Sponsored Content is a game changer. Marketers should take advantage of new ad type opportunities while the competition is low.

5 Reasons LinkedIn Video Ads Are the B2B Marketer’s Secret Weapon

5 Reasons LinkedIn Video Ads Are the B2B Marketer’s Secret Weapon

Video will drive 82% of all Internet traffic in 2021, according to Cisco. Over 17.2% of all ad budgets will go to video marketing, which means video ads will likely eat up a huge share of the total video traffic.

eMarketer video starts

Video ad spend will grow to $22.18 billion in 2021. Source: eMarketer

What does it mean for marketers? Video-first has become an overarching theme for consumer brands, and the B2B segment is quickly catching up.

So it comes as no surprise that after successfully launching member video in August, LinkedIn, the number one social platform for B2B advertising, followed up with two ad offerings: video for Sponsored Content and Company Pages.

The new ad products officially became available to all brands last month, and I’ve already seen several B2B brands roll out video ads with lead gen forms to capture in-market business audiences. Here’s an example I captured this week:

For brands considering LinkedIn video ads, here are five reasons B2B marketers are taking note.

1. Keep your brand safe

Last year, several brands (including P&G and AT&T) pulled billions of ads dollars off social media and display advertising after multiple brand safety failures — like one with kid-targeted ads showing next to violent and sexualized content.

While brand safety is still a new (and subjective) metric for performance marketers, it was a major talking point at Advertising Week last year. For marketers who prioritize transparency and quality in their media buys, LinkedIn’s quality environment for branded video campaigns is an obvious differentiator.

2. Built for ABM

LinkedIn’s suite of B2B targeting features for Sponsored video content campaigns allows marketers to segment audience by job title, seniority, company name, industry, skills, and more. Marketers running ABM (account-based marketing) campaigns can upload a CSV file with their target companies to match LinkedIn’s company pages and reach decision-makers at scale.

LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences feature allows marketers to apply granular, account-based targeting. Source: LinkedIn

3. Native ads show a higher lift in brand consideration

LinkedIn video ads show directly in the news feed, similar to organic standalone posts. According to Sharethrough, citing Nielsen’s research, native ads beat pre- or post-roll ads when it comes to brand consideration. The chart below shows results for one campaign where native ads generated an 82% brand lift among users exposed to the ads as compared to 2.1% users exposed to pre-rolls.

Note: the above data shows results for a consumer brand (CPG) campaign, so I’m just inferring that it could be applicable to B2B as well.

brand lift native ads

4. Works for brand and performance marketing

Marketer use Sponsored Content across the full funnel to capture attention at the awareness stage, capture interest and drive qualified traffic to the website, and convert “warm” leads through LinkedIn’s integrated Lead Gen Forms.

As Bettina Hein, Pixability’s CEO, said in Google’s recent post on online video trends, purpose-driven ads can achieve “the difficult task of authenticity” by aligning the brand with the causes they believe in. LinkedIn’s promoted video content on the Company or Showcase pages is a great way to implement that.

Performance marketers can use Direct Sponsored Content to customize video ads for specific audiences or test ads — without publishing on the Company Page.

5. Prove ROI

LinkedIn provides extensive metrics to measure your video campaign’s success through insights about the type of audiences watching and engaging with the campaign, as well as track clicks from video to website. By using the platform’s conversion tracking powered by the LinkedIn Insight Tag, marketers can see post-click and view-through conversions of their LinkedIn ad campaigns.

LinkedIn's video metrics

LinkedIn’s metrics for video ad campaigns. Source: LinkedIn

Take it a step further

For marketers who want to measure the value of lead generation campaigns from views to clicks and all the way to revenue and the acquired customers’ LTV, closed-loop reporting can help you untangle the B2B attribution and see the full picture of your campaign performance across LinkedIn, AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Yahoo Gemini, Bing, and custom conversion data.

How to Create LinkedIn Remarketing Audiences from User Interactions

Posted by in LinkedIn, Social
How to Create LinkedIn Remarketing Audiences from User Interactions

We love LinkedIn ads for B2B marketing. It may be the only social media platform where you can always be sure to find highly-engaged professionals who are actually actively thinking about work.

Let’s be honest – on other social media platforms, they’re likely not thinking about work-related software in between liking photos of their friends’ dogs’ birthday parties. So even if your targeting is great, your performance may be mediocre. Context is a huge part of conversion.

The classic B2B funnel requires putting the right content in front of the right audience, at the right time. If your audience is not currently consuming work-related content, your ads’ performance may suffer, regardless of how awesome your targeting is.

This is why LinkedIn ads are perfect for sophisticated B2B remarketing. It allows us to combine the high-value context with super-relevant targeting to create what some might call magic.

An example of this would be promoting a case study in the banking industry to someone who visited the “Industries > Banking” section of your site.

As a co-founder of Fixel, an AI-based audience segmentation tool, I wanted to make this “magic” possible for all LinkedIn advertisers. We already had our tool integrated with  Facebook, AdWords, and Twitter, so LinkedIn was a logical next step. Fixel’s sophisticated AI model analyzes over 60 parameters of user characteristics (such traffic source or device type) and site engagement (such as videos views and button clicks), through which it can narrow down on your top performing visitors.

But when we started integrating Fixel into LinkedIn Ads, we hit a snag – LinkedIn only allows for URL-based Matched Audience creation, and nearly all sophisticated remarketing relies on events rather than pageviews (we’ll go into this in a moment – see below).

linkedin audiences

LinkedIn Events vs. Pageviews

To understand LinkedIn remarketing, let’s take a step back for a minute and describe the difference between pageviews and events.

Pageviews are easy – say you want to target all users that visited your pricing page? Boom, set up an audience for yoursite.com/pricing. You want to target all users that visited your blog? Kablammo, set up an audience for yoursite.com/blog.

This is a simple way to tell your users apart. In this example, we know that users that have only visited your blog are usually at an earlier buying stage than users visiting your pricing page.

But pageviews only tell a small part of the story. User engagement spans interactions that are far more significant than simple pageviews.

For example, what if you want to set up an audience based on users that spent more than 30 seconds on a given page, and also partially filled out a form (but didn’t complete it), and also visited more than 3 pages, etc.?

That’s where you use Events. Anything your diabolical marketing brain can think of, you can create a sophisticated audience for.

meme

Too bad, LinkedIn doesn’t have this functionality built into its remarketing setup.

But wait, LinkedIn does have conversion events!

LinkedIn indeed supports event-based tracking for conversion purposes – for example, if someone fills out a form that doesn’t point to a “thank-you” page. But these can only be used for conversion tracking.

So, back to the matter at hand. No events in LinkedIn Matched Audiences makes Jack a dull boy, and makes your remarketing flexibility pretty limited. It also meant that our solution, Fixel, wouldn’t work in LinkedIn, which is completely unacceptable.

Well, if LinkedIn needed pageviews, then we’ll give them pageviews!

Hacking the stack

It took a few tries, but we’ve succeeded in hacking the pageview recording for the LinkedIn pixel. Now, you can fire scripts in the Google Tag Manager that emulate pageviews to the LinkedIn tag. Booya!

We decided that this solution is too awesome to keep to ourselves, so we’re making it available to the public at large.

We’ve created an event javascript generator that enables advertisers to capture custom events as a seed for their remarketing audiences in LinkedIn.

What does that mean for you? Well in just two simple steps you can create LinkedIn Matched Audiences based on users that watched the explainer video on your website and then searched for “llama farms” in your search bar.

fixel remarketing audiences

Setting up the LinkedIn events

Creating these audiences in LinkedIn is a breeze. Create a free account at https://my.fixel.ai and grab the code snippet from the Free Tools section. Then use Google Tag Manager (or ask your developers) to trigger this script on the user engagement you want to track.

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Make sure that you create a corresponding Matched Audience in your LinkedIn Ads account (learn how here) so that these interactions will populate your remarketing audiences.

So where should I start?

Glad you asked. A first step would be understanding which behaviors on your site you would like to capture.

In the classic B2B scenario, in which most LinkedIn marketers operate, we’d suggest looking at interactions with ungated content you have on your site.

For example, take users who viewed over 50% of your testimonial video for the telecommunications industry. Creating a targeted audience of these users will allow you to serve them a targeted follow-up ad with the right messaging.

Another example would be targeting users who read a top-of-funnel ungated PDF, such as  a how-to (even something like this article, for example). These can now be served with mid-funnel content to push them to conversion.

Of course, you can also create more complex rules that combine multiple behaviors or data points, such as a user coming from organic search that scrolled to 90% on an industry-specific blog post. These can then be served with a follow-up message tailored to their industry.

Applying the tag to these users will allow you to add them to a Matched Audience in LinkedIn. They can then be used as a pinpoint target for your remarketing efforts.

Got a suggestion for additional ways to use the tag? Post it in the comments.

Important note:

This is a free standalone tool that isn’t part of the core Fixel solution and will not collect any information from your site.

LinkedIn Advertising Costs for 2017 [Benchmark Report]

LinkedIn Advertising Costs for 2017 [Benchmark Report]

We analyzed over 4.3 billion LinkedIn ad impressions from January to June 2017 from AdStage customers. Based on our data, we saw CPMs increase from $7.29 to $8.39 during the first six months of 2017, while the average CPC increased from $6.03 to $6.50.

LinkedIn Advertising Costs

  • The average LinkedIn Ads CPM is $8.39
  • The average CPC on LinkedIn is $6.50
  • The average CTR on LinkedIn is 0.13%

Be sure to view the Q1 2018 Paid Search and Paid Social ads Benchmark Report for the latest trends.

LinkedIn’s Supply and Demand

According to AdStage data, LinkedIn ad impressions dropped by 5%, while ad spend increased by 10% in Q2’17. This is causing advertisers to pay more to enter the auction at a decreased number of impressions.

AdStage - LinkedIn Spend vs Impressions

LinkedIn’s CPM Increase By 15%

From our AdStage data, we saw CPMs decrease by 20% in Q1’17, and then dramatically increase by 44% in Q2’17. The overall CPM increased 15% since January 2017. This shows the competitive nature of the LinkedIn auction and may indicate that LinkedIn is reaching max ad load.

LinkedIn Ads Cost CPMs

LinkedIn’s CPC Increase 8%

Our internal findings also showed that LinkedIn CPCs went from $6.03 to $6.50 in the first six months. Q1’17 actually saw a 4% CPC decline while Q2’17 increased by 15%. While it’s a small increase, it may be enough to scare away smaller advertisers when thinking about the type of companies finding success on the network.

Average LinkedIn Ads Cost CPCs

LinkedIn’s CTR Remain Flat

LinkedIn advertisers are getting very consistent CTRs month-over-month. However, it’s costing more to get the same result due to higher CPMs and CPCs.

Average LinkedIn Ads Cost CTR

Why Are LinkedIn’s CPMs & CPCs Increasing

Our AdStage ad spend data includes all Sponsored Content and text ads ran across LinkedIn’s network. Below are a couple of possible explanations for the increase in CPMs and CPCs in 2017.

We asked AJ Wilcox, CEO of B2Linked, to share his opinion on the data. “It’s natural for LinkedIn’s auction to become more competitive over time, as with any other successful biddable media platform,” says AJ. “We especially see CPCs in Q1 each year as being quite low, so the 15% rise from Q1 to Q2 isn’t surprising.”

1) Is LinkedIn’s Inventory Maxed Out

LinkedIn boasts more than 500 million users, which is impressive but still limited compared to Facebook. With a limited supply of ads coupled with growing demand, the auction is getting more competitive, which means advertisers will pay more to enter.

The following three issues are impacting LinkedIn’s ad inventory:

  • LinkedIn’s user growth remains steady, but only 23% of members use the platform on a monthly basis.
  • Ad placements cater to desktop users. Linkedin will need to find new ways to place more ads on their mobile app.
  • More advertisers are using the ad platform.

AJ says that engaging ad creative and offers are key to winning the auction.

As more and more advertisers enter the competitive auction, the onus moves to advertisers to create ads that generate higher engagement rates. Advertisers who insist on pushing friction-prone offers like demos, trials, and sales conversations will not generate high enough Relevancy Scores to show, and when they do show, the cost per click will be so astronomical as to price these advertisers out of the auction.

It’s worth noting that LinkedIn recently announced their native Audience Network. This will allow advertisers to reach more people with Sponsored Content through third-party publishers placements. However, don’t expect a huge lift as beta advertisers only saw a 3-13% increase in unique impressions.

2) LinkedIn Budgets Are Increasing

Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They found that 43% of marketers were NOT investing in LinkedIn Ads. However, 39% advertisers planned on increasing their ad spend within the following year. It looks like LinkedIn Ads are delivering results for certain companies, which is leading to budget increases.

Hanapin Paid Social Survey - LinkedIn

Our AdStage data confirms that LinkedIn advertisers are indeed increasing their budgets, as overall spend increased 23% since January 2017.

AdStage - LinkedIn Spend 2017

3) New LinkedIn Ad Types and Features

LinkedIn released two big features that definitely got advertisers excited. It’s possible that advertisers increased their test budgets, leading to more competition in the auction.

Here’s what AJ Wilcox thinks:

“We’re currently also seeing much more interest building over time of new advertisers flocking to test out the platform, due to the continued addition of features as LinkedIn is quickly catching up to the pack.”

Two new features LinkedIn announced in Q2:

  • Lead Gen Forms — This ad format helps marketers drive leads from Sponsored Content campaigns, particularly on mobile devices where conversion rates tend to be lower, as users don’t want to fill out a long form on-the-go. For B2B advertisers, the quality of the leads on LinkedIn is already far superior to other ad networks that offer lead gen ads. And, just like any other LinkedIn campaign, these campaigns come with the same reporting capabilities that LinkedIn already offers, so you can easily measure return on ad spend, cost per lead, and conversion rate.
  • Matched Audiences — LinkedIn announced a powerful new feature called Matched Audiences, which includes three new targeting tools that let you combine LinkedIn’s professional data with your own first-party data. Now you can target website visitors, contacts, and specific accounts on LinkedIn.

Takeaways and Insights

Based on the data, here are our main LinkedIn insights and questions:

  • Advertisers are putting more budget into LinkedIn Ads
  • Yet, CPMs & CPCs are rising as inventory remains flat
  • By using natively uploaded videos as new ad inventory, LinkedIn could increase its overall ad load without cluttering user feeds or profile pages.

AJ offers advise to advertisers looking to win future auctions:

Advertisers who win in the future with low costs per lead will do so by exercising a keen understanding of their customers’ pains and needs, and providing useful content that solves them, without being overly salesy or pushy.

Further Ad Networks


Our mission at AdStage is to connect paid marketers quickly and easily to the data they need to understand holistic campaign performance and take action at scale. If you want to learn more about our LinkedIn Ads management solution, and click the banner below to download the latest Q4 paid marketing benchmark report.

Q1 2018 Paid Media Benchmark Report

 

How to Construct Successful LinkedIn Sponsored InMails

How to Construct Successful LinkedIn Sponsored InMails

LinkedIn’s network of over 500M professionals globally now offers Sponsored InMail to all marketers through its self-serve LinkedIn Campaign Manager. This unique ad format is designed to help B2B companies reach target audiences directly and efficiently. There are no other engagement solutions similar to LinkedIn Sponsored InMail, which, by delivering your message directly to your audience’s inbox, eliminates the uncertainty that comes with manually sending outbound messages.

Given the opportunity available for advertisers who take advantage of this new tool, we wanted to be sure that those of you who are ready to hit the ground running know what it takes to create a successful Sponsored InMail campaign.  If you already know your target audience on LinkedIn, and are looking to drive the most engagement and responses from your creatives from LinkedIn Sponsored InMails, this post is for you!

Mobile Matters

LinkedIn campaigns are served on both desktop and mobile, and there is not an option for desktop-only or mobile-only Linkedin Sponsored InMails. Because of this, it’s important to make sure your mobile experience is sound. Ensure your landing page is mobile optimized with a responsive design, and limit your message to 1,000 characters so it reads well on mobile devices.

LinkedIn Sponosored InMails Mobile Users via adstage.blog.io

Choose a Relevant Sender

Pick a sender your audience would find relevant, given your message. For example, if you’re sending a technical message, the sender can be a Director of IT or Chief Technology Officer, rather than a Sales Director or VP of Marketing.

Unlike regular InMail messages, users will not be able to reply to the sender, so it is not necessary to use a sender who is a sales rep for your organization. Once you’ve chosen your sender, be sure to do the following:

  • Ensure the sender has a profile photo. This is a LinkedIn requirement for all senders.
  • Add the sender as a first-degree connection on LinkedIn.
  • Manage the senders from your Campaign Manager and they will receive a notification to approve or deny the request as shown below.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Relevant Sender via adstage.blog.io

The Optional Must-Have Option

If the reader is using LinkedIn on a desktop environment, the right rail will show a 300×250 banner ad above the fold, like the image below. This Sponsored InMail feature offers an option to take advantage of more visual real estate in your ad campaign, a unique opportunity to increase brand exposure.

It’s important to know that in the event you choose not to use the banner option, the ad slot will be filled by another 300×250 banner ad and…what if that ad happened to be from a competitor? Because of this, we recommend that you treat this optional feature as a required one.

Don’t have the time or resources to get that new banner ad content prepped? While it’s best practice to have the CTA in the banner match the CTA in your Sponsored InMail, it’s definitely better to have some content of yours in this space, rather than putting your message alongside a competitor’s ad. If you don’t have a 300×250 banner ad on hand with a matching CTA, consider using a stock photo or a screenshot of your product to fill the ad unit. This will ensure that any engagement with the banner will still direct your audience to your desired landing page.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Banner Ads via adstage.blog.io

Personalization For the Win

It’s no secret that the more relevant the message, the higher the likelihood of conversion. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to personalize your Sponsored InMail message in a variety of ways. Here are a few pro-tips:

Customize the greeting with the person’s name (These are the shortcuts to use in your message in the LinkedIn Campaign Manager: %FIRSTNAME% %LASTNAME%)
Refer to the skills or job titles that you’re targeting (Note: I used “content marketing” in the example below)
Try using the word “you” in the message so it sounds like you’re talking to the prospect

Here is an example of a message using these best practices:

Hi Hannah,

I am hosting a webinar on copywriting to capture awareness with your target audience this Wednesday. As you’re ramping up your content marketing efforts, I thought you might find this topic interesting. Let me know if you’re able to join with an RSVP here.

Best,

JD Prater
Director of Marketing at AdStage

With these tips, we hope you can being to construct LinkedIn Sponsored InMails that are on target to drive maximum engagement. Next week, we’ll cover some tips on the actual content of those campaigns. In the meantime, though, if you tried Sponsored InMail campaigns and have any pro-tips to share, please comment below!

Quick Guide to LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Campaigns

Posted by in LinkedIn, Social
Quick Guide to LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Campaigns

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail is now available to all advertisers through the LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager. This campaign type, previously only available to managed clients, empowers marketers to directly reach their prospects via tailored email messages in LinkedIn Messenger.

Based on data provided by LinkedIn, over 100 advertisers participated in a pilot program of self-service Sponsored InMail prior to the release, and they saw open rates of around 45 percent and click-through rates between 4 to 7 percent. Those numbers sounded pretty good to us.

In today’s blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about LinkedIn Sponsored InMail, from why you should use it to how to effectively craft a campaign to setting your budget.

Why Sponsored InMail Rocks

Sponsored InMail delivers a relevant and engaging ad experience to the right person, at scale. The email-like experience for the end user allows you to deliver more long-form messages without the burden of having to acquire the user’s email address first. This provides a faster solution to drive engagement through a personalized, direct, and meaningful medium.

Four reasons you should get started:

  1. Personalize Your Messages: Marketers can be extremely detailed and persuasive with InMail messages, as they have no restrictive character counts.
  2. Reach Your Audience When They’re Active: With real-time delivery, Sponsored InMail messages are only delivered when members are active on LinkedIn. And strict limits on how often LinkedIn members can receive InMail ensures your message gets maximum mindshare.
  3. Engage Your Mobile Audience: The call-to-action (CTA) button on mobile and desktop offers a responsive design to ensure the message is readable on any screen, large or small.
  4. Drive Brand Awareness: You have the option to add a 300×250 branded banner ad to the InMail that will appear on the right rail for desktop users, like the example below.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Inbox via blog.adstage.io

Getting Started with LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

You can easily start running a Sponsored InMail campaign today by following the steps and best practices below:

  1. Log into LinkedIn Campaign Manager
  2. Open your Ad Account, click “Create campaign” and select “Sponsored InMail”
  3. Select “Sponsored InMail” and start crafting your message

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Select Campaign Window via blog.adstage.io

Crafting an Effective Sponsored InMail Campaign

When crafting your Sponsored InMail message content consider the messaging context of the LinkedIn Platform. We have some best practices and suggestions you can use when testing out different InMail variations.

1. Subject Lines

Write subject lines using concise, relevant, and conversation language. Short and impactful subject lines with a clear value exchange tend to perform better.

Here are a few keywords you can consider using:

  • Thanks
  • Exclusive invitation
  • Connect
  • Opportunities
  • Join us/me

2. Body Text

Sponsored InMail offers up to 100 ad variations, so you can test different combinations of text, image, and CTAs to uncover the most compelling creative for your target audience. Try conducting a simple A/B test with two ad variations at a time. This will allow you more control when tracking performance and making optimizations that will boost clicks and conversions over time.

To humanize your message, it’s best to use conversational language and keeps the copy under 1,000 characters. Here are a few additional tips to catch your prospect’s attention and drive better performance:

  • Add a personal touch with a custom salutation by using %FIRSTNAME%, %LASTNAME%. For example: Hi %FIRSTNAME% %LASTNAME%.
  • Include a contextual message body hyperlink to boost click performance.
  • Use a clear call to action (CTA) such as Try, Register, Reserve, or Join.
  • Include a relevant companion banner image to complement your message. If you do not include a banner image, another banner ad could be shown which will drive prospects to another website other than yours.

3. Targeting

Similar to LinkedIn Text Ads and Sponsored Content, you will be able to choose a target audience based on 16 different criteria. You can build your target audience offline before you start the campaign creation process for a speedier campaign set-up. Below are the different targeting parameters you can choose from for your Sponsored InMail:

  1. Location inclusion
  2. Location exclusion
  3. Company name
  4. Company industry
  5. Company size
  6. Job title
  7. Job function
  8. Job seniority
  9. Member schools
  10. Fields of study
  11. Degrees
  12. Member skills
  13. Member groups
  14. Member gender
  15. Member age
  16. Years of experience

Setting Your LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Budget

For Sponsored InMail campaigns, you will have the option to set a cost per send (CPS) bid. The CPS bid is the maximum amount you wish to pay for each Sponsored InMail that is sent to a LinkedIn member’s inbox. Then, you can set a daily budget to indicate the most that you’re willing to spend each day.

LinkedIn automatically recommends a suggested CPS bid for you, based on your target audience. The more narrow your audience is, the better, especially for your InMail messaging. However, keep in mind that the minimum CPS bid will be higher as the reach will be limited to focus solely on your target audience.

Once you’ve figured out your ideal CPS based on the projected performance, you can set a budget and delivery schedule. Below is a screenshot of the details to consider when you’re figuring out your campaign bids, budget and delivery schedule.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Cost Per Send Budget Window via blog.adstage.io

Learn More

Have you launched your first Sponsored InMail campaign? What kind of success are you having? Do you have any tips or tricks that are working well?  Have you experimented with any targeting?

How to Set Up LinkedIn Conversion Tracking

Posted by in LinkedIn, Social
How to Set Up LinkedIn Conversion Tracking

How to Set Up LinkedIn Conversion Tracking in 5 Steps

  1. Configure LinkedIn Insight Tag
  2. Apply Tag with Google Tag Manager
  3. Create New Conversion Action
  4. Apply Conversion Tracking to Campaign
  5. Optimize Campaign with LinkedIn Conversion Tracking

What is LinkedIn Conversion Tracking?

It’s the moment every B2B advertiser has been waiting for… LinkedIn announced Conversion Tracking for Sponsored Content and Text Ads. Arguably the biggest release to their advertising product since Sponsored Content, now marketers can better understand which campaigns, ads, and audience segments result in a desired web action, such as a form fill.

LinkedIn Conversion Tracking gives marketers the ability to measure the number of leads, sign-ups, content downloads, purchases, and other key web actions that resulted from their Sponsored Content and Text Ads campaigns.

Getting LinkedIn Conversion Tracking setup and running across your campaigns is easy. In this post we’ll cover everything you need to know about LinkedIn Conversion Tracking, along with a step-by-step guide to getting started.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Conversion Tracking

1. Configure Your LinkedIn Insight Tag

The LinkedIn Insight Tag is a piece of JavaScript code that you can add to your website to better understand how visitors from Sponsored Content and Text Ads are interacting with your pages. After you configure and install the Insight Tag, LinkedIn will provide insights and in-depth reporting about your audience and campaign analytics.

Add LinkedIn Insight Tag JavaScript to Your Website

  1. In LinkedIn, go to your Campaign Manager page and select your Account
  2. Select Conversion Tracking 
  3. Insert the Domain you want to start tracking specific user actions after they click or view your LinkedIn ad. Add Domain LinkedIn Conversion Tracking
  4. Copy the Insight Tag JavaScript LinkedIn Conversion Tracking JavaScript via AdStage Blog
  5. Add the JavaScript code to every page on your domain. Make sure this tag is before the end of the global footer.
  6. Log in to LinkedIn Campaign Manager and navigate to the Conversion Tracking page on the upper right side of the page to check the installation status (verified/unverified).
  7. After you’ve implemented the LinkedIn Insight Tag on every page of your domain. Click ‘Next’
  8. Now you’re going to name your first Conversion Action
    • This should correspond to the action on your website that you want to track. For example: “Whitepaper #3 download”, “Event Registration”, “Trial Sign Up”.
  9. Select Conversion Type
    • The Conversion Type acts as a label that allows LinkedIn to optimize campaign performance based on the label you choose for your Conversion Action.
    • Add to Cart
    • Download
    • Install
    • Lead
    • Purchase
    • Sign Up
    • Other
  10. Optional: Add a value to measure the ROI of your campaign. – For most advertisers, the conversion ‘value’ is how much they’re willing to pay for a lead or a similar type of conversion.
  11. Use Starts with or Exact to define which URL or set of pages should define an action
    • Enter the full URL of the destination page where you want to count a visit as a conversion event; for example, the ‘Thank You’ page someone sees after submitting a form.
    • Exclude ‘http’ or ‘https’. Only include ‘www’ if ‘www’ appears in your URL as visitors would see it when they come to your page.
    • Exact: Use this if you have a static website URL. LinkedIn will only register a conversion if the member visits the exact URL you entered. Example: www.adstage.io/thank-you 
    • Starts with: Use this if you have dynamic parameters at the end of your page. LinkedIn will register a conversion if the member visits any site starting with the URL you entered. Example: Track all pages that start with “content download”
  12. Click Finish.

Create New Conversion Action LinkedIn Ads via blog.adstage.io

 

2. Apply LinkedIn Insight Tag with Google Tag Manager

Many digital marketers use Google Tag Manager to easily implement multiple pixels across their website and accurately track user behavior. Here’s how you can easily install the LinkedIn Insight Tag in your Google Tag Manager account.

  1. In LinkedIn, go to your Campaign Manager page and select your Account
  2. Select Conversion Tracking 
  3. Insert the Domain you want to start tracking specific user actions after they click or view your LinkedIn ad. 
  4. Copy the linkedin_data_partner_id number in quotations “”linkedin insight tag partner id via blog.adstage.io
  5. Next, open your Google Tag Manager
  6. Select your website’s container, then click Add a new tag
  7. Name your tag something you’ll be able to easily recognize. For example:  LinkedIn Insight Tag
  8. Click the Tag Configuration box and select Tag Type
  9. In the Choose Tag Type list, select LinkedIn Insight
  10. Paste the partner id copied from LinkedIn in the Partner ID field
  11. Click the Triggering box and choose All Pages.
  12. Click SaveLinkedIn Conversion Tracking Google Tag Manager Insight Tag via AdStage Blog
  13. Click Publish

3. Create a New Conversion Action

In order to start using LinkedIn Conversion Tracking, you’ll need to create a Conversion Action, this tells LinkedIn what page of the domain and specific desired action you want to track after a user clicks on your Sponsored Content or Text Ad.

A Conversion Action is a crucial step in the funnel a user would complete such as visits, sign ups or downloads that you want to track. When creating a new Conversion Action you’ll select the Type of Conversion, Value, Website, and URL.

This will resemble the steps we covered above, when you created your first Conversion Action with a couple of differences in the first 2 steps.

Remember LinkedIn uses the information provided in the Conversion Action to track desired user actions on specific domains (and corresponding pages) and then optimizes your ad based on the Conversion Type (Purchase, Download, Add to Cart, etc) to capture only the most important data.

  1. From your Campaign Manager page, select Conversion Tracking LinkedIn Conversion Tracking Button via AdStage Blog
  2. Select Create New Conversion Create New Conversion LinkedIn Tracking Blog AdStage
  3. Name your Conversion Action – This should correspond to the action on your website that you want to track. For example: “Whitepaper #3 download”, “Event Registration”, “Trial Sign Up”.
  4. Select Conversion Type
  5. Optional: Add a value to measure the ROI of your campaign.
  6. Use the drop down to select the Domain you’d like to this action to be applied to.
  7. Use Starts with or Exact to define which URL or set of pages should define an action
  8. Click SaveLinkedIn Conversion Tracking Action via blog.adstage.io

Now you can add the Conversion Action to an existing or new campaign.

4. Apply LinkedIn Conversion Tracking to Your Campaigns

After you’ve created a Conversion Action, you need to associate it with the desired Sponsored Content or Text Ad campaign(s), so you can start collecting metrics and optimizing budget according to campaign performance.

It’s extremely important you apply the Conversion Action to your campaign(s). Otherwise, you will not be able to collect key metrics like LinkedIn advertising ROI (return on investment), conversion count, cost-per-conversion, conversion rate, etc.

How to Add Conversion Action to Existing Campaign

Log In to Campaign Manager

Click the Account Campaign you’d like to add Conversion Action(s)to.

Click settings (gear icon), located next to your Campaign name and select Select Conversions 

Select Conversions LinkedIn Conversion Tracking

Check the boxes next to all the Conversion Actions you want to apply to your campaign.Apply LinkedIn Conversion Tracking to Campaigns AdStage Blog

Click Apply

Add Conversion Action to New Campaign

Create new campaign

Click Select Conversions

Check the boxes next to all the Conversion Actions you want to apply to your campaign.

Create New LinkedIn Conversion Tracking Campaign via Blog AdStage

Apply LinkedIn Conversion Tracking to Campaigns AdStage Blog

5. How to Optimize Campaigns with LinkedIn Conversion Tracking: Reporting and Metrics

Since you assign different conversion types at the campaign or account level in Campaign Manager, you can easily view all the active Conversion Actions you’ve applied down to the ad creative layer.

Use the Conversiontab on the Account or Campaign level to understand your conversion performance using the following metrics:

LinkedIn Conversion Tracking Metrics via AdStage Blog

The metrics on the Conversion tab update on a recurring 4 to 24 hour basis. LinkedIn uses a 30-day lookback window, meaning any post-click conversion or view-through conversion a user completes within 30 days will be recorded.

LinkedIn Conversion Tracking Campaign Report via blog.adstage.io

 

Pro Tip: LinkedIn records a single conversion for each conversion action in your campaign. For example, if a user converts multiple times within the 30-day window, LinkedIn will attribute the most recent ad click or view from that user.

The only exceptions to this rule is if you choose the Purchase or Add to Cartconversion type which will allows for counting multiple e-commerce actions within a 30-day window.

What Can I Do with LinkedIn Conversion Tracking?

LinkedIn advertising offers marketers an unparalleled opportunity to reach a global audience of 500 million professionals. A highly requested feature from expert LinkedIn advertisers, conversion tracking collects valuable information about specific audience segments and campaign performance. Now there’s a simple way to determine which LinkedIn ads are generating quality leads, acquiring new customers, and increasing brand engagement.

Here are just some of the ways marketers can benefit from LinkedIn Conversion Tracking:

  1. Understand which creative (Direct Sponsored Content or Text Ads) is performing the best amongst your target audience
  1. Understand which audience targeting is generating the best cost per conversion and total conversions
  1. Track visitor behavior, after the click through, on your web pages.
  1. Understand the percentage of visitors that are taking your desired web action (such as filling out a form) and track it back to the campaign and ad level.

Ready to Give LinkedIn Conversion Tracking a Try?

Use this guide to super charge your Sponsored Content and Text Ads with LinkedIn Conversion Tracking. Be sure to let us know if you have any questions or comments about getting started with LinkedIn’s new conversion tracking!

P.S. we love hearing from our readers, don’t be shy! Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Hired Saves 50% of Time Spent on LinkedIn Ad Creation and Cross-Network Reporting with AdStage

Posted by in LinkedIn, Reporting
Hired Saves 50% of Time Spent on LinkedIn Ad Creation and Cross-Network Reporting with AdStage

Overview

hired logo

Hired, founded in 2012, now runs the largest marketplace for recruiting startup and tech talent. As the company was growing, it saw an opportunity to scale its reach through LinkedIn Ads. Hired primarily ran Text Ads to start, but when Sponsored Updates was released, the small team of two tried to mimic their existing ads into the new format.

Unfortunately, working in the native interface created a major time suck with consecutive workflow issues. The team had resorted to building the campaigns offline in a spreadsheet as LinkedIn Ads was difficult to work with and would habitually lock them out as they were setting up a campaign.

Solution

The team selected AdStage as the only available platform that supports both LinkedIn Text Ads and Sponsored Updates. With the ability to duplicate and bulk edit campaign settings, Hired was able to save dozens of hours of time when creating campaigns that required the same target audience. And with only a small marketing team of two, Hired grew their customer base and mass market presence via LinkedIn Ads without expanding their headcount.

AdStage also provided a more holistic view for Hired to analyze cross-network performance. The team was able to monitor important metrics such as spend and conversion metrics in near real-time. This allowed them to allocate their budget more efficiently, justifying increased budgets for the channels that performed better for their business.

cross-network stats

Results

After running ads through the AdStage platform, Hired saw the following results:All LinkedIn Campaigns view

  • Decreased the time spent on creating LinkedIn Ads and cross-network reporting by 50%
  • Spent more time on campaign optimization, ultimately lowering cost per lead by 30% within just one month
  • Successfully scaled its online advertising programs across Google AdWords, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter Ads, without having to hire additional team members.

Today, the Hired marketing team is continuously testing and expanding the company’s advertising initiatives via new channels. They are currently experimenting with Twitter Ads using the AdStage platform.

“Being able to manage LinkedIn Ads in bulk with AdStage gave us the extra time we needed to scale our online advertising efforts. We’re now managing ads at 3x the scale in a fraction of the time.”

— Lennie Sliwinski, Director of User Acquisition, HIRED

 

To learn more about AdStage and read more case studies, visit www.adstage.io.

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn Advertising

Posted by in LinkedIn, Social
The Complete Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn Advertising

This guide is Part 1 of a 3-part series on how to be successful on LinkedIn Advertising. My intention is for you to be able to follow this guide, and then subsequently Part 2 and Part 3 in order to fully master the platform.

First Things First

LinkedIn advertising is a very different beast within the ad campaign jungle. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve already figured this out. As the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising  industry goes, LinkedIn Ads is the angsty teenager – it’s immature and difficult to work with at times, but the targeting is hands-down the best for reaching business-facing customers, and it exposes your ads to the most qualified traffic from any source. In short, it’s a gold mine if you can figure it out.

Play the game right; find the gold mine. I’m here to teach you that game.

1. Targeting Your Audience

There are many blog posts out there on the fundamentals of creating a campaign. I’m not going to bore you with this basic information, because it’s not going to show you how to win this game. Instead, let’s start by identifying your audience.

Once you know who you’re trying to target, the rest falls into place quite nicely. For instance, if you’re looking to target sales managers, there are 4 or more ways to go after this audience, and that dictates the structure of your campaigns.

There are 4 ways traditionally to target any given role:

1. Job Title Targeting (i.e. ‘Sales Manager’ title)

Linkedin Ads Targeting Job Title

2. Job Function + Seniority (i.e. ‘Sales’ Job Function plus ‘Manager’ seniority)

Linkedin Ads Targeting Job Function

3. Skills + Seniority (i.e. ‘cold calling’ skill plus ‘Manager’ seniority)

Linkedin Ads Targeting

4. Groups + Seniority (i.e. ‘Sales Management Executives’ group plus ‘Manager’ seniority)

Linkedin Ads Targeting Sales Manager

Ideally, if you create a campaign targeting with any of these types, you’d be hitting the same group; but largely due to the infinite ways in which professionals complete their profile, incorporating 2 or more of the above does much to expand your reach.

See this Venn diagram to better understand:

linkedin ads targeting venn diagram

While the larger circle represents all possible sales managers on LinkedIn, the smaller circles show how much of the audience a certain type of targeting will hit. Layering targeting allows you to capture more audience.

You’ll also notice that some of each targeting method bleeds a little outside of the audience. Those areas represent outdated profiles, broad targeting elements or other such events.

I recommend starting a test with one targeting method. Then, as you are seeing success, continue layering the additional methods on top until you’re meeting your budget or traffic goals.

2. Choosing Your Ad Type

LinkedIn offers 2 main ad types:

1. Text Ads

Linkedin Ads Targeting Text Ads

2. Sponsored Updates

Linkedin Ads Sponsored Updates

They both have very different personalities, so here is a bit of insight into their differences and similarities:

LinkedIn Text Ads

  • 50×50 image
  • Shown in the right rail of LinkedIn.com internal pages
  • CTRs in the range of .03% (from my experience)
  • 25 character headline
  • 75 character description
  • Shown only to desktop users

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

  • Large landscape image (downscales gracefully, depending on device)
  • Shown in the news feed for LinkedIn members
  • CTRs in the range of .3% (from my experience)
  • ~160 character intro
  • ~230 character title
  • ~160 character description
  • Shown to both desktop & mobile users

I recommend starting with Sponsored Updates for the simple reason that the price per click is similar, but you get more real estate, and the response rate is higher. Targeting is identical between them, so feel free to test one or the other, or try both concurrently.

3. Campaign Structure

If you’re like me and come from an AdWords background, you’re probably comfortable with a campaign naming structure built around keyword themes. With LinkedIn Ads, you are targeting business characteristics rather than keywords, so best practice dictates that you name your campaigns after your audience.

Say, for instance, that you had two campaigns targeting sales managers for different sizes of companies. In this situation, it would make sense to name those two campaigns as follows:

  • Sales Manager Titles – Size 1-500
  • Sales Manager Titles – Size 501+

Also, unlike other PPC platforms, LinkedIn doesn’t have an ‘Ad group’ equivalent, so your ads sit directly inside of campaigns.

4. Evaluation & Reporting

As of right now, LinkedIn does not have native conversion tracking, which is unfortunate. That means you’ll need to get scrappy when it comes to evaluating your performance. The measure that is furthest down the funnel that you can see from your dashboard is CTR, which LinkedIn gives a lot of weight to (more on that later), but just because an ad gets clicked more often does not mean that it’s better at generating revenue and leads.

You’ll want to implement conversion tracking (unless you’re using AdStage, in which case conversion tracking can be automatically implemented). I’m guessing the vast majority of you are using Google Analytics; here is the best guide I’ve found for setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics. The gist is that you’ll be inserting parameters into each of your ad’s destination URLs, which tell your analytics package from where the traffic came.

Now you’ll have performance data on each of your ads within LinkedIn’s ads dashboard, as well as conversion and traffic data in Google Analytics. Combine them for direction on which ad copy and image combinations produce the lowest cost per lead.

5. Common Issues

– Relevancy Score

The most common issue I hear from new advertisers is that their ads have a hard time getting traction. All of the auction-based advertising platforms that I know have an algorithm that rewards strong performance with cheaper clicks. AdWords has Quality Score, Facebook has EdgeRank, and LinkedIn has Relevancy Score.

The idea behind its algorithm is this– LinkedIn has a choice; it has a single ad slot, but 2 advertisers who are willing to fill it. LinkedIn knows that Advertiser A is willing to pay $3 per click, and averages a .6% CTR. It knows that Advertiser B is willing to pay $4 per click and averages a .3% CTR. Although advertiser B is willing to pay $1 more per click, that inventory is better utilized to maximize LinkedIn’s revenue by showing Advertiser A’s ads. Here’s that math:

linkedin ads performance data table

So from the table above, you can see that given 1000 impressions for that same ad slot, LinkedIn makes $18 from advertiser A; while it would only make $16 from Advertiser B, despite B being willing to pay more per click.

From my experience, LinkedIn’s Relevancy Score (RS) has an effect that is much more noticeable than in other platforms. While with other algorithms, a poor score may increase the amount you need to pay for clicks, on LinkedIn, it’s not uncommon to see whole campaigns just stop receiving impressions.

The best guide for overcoming this issue that I’ve read is over at LinkedInAdsOptimized.com about why an ad would stop showing impressions.

– Pricing & Bidding

One of the largest issues I hear from new advertisers is that LinkedIn ads are pricey. Minimum bids are set at $2, but competition has most advertisers paying between $4-$6 per click.

While in some industries, those may be high CPCs, remember that the platform was specifically created for B2B targeting, where deal sizes and contracts are larger in size. There are also plenty of industries on AdWords where clicks are going for $50-$90, so $4-$6 to reach a business’s decision maker doesn’t sound so bad.

Also, as Robert Brady put it:

“They’re in a business mindset. They don’t dawdle around LinkedIn watching Ice Bucket Challenge videos or looking at cat pictures. They’re there to make connections, research a company… they’re focused.”

6. You Deserve a Raise

You began reading as a beginner, and now you’re all ready for the big leagues. You have all the knowledge necessary to reach business professionals and decision makers in a very targeted, very powerful way with LinkedIn Ads.

Don’t forget to inform your boss of this fact and come back for Part 2: Experienced Guide to LinkedIn Advertising and Part 3: Advanced Guide to LinkedIn Advertising in the series that will take you from dabbler, to heavy user in the time it takes you to finish your morning joe.

LinkedIn-Suite-CTA