LinkedIn Releases Sponsored InMail Campaigns for All Advertisers

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in PPC News, Social
LinkedIn Releases Sponsored InMail Campaigns for All Advertisers

Last week, LinkedIn announced its ad format, 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.

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.

In today’s blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about 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.

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

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.

Targeting

Similar to 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

Have you launched your first Sponsored InMail campaign yet?

Tell us about the messaging you tried in your campaign and how it performed for you in the comments section below 👇.

9 Easy Ways to Automate Your LinkedIn Ads for Better Results

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in Advertising, Automation, Reporting, Social
9 Easy Ways to Automate Your LinkedIn Ads for Better Results

Why You Should Automate Your LinkedIn Ads

The topic of automation in marketing raises a lot of questions, curiosity, and even a degree of apprehensiveness. For good reason — it can seem scary to give up a portion of control over your ad campaign management over to technology.

In an ideal world, advertisers would have the capacity to monitor and tweak their campaigns around the clock — even on weekends. In reality, dedicated optimization time continues to dwindle under the weight of increased responsibilities, meetings, and unyielding reporting requests. There’s a time and place for automation, and it can have a profound impact on the performance of your ad campaigns, while freeing up marketers to refocus their time on what matters most.

Before we can understand how advertising automation can be used to drive better performance from your LinkedIn Advertising campaigns, let’s take a step back and examine what automation for your advertising campaigns actually means.

What is Ad Automation?

Advertising automation is the process of turning previously manual, often mundane optimization tasks into automated jobs that run in the background using technology. This allows for continual monitoring and optimization of ad accounts, campaigns, and ad creative without taking up a marketer’s precious time.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Automation?

1. It provides marketers with more time to dedicate to high level items:

    • Forming comprehensive campaign strategies
      • In-depth audience & targeting research
      • Estimating budgets & expected return projections
      • Creating thorough, robust new campaigns
    • Crafting more impactful ad creative
      • Creating themed content campaigns
      • Enhancing your product/service positioning that better resonates
      • Testing messaging with variations
    • Optimizing past the click (Conversion Rate Optimization)
      • Improving the landing page experience
        • Such as ensuring your landing page is mobile friendly
      • Testing different calls-to-action
      • Rearranging your forms position and field length

2. It can be used to monitor and improve performance trends in real-time:

    • Observing the pacing of your budget at the account and campaign levels
      • Combating overspend by pausing campaigns that reach budget
      • Increasing the pacing of underspending campaigns with bid optimization
    • Tracking and increasing the performance of your ad accounts, campaigns, and ad creative based on the metrics you care about. Such as:
      • Average CTR increases or decreases
      • Average CPM or CPC increases or decreases
      • Conversion volume trends
      • Cost per conversion trends

What Tasks for LinkedIn Ads Should I Automate?

As a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions partner, here at AdStage, we’re obsessed with creating new automation solutions that provide better campaign performance and save marketers an incredible amount of time. Below are some suggested automated tasks gained from leading LinkedIn advertiser suggestions and analysis of millions in ad spend.

1. Campaign Monitoring & Alerting

Campaign Budget Pacing Alert

Ensure your campaigns don’t overspend past your target budget with a campaign spend alert.

LinkedIn Ads Budget Pacing Alert automation alert

Let’s say you have a campaign with a $800 budget for the course of the month. Instead of needing to check in on the budget pacing for the campaign each weekday, instead set email alerts to fire when campaign spend is close to reaching your total budget.

Campaign Overspend Alert Setup

IF my “LI Conversion Tracking – Blog Post – Engagement” campaign reaches 85% of my budget (spend greater than $650), then I want an email alert sent to my inbox. I want this alert to run everyday before 5am and check on the month-to-date spend of the campaign. Once I receive the alert, I’ll lower the daily budget to pace correctly across the remaining days of the month.

Account Underspend Alert

Advertisers are provided with a budget to aid with company goals. Failing to maximize your total budget limits the number opportunities to make a larger impact for your organization. Monitor the spend pacing closely with an account level alert so you can make adjustments to utilize your total funds.

LinkedIn Ads Automate Alert Account Underspend via blog.adstage.io

Imagine having a total monthly budget of $12,000 to spend on LinkedIn advertising a month. In a 4-week month, you have a budget of $3,000 per week to spend on advertising. Instead of constantly needing to calculate monthly spend pacing in dashboards or spreadsheets, create an alert to monitor rolled up weekly spend across all your campaigns.

Account Underspend Alert Setup

IF my total ad spend last week across all the campaigns in my account is less than $2,500, THEN send me a triggered email alert to prompt me to increase campaign budgets.

2. Optimization Rules

Pause Ads with No Conversions Rule

Continuing to advertise poor performing ad copy has the negative impact of increasing your overall average cost per click, and your average cost per conversion (lead) prices. Pause poor performing Sponsored Content and Text ad creative automatically by setting up a performance rule.

AdStage Automate LinkedIn Ads Automate-Pause Non Converting Ads

Non-Converting Ad Creative Pause Rule Setup

IF any of my ad creative across desired campaigns has historic spend of $120 or more, AND over 500 impressions, BUT has received no conversions, THEN pause those ads in question — using data from the past 14-days, automatically. Run this rule everyday at 5pm and send me an email digest of the campaigns paused.

Increase Bids for Low CPA Campaigns Rule

There’s an old saying in digital advertising: if you find something that works, double down on it. Take advantage of campaigns with great click through rates and attractive cost per conversion trends by increasing their audience reach with bid optimization.

LinkedIn Ads AdStage Automate Rule Increase Campaign Bids

Increase Bids on Campaigns with Low CPAs Rule

IF any of my Text Ads or Sponsored Content campaigns have a CTR of greater than .30% AND an average cost per conversion of less than $150 AND more than one historical conversion over the past 14-days, THEN increase the campaign bid 5%, with a bid ceiling of $18.00. Schedule the rule to run every Monday morning at 5am.

Wrapping Up

Automation doesn’t need to be daunting. Instead view it as a way to automate your most mundane and routine ad optimization steps, freeing you up to think about high level strategy and ad creative. Dabble with email alerts until you feel comfortable with the process, then move into automation rules to drive better campaign performance and more conversions.

What’s New with AdStage in October

Posted by on Oct 6, 2016 in Product Updates, Search, Social
What’s New with AdStage in October

September was a big month in AdStage and we’re excited to share all the network specific releases that will help you get the most out of your paid advertising efforts. After collaborating with our customers and network partners, we’ve added a wealth of newly supported features and data types.

LinkedIn Conversion Tracking

We’re honored to team up with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions to pilot the highly anticipated Conversion Tracking for Sponsored Content and Text Ads campaigns. Followed by a wave of excitement from B2B marketers, Conversion Tracking is available to all LinkedIn advertisers. Read the official release notes here.

LinkedIn Conversion Tracking allows advertisers to understand which audience, message, and landing page are driving the best return on ad spend for a desired outcome (such as a form fill).

Our product team elicited the help of some of our most active customers to pilot the support of LinkedIn Conversion Tracking within AdStage. We’re excited to reveal that AdStage users can both create, and import existing conversion tracking within the platform.

Want to learn more about this offering? Check out our comprehensive guide, “Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Conversion Tracking”.

LinkedIn Conversion Tracking in AdStage

Facebook Relevance Score

For years search advertisers relied on insights from Google AdWords and Bing Ads Quality Score to identify ad and keyword relevance and popularity for a specific target audience. For social advertisers, how Facebook served their creative was often a black box. With the release of ad relevance score, advertisers can now glean valuable information on how Facebook distributes and calculates the cost of their creative.

What is Facebook’s Ad Relevance Score?

“Relevance score is calculated based on the positive and negative feedback an expected ad will receive from its target audience. The more positive interactions the an ad is expected to receive, the higher the ad’s relevance score will be. The more times an ad is expected to be hid or reported, the lower its score will be.

Ads receive a relevance score between 1 and 10, with 10 being the highest. The score is updated as people interact and provide feedback on the ad.”

(source: Facebook for Business blog)

The product team is thrilled to announce relevance score is available across all three of our major product lines: management, automation, and reporting. Your ad relevance score is updated with every new account import and accessible in several views across the platform suite.

Manage

Add Relevance Score to any Facebook ad table view by selecting the “Latest Relevance Score” metric from the Select Columns drop down.

Facebook Relevance Score Support in AdStage

Automate

Create new email alerts or optimization rules based on relevance score triggers easily. Simply select “Latest Relevance Score” as an available metric in the conditions section and set your threshold.

Facebook Relevance Score in AdStage Automate

Report

Add Relevance Score as an available selected metric for any ad table reporting view. Perfect your table by using the easy drag and drop column ordering option. Finally, save it as a template for one-click future access, or schedule it as a recurring report sent to your email.

FB Relevance Score support in AdStage Report

Google Enhanced Ads Support

Google AdWords expanded the text character limits for search ads from the 25-35-35 format to a 30-30-80 format. The updated limits allow for a lot more legroom for copy, and showcased in a different format. Learn all about this update in our comprehensive post, “Everything You Need to Know About Google Enhanced Ads

AdStage users can now fully create and import any of campaigns with Enhanced Text Ads.

Google Enhanced Text Ads support in AdStage

Deep Campaign Linking in Automate

Sometimes it’s the little refinements that enhance the whole product experience. We love when our customers help us build better products (thank you to all the customers for your feedback, we built this just for you!).  Now users can easily jump right into campaign management from the Automate summary tables.

Example Use Case:

Want to understand the impact of an automated optimization rule on an individual campaign? Simply click on the campaign name in the log and an adjacent tab will take you right to that campaign view you care about in ad management.

AdStage Automate Deep Linking


New to AdStage?

Sign-up for a free 14-day trial and gain instant access to these great new features!

Free 14-day Trial to AdStage

Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Conversion Tracking

Posted by on Sep 8, 2016 in Advertising, Search, Social
Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Conversion Tracking

What is LinkedIn Conversion Tracking?

It’s the moment every B2B advertiser has been waiting for… LinkedIn just 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 is built directly within Campaign Manager to give 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 do I get started with LinkedIn Conversion Tracking?

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 “contentdownload”
  12. Click Finish.

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

 

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

How Do I 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.

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.

Add Conversion Action to Existing Campaign

  1. Log In to Campaign Manager
  2. Click the Account and Campaign you’d like to add Conversion Action(s) to.
  3. Click settings (gear icon), located next to your Campaign name and select Select Conversions Select Conversions LinkedIn Conversion Tracking
  4. Check the boxes next to all the Conversion Actions you want to apply to your campaign. Apply LinkedIn Conversion Tracking to Campaigns AdStage Blog
  5. Click Apply

Add Conversion Action to New Campaign

  1. Create new campaign
  2. Click Select Conversions
  3. 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

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 Conversion tab 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 Cart conversion type which will allows for counting multiple e-commerce actions within a 30-day window.

What Can I Do with LI Conversion Tracking?

LinkedIn advertising offers marketers an unparalleled opportunity to reach a global audience of 450 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 👇

6 Killer PPC Lessons Learned You Need to Know

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Advertising, Social
6 Killer PPC Lessons Learned You Need to Know

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Experts Fiona Gallagher and Hilal Koc:

6 Key Lessons for Marketers from Advertising Week Europe

What can we learn from Advertising Week Europe….

As a platform, LinkedIn has become a top way for companies and individuals to connect with one another and expand each other’s network.  Over time, however, its services across industries have grown and become more innovative, especially for marketers.

One of those new features is LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, which helps trend-savvy marketers make themselves known in the greater community and connect with key thought-leaders.  At the end of the day, all who use it will benefit from it.

This blog post features LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’s UK Field Marketing Manager, Fiona Gallagher, and Hilal Koc, the Partner Program Manager EMEA.  Through LinkedIn’s blog, “LinkedIn Marketing Solutions”, Fiona writes about her experiences while attending Advertising Week Europe with Koc.

Attracting marketers, advertising and technology experts from across the globe, this advertising conference holds more than 200 seminars and workshops which tackle today’s top marketing trends and issues. It has become the hub for marketers to share their insights and experiences with each other.

So what does one do with all of this information? Even for marketers who were unable to attend Advertising Week Europe, there is still much to be gained. Fiona Gallagher and Hilal Koc share the 6 lessons learned from Ad Week Europe and uncover how marketers, advertisers and tech experts can better use LinkedIn to apply those lessons to their marketing campaigns.

The 6 Killer PPC Lessons Learned from AdWeek Europe

1. Brand purpose is the source of competitive advantage

Making oneself as competitive as possible becomes a whole lot simpler when one’s brand has a clear, defined purpose.  In a recent research presentation study called Insights 2020 by the Advertising Research Foundation, 80% of the featured brands revealed that brand purpose was the main driver of their internal and external marketing initiatives.  If marketers can encompass a direct purpose or overarching goal into everything they do, their competitiveness is guaranteed to increase.

This seems almost intuitive, but what does a marketer need to do in order to give purpose to their brand? According to Gallagher and Koc, the way to do this is to listen to what your audience is saying and be as authentic as possible.  What are they responding to the best and what are they not responding to?  Talk to thought-leaders and other marketers and create a community on LinkedIn.

2. B2B choice more emotive than B2C ones

This lesson makes sense, but it may not seem clear to some marketers at first.  With B2B interactions you are handling not just the needs of an individual, but the needs of another business.  It will have outcomes that will affect the company and its employees, which means much higher stakes. To quote another thought-leader, Laura Milsted, “If you buy a pair of trainers and don’t like them, you can always take them back.

In B2B, the implications are a lot bigger – and therefore the choice is a lot more emotional”. In some ways, marketers are asked to disregard B2B as Business to Business and consider it a little more like B2P (Business to People), because it takes into account their everyday lives and personal motives/interests outside of the company.

The easiest way to do this is to make the brand as relatable as possible and make more connections to deeper motivations.  This makes it more inclusive and community-based so that decisions can be made with more transparency between businesses.

3. Marketing’s use of technology needs to put the consumer first

As marketing becomes more and more digital, it can be easy to think that the more you produce, the more successful you will be.  However, digital marketing doesn’t come without its own digital barriers, i.e. ad-blocking. Despite its negative connotation, objectively, it is the consumer’s reaction against marketing’s free-rein use of technology.  More doesn’t always mean better for all consumers.

The biggest mistake a marketer can make in response to ad-blockers is to blame consumers for enabling them.  Rather, marketers must be diligent to approach advertising in a more personalized way. This means adding more value and quality to everything that is produced.  Marketers who put themselves in the shoes of the consumer can better picture how their content is perceived.

The next three lessons are tips Fiona Gallagher and Hilal Koc believe were overlooked during Advertising Week Europe, but feel they are important to discuss.

4. Brands need new creative ways to build trust with consumers

In the fast-moving industry of advertising and marketing, several marketing tactics are becoming less popular, such as broadcast and TV marketing.  More and more companies are using social media and digital marketing platforms to advertise, but using them isn’t enough.

Marketers and digital advertisers are now forced to be more creative than ever to appeal more to consumers, coming up with newer and smarter strategies.  Adobe, for example, has exemplified the push for creativity by introducing “30 Days of Buzzwords”.  This was met with much success because it left consumers with more knowledge than before and the time-period gave them something to look forward to.  Thinking outside the box and challenging each other will go a long way.

5. Marketers need to focus on measuring content rather than just making it

Even when marketers are producing meaningful content, repurposing their brand and listening to their audience, failure to manage that content will result in missed opportunities and less success.  After putting in all the work to make their marketing campaigns successful, one cannot assume that the work is done.

Finding a way to measure the success of the ad campaigns and making changes accordingly is the most important final step in this process.  What pieces of information are the most useful to track in order to optimize conversions and gain more traffic?

Marketers should:

  1. Identify the most important metrics to measure.
  2. Align the reporting terminology i.e. keeping everything together in one platform.
  3. Test and optimize.  This is the way to make the most out of their content.

6. Storytelling increasingly involves creating stories themselves

Again, this also seems pretty simple to understand, but perhaps it is the reason why it may be overlooked.  The marketing environment must be more open and innovative in every aspect, otherwise, the industry cannot hope to grow as well as it can.  It is necessary to establish a positive framework and have it be inclusive.  Consumers can then feel like they’re part of the process and their needs are being met.

All-In-All

The most important things that Gallagher and Koc want marketers to know is that when you’re creating marketing and ad campaigns, you must show that all your content is part of a greater picture.  Content is strong when the brand can be recognized within it.

It must be thought out and have the consumer in mind, requiring in some ways for marketers to play both sides.  In addition, it is key to not only appeal to one’s audience, but to keep them engaged and satisfied through creativity and an open environment.

To gain more insights and best practices from Fiona Gallagher and Hilal Koc, be sure to check out LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ featured webcast and blog post here.

The big lessons we took away from Ad Week Europe

6 Lessons from Advertising Week Europe 2016 Live Webcast

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Get Started with $250 in Free LinkedIn Ad Credit!

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Advertising, Social
Get Started with $250 in Free LinkedIn Ad Credit!

Not Running LinkedIn Advertising Campaigns? Why You’re Missing Out on a Huge Opportunity.

How to Generate Quality Leads with LinkedIn Sponsored Content.

As a marketer, you’re likely already advertising on a few major social channels like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. How do you know if you’re choosing the right channel?

If you’re a B2B brand or high-value B2C brand, you’ll likely want to reach an audience of professionals: influencers, business decision-makers, and individuals with purchasing power.

According to a recent Content Marketing Institute study, LinkedIn outperforms all other social networks in terms of achieving B2B business goals. More than 60% of B2B marketers rated the network as either effective or very effective, compared to 55% for Twitter and 32% for Facebook.

This rapidly growing global presence of 400 million professionals makes LinkedIn the ideal network to drive high quality leads through engaging content.

In this post we’ll help you determine if Sponsored Content are right for you AND a chance to Get $250 in free LinkedIn ad credit to test drive!

Is LinkedIn Sponsored Content Right for You?

What is LinkedIn Sponsored Content?

Sponsored Content are optimized to the user’s browsing experience while they’re consuming content without disrupting the user’s content stream – whether on their desktops, tablets, or smartphones. You can leverage Sponsored Content to drive leads or build brand awareness by publishing promoted content to the LinkedIn feed, where members engage with other thought leaders. This allows you to reach a highly targeted audience of professionals beyond your LinkedIn Company Page followers.

Who Should Use LinkedIn Sponsored Content?

If you are a content, social, or demand generation marketer who want to achieve any of the following:

  1. Reach a premium, professional audience
    • One of the most valuable aspects of advertising on LinkedIn is its audience demographic. The majority of users are older than 30 with high earning and buying potential. In addition to their individual buying potential, 80% of LinkedIn users hold B2B purchasing power and impact business decisions within their organizations.
  2. Target a specific buyer persona
    • Use rich media content to reach your ideal audience using LinkedIn’s comprehensive targeting options: job title and function, seniority, industry, company, geography, education, and more.
  3. Boost content marketing campaign ROI
    • Sponsored Updates typically receive 3x – 5x engagement than standard display ads because this form of advertising is built into the visual design. Ultimately native ads serve content within the context of the user’s experience and the content they are already engaging with on their LinkedIn feed.
  4. Captivate and capture high-quality leads
  5. Step up your mobile presence
    • 75% of Sponsored Updates is consumed on mobile devices. Engage this audience with visuals that drive traffic to mobile-optimized landing pages. It’s absolutely crucial you create responsive ads with landing pages for a mobile-friendly experience.

LinkedIn Ads Tactical Content Marketing Plan via blog.adstage.io

Get Started with $250 in Free LinkedIn Credit

Getting started with Sponsored Content is easy. All you need is a LinkedIn Company Page; this will be your main vehicle for publishing and sponsoring content on LinkedIn.

Today, AdStage users who are new to LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content can get a promo code for $250 in free LinkedIn ad credits. Ready to get started?

Claim your limited time offer below!

Get Started with $250 in Free LinkedIn Ad Credit! 6/21/16

How to Do Mobile Social Media Advertising the Right Way

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in Advertising, Social
How to Do Mobile Social Media Advertising the Right Way

Social Media Advertising: Why You Need to Keep Up with Mobile Demand

It’s an end of an era — mobile media consumption officially surpasses desktop. In fact, the mobile marketing and advertising sector is projected to grow into a $100 billion industry this year. More consumers than ever are relying on their mobile phones to power life on-the-go: from instant purchases to mobile banking to food delivery. The mobile medium is fast-paced, contextual, instantaneous and always with the user.  Getting your mobile ad campaign right is no longer suggested but required.

In this how-to guide we’ll share how to launch a successful Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn mobile ad campaign, along with creative campaign examples from companies getting mobile ads right.

mobile internet trends from Kleiner Perkins via http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends

[Image Source: KPCB 2016 Internet Trends Report]

Facebook Ad Platform

Facebook touts over 1.59 billion monthly active users with 1.44 billion monthly mobile users, making for the perfect platform to reach your target audience 24/7.

If you haven’t started a mobile ad campaign on Facebook, the time is now!

The Right Audience: Breaking Down Facebook’s Audience Insights

Facebook’s ad targeting options offer an intimate view of your ideal target audience. Use Audience Insights to leverage detailed findings and further refine messaging to potential customers. This is where you can really roll up your sleeves and dig into what makes your current customers, fans, or specific Facebook groups tick (before spending a dime).

Here’s a quick overview of the filters available for segmenting your audience:

  • Custom Audiences: view insights on any of your existing Custom Audiences. This includes email lists, phone number lists, UID lists and Website Custom Audiences (WCA) you’ve built.
  • Location: Add cities or countries to see if there are regional opportunities to deliver contextual messaging.
  • Age and Gender: As the filter implies, you can target based on age and gender (this is a pretty obvious)
  • Interests: Narrow down your results by focusing efforts only on the people who have specific interests.
    • Want to explore more ways to target with Interests? Go here.
  • Connections: Dissect the people connected (or not connected) to your page, app or event.
  • Advanced: These are the details you’ll want to dive into ASAP:
    • Behaviors:
      • Language
      • Relationship Status
      • Education
      • Financial: Income and Net Worth
      • Home: Home Type, Home Ownership, and Home Value
      • Market Segments: Ethnic Affinity, Generation and Household Composition
      • Parents: Age of Child
      • Politics (US): Conservative, Liberal, Non-Partisan
      • Life Events: New Job, Engagement, etc.
      • Device Owners

At this time you can start comparing your audience segments against a typical Facebook user using 6 main categories: Demographics, Page Likes, Location, Facebook Activity, Household and Purchase.

Pro Tip: Since we are targeting mobile audiences, make sure your audience’s primary device is mobile rather than desktop.

Compel Your Audience with Interactive Creative

Dazzle your audience and drive engagement with creative that resonates. Focus on functionality with vibrant, eye-catching images that convey product benefits. With Facebook’s carousel ad format, advertisers can optimize click performance using an interactive story across multiple frames accompanied by clear call-to-actions.

Available in image or video format, Facebook carousel ads provide space for text copy and direct links to specific areas on your site.

Want to know the best part?

Aside from the increased engagement from an interactive ad experience, carousel ads cost the same as a single-image or video ad.

Pro Tip: Be wary of the length of your ad copy for display on smaller screens.

When Should You Use Facebook’s Carousel Format?

  • E-commerce: feature multiple products with links to individual product pages.
  • Highlight features of a single product to give customers a better idea of the problems your product addresses.
  • Use the Canvas format to create a more immersive ad interaction. Canvas is a full-screen, mobile-optimized, post-click experience that can feature a combination of images, videos, text and links.
  • For SaaS companies that don’t sell physical goods, use images to convey the benefits or problems you aim to solve with your tech.

Neiman Marcus

For the Spring Shoe and Handbag line, Neiman Marcus chose a Multi-Product format to take advantage of the ad unit frames and showcase multiple products. Using complementary color themes and images Neiman Marcus used data and creative to cater to audience interest.

The campaign earned 3x the conversions and an 85% improvement in CTR, compared to their past campaigns.

Neiman Marcus Facebook Carousel Ad Format via blog.adstage.io

[Image Source]

Twitter Ad Platform

Twitter’s mobile inspired interface makes the ad platform an obvious channel to reach your audience on-the-go. With 80% of all users accessing Twitter from their mobile devices, it’s no surprise 85% of all ad revenue for Twitter also came from mobile phones. That means businesses looking to leverage the social network need to cater, and capitalize on the mobile markets.

What are Twitter Cards?

Mobile Twitter Ad Unit Formats via blog.adstage.io

Twitter now offers marketers the freedom to drive qualified leads to their website, product page, blog post, and listen or view content. Twitter Cards allow you to optimize more space and attach rich photos, videos and media to Tweets without the 140 character restriction, normally enforced.

“With Twitter Cards, you can attach rich photos, videos and media experience to Tweets that drive traffic to your website. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpage, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “Card” added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers.” – Twitter Dev Guide

So, how do you get started with Twitter ads?

We’ve put together a quick guide outlining available campaign types, ad formats, and how to measure your results.

Choose Your Campaign Objective

Twitter Ad Campaign Objectives chart via blog.adstage.io

Types of Twitter Cards

Summary Card

Use Summary Cards to promote web content like blog posts, news articles, products, and store-fronts. The card is designed to give users a preview of the content before clicking through to your website.

  • Title: 70 characters
    • iOS & Android truncate the title to two lines in timeline and expanded Tweet
  • Description: 200 characters
    • Description is not displayed on iOS & Android
  • Image: Minimum 120px x 120px, but less than 1MB file size.
    • Image will be cropped to a square on all platforms (web, iOS, & Android)

Summary Card with Large Image

The Summary Card with Large Image can be used to promote various types of web content. Twitter’s Summary Card with Large Image can feature a full-width image with a tweet. This gives readers a seamless, rich media experience while interacting with your ad.

Pro Tip: On mobile clients the image appears below the tweet text.

  • Title: 70 characters
    • iOS & Web truncate title to one line in timeline & expanded Tweet
  • Android truncates title to two lines in timeline & expanded Tweet
  • Description: 200 characters
    • iOS truncates to one line in timeline & expanded Tweet
    • Android does not display description
  • Image: at least 280px x 150px, but less than 1MB file size

App Card

Leverage App Cards to promote your mobile app and drive installs directly from Twitter’s native platform. You can display a name, description and icon, and also accentuate mobile app specific attributes like ratings and price. App Cards not only allow marketers to drive downloads, but more importantly, you can deep-link from this Card into your mobile app.

NOTE: Platform-specific URLs are deep links into you app. If you don’t support a particular platform, omit tags for that platform from your site.

  • Title: Rendered from App ID
  • Description: 200 characters
    • iOS truncates to one line in timeline & expanded Tweet
    • Android does not display description
  • Image: App logo is rendered from App ID.
    • Make sure the image is at least 800px x 320px
    • Accepted image formats include JPG, JPEG, PNG, or GIF

Player Card

Use a Player Card to stream media experience like live video or audio player right inside your Tweet. This format is ideal for video or audio content-heavy businesses, promoting assets like Vines or podcasts. Unlike other ad formats, you will need to implement a few HTML meta tags to your website.

Player Cards on Twitter’s iPhone and Android native apps, initially displays an image preview with a ‘play’ icon overlay.

  • Description: 200 characters
    • Displayed in place of the player on platforms that don’t support iframes or inline players.
    • Same dimensions as your player; no more than 1MB
  • Video: H.264, baseline profile, level 3.0, up to 640px x 480px at 30fps.
  • Audio: AAC, Low Complexity Profile

Pro Tip #1: All video and audio content must default to “sound off”. If the streaming content plays automatically, you must include stop, pause and play controls. In addition, you can’t require users to sign in to your ad experience.

Pro Tip #2: For easy implementation tips visit: Twitter Cards Getting Started Bundle.

Pro Tip #3: To expedite ad approval process visit Player Card: Approval Guide.

Lead Generation Card

Create a lead generation card to easily collect email addresses and other information without requiring a form submission. Use cards to promote an event, content offer, email subscription, demo request, or webinar registration — just to name a few.

  • Title: 50 characters
  • Call to action: 20 characters
  • Post-submit message (optional): 100 characters
  • Short Description: when a user clicks on the card, the tweet will expand and reveal more details. Emphasize the value and/or benefit of your offer.
  • Image: at least 800px x 200px with a 4:1 aspect ratio. No more than 1 MB
    • You can include a GIF in a Twitter card. Other supported formats include: JPG, JPEG, and PNG

Columbia University Business School

With Lead Generation Cards businesses can connect with their audience offline and engage potential customers. Columbia Business School is promoting an upcoming webinar with a Lead Generation Card.

When you expand the tweet, you see a short description using actionable language like ‘Join’ along with a call-to-action: ‘Register Now’.

The following screen features a prominent call-to-action (‘Register Now’) button where I can easily submit my information including @username and email address.

 

Columbia Business School Twitter Lead Generation Card via blog.adstage.ioColumbia Business School Twitter Lead Generation Card Screen Shot 3 via blog.adstage.ioColumbia Business School Twitter Lead Generation Card Screen Shot 3 via blog.adstage.io

Learn more advanced Twitter advertising tips like audience targeting check out: How to Use Twitter Ads for Lead Generation

Track Number of Leads from Your Campaign

Keep in mind: to ensure your advertising spend aligns with your overall marketing goals, measure how users respond to your ads with Twitter Analytics.

Use Twitter Analytics to:

  • Gain valuable audience insights for improved targeting with monthly Twitter stat reports.
  • Discover power users in the midst for a co-branding collaboration.
  • Track the success of your Twitter Cards. The possibilities are endless!

The more you test, the better you can aim your campaigns for a higher ROI.

LinkedIn Ad Platform

HubSpot Quote Creative Mobile Posts via blog.adstage.io

LinkedIn’s user base of highly affluent, educated, and influential professionals continues to steadily increase year after year. Currently, LinkedIn hosts 380+ million members worldwide and of these 380+ million users, 7.9 million are business decision makers.

LinkedIn’s Direct Sponsored Content offers B2B marketers a way to reach users at scale 24/7 because these ad units appear in feeds native to desktop, tablet, and mobile experience.

LinkedIn Ads Tactical Content Marketing Plan via blog.adstage.io

[Image Source]

How to Convert Highly Qualified Leads with LinkedIn Ads

What is Direct Sponsored Content?

Direct Sponsored Content is a Sponsored Update that does not appear on the Company Page or Showcase Page. It allows advertisers to share relevant content with a highly targeted audience without having to originate posts on your LinkedIn Company Page. It allows your company to personalize, test, and iterate messaging to improve content performance for a specific demographic without cluttering Company Page or Showcase Page. —LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn Sponsored Update Mobile Engagement Statistic via blog.adstage.io

What Type of Sponsored Content Should You Share?

LinkedIn members already engage with high-quality content from news sites, thought leaders, connections and brands. Sponsored Content is an opportunity to join the on-going conversation with a premium audience of business decision-makers by appearing in the same feed as the content they’re already interacting with.

Overview of Content to Share

  • Company News
  • Blog Content
  • Industry News & Research
  • Case Studies
  • Webinars
  • Content Product by Business Leaders (both internal & external to your company)
  • Compelling Visuals & Statistics

Sponsored Content Best Practices

Copywriting Tips

  • Open with questions
  • Use “You” when speaking to your audience
  • Numbered Lists
  • Direct users with a clear call-to-action (CTA)
  • Keep the text accompanying posts under 100 characters
  • Test, Test, Test your titles and descriptions

Other Campaign Considerations

  • Select compelling visuals (1200×627)
  • Run 2 – 4 sponsored content assets for 3 weeks
  • Add URL tracking code to track post-click conversions
  • Iterate visuals + title + description
  • Set Up Campaigns by Audience
  • Maximize relevancy with effective targeting
  • Shift budget to audience with the highest engagement rate to optimize conversions
  • MAKE SURE YOUR LANDING PAGE AND/OR WEBSITE IS OPTIMIZED FOR MOBILE

How you package compelling content with insights will determine if your Sponsored Content can generate brand awareness, establish trust and nudge quality leads further down the sales funnel.

Keep on Target: How to Exclude Specific LinkedIn Audiences

Whether the goal is to develop thought leadership or drive website conversions, specifying audience targeting parameters increases is the key to optimizing campaign performance.

Figure out who wants to buy your product. With LinkedIn you can find professionals based industry, job title, skills, and company. It’s important to not over-target.

Why place your ad in front of audiences that don’t work for you? With exclusion you can prevent your ad being placed in front of the wrong audiences such as:

  • Current Customers: If you don’t require repeat purchases, exclude current customers to prevent wasted ad spend.
  • Competitors: Keep them guess and prevent inspiration from your hard work.

Two ways to avoid these costly audience problems:

  1. Manually remove each of them by company name or
  2. Use AdStage’s bulk editor tool to automatically remove these audience members across your campaigns.

HubSpot: LinkedIn for Lead Generation

To engage users and drive new leads, HubSpot went to LinkedIn to connect with marketing professionals. HubSpot used Sponsored Content to gain visibility. HubSpot crafted content (such as the template download they offered in the ad below) aimed at their target audience and engage potential prospects.

HubSpot LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ad Example via blog.adstage.io

[Image Source]
HubSpot used LinkedIn’s targeting options to map each piece of content to fit a segment’s pain point. To capture strong leads, the marketing team leveraged conversion data to keep iterating best performing pieces.

The results?

HubSpot gained 400% more leads within their target audience compared to other platforms.

Key Takeaways

  1. Make responsive ads and landing pages for a mobile-friendly experience
  2. Fit each platform’s unique strength to your campaign goals
  3. Use data analytics to measure success, and focus on what content works best for you.
  4. Facebook Ad Platform
    • most popular social media with highest number of daily viewers
  5. Twitter Ad Platform
    • utilize real-time engagement and create hype for your brand or event by incentivizing hashtag use, brand mentions, and retweets
  6. LinkedIn Ad Platform
    • place your ad in front of professionals ready to solve their business problems with your product

The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads that Convert via blog.adstage.io

Get Started with $250 in Free LinkedIn Ad Credit! via blog.adstage.io

How to Drive B2B Pipeline with Social Ads

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Advertising, Social
How to Drive B2B Pipeline with Social Ads

This article is Part I in a 4-part series, How to Drive B2B Pipeline with Social Ads.

In this series we challenge the traditional definition of a successful campaign where the sole focus is to generate new contacts. We’ll cover how to align advertising spend with true business value, instead of using vanity metrics (i.e. number of scheduled demos). A minor shift in how you approach lead generation can positively impact sales cycles, increase close rates, and boost revenue. Enter the disciplined practice of Pipeline Marketing.

*Credit to Aaron & Dave of Bizible, one of the first to develop the terminology of Pipeline Marketing.

Introduction

Did you know a 2014 Google study revealed: “56% of Digital Ads are never seen”? Early display advertising used parameters so broad, ads were not shown at all – let alone to the right audience segment.  In the past, advertisers resorted to huge web publisher data to reveal audience insights. The problem with relying on web publisher data is the information is too broad and undependable. Meanwhile, bots and malware drain ad budgets and tally up zombie page views.

The early 2000s ushered in a wave of Social Networks and quickly amassed huge membership numbers. Members flocked to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to interact with a global community of like-minded people.  Social networks started to  recognized the value in collecting a wealth of user data including psychographics, activities, and behaviors to analyze and distribute insights. These networks continued to experience exponential growth, they explored new ways to leverage valuable user data and generate revenue through an advertising model.

Marketers can now access personal information to target specific audiences with tailored campaigns. Compared to costly a television or newspaper ad, social networks offer marketers a more budget-friendly way to reach a specific audience.  Also, the ability to measure a campaign’s impact on the business means more accurate optimizations.

The Truth About B2B Lead Generation

Traditionally, digital B2B marketers defined lead generation as a set of tactics to drive more web visits, conversions, and lead volume into our database. Optimizing towards broad KPIs such as web forms submissions, and average cost per lead. In an interview with Craig Rosenberg, Chief Analyst at TOPO, referred to Demand Generation as “lighting up the scoreboard” or a marketer’s ability to drive a high volume of leads. Yet, it was soon discovered volume-based approach can be inefficient and costly.

So, just how wasteful is the top-down funnel?

Forrester cites an average of 0.75% of B2B organizations’ leads turn into closed revenue.

Before you hang up your hat and join a code academy, this stat isn’t as shocking when you think about how far MarTech has come. Historically, digital marketers could only optimize the KPIs offered through web analytics and PPC platforms. This posed a big problem because these tracking mechanisms didn’t account for sales touches. The rapid evolution in the MarTech landscape lifted the limitations felt from a lack of technology.  In just 3 years the number of marketing solutions grew from ~150 solutions in 2011 to over 3,500 today. The maturation and adoption of CRM, Marketing Automation, Customer Success and Attribution solutions have enabled the modern marketer to accurately track the customer journey.

PART I: Targeting the Right Prospects

A common targeting practice in B2B lead generation is to cast with a wide net and whittle down based on cost-per-conversion numbers. Hopefully, by process of elimination, you’ll eventually reach your ideal customer base. While big conversion numbers are exciting, we often find these leads don’t result in a sale.

Have you ever found yourself in a scenario where the lowest cost-per-lead campaigns actually had the worst impact on revenue?

Below is an example of two ad campaigns with the same budget of $5,000. If you only optimize and track average cost-per-lead, Campaign A appears to be the clear winner. However, if you follow leads through the full sales funnel, Campaign B produces a far greater ROAS (return on ad spend).

How to Drive B2B Pipeline with Social Ads via blog.adstage.io

So how do you increase revenue using digital advertising? It starts with the audience targeting. This equates to defining an Ideal Customer Profile and being in lock-step in your approach with sales. Let’s break down each approach.

Define Your Ideal Customer Profile

The key to defining your ideal customer profile is to narrow your focus. Rather than incurring high costs and low conversion rates through wide audience targeting parameters, conduct thorough research prior to launching your campaign. Identify the most lucrative industries, companies, and roles for your product or service and target with relevant messaging. Going through this exercise will help you define your Ideal Customer Profile.

There are two great sources to aid with this process:

Use Data

Today, marketers have more points of data on their customers than ever before. Your CRM and Marketing Automation systems reveal a wealth of customer insights.

Create Your Social Ad Profile via blog.adstage.ioCustomer Data in CRM B2B Pipeline Social Ads blog.adstage.io

Talk to Customers for B2B Pipeline Social Ads via blog.adstage.ioCustomer Data CRM B2B Pipeline Social Ads via blog.adstage.io

Export this data into a spreadsheet and tease out trends are specific to your target audience. Continue to iterate on these assumptions to refine your customer profiles.

Have a Conversation with Your Customers

Take some time to pick your customer’s brain with open ended questions and avoid asking leading questions. Learn why they decided to purchase your product/service, what does the decision-making cycle looked like, and how they position your service/product offering. Customers will often reveal previously unknown use cases, dead-simple product positioning, and insights into common objections during the buying process.

Expand Into Key Accounts

Despite extensive research and buyer persona development, your sales team understands both your customer profile and their needs. Often times better than marketing. Your sales team is out in the field talking to customers directly about their current issues and objections. Look to harness this knowledge to your advantage.

It’s time to put on your hazmat suit and head down to the sales ‘pit’. Account Executives exhaustively spend the first part of every month curating a list of top prospect accounts and to connect with and offer a solution. This list is pure gold to a marketer, but often not shared due to departmental silos.

Ask your AEs (nicely) to export their top prospect lists from Salesforce into a .csv.

Include the following:

  • Company Name (Account)
  • Prospect Names (Contacts)
  • Job Titles

Next, interview both the Sales Development Reps (SDRs) and Account Executives. Try to understand the typical buying process for each customer profile type.

This includes:

  • Typical number of team members involved
  • Champions
  • Influencers
  • Decision makers
    • The common job titles for each

Now you can compile the list of company names with job titles and use these characteristics in LinkedIn advertising campaigns for a narrow targeting focus.

Reach Key Accounts and Decision Makers with LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 440+ million users. LinkedIn’s ad platform offers perfect conditions for B2B audience targeting because you’re able to show ads based on your ideal customer profile (which we defined in the last exercise).

Utilize a mix of company, function, and job title to reach specific prospects within your key account list. LinkedIn allows you to target up to 100 companies within a single campaign.

Below are some targeting combinations you can select based on the campaign’s value proposition:

  • Creating campaigns using Sales’ top account and prospect lists
    • Company + function + geo targeting
  • Creating campaigns based on the Ideal Customer Profile
    • Company + job title + geo targeting
    • Company + function + skills + geo targeting

Learn advanced techniques in our Comprehensive LinkedIn Ads Guide.

What types of B2B companies should be running LinkedIn campaigns?

  • High priced sale or high lifetime value (LTV) for product/services
  • Robust sales teams with aggressive growth goals
  • Companies with an Account-Based Marketing approach
  • Advertising budgets of $10,000 or more per month
  • Enterprise SaaS which often pairs well with all of the above

Stay tuned for the second installment of How to Drive B2B Pipeline with Social Ads. In Part II we will reveal how to engage existing prospects and previous web visitors to accelerate the average sales cycle.

Want expert insights into LinkedIn Ads? Find advanced tips and best practices in our Advanced Guide!

The Advanced Guide to LinkedIn Ads via blog.adstage.io

AJ Wilcox Talks Targeting, ROI, and LinkedIn Ads

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Advertising, Social
AJ Wilcox Talks Targeting, ROI, and LinkedIn Ads

Veteran online marketing guy, AJ Wilcox fell in love with LinkedIn advertising years ago and never looked back. He went on to quit his then-position at a local tech company to pursue building the first agency to specialize just in LinkedIn advertising, B2Linked.

AJ sat down with us to lend his expertise on this mostly uncharted platform; including the best ways to target specific audiences that naturally result in higher ROI for your LinkedIn ad campaigns.

Below are some highlights from the podcast. Check it out!

What Verticals Work Best?

The verticals that work really well on LinkedIn generally fall under two main categories:

  1. Recruiting
  2. SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)

The recruiting sector sees a lot of success here because LinkedIn’s platform caters to business networking; naturally, it performs extremely well on the ad side. While some argue an expensive cost per click, SaaS companies attract highly qualified prospects whose lifetime customer value (LTV) is greater than acquiring prospects from other channels with cheaper click costs. Ultimately if a SaaS product is sticky enough, spending hard earned dollars on LinkedIn ad campaigns could mean a significant impact on the bottom line for your business.

LinkedIn Audience Targeting: Always Start Small

Rule of thumb: to ensure ads are shown to the relevant audience, always aim to target a narrow population. LinkedIn offers granular targeting options to help focus the campaign audience scope.

LinkedIn Recommendations for Audience Size

  • For Sponsored Content they suggest a minimum of 300,000 (I would recommend trying to narrow this with targeting options below)
  • For Text Ads the majority of advertisers target between 60,000 – 400,000 (again try to narrow with targeting options)
  • For Sponsored InMail stay within the 100,000 range

LinkedIn Targeting Options

  • Location (required field): Geographic location is based on location specified by the member or the IP address location of relevant within a specific geographic region
  • Company Name: Current employer listed on member’s profile (partially inferred)
  • Company Industry: The industry of the company at which the member is employed
  • Company Size: As listed on the Company Page of the member’s current employer
  • Job Title: Standardized from member-entered job title
  • Job Function: inferred from member-entered job title
  • Job Seniority: inferred from member-entered job title
  • Skills: Member-entered skills in the Skills & Endorsements section on their profile, skills mentioned in their profile text, or inferred skills based on their listed skills
  • Schools: Member-entered schools (partially inferred)
  • Degrees: Standardized from member-entered degrees
  • Fields of Study: Standardized from member-entered degrees
  • Groups: Specific LinkedIn Groups that member within your target audience has joined
  • Gender: Inferred in English from first name of member
  • Age: Inferred from member’s last graduation year

Take very narrow segments of the population and build campaigns targeting each segment with more contextual copy. This way, not only will your leads be more qualified to actually convert (or use your product), but with this wealth of demographic knowledge you’ll glean valuable insights about your desired target audience. For example, with narrow targeting you learn how to refine your content strategy by analyzing which messages resonate with different audience segments.

Where to Target: Going Beyond the Job Title

When setting up your audience, LinkedIn has more than plenty of options to choose from and can be overwhelming. Most marketers will tell you to start with job title. Because of that fact, this makes it the most competitive.

Also, not everybody has a “targetable” job title, for example: “growth hacker”. This doesn’t quite signal a level of seniority. How do you reach them?

  1. Job title: if you have the budget, test it
  2. Combine job function and seniority
  3. Take a skill only someone in that industry would have: FMLA if you’re targeting HR
  4. Targeting groups

Use all four of these targeting options and compare each of the outcomes. See which has the lower cost per click and cost per lead, then keep iterating on that copy for the specified targeting parameters.

The Advanced Guide to LinkedIn Ads via blog.adstage.io

Competitive Targeting: Does It Work?

Competitive targeting is very effective at getting attention. Unfortunately, when you target competitors you’ll see high CTR, but most users won’t take actions. They don’t want their name tied to it, right?

Instead, try covert and stealthy route. Exclude your competitors. If you don’t let them see what you’re doing, their marketing team is left in the dark. That way, they can’t gain any insight from your strategy.

Measuring Success

Attribution and analytics can be quite difficult using LinkedIn since conversion tracking isn’t built into the platform (yet).

However, there are some key key metrics available to determine performance:

Click-Thru-Rate (CTR) is a powerful metric for optimizing LinkedIn ad campaigns given the level of detail in selecting your ideal audience. When talking to your ideal audience you have to measure how the audience is engaging with your brand past the user’s ‘click’. On the other hand, CTR doesn’t always turn into a conversion. To analyze ad performance in terms of the full funnel and for the business, Cost per Lead (CPL) is a good metric to keep in mind. The Cost per Lead metric measures how cost-effective your LinkedIn campaigns in generating new leads for your sales pipeline. This metric provides data to use in your return on investment (ROI) calculation. A campaign is considered a success when there’s a low cost per lead with a high volume of quality leads.

Use both metrics to understand exactly who it is you’re talking to and what customized messages engages that audience.

Use Google Analytics to Your Advantage

Tracking on LinkedIn is worth the effort. Make sure that all of your links are tagged properly with your Google Analytics using the UTM parameters. The most overlooked parameter is UTM_Content, which allows you to tag at an ad level. The more you tag, the better understanding of your audience you’ll have.

Pro Tip: Learn How to Track LinkedIn Conversion in Google Analytics

Comparing Ad Units

Text Ads have been around since ‘08, most users are blind to these ad formats. Generally the CTR is pretty low with 4 clicks out of every 10,000 views, making it easy to overlook text ads. However, if you have an experience that isn’t mobile-friendly, these may be the ads for you: 100% of their traffic comes from desktop.

Sponsored Updates the sexier ad unit of the two, allows for more real estate and a much larger image to captivate an audience’s attention. You are allowed 128 characters for an intro, 38 characters for a headline, 155 characters for a description, and an 800 pixels-wide image that appears in the user’s feed.

The cost between a text ad click and sponsored updates click is usually in parity. Sponsored updates, for the most part, seems like the best bang for your buck. It probably is, but only if you avoid delivering a poor mobile experience; otherwise your ad may spend a more money with little return.

Pro Tip: Learn How to Engage Your Audience with LinkedIn Content

Wrapping It Up

When creating your LinkedIn ad campaign always remember:

  • ABT ( Always Be Testing) Make sure you know what works for you to ensure you make the most from your ad spend.
  • Slice your audience finely, so you can target specific folks with the right message.

 

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Larger Canvas with Rich Media Sponsored Updates

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 in Advertising, Social
Larger Canvas with Rich Media Sponsored Updates

As one of LinkedIn’s official Ads API partners, we have thousands of customers running LinkedIn Ads on our platform. One of the most common questions we are asked about LinkedIn is “How do I run Sponsored Updates with the larger image?”

 

For advertisers that are new to LinkedIn Ads or have the same question, this ad format is slightly different from the traditional Sponsored Update in that, not only does the photo appear larger in the feed, it doesn’t have as many text fields for your ad. The larger image, as shown below, and is referred to as Rich Media Sponsored Updates.

Rich Media Sponsored Updates

Rich Media Sponsored Update

Rich Media Sponsored Update

Sponsored Update

Standard Sponsored Update

 

Starting today, we’re excited to announce that AdStage now supports full campaign creation, optimization, conversion tracking, and reporting for LinkedIn’s Rich Media Sponsored Updates.

With the larger canvas, your ad stands out more, and you can add other types of files to your ad such as PowerPoint presentations, YouTube videos, PDF files, and of course, the same sized image you’re already using for Sponsored Updates that renders much larger to users.adstage rich media sponsored updates

In addition to a uniform workflow to create all your ads in one location, the AdStage platform offers additional tools to optimize and measure your LinkedIn Ad performance.

Dayparting on LinkedIn

You can schedule or daypart your campaigns on LinkedIn, using the Automated Rules app. Setting up a dayparting rule takes less than 2 minutes and can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars from wasted ad impressions on the weekends or evenings.

Dayparting on LinkedIn

Conversion Tracking on LinkedIn

If you’re running any direct response campaigns such as lead generation, conversion tracking is crucial for making better optimization and budget decisions. With AdStage, we auto-append your URLs with our proprietary conversion tracking solution and all conversions are reported on directly in the performance tables.

conversion tracking on linkedin ads

 

Join thousands of other LinkedIn advertisers and try the AdStage platform today. You’ll be able to run LinkedIn Sponsored Updates at scale and we definitely recommend testing both the traditional Sponsored Update and the Rich Media format to see how your audience responds to the various ad formats. Your free trial awaits.

Get Started with $250 in Free LinkedIn Ad Credit! via blog.adstage.io