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This week’s PPCChat session was hosted by AJ Wilcox where PPC experts discussed all about LinkedIn advertising, their thoughts about LinkedIn advertising platform’s performance, what features they would like to see in it, any recent LinkedIn update that they are excited about, the LinkedIn ad unit that has been fruitful for them and more.

Here is the screencap of the discussion that took place.

ppcchat discussion


Q1: Have you run LinkedIn Ads? If so, what are your thoughts on its performance?


Yes, good performance for the most part. Have mostly stuck to job title and matched audiences. – @SEMFlem

I have run them but only had success with super high spending clients. – @KyleShurtz

No, but I hear they cost a pretty penny. – @Howdy_Doughty

Obv yes. Most successful for high-value B2B leadgen, white-collar recruiting, and higher-ed placement. Deeply useful for Customer Lifetime Values of $15k+. – @wilcoxaj

Yes, but it has been a while since I’ve directly pulled the levers. Dusting off my skillz. I love LinkedIn, if the post click funnel is measured because they tend to be a longer conversion from lead to cash. – @HeatherCooan

Yes, killing it since 2013 – @MrAguilar_

We have run them, but successful performance is limited on its sub vertical. – @JonKagan

Jumping in late here. I love LinkedIn Ads! Expect high CPCs, but if you have strong content offers, solid audience targets (ideal companies to pursue) it’s great for B2B long-funnel engagement. – @PPCHartman

Yes! I’ve seen both good and bad. If your targeting and offering are on point then. – @markpgus

I’ve run Linkedin Ads, although not as often Google and Facebook. CPC was high. – @mikecrimmins

I run them now! I find LinkedIn text ads to be awful in terms of CTR and actual site engagement, sponsored InMail a bit better but no significant actions being taken or time spent on site – love any tips on how to change this. – @amaliaefowler

Yes. Love LinkedIn for B2B and higher education. – @GeenaNazareth

Yes, and mixed. It’s improved a lot as a platform, and the current offer is not bad, if you’re doing lead-gen or traffic goals. Boo on conversions. boo I say. – @JuliaVyse

Yes for multiple different industries: recruiting, sourcing, healthcare, SaaS. Performance was always a mixed bag, sometimes we’d see some great stuff happening then other times it was expensive and conversions were frustratingly low. – @timmhalloran

Yes, but not running any currently. I want so badly to love them bc great targeting potential, but I could never get the conv volume/CPL to make it worthwhile. – @akaEmmaLouise

Yes, and performance has varied drastically depending on industry. – @DigiKat826

Yes. Seen both good & bad. Gotta have the right numbers & funnel performance to make it a profitable channel, which is why we do these chats. – @robert_brady

Ran then a long time ago but it was a bad fit for the platform. Have always found it expensive and very low-volume, but that can be a good thing. – @ferkungamaboobo


Q2: Will LinkedIn Ads play a role in your advertising strategy in 2019? Why or why not?


Yes for sure. I feel there needs to be much better lead nurturing strategies in place to make it effective. – @KyleShurtz

Yes, just got a higher ed client and you said LI is good for higher ed 🙂 – @SEMFlem

Potentially! We are looking to put more focus on LI for our internal marketing efforts moving forward. For now the focus is organic, but ppc may play a part in that depending on our goals. – @Howdy_Doughty

Yupcha! Video ads are performing nicely and video is only getting bigger. – @MrAguilar_

Yes. I tend to use content forward multi-channel media plans with a robust database nurture and programmatic follow-up. LinkedIn is a great platform for this kind of strategy now with audience match. – @HeatherCooan

only for b2b clients, for those, we’re scaling. – @JonKagan

A number of my B2B clients are increasing their LinkedIn Ads investments for various reasons, including new LI video ads, webinar on-demand promotion, or just being fed up with PPC’s keyword-based targeting. Audiences are better. LI quality trumps FB. – @PPCHartman

Not unless some nice B2B company wants to come and swoop me away from my current B2C situation. – @markpgus

Not currently running any linkedin ads, but looking at them for internal new biz development. – @mikecrimmins

Always – LinkedIn is one of many tools in my toolbox as a strategist and account manager – if its a fit, we’ll give it a go. I think ignoring its presence does a disservice to my clients (despite my hardcore AdWords bias). – @amaliaefowler

it depends on the goal. If it’s content marketing it’s the lead channel. Quite a performance drop off after that for high CPCs – @jstatad

I foresee it making a comeback. I’ve been reading about CPCs going down, and I’m starting to work with some larger-budget clients so it might make sense to test again down the road. – @akaEmmaLouise

Depends on the types of clients that come my way, their budgets, and if their products/services would be a good fit. – @DigiKat826

LI’s targeting plays an important role in our overall ABM strategy. We’re testing those waters this year in order to invest more confidently in 2019. – @tunadonut


Q3: What’s your favorite part about LinkedIn Ads?


I absolutely love the targeting for B2B. Nothing out there like it on any platform. Target by job title, department, seniority, skills, groups, company size, etc etc. – @wilcoxaj

Precise TARGETING. – @MrAguilar_

The amount of options avail for B2B clients. Esp now that FB seems to be removing a lot of these options in the near future. – @DigiKat826

usability! Not just New UI ranting, but compared to almost all the other platforms, Li is Easy. To. Use. no surprises, no weird blue error messages with Zucks face on them, no bizarre red bars, just simplicity. – @JuliaVyse

sounds stupid, but I like the fact that I have an alternate partner from the norm. – @JonKagan

My fav thing is targeting by company name audience lists. I usually ask sales dept. if they have a wish list of ideal companies they want business with, and then we start promoting whitepapers, etc. by job titles / skillsets. Get the brand into the prospect’s brain. – @PPCHartman

The TARGETING. Such a huge thing. While you do have people going by the title NINJA and GURU, you can even get them with skills! ALSO, AJ is the expert here so would love to have him chime in, but for a lot of B2Bs the CPCs on relevant keywords is ALREADY high. So I kinda find the high CPC argument as not holding a lot of weight. If you have high LTV then search CPCs usually are killer anyways. – @markpgus

This. Targeting options not available in other platforms.- @Mel66

I love the targeting capabilities of Linkedin Ads. – @mikecrimmins

Targeting, targeting, and then more targeting. – @ericdfarmer

AUDIENCE TARGETING. I love being able to show my clients that they got interactions from the industries/companies they are targeting. – @amaliaefowler

Yup, the targeting granularity. – @HeatherCooan

Like a lot of people said, definitely their audiences and granularity. The only other platform that comes close is Facebook, and lately their job/career options are severely limited imo. – @timmhalloran

The amount of options avail for B2B clients. Esp now that FB seems to be removing a lot of these options in the near future. – @DigiKat826

Targeting by group, specifically. Titles and industries are great, but can get ambiguous as companies like to brand themselves as wide-reaching, not as specific as we, the advertisers, would like. Affinity groups cut through that. – @tunadonut

The targeting is really the biggest differentiator for LI Ads. Can’t get such awesome professional targeting anywhere else. – @robert_brady


Q4: What feature(s) would you like to see in LinkedIn Ads that aren’t already available?


Metrics like Impression Share. What % of Impressions am I winning for my min. bid?  – @SEMFlem

There’s no targeting by device which is limiting. Also, the fact that the time zone is always set to GMT means small budgets are spent overnight, before professionals even arrive at work. Makes dayparting necessary. – @wilcoxaj

Bulk uploads would be fun as well scheduling options, impression share or similar … oh! Also what about the ability to see the competitors ads – just like you can now do it on FB and Twitter. – @andreacruz92

dayparting (direct) – @MrAguilar_

seamless integration to 3rd party analytics, and a good ole offline tool- @JonKagan

would love to have an auction insights report 🙂 Never going to happen on social though. – @markpgus

ROBUST REPORTING. The reports section is awful. – @Mel66

Better reporting. I’m constantly explaining to my clients that the “click” when it comes to Sponsored InMail is actually “open” because they don’t change the columns/assume it means a website click. – @amaliaefowler

need placement reports for where my ads are being placed outside linkedin and the ability to exclude those placements. – @jstatad

Competitive intell data would be cool and optimization suggestions. – @HeatherCooan

I’ve given up on Sponsored Content for now and switched over to InMail Ads. Love it! – @jdprater

Frequency data. – @GeenaNazareth

more ad types within campaigns for easier retargeting. simplify the budget/billing process. – @JuliaVyse

BING LEAD AD INTEGRATION. Two-way data, Bing to LI and LI to Bing. Making search campaigns with LI’s audience targeting features. – @timmhalloran

Demographic and/or audience segmentation would be hugely valuable, too! Let me optimize my audience by showing me which part of my targeting is killing the campaign (so I’m not forced to cancel everything, or play a guessing game to fix it). – @akaEmmaLouise

The ability to delete or edit lead gen forms and compare date ranges. Better demographic reporting (sick of seeing “below reporting min). All other platforms show data after just 1 conversion. – @DigiKat826

stronger tools for orgs to separate help-wanted ads from the kind of work we all do. Just because we’re hiring, doesn’t mean we want that to dominate our narrative. – @tunadonut

Some type of bulk editor/offline editor would be awesome. – @robert_brady


Q5: What part does LinkedIn Ads play in your sales cycle? When is it useful?


Typically a high funnel approach and strategy. Would love to hear recommendations on how to use it as more of a DR low funnel strategy. – @KyleShurtz

LinkedIn Ads plays a part in mid-funnel re-engagement when a prospect/rmktg. list needs an extra push (company comparison piece, Gartner/Forrester report, solid research) to sale. Also good for top-funnel introductions to brand expertise/thought leadership content. I use low funnel – The focus is on building the brand’s reputation through Gartner/Forrester guides to prospects. Also promoting the brand cross-organization to earn the attention of CEOs/CFOs, etc. The underlings might love the brand, but boss doesn’t know. – @PPCHartman

Awareness & Branding for client whose average sale is $800K. So yeah, they can afford it. – @SEMFlem

I find it especially powerful as a first touch since targeting is so useful for finding new, qualified prospects that we don’t already have access to. Also good for sales acceleration – keeping your solution top-of-mind for leads that haven’t yet closed. – @wilcoxaj

It really works at all levels of the sales cycle. It’s best at bringing qualified people into the funnel. But, the remarketing capability has now expanded it’s possibilities to the nurturing in mid-funnel cycles too. Remarketing to that perfect demographic audience on Facebook, Google and LinkedIn really works well and is super cheap to do. – @jstatad

Has worked best for low barrier, high value offers to people unfamiliar with my client. Webinars, ebooks. Generally MOFU tho. The thing with LI targeting is that it basically pre-qualifies the audience to the point where I (almost) wouldn’t consider it TOFU anymore. – @timmhalloran

I bring it up as a fun idea, rarely ever a upfront thought. I feel shame as I type that sentence. – @JonKagan

I tend to focus LinkedIn spend higher in my funnels. If remarketing in my other channels are solid, and segmented by my LI targeting, then I don’t even need a form fill, the click will move them down into seperate, cheaper campaigns. Haven’t done much bottom funnel. – @markpgus

I like using Linkedin Ads for brand awareness with some lead gen mixed in, want to try it as remarketing. – @mikecrimmins

We like to use LI to build remarketing lists of users with known characteristics – job titles, companies, etc. and then target them w/search. Helps to reduce the ambiguity of B2B search. – @Mel66

I use it as TOF to bring sponsored posts to prospects then retarget later based on scroll data in Analytics – so top and mid funnel, usually. – @amaliaefowler

It really works at all levels of the sales cycle. It’s best at bringing qualified people into the funnel. But, the remarketing capability has now expanded it’s possibilities to the nurturing in mid-funnel cycles too. Remarketing to that perfect demographic audience on Facebook, Google and LinkedIn really works well and is super cheap to do. – @jstatad

Acquisition top & middle. Lots of content distribution and programmatic marketing assist with matched audience tools. Customer middle & end using matched audience stuff to try and build advocacy and re-engage. – @HeatherCooan

okay, for my big corporate giant client, it’s direct. come to our webinar, we tell you the things. for my influencer outreach, it’s top of funnel. hear about this thing, learn more later. – @JuliaVyse



Q6: What recent LinkedIn Ads updates are you most excited about?


Lead gen forms – we’re finding more and more clients that we recommend them for. Now supported with both Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail and integrates into Salesforce, Eloqua, Marketo, Dynamics, Driftrock, and Zapier. They’re tough to work with on the back end, and don’t push traffic to your site, but we see conversion rates 10-30% higher so it’s often worth a test. – @wilcoxaj

no one ever uses “excited” and Linkedin Ads in the same sentence. – @JonKagan

Video on LinkedIn Ads. Video all darn day. I’m launching a lot of video right now. – @PPCHartman

The recent $1000 credit that’s available to all advertisers. – @markpgus

video ads have done really well for us. – @Mel66

I believe they just introduced the carousel option for sponsored posts… that’ll be interesting. – @amaliaefowler

Excited about the thing I can’t even see yet. The use of with LinkedIn targeting might be the game changer (it could also be horrible).  Video Ads are at least a better way to get video content to a real B2B audience (Facebook and YouTube can’t do that). – @jstatad

I’m glad LinkedIn finally decided to add a video ad option. I’m interested to try the carousel ads as well. – @GeenaNazareth

mostly interested in the Bing integration, but waiting for other news. – @JuliaVyse

I’m looking forward to testing carousel ads and lead forms on LI, since they’ve worked well for me in FB (I know, I know, the two are very different but still. I’m optimistic). – @akaEmmaLouise


Q7: Which LinkedIn Ads ad units (Sponsored Content, Text Ads, Sponsored InMail) are you finding the most success with currently, and why?


Sponsored Content is my favorite as it’s the most versatile. I recommend it 95% of the time. Text Ads are cheap and excellent, but CTRs are so low it’s hard to drive enough traffic. Sponsored InMail are the hardest to get right, IMO. Expensive and can feel spammy. – @wilcoxaj

Content. The rest is proving to be fluff. – @JonKagan

I’ve only run Sponsored Content so pretty excited to hear from others! just broke PPCChat with his $7 CPL with sponsored inmail and lead ads. – @markpgus

I’m currently using LinkedIn InMail + Lead Gen Forms and getting $7 CPL. Just saying it works and competitive to FB prices, but with a way better audience. – @jdprater

I heard text ads are all the rage right now in Europe. – @ericdfarmer

Sponsored content all the way. Text ads have been pretty useless. Haven’t done much in mail. – @Mel66

It’s been Sponsored Content ever since LinkedIn became a mobile channel. Back in the desktop days text ads were awesome. But social ads = mobile ads. – @jstatad

Sponsored content and depending on the offer InMail. – @HeatherCooan

mostly sponsored content, hoping to test inMail soon. – @JuliaVyse


Q8: Are you currently employing LinkedIn Ads for an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy? Why or why not?


Yes, I find LinkedIn Ads to be awesome for ABM efforts! Targeting dream accounts, accounts in lead status that haven’t closed are great. Also a big fan of using ABM lists for exclusion (exclude competitors, existing customers, etc). – @wilcoxaj

Yep, LinkedIn is the best way to use ABM lists, IMHO. I wish Facebook could do the same but the audience there lists their job as “director of pillow forts” at Couch, Inc. It’s heaven when your client has an offer to promote that’s industry specific, and a big juicy list of said industry’s companies to target. Doesn’t happen enough for me but I keep asking. – @PPCHartman

sadly we have not evolved to that yet. – @JonKagan

Not like I want too. It’s amazing to me in this day and age that client sales teams can’t even come up with a top 50 list of the companies they want to sell to…True Story. – @jstatad

We use LinkedIn for ABM on old school tactics like executive briefings. We run a series of topically relevant content to the target accounts. I put outbound sales in the ABM bucket and we have run content distribution alongside outbound efforts. – @HeatherCooan


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