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October 28, 2020

The Real Secret to Maximize LinkedIn Ads

By NOW Marketing Group

As marketers, we have to be smart about where we put our precious advertising dollars. 

We all know that sinking feeling that happens when you invest in a campaign and it just goes flat. Sometimes it’s the platform; sometimes it’s the offer; sometimes it’s the creative.

The point is, it’s important to understand the nuances of the different social platforms that you can run paid ads on so that you know where to best spend given your goals.

And when it comes to LinkedIn, the truth is that LinkedIn ads aren’t for everybody. The high cost means that some businesses are priced out of the market.

How do you know if you’re one of those businesses?

We called on LinkedIn Ads Expert AJ Wilcox to break it all down for us in yesterday’s Magnet Marketers. 

Understanding the platform:

The first thing to understand is that LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook or Google when it comes to ads. The interface is far from intuitive. (And when someone like AJ, who spends their time on the platform daily, says that… you listen.) 

Not only are LinkedIn ads difficult to create, they’re super expensive. On LinkedIn, you pay about $8-$11 per click vs the $1-$3 range that you’re typically paying on Facebook. That’s a BIG difference!

Here’s the thing though, you ARE paying for quality. LinkedIn ads have some of the strongest targeting capabilities out of all social platforms, making the lead quality higher than you’ll see anywhere else. 

“When we get leads from a very specific type of person through LinkedIn Ads, we know that we’re getting a quality lead.” - @wilcoxaj (click to tweet)

Hey, you pay for quality, right? 

While LinkedIn Ads can work for both B2B and B2C companies, and have extremely high-quality results, it’s critical to understand that you’re going to be paying about 5-6x more for the traffic generated through these ads when compared to other platforms.

LinkedIn Unsplash ImageIt comes down to asking yourself: is it worth reaching this individual in this way? Because the truth is, there are other options to reach people that are cheaper. 

Who LinkedIn Ads Make Sense For:

Now that you know what you’re getting into, it’s all about determining whether this is the right platform for you. 

If you want to “win” with LinkedIn Ads, you need to go in knowing that you’re going to spend more time AND money than when advertising on other platforms. 

“The ideal budget for 1 month of testing on LinkedIn ads is $5,000 if you’re targeting anywhere in North America.” - @wilcoxaj  (click to tweet)

Yep, you read that right. $5k/month. This means that you want to save up for as long as you need to if you’re going to dip your toes into these types of ads because the beauty of LinkedIn is the targeting quality. 

“By the time you’ve spent $5k, you’ll get enough leads that your sales team will have feedback on them and evidence on how they’re converting.” - @wilcoxaj (click to tweet)

Knowing this dollar figure is super helpful as a marketer, so you know what you’re getting into. If you only have a budget of $500/month, LinkedIn just might not be the best avenue for you.

Not to mention, the sales cycle could take 12-16 months on LinkedIn, which is much longer than other platforms. This means that LinkedIn Ads are best suited for companies with long sales cycles. 

“LinkedIn Ads aren’t an impulse buy. It needs to be thought-out and well-planned for.” - @jessikaphillips (click to tweet)

LinkedIn isn’t the platform to try to drive quick sales; it’s the place you advertise to nurture connections and find a very specific person. 

LinkedIn Work UnsplashThe reason why people are willing to pay so much for these ads is because of the strong targeting. You can target my company name, job title, company size, industry, education, location, and so much more. 

You can literally find the exact type of individual you’re looking for through these ads. THAT is LinkedIn’s speciality: there isn’t a competitor that can deliver you exactly the right person like LinkedIn can. 

What Types Of Ads Work: 

When it comes to the kinds of ads that work, educational content is best. Think free guides, e-books and/or webinars. You want to have something to offer your audience that informs and educates. 

Direct offers aren’t where it’s at; you want a lead magnet. People are on the platform to be educated, so you want to show up and meet that need. 

“If you don’t want to use a lead magnet, it’s going to be really expensive and you’re probably going to fail.” - @wilcoxaj (click to tweet)

When you think about the buyer’s journey, it makes a lot of sense. The buyer’s journey starts with awareness, which is all about generating that value-added offer that you’re giving someone. The next stage is consideration; during this stage, they’ve heard of you before and trust you a little bit. After the consideration phase comes the conversion. People are only going to convert when they know you. 

“Match up your offer to your audience and have a back-up plan,” AJ suggests. 

Setting Up Your Ads:

LinkedIn is already an expensive channel, but it’s even more expensive if you go with the default settings when setting up your ads on the platform.

When you get down to the section about how you pay for traffic, you don’t want to use the default option given to you which is automated bidding/delivery. 95% of the time, that’s the most expensive way to pay for traffic. 

Similarly, the audience expansion box is a tricky option that is automatically clicked for you on the platform. AJ recommends that you un-click that. 

“The enable audience expansion box is LinkedIn poison.” - @wilcoxaj (click to tweet) 

The point? LinkedIn Ads are much different than Facebook Ads. Don’t just assume that the default options are the best way to go. 

Executing Your Ads: 

There is magic to be made when it comes to paid advertising on this platform, it just comes down to committing to a longer play. 

Most of the time, trying to ask people to make an immediate purchase isn’t going to work on this platform. People need to be familiar with you before they’re comfortable buying, so the focus should be on education. 

“The majority of the time, you’re trying to warm people up with LinkedIn Ads.” - @mike_gingerich (click to tweet)

You want to put out a guide that solves a problem and provides information. Those types of ads get 15%+ conversion rates because people are looking for that kind of information on the platform. 

It’s all about providing value for people and giving them the information that they are looking for. Which reminds us, AJ gives his clients an 8-item checklist that has everything they need to get started, and we highly recommend checking it out! 

The most important thing when it comes to LinkedIn Ads is to get a lot of data. Worry less about the timeframe and more about the quality of your offer, and the longevity of the ad’s duration, so that you can generate more leads and collect more data. 

That said, don’t forget about seasonality. AJ referred to the holiday season as a “blood bath” on LinkedIn. 

“After Thanksgiving, and until the end of the year, it’s the highest cost that you’ll have all year on LinkedIn Ads AND the lowest lead quality.” - @wilcoxaj (click to tweet)

Everyone you happen to capture with your ads is going to tell you that they’d like to pick up the conversation after the holiday season anywhere, so you’re better off waiting until the costs have gone back down to start your campaign. 

When it comes down to it, we were blown away by the wealth of knowledge that AJ shared during our conversation.

Not only does he have an exceptional LinkedIn Ads course, but he’s the host of the LinkedIn Ads Show Podcast which will fill your earbuds with tons of tips and tactics for using the platform. (AKA, we recommend that you connect with AJ to learn more.) 

So, what do you think? Are you surprised by the high cost of LinkedIn Ads? 

We want to hear from you in the comments below!

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Tags: lead generation, use linkedin, Social Media, LinkedIn, Targeting Your Prospects, Magnet Marketers Training, magnet marketing, social media advertising, advertising, paid advertising, LinkedIn Ads, AJ Wilcox, Using LinkedIn


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