LinkedIn Ads Useful for Applied B2B Lead Generation, but Needs Work
February 26, 2019
LinkedIn Ads Useful for Applied B2B Lead Generation, but Needs Work
Score 6 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
Our agency uses LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for B2B clients that are having a tough time getting qualified leads through other means. Sometimes, it is hard to get the right leads using Facebook or Google ad networks, and LinkedIn offers a more professional/business-level platform. Though LinkedIn isn't as ubiquitous as FB or Google, it has audience refining features that make it better for B2B clients. We typically don't use LinkedIn unless we're not getting the performance from other sources, but we have also utilized it alongside other ad platforms to generate interested and drive consideration.
- By company and industry targeting means, you can create detailed campaigns specifically targeting an industry you're looking to break into. This allows you to craft a message that resonates with a specific industry or company, rather than relying on an affinity or interest on other platforms.
- Job title or seniority level targeting allows you to refine your target demo to the decision makers. If you have a product or service that needs to go to a c-suite customer, you can target just that group or title. Or, if you know exactly the titles you want to hit, such as Facilities Manager or Human Resources Supervisor, you can craft a message and targeting profile that gets your ads in front of them.
- One of the best ad products I've found is Sponsored InMail. Though it is pricey, it offers a more direct-mail style ad product without the additional hassle of email list rental, mailing service, or similar services. This puts you in the inbox of those you target. Though it is mostly just in the LinkedIn inbox, many people also get a push notification and an email alert from LinkedIn in their email inbox. This is pretty valuable, and the prices aren't exorbitant considering how powerful the targeting can be.
- The Campaign Manager is not good. It seems like the Campaign Manager (where you create and manage your self-serve ad campaigns) is buggy and doesn't have a good flow. Contrast with FB Ad Manager of the Google AdWords/Ads interface, which has a much more simple process to create and edits campaigns, ad groups, ads, keywords, audiences, budgets, etc. LinkedIn Campaign Manager seems to actively work against you trying to make changes to your campaigns.
- LinkedIn Campaign Manager offers three options: sponsored content, InMail, and text ads. LinkedIn used to offer other ad services that you couldn't access unless you had a "managed ad account" run by LinkedIn Staff with a dedicated monthly ad spend. It seems most of those "hidden" features have disappeared, though you still have to contract with LinkedIn to offer dynamic ads. It would be better if LinkedIn empowered marketers to create the ads they want. (Perhaps with a dedicated acct. manager like how Google Ads works.)
- This is silly, but it isn't easy to navigate to Campaign Manager. I have a bookmark for Campaign Manager because if you want to click there through LinkedIn, it takes 2 or 3 different screens to get to Campaign Manager. In my opinion, when you click the "Work" dropdown from the LinkedIn header (by your profile picture) you should have a link to Campaign Manager.
- LinkedIn, in recent months, has made substantial changes to the Ads platform and Campaign Manager. Though these changes work to address some of the above issues, LinkedIn still has quite a ways to go before their platform is on par with their competition.
- As an agency, LinkedIn gives us one more way to demonstrate worth: we're managing the LinkedIn page of many of our clients, and this is demonstratively an improvement from before.
- Also as an agency, LinkedIn ads allow us to offer an additional way to get leads in the door. When we've struck out on other ad programs, we usually try LinkedIn Ads before moving on to a higher investment channel (such as list rental).
I think LinkedIn, though a niche product, is not quite as good as Google or Facebook Ad platforms. LinkedIn feels more like Twitter Ads platform circa 2012, with the lower view count. However, LinkedIn Ads has a great amount of targeting options that are useful when attempting to reach certain demos, especially professions. Because of this powerful targeting, LinkedIn Marketing will always be an option in my arsenal of ad platforms.
I would recommend LinkedIn Marketing Solutions to colleague under certain circumstances. First, I think all companies would benefit from having a company page on LinkedIn. I would set-up the page to cross post from another platform (like Facebook or Twitter) or have it hooked up to your social media manager. That way you still look active on the platform, but since interaction isn't as popular on LI, you won't waste time. If you are a B2B company that is having difficulty reaching your target client, LinkedIn Ads may be a useful tool for you. With better pricing than most direct mail or print alternatives, LinkedIn InMail and sponsored content might be the best way to get some leads in. If you are a B2C company that is only interested in targeting certain professional classes, then maybe LI Ads would be helpful. This is true for talent agencies/headhunters that need to find qualified candidates, a continuing education college looking for professionals to get a higher degree, or a convention for a certain type of profession.
Using LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
I would say the "old" LinkedIn Marketing Campaign Manager was a 1-3, while the "New" or "Beta" experience is a 7-8. So, depending on which platform you're using, I average it out to a 5. With a few more refinements, this "beta" LinkedIn Campaign Manager could be a very useful tool.
Technical support not required
Do not like to use
Difficult to use
Not well integrated
Slow to learn
Feel nervous using
- Overall campaign creation has an odd flow, and individual ad variations are all siloed. In comparison to FB and Google, LI is set up to basically create ads with Campaign level targeting and budgeting, while Campaigns are groupings of ads that have a similar format, and Campaign Groups are just groups of campaigns within an Account.
- Editing Ads can be troublesome, as the multi-step process of creating/editing an ad is the same, and each step must be reviewed, instead of directly changing the copy or title and saving.
- NOTE: The "new" or "beta" Campaign Manager has addressed many of the issues I've discussed in my review, though it still has a ways to go. The "old" campaign manager had a very nonsensical campaign/ad creation tool. The new version now allows you to place audience selection and budgeting into the campaign, rather than an individual ad.