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Hubspot recently shared what they've learned about making successful LinkedIn ad campaigns. After almost a full year's worth of data from their LinkedIn ads integration, Hubspot has analyzed LinkedIn ad performance across their 15,000 customers worldwide to find 5 key traits of successful LinkedIn advertisers. 

Here are the traits that you should aim to incorporate into the DNA of your LinkedIn digital strategy.

1. You Should Use LinkedIn Ads to Drive Conversions

It's surprising that this one isn't clear to everyone by now, but you can use LinkedIn ads for more than just awareness campaigns. LinkedIn ads do drive conversions on your content offers. In fact, Hubspot noted that LinkedIn ads convert at 9% across their customer base. You can even track your own conversions now with the new LinkedIn Conversion Tracking feature. 

Hubspot also made a great point regarding LinkedIn ads' higher CPC, which is due to their higher conversion rate. Yes, you will be able to drive conversions, but at an average cost of $5.74 per click in the US, you're going to need to set aside a larger budget for a successful LinkedIn campaign than you would need to run a similar Facebook ad campaign. 

LinkedIn conversions will cost you more, but Hubspot found that LinkedIn was 277% more effective at lead generation than Facebook and Twitter for B2B marketers.


2. Your LinkedIn AD CTR Is Really important

Hubspot's data shows that the LinkedIn ad auction works very similarly to the Facebook ad auction. Your bid is an important factor and a higher bid can give you an initial edge by getting your ad in front of other people quickly. However, if those people don't click on your ad and it flops early on, then your ad is going to get less exposure over time. Meanwhile successful ads that do get a high click-through rate will move to the top and get more exposure, even if those ads had a lower bid.

What are the biggest LinkedIn ad mistakes that Hubspot noted from their customers?

  1. Over targeting your ads - This is the urge to hone in on a super targeted audience. LinkedIn definitely gives you the ability to do this, you can even target people by the company they work for. There are certainly situations where this type of hyper-targeted ad can really benefit your campaign. However, in general most LinkedIn ad campaigns you're running are probably too well targeted, to the point where you're limiting your audience so much that it is costing you clicks and hurting your ad performance. LinkedIn recommends a minimum of 300,000 people in your sponsored content ad audience. If your ad audience is in the 5 figures, or lower, then you're seriously over targeting your ads and it is most likely hurting your ad campaign's performance. 
  2. Not meeting professionals' needs - LinkedIn users visit the site for a few reasons, but the most common are to follow industry news and trends, and to learn more about professional topics that interest them. Your ads should align with those goals and your content should be timely and newsworthy for the best results.
  3. Using thumbnail images for your ads - Hubspot also noted that adding large images to LinkedIn ads, rather than using the default small thumbnail images, made a significant difference in their customers' ad performance.
  4. Not A/B testing your ads - All of Hubspot's top LinkedIn advertisers had multiple ad variations within their individual campaigns. These customers were also putting in the work to analyze their campaigns and making note of text, creative, and other aspects of their ads that drove the best results, so they could incorporate these winning attributes into future campaigns.


3. Your Ads Should be Part of a Larger Campaign  

Hubspot also mentions that their best customers included elements of their inbound marketing strategy into their overall campaigns. These top Linkedin advertisers didn't just run ads pointing people to their homepage or a blog post. No, their ads were part of a cohesive campaign that drove qualified traffic to a targeted landing page with an offer that fit the ads. Their landing pages were optimized for the best possible performance and included simple forms. 

These top advertisers also didn't rely solely on their LinkedIn ad campaigns. They reused and repurposed content, wrote blog posts promoting their offers, and shared content organically on social. 

This approach fits well with a B2B digital marketing strategy, where B2B customers often take 6 - 8 touches before they're ready to buy.


You can read Hubspot's full post here to learn more about what they've learned from analyzing their customers' LinkedIn ad campaigns over the past year. Are you guilty of any of the LinkedIn ad mistakes that Hubspot noted were hurting their customers the most in their ad campaigns?

Post by Zachary Chastain
Nov 7, 2016