Guest AJ joins this episode to highlight who should use LinkedIn Ads and give some tips for best practices and getting the most ROI out of the platform. So if you are a B2B marketer and you are NOT on LinkedIn advertising you need to read on or give a listen.

Why are LinkedIn Clicks so Expensive?

AJ digs into a bit of comparing why clicks cost so much on LinkedIn vs. Facebook or Google Ads or Bing Ads. In the end if you are B2C it may or may not make sense but if you are B2B you really should look at it as an option.

  • Targeting by Job Type
  • Targeting by Job Name
  • Targeting by Employer/Company Name
  • Targeting by Industry & Industry Groups

2019 & 2020 LinkedIn Statistics

If you are wondering here are some stats on the size of the platform:

Tips for Launching LinkedIn Ads

Dave sets up a scenario of an SEO tool provider going after Enterprises and AJ digs in walking through his steps of how he would approach such a campaign.

  1. Look and target by Job Title.
  2. Build a new campaign and target SEO Groups.
    1. Job Function exclusion for anyone in Sales or Business Development
  3. SEO Skills would be a 3rd group.
  4. Look at decision maker vs. practitioner depending on who the target is and filter audiences that way as well.
  5. Look to uncheck Audience Expansion.
  6. Use single image sponsored content to start with for your ad.
  7. Change bid type from automated bid to max CPC but floor it to save your budget.
  8. It can be hard to spend with the text link ads.

What Matters Most in LinkedIn Ads?

Is content king or is it all about targeting? AJ walked the line but in the end they both are really important if you want to have a successful campaign on LinkedIn Advertising.

Make your offer matter to those that you are looking to target.

Can You Run an Engagement Campaign?

Yes. Dave and AJ talk through some ways SaaS companies can watch for users to stop engaging with their product and use LinkedIn Advertising to try and engage people again.

Additional LinkedIn Advertising Resources from AJ

Full Transcript on LinkedIn Ads

Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Hey guys, excited to have you join us on another one of these business of digital podcasts today. I believe we have Dave over there. Hey, yay. Always got. Uh, we do have a special guest friend of mine.

And a LinkedIn expert. I like to say that a J Wilcox. How’s it going

AJ Wilcox: [00:00:31] doing, Greg, thanks so much for having me on.

Matt Siltala: [00:00:33] Hey, thanks for joining us and we appreciate, you know, the last minute I reached out to you and, and, uh, you know, we’ve been wanting to do this one forever. I asked, David’s been in the, uh, the notes for.

For quite some time as far as

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:46] down the line.

Matt Siltala: [00:00:47] But, uh, we figured it was time and it worked for you. And so, uh, again, I, I really do appreciate you taking the time. And before we jump into anything AAJ why don’t you just spend, uh, you know, 30 seconds or a minute and, and just share [00:01:00] with, uh, you know, our

AJ Wilcox: [00:01:01] listeners.

Matt Siltala: [00:01:03] Well, you know, he, he, uh, he is coming through for us. So anyway, just share it. Share a little bit about, uh, your background and where people can find you and what, what you feel they need to know about you.

AJ Wilcox: [00:01:14] Awesome. Well, I fell in love with LinkedIn ads about eight years ago. Um, I used to be an SEO guy. I started digital marketing about 13 years ago, and I called myself an SEO guy.

It was crazy. Um, but really fell in love with LinkedIn ads at a previous company. And I ended up growing the account there from nothing to becoming LinkedIn’s largest spending customer worldwide. And after about two and a half years of running that, um, I, you know, I got laid off and went. Wow. I mean, I could go and just work for another company who cares about LinkedIn ads or I could start an agency and just do this repeatedly to, you know, for all these people who would just have no idea the power of LinkedIn ads.

Uh, so that was it. About five years ago, started an agency called B2 and we only [00:02:00] do LinkedIn ads. I’m very much a one trick pony.

Matt Siltala: [00:02:02] Wow. That’s amazing. That’s awesome to know that, that background, cause they. I mean, I’ve known you for a while, but I didn’t know that. That’s like all you did. That’s pretty interesting to hear.

AJ Wilcox: [00:02:12] Yeah, it’s a, it’s kind of fun having that background in digital. Cause I mean, really all the channels they blend together. Uh, you need to understand strategy everywhere, but certainly like, I can’t go that deep on Facebook ads, but I can go crazy deep on LinkedIn. So I like the specialties.

Matt Siltala: [00:02:29] So we were just talking this morning, um, or before we started recording and we found out that I guess that a LinkedIn has a new CEO.

Is that what you said, Dave?

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:40] Yeah, as, as I was logging into LinkedIn before this, uh, the very top story as we’re recording today is LinkedIn’s getting a new CEO, mr mr Wiener, uh, is leaving. I think he’s getting a whole lot of money, maybe

Matt Siltala: [00:02:56] as they do,

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:57] I don’t know. They’re just talking about the growth. The [00:03:00] membership expanded from 33 million up to 675 million.

Um, and I think there was some actually some numbers and we’ll drop in. Um, I went and found a couple of stats just like the number of people that are like 280 billion feet updates annually. Um, number one channel for B to B marketers, AGA, that sounds correct, I’m guessing.

AJ Wilcox: [00:03:21] Oh, yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:22] Like all of their clients that you work with, what percentage are B2B?

Most of them. All of them.

AJ Wilcox: [00:03:28] Yeah. I’d say probably 90% are B2B, and then maybe the other 10% could be like, like recruiting, uh, some financial services, some higher ed. Uh, so yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:40] So what, what is the breakdown for someone looking at LinkedIn if they were, you know, B2B B to C, you know, a recruiter, or even beyond looking to hire, what would someone look at LinkedIn for?

Just from a, you know, why would they look to go to it?

AJ Wilcox: [00:03:56] Yeah, and this is really important because as I’m sure you guys know, [00:04:00] LinkedIn’s costs are really high compared to that of the other networks. So right now I’m seeing an average cost per click of like eight to 11 bucks, which is crazy when probably most B to B advertisers on Facebook are paying two to three

Matt Siltala: [00:04:13] per call.

It’s crazy.

AJ Wilcox: [00:04:14] Yeah. So the real benefit behind LinkedIn is this incredible business targeted. We can go all the way down to like a job title. Someone’s seniority, their department, they work in what size of company? The, um, the industry skills on their profile groups. They’re members of. Um, we can even target by company name, which is like the new account based marketing and that everyone’s been excited about.

LinkedIn has had this, it’s like 2007, so nothing special there. But, um, the targeting just goes crazy deep. Everything I mentioned was probably only about a fourth of all the options available. So if you have a lifetime value of your product or service that is very high, I tell people, you know, 10, $15,000 or more when you [00:05:00] close a deal, then.

You can make up for LinkedIn’s high costs on the front end, uh, by simply having amazing targeting that gets you the highest lead quality.

Dave Rohrer: [00:05:09] Who, who else would kind of use that? Yeah, for like a B to C or B to B, like when you’re targeting people. And I was just looking at a new PPC campaign that I was launching yesterday and I, I set the bids for like two bucks or three bucks.

And then I came back an hour later and it was like everything was 10 to $18 a click. And I was like, oops. Oh, um, and I used to use LinkedIn a long time ago and it wasn’t cheap, but the, the, it is true.

AJ Wilcox: [00:05:37] The targeting

Dave Rohrer: [00:05:38] that you can get, like if you want to get a practitioner for like, say you’re an SEO tool and you’re just starting and you want to get those people that use the day in and day out, you can target them.

AJ Wilcox: [00:05:49] Absolutely. Yeah. You can target people by, you know, if I know I’m selling a tool for SEOs, I can immediately think of like three different ways I could target that person. And so what it really [00:06:00] comes down to is cost. Is this a SAS solution that you make 100 bucks a month and people stick around for a year and a half?

It’d probably be pretty hard to get people to see a return on that investment.

Dave Rohrer: [00:06:11] Well, how would you do it? And knowing that, well, we’ll just pretend it’s an enterprise, but so that they do get that kind of money back. Um, since some of those SEO tools are ridiculously expensive, I’m sure you guys are all worth it and gals.

Um, but some of them are really expensive. What would you do, just as an example, or if you want to use a different example, like just talk through how you would use LinkedIn to target those people. Cause I’m sure you know anyone that we can walk down the various and, but yet anyone can read a blog post about the different types.

But I think hearing

AJ Wilcox: [00:06:42] you walk through

Dave Rohrer: [00:06:43] how you would leverage them would be a more interesting.

AJ Wilcox: [00:06:46] Oh yeah, yeah. Let’s, let’s go totally neck deep here. Um, the first thing I would do is define who those audiences are. And so I would go after job titles, uh, targeting anyone with SEO in their [00:07:00] job title. And there’s probably something like SEO director or something that might be too high for this.

And so certainly leave that out if, if we’re going too high in the seniority’s, but any job title with SEO is probably a good start. Then I’d build a separate campaign that’s targeting, uh, any member of a, of an SEO group and what I might do to that. Anytime I do a group or a skill targeting, I realized that there are a lot of people trying to sell to my target audience who want to look like them.

So I would probably do a job function exclusion of anyone in sales or business development. So I’m only getting the members of a, a group are themed around SEO because if you went way out of your way to go join a group about SEO, it’s probably a subject you care deeply about. Um, then I look at SEO skills for being a third separate campaign, and, uh, for both the skills and the groups, I’d probably segment their seniority as well.

So if I know I’m going after the [00:08:00] practitioner themselves, I would use. The seniority’s of uh, probably entry level. And the step right above that, which is called senior, which doesn’t make sense. It’s just individual contributor. If I want the decision makers who are actually managing teams, I’d go with like manager and director, maybe even up to VP.

So right there, that’s three separate audiences who’d probably be a direct hit for what I did. And as you set these audiences up, the really big, just pitfalls you want to avoid. LinkedIn will automatically check a box called audience expansion. It’s terrible. It’s like free range for LinkedIn to stick whoever they want into that audience for you.

So uncheck that. By default, I would use the ad format of sponsored content and just do the single image one. It’s the most simple, uh, least risky. And it’s interesting. Yeah. Text ads is actually a little bit less risky cause it’s, it’s cheaper. But they [00:09:00] have a really low engagement rate, meaning it’s going to be hard to actually spend any money at all.

So sponsored content is kind of a good, a good, happy medium. And then, Oh

Dave Rohrer: [00:09:09] yeah, go ahead. I was going to ask the text as I look at my homepage on LinkedIn or I feed the text ad is just that little ad that appears above everything else and it’s like, not quite like a seven 28 by 90 banner, but it’s like just a weird text link, just kind of floating there.

AJ Wilcox: [00:09:24] Yeah, that’s, that’s one of them. That’s how they show up. If you look in the right rail, and it’s not always there, it’s every other page load or something. Um, you’ll see a block with three text ads, uh, with little 50 by 50 pixel images. Sometimes they showed us too. Yeah. And they’ll say promoted. Um, those are called text ads.

You’ll probably pay between about three to $5 a click for them, but their click through rate is 0.025%. On average. So two and a half clicks out of every 10,000 times their serve, you gotta have a pretty beefy audience to, to really spend money [00:10:00] what sponsored content you can get. You know, we regularly see between a 0.8 to 1.2% click through rates and they show up right in people’s newsfeeds where they spend a lot of time.

So that’s a great place to start. And that’s the one who will probably pay, you know, eight to 11 bucks a click. But when you go. Yeah. When you get down to that bidding and budgeting section though, because this is a pilot for you, you’re just dipping your toe in the water to see if this is gonna work. Uh, immediately go change LinkedIn’s bid type from automated bid, which is way too expensive 90% of the time.

Instead set that to max CPC. And and floor it. So what I mean by that is LinkedIn will say, Hey, most advertisers are paying between, you know, uh, $13 and 22 per click and you go, screw you guys. I’m going to put $2 in this box and see, see what happens. So you put $2 in the box and it’ll come back and say, well, actually the floor bid for this audience is more like five 75 or six [00:11:00] 25 or something.

And then I will put that in as the minimum bid. And what that does is when you launch right out the gate, you’re not giving LinkedIn a huge incentive to show your ads. And so you’re only picking up that really remnant traffic and inventory, and that will be the cheapest. And so if you’ve really segmented your traffic, you don’t have to care about whether it’s remnant or not, and you’re going to get the cheapest cost per click possible.

And if you can spend your entire budget on the cheapest clicks possible, you just won the game. Um, but if you’re not getting enough traffic and you still, you know, let’s say you’re on track to spend three K and your budget is five K, then you just go in incrementally raise your bids every, every day, every couple days until you’re on track and getting what you want.

Dave Rohrer: [00:11:46] I think for me, the last time I used it was a couple of years ago for B2B, um, and I think our biggest problem was just the headaches of. The, and I ran into this before with years [00:12:00] ago, uh, back when I bid on that all the time for, again, for B2B, for a client, and it was just, there wasn’t any volume.

And the LinkedIn. Maybe we were just, maybe I sucked. When I set it up with targeting, I’ll be the first to admit we were just messing around. I had a limited budget and we just threw something up there.

Matt Siltala: [00:12:21] LinkedIn with 30 like a hundred bucks and free.

Dave Rohrer: [00:12:23] That’s pretty much what I would do is pretty much when I played with it,

Matt Siltala: [00:12:26] I haven’t seen that in a while.

Dave Rohrer: [00:12:28] Yeah. LinkedIn.

AJ Wilcox: [00:12:30] And they still do. If you create a new company page, you will oftentimes get hit up on your email about here’s a free ad credit. But you know, because the clicks are so expensive, $50 or $100 ad credit just isn’t all that great. But it depends on when you were doing it, because if you were doing it back like before 2013 when when sponsored content ads kind of became the new normal text ads have a really low click through rate.

And so it was really hard to get volume.

Dave Rohrer: [00:12:58] Yeah, it was, I think it was [00:13:00] mostly text ads, text ads and stuff at the time, just no matter what, we couldn’t throw money. We were like, no, we really want to target these people, and it was like, yeah, no, not not going to happen this week. This month.

AJ Wilcox: [00:13:14] Yeah. Sponsored content is going to be a lot kinder to you, Allen, on actually going through a budget.

Dave Rohrer: [00:13:19] So you’re saying sponsored content is probably the way to go for someone getting started or even not, you know, just in general, would you say the content matters more in the, like the copy and the photo, or like you’re targeting, like, which one should you, like if you, if you get something perfect, which would it be?


AJ Wilcox: [00:13:41] Um. Which one matters more, I would say content, but obviously you’re targeting matters a lot. Like that’s the whole reason you’d go to LinkedIn is to take advantage of that targeting. But when I do my targeting upfront, let’s say we bring on a new client, a first-time advertising, I’m going to ask them who their target audience [00:14:00] is and I’m going to go and build out as much of that audience.

I can. That’s a direct hit. And so that might be 10 15 2030 different campaigns and you know, all using the same strategy, bidding really low, keeping risk low. And I’m going to be watching for little pockets across these, let’s say 10 plus campaigns where one or two of them are getting me really good results for not very much money.

And we’ll try to just kind of go all in on that. So targeting to me is kind of like a, you know, it’s, it’s the first step I wouldn’t sacrifice targeting for anything. But when you talk about like having an ad that people want to click on, it can’t just be a click here to talk to sales, download a free trial.

Um, you know, take a demo, open your wallet. Those are the types of offers that just, you can’t, it’s like pulling teeth to try to get anyone to click on and LinkedIn is going to charge you an arm and a leg. So starting out with an offer that’s actually valuable, like, you know, download this free guide or join [00:15:00] our webinar where we’re going to teach you this, or we want to invite you to this VIP event in your area.

This is the kinds of offers that people, they’re irresistible people are willing to give you their personal information in exchange for,

Dave Rohrer: [00:15:13] do you ever use them for branding or for, um, like product awareness internally? Like if you could target people with groups. Can you target people that are follow your

AJ Wilcox: [00:15:24] page?

Oh, you can’t ask them. Yeah, you can. You can target company page followers. You can also exclude them, which I like to do with prospecting campaigns. Um, for purely just like awareness, uh, LinkedIn is so expensive. So the only times that I will actually use it for, uh, for that type of objective is when I have a really tight audience.

We had a client come to us who said, there are only 6,000 people worldwide who would, could use our product. And I’m like, cool, whatever it costs. Yeah, exactly. Whatever. And I’m like, ah. I was like, [00:16:00] cool, whatever it costs. I want to be in front of all 6,000 of those people every chance we get. So for that, that was worth like, you do an account based marketing list of just those companies, just those email addresses.

If you have them and you know, you, you stay constantly in front of them. Um, the other one is like for SAS software, oftentimes they have problems with churn where someone will sign up for a year contract and then three months in they’ll stop using the software. So you’ve got a list of all of those customers.

You have a list of, of, you know, their companies as well as their email addresses. You can run an engagement campaign that targets just your current users. So every time they’re on LinkedIn, they’re seeing messages about, Hey, the product can now do this, and here’s another cool way to use our product.

That’s what an often times, yeah, I love that. For re-engagement, for getting resubscribe rates high.

Dave Rohrer: [00:16:50] Well. Yeah, and especially if your service is, you know, a tough, like, I dunno, Adobe or you know, like the large enterprise SEO tools that we were [00:17:00] talking about, you know, to lose that contract or to lose that engagement means they’re going to, you know, in three months when that contract’s up, they’re gone.

So to try to keep them engaged or keep bringing things up, if you know they’re not opening emails or if they’ve completely cut you off, you’ve got to do something. Oh,

AJ Wilcox: [00:17:17] totally agreed there. Not to mention if you’ve already uploaded those lists cause you’re trying to stay in front of them, you can also use that as a seed look alike list on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Um, so you might as well use that for prospecting and find the people who look like the ones who are already your best customers.

Dave Rohrer: [00:17:33] Yup. So you can, you can, you’ve kind of mentioned it. You can do, just like you can do with ads with Google and Facebook and upload your, your email list and get lookalikes.

AJ Wilcox: [00:17:43] Yeah. And same rules apply. If you have a, uh, if you have a list of personal email addresses, that’s the address that everyone signs up for their social media with. So it’s going to match at a really high rate. We have a ton of clients who are like, [00:18:00] we only want someone’s business email, so let’s force them to give us business.

And we see conversion rates drop because of that. Really, and yeah, I love asking for personal emails because then I can upload that to Facebook and LinkedIn and Google all at really high rates. Use them to generate lookalikes, use them as suppression audiences when I don’t want to, you know, pay eight to 11 bucks to have a current customer or whatever, click, um, the, these are all great strategies to use that you can’t do very well with their business.

But certainly business emails will match it at a much higher rate on LinkedIn than they will on Facebook.

Dave Rohrer: [00:18:35] I never thought of that downside of those places that say don’t use a Hotmail or Gmail or Yahoo.

Matt Siltala: [00:18:42] Yeah. Interesting. Never did any,

Dave Rohrer: [00:18:46] you have any other questions? Mr Matt? You’re the true newb if you were to get started.

Matt Siltala: [00:18:51] No, I would. I would say whatever makes you, what’d you give a true noob that had never done anything with a LinkedIn ad. Yeah, [00:19:00] I like a great, I guess like maybe a great tutorial or a great area to learn, or just like the, the, you know, the getting started

AJ Wilcox: [00:19:08] advice. Oh yeah. I’ve got a few good resources for you.

Then I can send over it. You can put in the show notes.

Matt Siltala: [00:19:14] Oh, awesome. Yeah, that’d be great.

AJ Wilcox: [00:19:15] So I actually did a course with that’s now LinkedIn, and or LinkedIn learning. Um, and it’s really inexpensive and it’s basically, it’s. Basically the first hour and a half that I would teach you if you flew me in to come and train your team.

It’s an hour and a half of that, and if you have a premium LinkedIn subscription, it’s free. If you don’t, I think it’s 25 bucks, so that course is awesome. Um, I wrote a, an article for, for about like setting up the perfect LinkedIn account structure. That one’s really cool. And I also just launched my own podcast.

So anyone, yeah. And it’s not, maybe not quite for beginners, like we tackle a whole bunch of pretty advanced [00:20:00] concepts, but certainly anyone who wants to subscribe to the LinkedIn ads show with this chubby ginger, uh, then yeah, check it out. It’s

Dave Rohrer: [00:20:07] three episodes.

AJ Wilcox: [00:20:08] Okay, perfect. Those are, those are the three, the three resources I would say.

Go check those out.

Matt Siltala: [00:20:13] Awesome. Thank you. That’s great. Well, and, and we do appreciate you taking the time to jump on with us and chat about this. There’s been some, some great insights and information that I know there’s quite a few people I can think of just, uh, in our industry that have talked to me before about just these exact LinkedIn questions where I’m like, yeah, I have no idea.

And so this is going to be a great resource to be able to. I’ll share and talk with them about. So any final thoughts day?

Dave Rohrer: [00:20:40] I think if there was one other thing where you see you, you’ve either looked at accounts or what you’ve learned going over it, you know, and I think you said the, you know, the, the, uh, there was the uncheck the one box.

Is there anything like that that you’ve seen time and time again where people just flush money or, or get flustered because they don’t think it

AJ Wilcox: [00:20:58] works? Yeah, [00:21:00] I think the biggest part is, uh, LinkedIn. Does not use their own product. And so the advice they give and the defaults they set are actually pretty crappy for you.

Uh, so uncheck the box. Um, bid low, not high use tight audiences rather than broad audiences. And you know, if you do that, you really can’t go wrong and you’ll, you’ll be entering into it at the lowest amount of risk. The biggest mistake I see people making as LinkedIn goes, Hey, have at least 300,000 people in your audience and you know, bid aggressively.

And so they have this giant audience. So lead quality goes down because they’re stretching for people to try to find, to stick in their audience. And then they bid really aggressively. So they spend all of their budget by 9:00 AM and then it cuts off and. So they bid so addressed. Exactly. Don’t force it.

Bid low and only raise when you need more traffic.

Dave Rohrer: [00:21:52] So, so LinkedIn’s recommendations that they give you are about as good as Google reps is

AJ Wilcox: [00:21:58] what you’re saying? Yeah. [00:22:00] Yeah. Every once in a while you’ll find a really good LinkedIn rep, someone who gets it, someone who actually listens to the same complaints their customers have repeatedly.

Um, but yeah, for the most part, you know, really similar kind of, I kind of echelon of, of rap. Unfortunate. Sad.

Dave Rohrer: [00:22:16] Try to keep

AJ Wilcox: [00:22:18] trying to keep audiences between about 20,000 to 80,000. Those are, that’s my sweet spot.

Dave Rohrer: [00:22:23] Interesting.

AJ Wilcox: [00:22:24] Cool.

Matt Siltala: [00:22:25] There you go. All right. Well, um, just before we wrap things up here, I just want to give our listeners a reminder that, uh, the business of digital podcast, we are on everything.

You know, Spotify, iTunes, Google play. We love reviews. So if you haven’t reviewed us taking the time, go ahead. Give us a review. And, uh, you know, even if you’re lazy to write a review, go ahead and give us that five star rating if you so see fit. But, uh, well for, uh, Aja with V2, LinkedIn, Dave Roth, Northside metrics, I met Sotelo with avalanche media.

[00:23:00] And again, we thank you guys for having here. Thank you AGA for joining us again and, and, uh, we’ll talk to you guys soon.

E136 – Quick Guide to LinkedIn Ads W/ AJ Wilcox Hosts:

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