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LinkedIn PPC: how to make it earn its keep

According to LinkedIn, it operates the world's largest professional network on the Internet with more than 187 million members in over 200 countries and territories. LinkedIn also claims four out of five members drive business decisions. No wonder then it’s earning a lot of interest from the b2b market.

In 2008, LinkedIn launched its online advertising platform and b2b marketers became even more excited. Since then, they have expanded their paid services into three core areas with different types of LinkedIn ads:

1. Talent Solutions (Recruiters and corporations)

2. Marketing Solutions (corporations)

3. Premium Subscriptions (LinkedIn users)

Sounds like a match made in heaven - except all is not rosy. Market feedback features a mix of good and bad, with reports of low leads and low click-through rates, as well as not being served.

LinkedIn Pay-Per-Click under the microscope

So is there a way to make LinkedIn work for you? To give your campaigns a fighting chance with LinkedIn advertising, consider our three must-dos for advertisers:

Tip 1: Manage your bids and budgets

In an auction-based system like LinkedIn's the bottom line is that having a high bid helps you gain impressions and therefore clicks. There are two bidding and budget options:

  1. Cost per click. With CPC, you specify the maximum amount you're willing to pay for each click (for example, $2.50 per click). Then, you can set a daily budget to identify the most that you're willing to spend each day.
  2. Cost per thousand (impressions). With CPM, you pay a set cost for each 1,000 times your ad is shown, no matter how many clicks you receive. This is a good option if you care more about the number of times your ad is shown, and less about getting clicks.

How to budget for LinkedIn PPC
Here are the basic costs to help you budget your LinkedIn PPC campaign:
Minimum costs:

  • The minimum daily budget is $10/day.
  • The minimum CPC bid is $2.00/click.
  • The minimum CPM bid is $2.00/thousand impressions.

Starting fee:
To get started, LinkedIn charges a one-off $5 fee that then becomes an ad credit.

How much should I pay?
At the end of the day, it’s all about what you want to achieve. Consider that your daily budget has to be enough to support the clicks you are looking to get. For example, a $12 per day budget can only support six clicks per day at the minimum CPC of $2. In our LinkedIn PPC endeavours we set all bids to start at the minimum budget and adjust from there.

Tip 2: Targeting

A major draw card for b2b marketers for LinkedIn Per-Per-Click is the targeting available. We love targeting and so do our clients. It’s an excellent selling point when compared with other platforms with less targeting options like Google AdWords.

LinkedIn Pay-Per-Click targeting options:

  • Location (Example: Australia, NSW or Sydney)
  • Company
    • Company Name
    • Industry
    • Company Size
  • Job Title
    • Specific Job Title
    • Job Function
    • Seniority
  • Schools
  • Skills (Example: HTML or Project Management)
  • LinkedIn Groups
  • Gender
  • Age

Bc tip: Don’t over target
Even though granular targeting is available, it's not always best to use it to its finest point, as adding more criteria to each campaign reduces the available audience. The trick is to find the right balance between targeting and reaching a fair audience size.

In our experience the ‘golden range’ for ad campaigns is a target audience of between 140,000 to 400,000 members. This gives your campaign a good chance of success as your ads will have more opportunity to receive impressions, which of course lead to clicks.

Tip 3: Nail your creative

Why? Because your highest performing ads will be shown more often, and any poor performers will begin to bring the overall campaign performance down. It’s as simple as that.

Bc tip: keep it fresh
To keep the overall campaign performance strong, create a few ad variations and be prepared to update them often - as much as once a week. We recommend to start with three variations, making two ads live. Once they have been running long enough to see how they’re performing, use the third ad to replace the poorest performing ad and so on until you find that perfect balance. Follow this link to download our free 12-page guide to nailing PPC text ads if you need more help.

Tips in review:

  • Bid at the minimum range to start off with and then increase as required to compete with other advertisers for impressions.
  • Consider the “recommended” bid when setting your bids – it seems to work.
  • Continuously monitor and adjust your daily budget to get the most out of it.
  • Target campaigns with only one or two criteria to keep an audience of 140,000 to 400,000 members.
  • Follow the best practices for PPC ads, and keep several creative versions to hand so you can optimise the best performers.

If you'd like to improve your social media efforts, download The quick-start guide to inbound marketing for technology companies today!

Download Brand chemistry's quick-start guide to inbound marketing for technology companies

Brand chemistry is a digital marketing agency focused on delivering quality leads and measurable results for our b2b clients. Take a look at our client case studies to find out more.

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