Maximise the Impact of Your B2B LinkedIn Ads Budget
According to LinkedIn, the majority of its 774 million members have responsibility for business decisions. This makes it a great place to connect with valuable B2B clients. LinkedIn Ads can be a profitable lead generation tool for your company — you just have to know how to maximise the impact of your marketing budget for this unique platform.
How much do LinkedIn Ads cost?
LinkedIn Ads operate on a pay per click (PPC) model in common with Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Users tell LinkedIn how much money they are willing to spend to display their ad — this is the bid — and the highest bidder wins the placement in split-second auctions with competing advertisers.
The average LinkedIn advertising cost varies based on a number of factors, but it's typically higher than other social media platforms. For example, the average LinkedIn cost per click (CPC) is more than 4 USD in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This rate rises to 9 USD per click in North America.
As a result, advertisers must spend a minimum daily LinkedIn campaign budget of at least $10 (£8 in the UK). This number isn't optional; the platform requires it. Meanwhile, Facebook suggests its advertisers spend at least $1 per day on some campaigns. That's a considerable price difference.
The end result is worth it, though. Rather than casting a wide net on a heavily B2C social media platform, you can narrow your B2B audience by business-specific data. This allows for much more targeted social media advertising, and a better chance of connecting with high-value business clients.
What impacts the cost of LinkedIn marketing?
When you set up your first LinkedIn advertising campaign, the platform will generate a range of potential impressions and click rates based on a variety of factors:
- Target Audience: Ad auctions are competitive, and the amount you pay is dependent on how much other people are willing to spend. If you are targeting an in-demand audience segment along with competitors who are willing to pay a premium, you’ll have to pay more to have the winning bid.
- Ad Performance: LinkedIn wants to show its users well-targeted, engaging content, so the platform applies a campaign quality score to ads. If your ads perform well against competitors and receive good engagement rates, your score goes up — and the cost per ad goes down.
- Budget Cap: Running effective ads involves determining how much you must spend per ad to get results, without using your total budget up too quickly.
Generally, the more you spend, the more people you'll reach. Increasing your budget cap isn't the only way to run a successful advertising campaign, though. There are three key areas on which to focus when you'd like to maximise the value of your LinkedIn budget.
1. Ad formats
LinkedIn offers four types of ads for B2B social media campaigns. The type of ad format you select can impact both the average LinkedIn budget you'll need for success as well as the engagement rate.
- Sponsored Content: These ads appear in users’ news feeds like an organic photo, carousel, event, or video.
- Sponsored Messaging: A message ad appears in users’ inboxes like a normal InMail. They can also include an optional conversation element like a chatbot.
- Text Ads: This type of ad appears along the right-hand side of a user’s screen and appears as a short text snippet.
- Dynamic Ads: A variant of text ads, dynamic ads incorporate the targeted user’s profile photo or name to add personalisation.
Each LinkedIn social media ad will also have an objective. The objective aligns with a stage in the typical digital marketing funnel:
- Brand awareness: increase conversations around your brand and connect with new audiences
- Consideration: warm up your audience segments after increasing awareness and exposure
- Conversion: drive warm audiences to convert into qualified leads, job applicants, or customers
You may also utilise LinkedIn's lead generation forms with a variety of ad formats, which is great for the conversion stage.
2. Target Audiences
Of course, the best ad collateral in the world will fall flat if it isn't delivered to the appropriate target audience. If you're interested in generating registrations for a hospitality conference in Manchester but show your ad to bankers in Madrid, you will have wasted your budget.
LinkedIn’s audience filters based around demographic factors such as business industry, work experience, and education — perfect for B2B targeting. Advertisers can create audiences based around a variety of factors, including:
- University degrees
- Company size and revenue
- Company name, type, and connections
- Years of experience
- Job title and function
- Seniority level
To take your B2B marketing campaign to the next level, LinkedIn allows targeting based around “inferred” traits. These demographics are not explicitly stated on user profiles. Instead, LinkedIn makes assumptions due to user behaviour on the platform. Inferred traits may include:
- Interests based on group memberships and professional networks
- Interests based on engagement with feed posts
- Frequency of work travel due to varied log-on locations
- Interest in a new career
The service also supports retargeting. As with other social media platforms, LinkedIn allows advertisers to upload contact lists for matching. You may also create lookalike audiences based on other successful LinkedIn campaigns.
These services make LinkedIn Ads perfect for reaching B2B audiences, maybe even more so than Google Ads!
Unfortunately, there’s no way around paying a premium when you try to target a competitive audience segment. If other advertisers are willing to pay higher rates to reach their targets, you will have to do so as well. Before deciding you can’t afford a competitive audience segment, though, it’s worth taking a closer look at your bid strategy.
3. Bid Strategy
Your LinkedIn Ad campaign's bid strategy influences how you utilise the budget. There are three options, each suited to different advertising strategies and campaign management styles:
When using the Maximum Delivery method, LinkedIn’s algorithms calculate the best auctions for your ad based on budget, objective and audience. The system will utilise your entire budget for maximum ROI. Because the maximum delivery method is impression-based, you’ll receive a charge for every 1,000 impressions. This is the cost per mille, or CPM. It's a good choice for maximising your impact without a lot of prior PPC experience.
As the advertiser, you’ll set an ideal "target cost" you’re willing to spend to reach an audience member. This strategy requires more hands-on involvement than maximum delivery, but LinkedIn will choose the final bid amount. Depending on the type of ad you run, charges accrue by cost per view (CPV), CPC or CPM.
The manual strategy leaves the bid amount up to advertisers, so it’s best for experienced PPC marketers. LinkedIn will assess ad charges based on cost per sale (CPS), CPC, CPV, or CPM.
Trialling LinkedIn optimisation techniques
The LinkedIn campaign manager features a forecasting tool that gives projections about ad reach, performance, and cost. There's no cost to open a new campaign and play around with the data. Familiarise yourself with the platform and test out different ad formats, objectives, budgets and bids. Look for the combination that gives you the best reach and results within a defined window of time — you'll find a sweet spot.
Testing LinkedIn Ad campaigns
Once you find that sweet spot and set your campaign live, allow it to run for several weeks before changing anything. After you've begun collecting some data, consider running A/B tests on your ads. This type of testing compares two versions of the same ad, with one difference between the two. By analysing the performance of each ad, you can begin to draw conclusions about what is most impactful. Use this data to influence future campaign choices.
Top-of-funnel Sponsored Content is often a great starting point for trying out LinkedIn Ads, as it's the one ad format that allows for A/B testing.
Learn how to track the ROI attribution of your LinkedIn Ads campaigns to figure out what's working and what's not.
Should B2B marketers invest in LinkedIn Ads?
LinkedIn advertising can deliver a great ROI for B2B companies that offer a high value product or service. If the cost you spend to connect with a potential client is far less than what their average lifetime value could be with your company, it makes sense.
If your digital marketing team isn't well versed in PPC, or you feel your existing B2B social campaigns aren't performing well, a LinkedIn advertising agency can help. At 93x, our team is hyper-focused on ensuring your LinkedIn Ad campaigns are:
- Delivering high-quality leads
- Focused on business outcomes
We do this by cultivating the exact audience demographics needed to reach B2B tech and SaaS decision makers responsible for, or influential in, purchase decisions. The entire process revolves around your ideal buyer's journey, custom landing pages and reporting that makes it easy to assess ROI.
Ready to explore LinkedIn advertising as part of your next social media marketing campaign? Learn more about what it's like to work with a LinkedIn ads expert at 93x or get in touch today to discuss how our services can support your business needs.