LinkedIn Ads Benchmark Report Q4 2015 | STOP! Reallocate & Listen

By Tad Miller | Feb 4, 2016
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Are you repeatedly banging your head against a wall trying to figure out how to improve your B2B online marketing performance? You may be in a rut that is going to require some new tactics to bring you the results you desire. Most B2B online marketers are still trying to transform their search advertising campaigns into the “goose that laid the golden egg.”

The reality is that, despite all the hard work you have put into search advertising, you may never produce the lead volume and quality you want. Not all of it is bad, but most of it is expensive, competitive and unproductive.

Head Wall

The same old, tired marketing tactics are leading you to this spot.

We, as an online marketing agency, were also once guilty of trying to “force” search advertising to work for B2B lead generation. It was especially difficult to get someone to search for a non-branded keyword and fill out a form to contact us. Those were usually 1% conversion success rates (at best) and were very expensive and competitive clicks to buy. No one really considered $300 to $600 costs per conversion a success. What’s worse, clients began to complain that the leads we were driving could never afford their products.

Enter LinkedIn Advertising

This marketing breakthrough didn’t happen overnight. We eventually started focusing on lower cost display ad campaigns focused on content marketing assets like white papers and webinars on Google AdWords that converted at half the conversion rate of search campaigns. But, the costs per click were so much lower, we could get four to five times as many clicks as we could with high CPC search campaigns. This significantly cut cost per conversion and raised lead volume, but it didn’t solve the lead quality issue.

We solved the problem with the use of LinkedIn Self-Serve ads (and eventually LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content Ads) that targeted members visiting the LinkedIn website. LinkedIn Ad targeting essentially allows advertisers to target users based on profile page elements — the very same elements that users add to position themselves as industry professionals — plus any memberships that they might have in LinkedIn Groups or forums.

These page elements include the following:

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Job Function
  • Age
  • Company Size
  • Company Name
  • Job Title
  • Seniority Level
  • Schools Attended
  • Educational Degree Level
  • Fields of Study
  • Job Skills
  • Gender
  • LinkedIn Group Membership
LinkedIn Click Demographics

You even get these great graphs to show you if your ads are hitting their target demographics.

Most marketers can immediately see the potential in utilizing these targeting options. But, as we quickly learned, even if you show ads to the right audience, you shouldn’t expect them to immediately convert and contact you. In fact, the conversion rates for “contact us” types of conversion actions are essentially the same as Google AdWords for those types of actions (usually 1%, at best).

Unfortunately, LinkedIn is just as "mortal" as other ad platforms at getting "Contact Us" conversions. These are pretty hard to get.

Unfortunately, LinkedIn is just as “mortal” as other ad platforms at getting “Contact Us” conversions, which are pretty hard to get.

In the past three years, we have learned that LinkedIn advertising is the ideal ad channel to support the current B2B content marketing revolution. LinkedIn advertising campaigns custom made for carefully complied buyer personas, combined with valuable content marketing assets, are the perfect marketing bait needed to reel in qualified leads.

Those leads can then be nurtured with email marketing and other marketing automation tactics to guide them down a purchase path. Additionally, with the use of remarketing ads and Facebook Customer Match Ads, savvy marketers can expand their reach to those who convert on content marketing assets or click through to visit a landing page specifically made for that LinkedIn audience.

Results: Reallocating Budget From Search Ads to LinkedIn Ads

Green and red arrows pointing in opposite directionsOne of the biggest highlights of our new LinkedIn Ads 2015 Q4 Benchmark Report includes before and after conversion metrics for one client that significantly reallocated online marketing budgets from search advertising to LinkedIn Ads content marketing campaigns. In 2015, this client increased their LinkedIn Ad spend by 308% and significantly reduced Google AdWords spend.  The year-over-year results were:

  • A 170% increase in conversion volume.
  • A 124% increase in conversion rate.
  • A 46% decrease in cost per conversion.

These numbers are not isolated to one client and are a common transformation that we see for all of our clients.

Highlights of Our latest LinkedIn Ads Benchmark Report for Q4 2015

  • LinkedIn Ads Self-Serve results for our clients costs per click and click-through rates.
  • The impact of the winter holidays on LinkedIn advertising performance.
  • LinkedIn Ads Direct Sponsored Content performance results for our clients costs per click and click-through rates.
  • What impact LinkedIn’s new flagship app (code name: Voyager) is having on Direct Sponsored Content Ads.
  • The difference in conversion rate and cost per conversion for one of our largest clients between webinar campaigns and white paper campaigns.
  • The uncertain future of desktop ad impressions for Self-Serve ads and the bright future of mobile Direct Sponsored Content ads.

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