LinkedIn Ads optimization is not just about the bidding and clicks optimization. Since the platform is an audience based platform based on different declared parameters, the campaign optimization strategy has also to be different and beyond what we do on other platforms such as Facebook or Google. Also, a lot can be known by downloading the current campaign group performance and analyzing the campaign data.
The LinkedIn ads optimization strategy & tips
Expanding to LinkedIn Audience Network? Worth it?
Just because LinkedIn offers us an option to select advertising over the audience network, we often select that and then forget.
In the picture, here is that option under placement which once selected expands our targeting to the LinkedIn audience network as defined by the platform. But, does it perform? Mostly, no. Well, in some cases, and maybe yours, yes! I recently ran campaigns and purposefully checked the option above and here is the result.
Click Through Rate (CTR) is very low on the LinkedIn audience network with cheaper CPC, CPM, and lower conversions.
Here is another screenshot from the LinkedIn platform targeting audience performance in terms of CTR.
You can see that the CTR of the LinkedIn platform is far better than that of LinkedIn audience network though CPC and CPM are higher here.
When should you include LinkedIn audience network in the targeting then?
Taking cues from the above performance data, I would suggest LinkedIn audience network should only be included in the targeting when the campaign objective is similar to brand awareness or targeting the top of funnel users. That is so because LinkedIn audience network offers a much cheaper CPM compared to the platform and cheaper CPC as well which points the arrow towards brand awareness campaigns rather conversion-based campaigns.
Cheaper CPC drives more engagement on LinkedIn
You might not believe it but it is a tested and proven fact. Here is a screenshot a recent campaign performance data based on the CPC and have a look at the engagement.
In the above screenshot, CPC has been sorted from smallest to largest and Engagement from largest to smallest. It is clear that cheaper CPC has the highest engagement rate. So, how to drive cheaper CPC. Well, you can only control the CPM on LinkedIn but not CPC. My best guess is that the cheaper CPC is from the LinkedIn audience network and greater engagement as well.
That still points in the direction that you should have the LinkedIn audience network targeted but expect more engagement than conversions. But, has it also something to do with the day of the week? Let us see…
Here is the analysis of engagement rate on daily basis and I noticed that the engagement rate dips every 6th day. I cannot say why or if it should be every 7th day. Let me know if you can find something about that.
LinkedIn Audience insights & Matched audiences
LinkedIn ad platform offers different kinds of reports which can be used to further analyze and optimize the campaign based on the campaign data.
Here are some of the analysis and optimization tips based on the campaign performance data. There are a lot of targeting parameters on the LinkedIn which can be tweaked to optimize the performance. And here are some optimization tips:
Remove nonperforming company segments
You can look at the impressions and CTR and also at the name of the companies. Companies mark in the yellow above does not match my audience targeting criteria so I want to remove them. It should be noted there is nothing called negative placement or anything such concepts on LinkedIn so you will have to remove the unwanted targets manually.
Also, irrespective of the targeting, the LinkedIn platform will give you all the data related to the audience such as company name, job function, job titles etc. How you relate those data to the current targeting parameters depends on you. Similarly, I have another screenshot of the job title segment report,
Since my current targeting is based on the field of study, I can somehow relate the job titles to the field of study which is given below.
Optimize your LinkedIn audience for campaign optimization
Set up LinkedIn Insight tag
First thing when you think of starting LinkedIn ads you should do is to install the LinkedIn insight tag and set up the conversion tag properly on your website so that you can have a track of the audience. LinkedIn also creates an audience list and those audiences can only be used in the targeting when their sizes are more than 300. This audience is also referred to as the matched audience on the platform.
Follow LinkedIn audience guidelines: LinkedIn Minimum audience size
LinkedIn has some guidance for the advertisers who want to advertise on the LinkedIn ads platforms. LinkedIn suggests the following minimum audience size.
- For sponsored content, a minimum of 300,000
- For text ads, in between 60,000 to 400,000
- For sponsored email, 100,000 or lesser
- If you are getting too narrow audience notification, consider increasing your audience size to at least 50,000
You can see the audience size and notification in the right-hand size when doing the targeting.
Follow the sponsored content best practices
Here are some of the best practices for the sponsored content ads on the LinkedIn as suggested by the platform itself:
- Content is the king, the better the better
- Sponsored content with images and videos tends to perform better
- Start the headline with a hook such as asking a question, or quote or fact etc. and “You” to speak to your audience
There are more resources across the internet regarding the content on social media which you can refer as well.