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What Everyone Needs to Know about LinkedIn Ads with AJ Wilcox

What Everyone Needs to Know about LinkedIn Ads with AJ Wilcox

Depending on your experience with them, LinkedIn ads are likely to be:

  • Exciting
  • Confusing
  • Just… what?!

But whatever your experience so far, there are ways you can get (even) more out of running LinkedIn ads and use them to make a genuine impact on your business and brand.

But to really ace LinkedIn ads, you need to listen to the experts. There aren’t many people better qualified for this job than AJ Wilcox – the founder of B2Linked, one of The Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts, and a LinkedIn Certified Marketing Partner.

So, you can literally listen to AJ’s advice on the episode of the podcast linked below…

Watch a trailer for the video below:

Or, you can read on to find some of AJ’s expert advice that will be beneficial for LinkedIn ads newcomers and professionals alike.

The four types of LinkedIn ads – and the one you should try first

Before this lesson in LinkedIn ads really kicks off, let’s look at AJ’s explanation of the four main types of LinkedIn ads you can run.

  1. Sponsored Content (these show up in your news feed, just like posts, and can be delivered as static images, videos, or carousels)
  2. Sponsored Messaging (come in two forms – message ads that look like an email or LinkedIn message, or conversation ads that look like a chatbot and give people action choices)
  3. Text Ads (copy that appears either above or on the right-hand side of the news feed. These ads are only visible on desktop)
  4. Dynamic Ads (appear on the right-hand side of the news feed like text ads, but feature creative elements (like images and GIFs). These are also only visible on desktop)

If you’ve never used LinkedIn ads before, AJ recommends that you start with Sponsored Content and an ad that uses a static image.

Why? AJ says it’s because…

  • It’s the easiest to troubleshoot
  • It’s the easiest to start with
  • It’s the simplest to create
  • No matter your offer or Call To Action (CTA), you can fit it nicely into those ad formats – there’s 150 characters of text at the top, a big beautiful image, and then 65 more characters at the bottom

Your CTA is your most important element

AJ was crystal clear on this point – your CTA is “by far the most important part of your LinkedIn advertising”.

But what does the ‘right’ CTA look like? AJ believes the answer lies in finding the right level of friction.

“There are some offers which we would consider to be very low friction,” he explained, “like ‘come and read this blog post’ or ‘come and see this infographic’.” Ads that are low friction are low-risk, but you’re going to pay a lot of money for a low-converting outcome. How many sales are made on the back of blog posts?

“On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have really high friction offers like ‘come and buy something’ or ‘come and talk to our sales rep’.” Higher friction ads can lead to conversions and sales, but at a very low rate.

“Then,” AJ highlighted, “you have things that are in between.”

“We find that the extremes don’t perform very well for LinkedIn ads, so the real magic with LinkedIn is avoiding those extremes and shooting for the middle.”

But what goes on in the middle? What’s got enough friction and value without going too far either way?

I think AJ summed it up perfectly: “I’m going to provide a lot of value to you. In exchange, I’m asking for your personal information… Give someone enough value, solve their pain points, satisfy their curiosities, and they will be willing to give you their information in exchange.”

AJ recommends trying lead magnets like free guides, cheat sheets, checklists, webinars, eBooks.

What Everyone Needs to Know about LinkedIn Ads with AJ Wilcox

What makes LinkedIn ads so good?

Now, AJ runs a LinkedIn ads agency, so it’s no surprise that he thinks they’re so effective. But the truth is, so many businesses find LinkedIn is the best place for them to invest in digital ads and, personally, I have heard so many success stories.

“The reason we’re willing to pay LinkedIn’s premium prices for ads is their super-detailed level of professional targeting.” @B2Linked

Click to Tweet

One area in particular where LinkedIn’s targeting stands out is its “ability to bulk upload company names.”

“For those of us doing Account Based Marketing, you can specifically name the companies you want to go after.” You simply upload the list, select the level of seniority you want to target/specific job titles/departments and reach those people.

In this sense, LinkedIn is great because it embodies the mantra of 'less is more.'

“You may not be showing to a lot of people, because that’s a very small list,” explained AJ, “but you know that every single one of those leads that you generate is going to be highly valuable to you.”

Are LinkedIn ads expensive?

On Facebook, you might pay $2-3 per click. On LinkedIn, it might be more like $8-11.

Does that make LinkedIn expensive?

No, not really.

“If you track all of your traffic down past the initial conversion,” looking to metrics like cost-per-sales-call, cost-per-proposal, and cost-per-closed-deal, “what you find is that, because you were able to target only the really high-value people, it starts to look really good further down the funnel.”

You might have to throw 80% of your ads from other platforms away, but only a few of your LinkedIn ad conversions.

Quality beats quantity, and LinkedIn can get you some of the highest-quality leads you could dream of.

One thing every LinkedIn ads newcomer should try

I asked AJ what his one top tip would be for people who are starting with LinkedIn ads, and I wasn’t disappointed by his answer!

“When you go to create your first campaign,” AJ said, “LinkedIn is going to make some suggestions that are not entirely in your favor.”

“They’re going to make any type of ad you create bidding by what they call auto-bidding. This is the most expensive way to pay 99% of the time.”

“What you should do is immediately change that to the Cost Per Click option. This guarantees that, if they show your ad a whole bunch but no one clicks it… you don’t pay. You’re only going to pay when you get traffic.”

“LinkedIn will also give you a recommendation that ‘the majority of people in your industry are paying $X per click’. Bid way lower. Bid so low that LinkedIn says that’s too low and just see. If you don’t get enough traffic, you can always increase that later.”

What Everyone Needs to Know about LinkedIn Ads with AJ Wilcox

Feeling inspired to start your own LinkedIn ads?

You should be!

AJ’s advice is so helpful for business owners and marketing professionals, if you’re not feeling the motivation to try LinkedIn ads after this… you need to relisten to the episode/reread this post!

I totally recommend checking out AJ’s website and podcast for more interesting takes on LinkedIn ads and, of course, you can connect with AJ on LinkedIn. Just remember to customise your connection request and let him know you came from this blog post or podcast episode– otherwise he may end up rejecting your request. It’s nothing personal, it’s just a rule he has (can you imagine how many requests he get every day)!

Happy advertising – and feel free to shoot me or AJ any questions you might have… but he’s the expert, so I’d recommend starting with him!


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