The LinkedIn Campaign Manager hacks that boost B2B Content effectiveness

5 techniques that can help achieve your objectives faster

August 10, 2017

Hacks that boost B2B Content effectiveness

LinkedIn Campaign Manager is our self-serve tool for creating Sponsored Content campaigns on LinkedIn. It enables anybody to set a budget, upload appropriate creative and start engaging audiences in the LinkedIn feed. However, LinkedIn Campaign Manager is also much more. It’s a tactical asset that can help you to plan, refine and sense-check your campaigns before you even launch them. When you know how to leverage the various controls within Campaign Manager, you can ensure your LinkedIn campaigns start out strong – and achieve your objectives faster.

I’m currently running a hands-on interactive workshop, the Ad Ops Lab, which is part of the LinkedIn Masterclass Series at our London offices. In the session, I walk our participants through the process of setting bids and budget levels, setting targeting parameters, and choosing and uploading the creative to use in your Sponsored Content campaign. At each of these stages, I reveal insider tricks: the hacks that can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of Sponsored Content on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s account managers and directors apply these hacks when they’re working with clients, to make sure campaigns deliver the best possible results. You can use the same techniques when running self-serve LinkedIn campaigns through Campaign Manager. Check you’re doing these five things, in particular, and you’ll give your self-serve Sponsored Content campaigns the best opportunity to perform strongly, from the start:

Campaign Manager Hack Number 1:
Set your bid above the top bid range

Every time a LinkedIn member visits our platform and scrolls through their feed, we run an auction for the opportunity to display Sponsored Content in that feed. To protect the member experience and ensure strong engagement, LinkedIn carefully controls the amount of Sponsored Content that each member is exposed to. This means that it’s important to be competitive when bidding to serve your content to your target audience. You can’t achieve your objectives if your content isn’t winning auctions – and appearing to the right people.

Whether you’re bidding on cost per click (CPC) to drive actions or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) to build awareness, Campaign Manager will show you a range of amounts that other advertisers are bidding for your audience. To ensure a strong start for your campaign, set your bid amount £1 or 1€ above the top end of this range.

Remember that LinkedIn operates a second-price auction, so the amount you actually pay will be lower than the amount that you bid. Bear in mind too, that you can always adjust your bid if you find yourself paying a higher average price than you would like.

Campaign Manager Hack Number 2:
Set a total budget and a daily budget

Campaign Manager gives you the option of setting a daily budget to control the pace of your campaign, and a total budget to control your total spend. It’s important to realise that you don't have to choose one or the other. In fact, the best approach is to set both types of budgets.

Setting a daily budget without a total budget risks over delivering your campaign and spending more than you plan to. On the other hand, setting a total budget without a daily budget means that you could spend your available budget too quickly – and without the opportunity to optimise your campaign. Set both budgets to stay in control of how much you will spend and the rate at which you’ll spend it.

Campaign Manager Hack Number 3:
Start broad with your targeting – then use Campaign Manager to optimise

It’s no good setting a daily budget designed to deliver the awareness or clicks that you need, if your targeting doesn’t allow you to reach enough people to achieve those objectives. Hyper-targeting, defining your audience too tightly and limiting the number of relevant people you can reach, is one of the most common mistakes in Sponsored Content campaigns. Campaign Manager though, provides you with a straightforward tool to help guard against it.

As you add targeting parameters to a campaign, you’ll see an updated estimate of the size of your target audience on LinkedIn. If this falls below 300,000 you will be starting to compromise your campaign’s ability to deploy its budget effectively. Layering too many targeting parameters onto a single campaign also excludes potentially valuable audiences who might be interested in your content.

The best approach is to choose two or three relevant and complimentary targeting parameters (my colleague Jane Fleming wrote a great post recently exploring effective targeting combinations on LinkedIn), keep your target audience above 300,000, and then optimise your campaign by focusing on the audiences that deliver the greatest engagement. Campaign Manager makes it easy to do this, by breaking out the clicks and pre-defined conversions that your campaign delivers by demographic. Once you start with a broad enough target audience, you can quickly focus on the groups delivering the most efficient click and conversion rates.

Campaign Manager Hack Number 4:
Don’t force your campaigns to compete for the same audience

One way to avoid hyper-targeting is to focus different campaigns on different aspects of your target audience, using different parameters for each. However, when running two or more campaigns simultaneously, it’s important to make sure they aren’t competing for the same audience. Too much overlap and your campaigns will drive up one another’s CPC or CPM by bidding for the same audience.

Campaign Manager Hack Number 5:
Give Campaign Manager a good range of content to choose from

Sponsored Content campaigns on LinkedIn benefit from an algorithm that drives engagement by serving the best-performing versions of Sponsored Content to the target audience. When a campaign has different content to choose from, this algorithm becomes a powerful asset for driving higher engagement rates. However, if each campaign only has one update, you lose the potential for optimisation.

This matters, because the engagement that your campaign generates has an influence on how many of your target audience will see it. LinkedIn uses a relevance score, alongside the results of the bidding auction, to determine which Sponsored Content appears in the feed. It helps to protect the member experience – and it rewards the best performing content for that audience. Using the optimisation algorithm helps to drive up your relevance score.

We find that the best approach to optimising Sponsored Content is for each campaign to have six updates running simultaneously. You can achieve this by releasing a new batch of three updates every week, and then running each set of three updates for two weeks with an overlap. This gives your campaign a steady stream of different content combinations to work with.

Campaign Manager isn’t just a passive delivery portal for your Sponsored Content. It’s a dashboard with levers that you can tweak and pull to fine-tune performance from the get-go and give your campaigns the best possible chance of success. Flight-checking any Sponsored Content campaign to ensure you’re applying these five techniques should always be part of your approach to Sponsored Content on LinkedIn.

If you are able to make it to our London offices on 24 August it would be great to have the chance to run through these techniques in person as part of my Masterclass Series workshop. Attendance is free and you can register at our LinkedIn Masterclass Series homepage. I’ll also be talking through some examples of how applying these hacks can transform campaign effectiveness. It will be great to see you there.