How to make your first LinkedIn Sponsored Content campaign a success

Run through this pre-launch checklist to help generate great results from the start

November 27, 2019

You’re ready to launch your first Sponsored Content campaign on LinkedIn and start driving the results that your business needs. You’ve got a compelling message, an impactful image or video and a clear strategy for which audiences you want to share them with. Before you launch your campaign though, take a few minutes to go through this quick, pre-flight checklist – and make sure you are setting yourself up for success. These are top tips from LinkedIn’s expert account managers, which are proven to deliver successful Sponsored Content campaigns time and time again:

Setting up your content and landing pages

A Sponsored Content ad campaign needs more than just one Sponsored Content ad. You’ll give yourself the best chance of success if you create different variations, test their performance, and pay attention to the ongoing journey when your audience clicks.

Tip 1: Include at least four variations of your ad in your campaign

LinkedIn sets frequency caps that mean each user only sees a particular ad once in 48 hours, and a maximum of four times overall. By creating four different Sponsored Content ads with variations on your core message and different headlines, you can make sure that you keep engaging your audience over a longer period. This will help to keep your brand front of mind, and provide subtly different reasons to engage. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel and come up with a completely different creative execution for each version. Try adjusting headlines, or putting the emphasis on different benefits that you can deliver. You can vary images too.

Tip 2: Run A/B tests to compare your different ad versions

Creating different versions of your ads doesn’t just help to extend their frequency and impact. It’s also a great way of optimising your performance. You can test variations of your message and imagery, and switch budget to the versions that perform best. Every two weeks, you should aim to review how your different Sponsored Content ads have been performing, pause the two campaigns that are the lowest performers, and replace them with two new variations to test.

Tip 3: Check how your landing page displays on mobile

Roughly 60% of LinkedIn’s members access their feed from a mobile device – and that means that when they click on your Sponsored Content ad, it’s their mobile experience that will decide what they do next. If you want your audience to share their details, engage with a content asset, view product info or simply have a positive experience of your brand, then it’s important to create a landing page that is optimised for mobile. Check that the destination people click through to will display correctly and is easy to navigate.

Tip 4: Look at your Autofill options

If you’re using your Sponsored Content campaign to generate leads then pay close attention to the form you’re asking people to complete. LinkedIn offers several different options to make it easier for prospects to share their details with you. Autofill with LinkedIn is a free tool that you can implement on your landing page forms. It pre-fills information from a member’s LinkedIn’s profile, making it easier and quicker for people to supply you with their details. LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms enable your audience to share their details with you in just a few clicks, without leaving the LinkedIn feed. It’s a mobile-first experience that avoids people having to fill in data manually, and it has a dramatic impact on lead generation rates.

Setting up your campaign targeting

LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager interface will help you to align your targeting with your campaign objectives, by using AI to predict the number of people you are likely to reach and the results you’re likely to generate. Use these tips to set up your campaign in a way that delivers the audience and results you need, for the cost you want:

Tip 5: Keep your addressable audience size above 50,000 to begin with

Keeping your target audience broad to begin with helps to ensure that you are reaching all potential buyers and leads, and don’t exclude relevant prospects unnecessarily. It will also provide you with more data to optimise future campaigns. And there’s the added benefit that relatively broader targeting usually means that you have to pay less to reach your audience. You can use insight on who engages to optimise around your most valuable audiences, or create bespoke campaigns for specific segments.

Tip 6: Build your targeting approach around seniority, industry and function

Some targeting parameters are more suitable for a broader targeting approach than others. For example, targeting by Job Function is much more inclusive than targeting by Job Title, as it’s really hard to predict what exact title the people you need to reach will have. It’s best to use Seniority over Age for the same reason. We also recommend using a maximum of two to three targeting facets for each campaign. This will give you a scalable, cost-efficient and relevant audience.

Tip 7: Segment your campaigns by geography when scale allows

You can target Sponsored Content by geography based on the location a member has included in their profile. When members fail to list a location, this targeting facet uses IP address instead. This gives you the opportunity to tailor campaigns to the specific needs and priority issues of different markets – provided you still have the addressable audience size you need. If you find a particular city or region proves particularly responsive to your ads, you can focus more budget on reaching people in that location.

Setting up to win more bids

The predictive capabilities of Campaign Manager will tell you how the amount that you bid to reach an audience is likely to influence your results. Here are a couple of tips to remember when setting your bid:

Tip 8: Keep bids at the high end of the suggested bid range – or higher

Campaign Manager shows you a suggested bid range, which is based on what other advertisers are bidding for your target audience. Bidding at the top of the suggested bid range, or just above it, is the best way to maximise exposure to the audience you’re interested in. Because LinkedIn advertising products are decided on a second-price auction, you will only have to pay the minimum amount needed to beat the second-placed bid. So even if you bid at the high end of the range, you are likely to pay less.

Tip 9: Run your campaign for at least two weeks to boost your bidding power

Sponsored Content auctions are decided by a combination of the amount you bid and your Relevance Score. The Relevance Score is based on indicators that LinkedIn members find the content interesting, such as clicks, comments or shares. Campaigns are assigned a Relevance Score approximately 4-5 days after launch. Running campaigns for a minimum of two weeks gives you time to launch, analyse, optimise, increase your Relevance Score, and get the benefits in terms of winning more bids.

Setting up your tracking

Adding the free LinkedIn Insight Tag to your site will help you to see the actions people take as a result of seeing your ad.

Tip 10: Implement Conversion Tracking

With LinkedIn Conversion Tracking, you can define conversion actions on your website, such as content downloads, sign-ups or purchases, and then track how Sponsored Content contributes to those conversions. You’ll be able to track how many times members converted after engaging with, or even just viewing, your ads. For robust tracking, tie your conversions to the Thank You pages that your site displays after visitors successfully complete an action.

With any campaign, it’s amazing what a difference small details can make. Running through this checklist will make sure you’re giving your ad the best chance of success on LinkedIn. And of course, the more Sponsored Content campaigns you run, the more insights you’ll generate as to what works for you.