Benchmarking and Optimisation for LinkedIn Advertising

December 13, 2016

How to advertise on LinkedIn

Going on a road trip is far easier these days than it was even 15 years ago. With GPS and mobile phones, you always know exactly where you are, how to get where you’re going, and your estimated arrival time to the minute.

It’s a remarkable upgrade from maps, landmarks, and the occasional kindly local who would give long-winded directions. “Take a left onto Jones St. in 1.4 miles” is much more helpful than, “down the road a bit you’ll see the spot where the McGillicuddy barn burned down…a little after that, take a left.”

Marketers have seen a remarkable upgrade in our navigation technology, too. It’s far easier than ever before to know exactly how well a campaign is performing. We can track progress towards concrete goals.

Most importantly, we can test variations and get instant feedback on performance. We can use the feedback to continue to optimise, measure progress, and optimise again. It’s a never-ending road trip to better results, more efficient use of budget, and ultimately more revenue.

With all these advances, there’s no excuse for relying on a map and a compass. Use the following tools and tips to get the most out of your LinkedIn advertising.

Know the Benchmarks
LinkedIn processes the wealth of data that marketers generate to create general performance statistics. Think of these benchmarks as an abstracted idea of how a well-implemented campaign can run on the platform.

Your results will vary by industry and type of campaign (upper v. lower funnel), of course. Still, these benchmarks are a good indication of what you can expect. If your numbers are substantially lower than these, it’s an indicator that the campaign needs to be adjusted.

Performance Benchmarks by Product:

Sponsored Content

  • Minimum: .30% CTR
  • Range: .35%-.45% CTR

Text Ads

  • Minimum: .010% CTR
  • Range: .012%-.030% CTR

Sponsored InMail

  • Minimum Open Rate: 20%
  • Minimum CTR: 1.5%
  • Open Rate Range: 25-45%
  • CTR Range: 2-5%

Set Your KPIs
The success of a campaign depends on more than open rate or CTR. Each campaign should have a clear set of measurable goals, each of which contributes to a larger goal for your business.

Set KPIs appropriate for the campaign’s position in the marketing funnel. Here are a few examples to get you started.

Upper Funnel – Awareness and Engagement

  • Monitor the number of new subscribers to your brand’s blog or newsletter.
  • Measure website and referral traffic lift, using your website analytics tools to properly attribute traffic from LinkedIn.
  • For awareness campaigns, monitor search engine queries including your brand name. An increase indicates elevated brand awareness.
  • Go beyond traffic to measure increases in engagement. Look for a lift in time on site and pages per visit.
  • Use the LinkedIn Content Marketing Tactical Plan to inform your strategy and editorial calendar.

Lower Funnel – Leads and Conversions

  • Look at how your CTR is translating to forms filled out on your landing pages. Use Autofill with LinkedIn to make form filling easier for your audience.
  • Measure the growth in qualified leads—verify that your ads are attracting people with decision-making authority and the budget to follow through.
  • Monitor your cost per lead (CPL). Make sure ads are attracting enough quality leads to bring down the overall CPL.
  • Use LinkedIn Conversion Tracking to properly attribute conversions.

Optimise for Success
Optimisation is easier when you begin a campaign with an performance expectations and measurable goals in place. It’s simply a matter of using Campaign Manager to track performance and experiment.

Run multiple variations of each ad. Try different copy, different CTA text, or even just a change in visual. Our team has found that wording headlines differently or swapping in a more engaging picture can affect audience behaviour in a major way.

Use LinkedIn’s targeting features to experiment with audience as well. Try different job functions, experience levels, and geographic areas.

As you start to accumulate data, move budget to your top performers and cut spending on underperformers. Keep your best-performing ads well-funded to increase your Content Relevance Score (explained below).


It’s important to optimise the entire customer experience, not just the ad on LinkedIn. If you’re getting a high CTR but low conversions, evaluate your landing page. Is it optimised for mobile? Is the copy clean and convincing to inspire action? Is the landing page consistent with the ad (that is, does it keep the promise the ad makes)?

Start a Journey of Constant Improvement
The ability to run tests and get instant feedback is one of the best things about digital marketing. LinkedIn makes the optimisation process easy with robust reporting and self-serve campaign management.

Start with an understanding of the performance benchmarks. Set measurable goals and KPIs, then experiment and optimise. Think of your results as a journey, not a destination; each campaign yields vital information that can improve the next one.

For more tips, download Laser Focus: 10 Ways to Optimise Your Sponsored Content.