Tips from Metric Theory’s "Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Advertising"

October 27, 2019

Metric Theory's Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Advertising

Too many advertisers make setting performance goals in advance of launching a new channel an afterthought. The excitement of launching a new tactic, targeting and ads, or desire for quicker growth overpowers the due diligence of establishing performance expectations. However, when the default is to compare new launches to long-established channels, especially those that might be lower in the funnel, that's a surefire way to get your marketing budget pulled.

Launching a new ad channel should come with a plan from the outset that addresses how it will be evaluated, what the timeline is for true evaluation, and agreement between marketing and leadership on both.

We’ve worked with countless clients to successfully launch new ad channels into their performance media mix, and over the last few years, that’s meant getting a lot of them started with LinkedIn Ads. Below are some critical aspects of performance evaluation to plan for, pulled from our new Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Advertising, which we created to be the most in-depth companion available for launching LinkedIn Ads successfully.

Know the gaps between measurement systems before reporting on performance

Many website analytics, attribution, and measurement platforms will only attribute value to the last click in a consumer path. Even enterprise attribution software will only assign credit to LinkedIn Ads when a user clicks, even though lots of users won’t click at all! Many users will visit your site directly, visit your company page on LinkedIn, or do other research on the heels of an impactful LinkedIn impression, sometimes on a different device, before converting. Systems like Google Analytics won’t capture any of that information, but LinkedIn can provide a richer view, by virtue of knowing that logged-in user on all devices. Anyone evaluating LinkedIn Ads using metrics that don’t consider this aspect won’t be giving it due credit.

Don’t ignore view-through conversions

When users don’t see and ad, don’t click, but still take an action related to your brand, that’s tracked by view-through conversions (VTCs). Conditioned by years of click-based direct response advertising, many marketers ignore VTCs entirely in evaluating performance. We never suggest 100% credit for VTCs, but if you can agree that many users will take non-click actions, giving 0% credit is also inaccurate. We know some users are being influenced by those views. LinkedIn Ads allows you to choose from options of 1, 7, or 30 days after an ad is clicked or viewed to count click-through and view-through conversions, a good and conservative starting point to attributing value to impressions is to count click-through conversions on a 30-day window, and view-through conversions on a 1-day window.

Start tracking down-funnel performance on ads from launch

Securing a lead or eBook download is just the beginning of understanding the real value of that conversion to your business, so it’s also just the beginning of understanding your ROI on LinkedIn Ads. Set ValueTrack or UTM parameters that pass campaign information into your CRM system, and use your historic sales lifecycle to set expectations with leadership on how long you’ll need to understand true return. If you’re using LinkedIn Ads’ lead gen form ad type, work ahead of time with sales to make sure that leads are being forwarded into the right system so that they’re followed up with before they go cold.

Separate paid and organic LinkedIn performance

Most web analytics or attribution systems need to be adjusted so that LinkedIn Ads traffic isn’t pooled with organic referral traffic from LinkedIn. Whether you’re evaluating LinkedIn Ads performance exclusively from these tools or not, there are huge benefits to separating this traffic from being able to see customer journey data on this audience to expedited reporting. If you’re using Google Analytics, you’ll likely want to make changes to your Default Channel Groupings, and separate Social into Organic Social and Paid Social groupings.

Optimize your ad performance by evaluating audiences

Learn how LinkedIn Ads audience targeting works before launching, then plan out your audience testing plan given your starting budget (our guide has more on this topic if you need it). After an initial learning period, you’ll use the Campaign Demographics panel routinely to understand how each audience performs. If you’re experiencing success with an audience, separating it into its own campaign will help you to track lead quality or LTV data so that you know its true value to your business.

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