LinkedIn Advertising 101: Bidding

August 17, 2016

LinkedIn Advertising 101: Bidding

In a recent marketing mojo survey, 79% of B2B Marketers said they view LinkedIn as an effective source for generating B2B leads. Content marketing platform NewsCred found that, compared to Google AdWords, their LinkedIn marketing had six times the ROI and 75% lower cost per lead.

We created the LinkedIn Advertising 101 series to help you get the most out of your LinkedIn marketing efforts. In the last post, we took a look at targeting best practices. This time, we’re focusing on the art and science of bidding. Read on to learn how to maximize your budget with smart bidding.

A Quick Bidding Overview

For all LinkedIn advertising products, bidding works as a second-price auction. That means if you win your bid, you will only pay the minimum needed to beat the second-highest bidder. You will never pay more than that, regardless of how high your max bid is set.

LinkedIn determines who won the auction based on the highest bid combined with past ad performance (more on that later). During your campaign set-up Campaign Manager  will suggest a bid range based on the target audience you’ve selected. The suggested bid range will be higher for audiences that are in demand and that many people are bidding on. You can bid per click (CPC) or per thousand impressions (CPM), depending on your campaign goals. You can learn more about advanced bidding strategy here.

Tips for Maximizing Your Campaign Results

Good budget management is just as important to your chances of success as budget size. Here are a few suggestions to help you get better results.

  • Set a Competitive Bid: To make sure your ad gets seen, it’s best to bid ambitiously, especially in the beginning of your campaign. We have observed that it’s frequently worth bidding one or two dollars above the automatically suggested range. Remember, you will only pay enough to beat the second-highest bid, so go for a higher maximum bid to increase your chances of winning in the auction.

  • Don’t Set Daily Budget Caps Too Low: Part of long-term success with LinkedIn advertising is continual evaluation and improvement. Setting your daily cap too low can result in too few clicks to give you the optimization data you need for the next day. Keep daily caps higher to generate insights on your audience’s behavior that can help you improve performance. For example, if the suggested daily budget is $25, experiment with $50 or $100 to see how it impacts your ability to reach your audience and win at auction -- you can always adjust your daily caps lower later on.

  • Frontload Your Daily Budgets: Set your daily budgets higher earlier in the month or quarter to generate more activity and collect data. Then you can capitalize on the data, optimize your campaign, and do more with less to beat the competition at the end of your time frame.

  • Sometimes It Makes Sense to Ditch the Cap: For awareness campaigns, it makes sense to gradually work through your budget over time. If you have a time-sensitive offer, though, there’s no reason to take it slow. Get rid of your daily cap and you can put your entire budget to work getting your message out as quickly as possible. One tactic: Try setting a total budget spend limit instead of a daily one to ensure that you can maximize your campaign reach each day while staying within your total spend target for the entire campaign.

Relevance Matters

As a “members first” organization, LinkedIn strives to create an environment that is beneficial for advertisers and LinkedIn members. To that end, the auction system takes past campaign performance into account during each auction. Creatives and campaigns with higher click-through and interaction rates are of higher value to our members, so they get a boost in the auction process. The video below explains how the auction takes relevance into account:

It’s a good idea to keep performance in mind as you optimize your campaigns. Take a close look at your analytics to see which campaigns are performing. Then increase spend to top performers and turn off campaigns that aren’t connecting, to boost your relevance score.

Whether you’re running, Text Ads, Sponsored Content, or a little of each, you can stretch your LinkedIn advertising budget with smart bid management. Get results early, analyze and optimize, and you can achieve impressive results.

To try out these bidding strategies on your own LinkedIn campaigns, you can visit our self-serve platform.

To learn more about maximizing your budget on LinkedIn, download The LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Platform Overview.