How to Measure Marketing Impact on LinkedIn, the LinkedIn Way

October 30, 2017

Albert Einstein is credited with having said “The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.” If the tactics a marketing team uses aren’t bringing in new customers and driving sales, the time is ripe to consider other tactics.

But how will you know if the new tactics are helping your company gain ground, and what happens if the new stuff doesn’t work right away?

These are all-too-real questions for all-too-many marketers. The answer, in most cases, is data. Not more data, necessarily. We’re talking about harnessing accurate audience data and timely performance data to consistently improve campaign performance. Read on to learn how we do it.

Measurement Provides Data-Driven Optimization Power

LinkedIn conversion tracking, a set of capabilities within Campaign Manager, uses powerful analytics to identify the paid LinkedIn campaigns and ads driving leads to your business. Marketers can make sound decisions when they understand the performance of specific ads, and learn insightful details about the unique audiences behind conversions.

On the whole, marketing measurement can be an intimidating concept to warm up to. It can take a bit of time and even some training to assimilate widespread campaign data and apply oneself to understand its implications. But once you have the knowledge and tools to connect the dots between your marketing efforts and won or closed sales opportunities, any apprehension about measurement and analysis could rapidly change to genuine excitement.

How LinkedIn Approaches Marketing Measurement

Context can help marketing measurement seem more tangible, so we’ll share a simplified version of how LinkedIn’s own marketing team measures beyond the click to demonstrate the value of marketing activities (and how you can, too).

All good plans start with goals. Here are ours:

  1. Drive quality traffic to our properties
  2. Drive marketing qualified leads for the sales team
  3. Deliver bookings/revenue dollars for our business from new customers

Useful, insightful content sets the stage for the first step in the measurement process, which is traffic. Web traffic from visitors in the consideration phase may result in inquiries in the form of downloads, sign-ups, and other actions. These prospective buyers are often reviewing various options and readily seek content that can help them make informed decisions. Our LinkedIn team uses Google Analytics to measure visitor traffic and Eloqua to assess prospect inquiries.

LinkedIn Conversion Tracking employs a lead scoring methodology to determine the quality of prospect inquiries taking place within our platform. This focus on inquiry quality increases the percentage of traffic that converts to marketing qualified leads (MQLs). We use Salesforce to track all “beyond the click” activity for MQLs. Custom tracking codes make individual activity easy to examine. Our sales team then uses the MQL data to create discussion and engagement opportunities with the prospects meeting their criteria, and a percentage of the opportunities result in closed bookings.

An important part of marketing measurement is knowing which channels perform the strongest for your particular company or organization. At LinkedIn, we manage ROI by channel because it allows us to allocate resources where they’ll be the most effective. When you know ad spend by channel, a “cost per X” statement can be used as a leading indicator to optimize marketing activity.

For instance, the number of raw inquiries generated can be divided by advertising dollars spent to arrive at a cost per inquiry. As your sales cycle permits, we recommend measuring at each successive milestone (such as Opportunities and Bookings) in the pipeline. Marketing Qualified Leads can be divided by advertising spend to reveal a cost per MQL, and so on.

Your ultimate objective is to identify return on investment (ROI), a number determined by dividing bookings (sales) by ad spend on a channel basis.

Advertising on the LinkedIn Platform

As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn conversion tracking uses a scoring methodology to determine the readiness of an inquiry to become a MQL. There you can measure enrollments, content downloads, and other actions originating with your LinkedIn Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, and Text Ads campaigns. And you can gain a lot of insight into the audiences behind the conversions, too, including their industry, job function, location, and more. LinkedIn conversion tracking makes determining LinkedIn advertising ROI simple. The added audience insight can also be useful in building or refining your ideal customer personas, improving ad targeting, and testing creative.

There are top funnel metrics and bottom funnel metrics. To measure a campaign's effectiveness, we evaluate through the whole funnel. Conversion rate and cost per conversion play key roles in isolating top and bottom funnel campaign performance. Want to know if your creative, messaging, and landing page are working together? Look to bottom funnel metrics for the whole picture.

Marketing measurement is a journey, one that begins with content crafted for an identified audience and concludes when you’ve maximized the downstream impact of leads and opportunities. Want to learn more about effective marketing measurement? Download the eBook Solving for Marketing ROI: Measuring Peak Performance.