Making a Breakthrough B2B Brand

Tips from Metric Theory’s LinkedIn Ads Strategy Guidebook 2021

January 19, 2021

Man at an office with a face mask holding a phone in front of a laptop

Editor’s note: This post was contributed by Josh McClauss, VP of Marketing at Metric Theory.

It’s not a stretch to say that most B2B marketers have just gone through our most challenging year ever. We have experienced longer buying cycles that have delayed sales goals that businesses depend on to operate. Between an overloaded inbox and DIY childcare, remote work has made it harder to reach buyers and more difficult to engage with them. It’s taken perseverance, and probably more than a few long days and late nights, just to make it to this point.

As much as that is an accomplishment in itself, and though there is evidence that shows B2B buying has rebounded, we’re not out of the woods yet. Most businesses that have weathered the storm this year have done so using a similar playbook. It seems like everyone has doubled down on email marketing and sped up their content production cycles in order to find what shred of attention they can. Turning the page to a new year feels symbolically comforting, but the reality for 2021 is that these challenges will remain.

Because the level of noise has never been higher, it’s also never been harder to build a breakthrough brand. How can you stand out, find less crowded forums to reach your audience, and seize the opportunity by showing them how you’re different, better, and necessary? We’ve pulled just some of the strategies from our "LinkedIn Ads Strategy Guidebook 2021" to help you do just that, all using LinkedIn Ads.

Create Breakthrough Ads

Most of the advertisers on LinkedIn run Sponsored Content ads. If you take a few minutes to scroll through your feed, you’ll probably see that most of the ads use generic, static imagery and the rectangular (landscape) image format.

Moving to square (1x1) imagery is one simple way to boost engagement. Square imagery increases the total pixel area on mobile screens and takes up more of the screen, giving you space to make your message clearer while increasing the share of voice. They’re simply more immersive, and our clients have seen click through rates increase up to 68% after moving to square imagery. Illustrated ads can help you stand out amongst all the stock photos, and square video ads even more so.

Reach a New Inbox

With outbound and automated email exploding in use, you might find that your email marketing and sales activity hasn’t contributed the same way it did prior to 2020. If that’s the case, then reaching your audience via their LinkedIn message inbox provides a much less crowded alternative, meaning more attention and consideration for your brand.

To be successful with Message Ads, you’ll need to be thoughtful and earn your place in someone’s inbox. Personalize your message by sending from a visible leader for your brand and match the message and offer content to their stage in the buying process or what you know about them. Conversation Ads can be a great way to re-engage people who have already engaged with the brand, and offer them multiple ways to do so, and on their terms.

Uncover Hidden Intent

For most B2B brands, their presence on LinkedIn is second only to their own website in terms of research and discovery by future customers. To increase your reach, take advantage of LinkedIn’s recently released Action-Based Retargeting features to appear more omnipresent to interested people who may never have even visited your website.

Using Action-Based Retargeting, you can serve more ads and sequential messaging to LinkedIn users who have visited your company page, showed more interest in a video ad, or even those who opened a lead gen form from an ad without completing it. Especially with cookie tracking expiring faster on browsers like Safari and Firefox, retargeting based on site traffic alone is no longer a complete enough approach to find an interested audience.

Get More Target Account Engagement

For ABM practitioners, the rapid acceleration of remote work brought on by the pandemic has upended many technologies and approaches used to reach target accounts, such as office IP address identification and targeting. It’s pretty tough to be a breakthrough brand with your most high-potential prospects if you can’t even get in front of them anymore, or if you can’t track when they’re engaging.

LinkedIn has served as a very high-quality way to reach target accounts with ABM ads because they have the assurance of declarative user data for employer, title, job function and more. And with the release of the new Company Engagement Report, you can now see target account engagement across both paid and unpaid activities. This includes total website visits tracked by the Insights Tag and their own logged-in user data, which may be the most accurate ABM tracking available anywhere.

Emulate Innovative and Admired Brands

What better way is there to become a breakthrough brand than by studying and learning from brands who have made it to the level you’re trying to get to? Note any breakthrough moments you’ve experienced with brands, and spend some time viewing the ads of B2B brands you love, which you can now easily do from their company page on LinkedIn. For more inspiration to learn from one of these brands, join us for a live conversation with Zenefits and LinkedIn on Wednesday, February 3, where we’ll discuss what they’ve learned and how they use LinkedIn Ads now to drive new business growth.

This year, the winning brands aren’t just going to just be doing more of the things that worked in the past. You can outwork the field by going where your competition isn’t and using fresh approaches. We can’t wait to see which of the brands that we helped find their own breakthrough moments to come!

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