Everything You Wanted to Know about Bidding on LinkedIn Ads

July 13, 2016

 Everything You Wanted to Know about Bidding on LinkedIn Ads

Editor's Note: This post was contributed by LinkedIn Ad Operations Manager Hector Preciado.

Have you ever thought about advertising on LinkedIn but you don’t know where to start?

(Related: How to Advertise on LinkedIn in 7 Simple Steps.)

The LinkedIn Marketing Solutions product suite allows you to target and reach more than 450 million professionals. And as a LinkedIn Ad Operations Manager, me and my team (Amanda Green and Caitlin Morrison) are well equipped to help answer your burning questions about LinkedIn Sponsored Content and LinkedIn Text Ads.

We recently conducted a live demo of our advertising solutions, "How to Get Started with Advertising on LinkedIn” and wanted to share some of the most frequently asked customer questions.

Read on for eight questions from our recent webinar that were so good we thought we’d take a deeper dive and share the long-form answers with marketers like you looking to build brand awareness, raise awareness and generate leads with LinkedIn.

Q: What determines who we are bidding against? How do we know if we "win" a bid?

A: You are competing against other advertisers targeting the same members as you. If your ad serves an impression, it “won” that bid to appear. Our campaign manager tool provides data metrics on impressions so you can easily see your reach through impression volume.  Impressions are delivered immediately after a campaign goes live so if you’re not seeing impressions it is because you may not be winning the auctions. You can try to make your campaigns more competitive by increasing the bid.

Q: What happens if someone beats me in the auction? Does that mean my ad won't show at all anywhere?  

A: If your ad does not win in the auction, you have plenty more chances for that ad to win. Any time a member you are targeting logs into LinkedIn, it represents a new opportunity to compete in the auction and serve impressions since our auction serves impressions in real time. If you are not satisfied with impression volume you can try increasing your bid.

Q: I’m a small business, is $50/day the minimum you suggest ongoing, or once you have data could you spend less? What is the minimum auction dollar amount that a company can set to receive leads?

A: LinkedIn never guarantees leads, however you need to be able to spend enough to get statistically significant data. If you have a daily budget of $50 and a bid of $15, you are only allowing yourself to get a handful of clicks a day, which may not be enough to get leads, depending on your click to conversion rate. A strategy to think about is to front load your budget for new campaigns to get enough data to make informed decisions. One way to think about it is that you are buying research to help you make informed decisions about your campaigns.

Q: Is it better to set a daily budget or just an overall campaign budget and let it run for as long as it will go? If you do not use up the daily budget, does it roll over to the next day?

A: It depends how you want to campaign to pace. If you don’t mind it spending all of the campaign budget in one day, one week, one month, etc. then set a total budget. If you would prefer your campaign to pace out, set a daily budget to ensure even spend. Daily budget does not roll over to the next day. If you have a daily budget of $50 and spend $10, the next day you will still only have $50 to spend.  

Q: If my ad will run for a while, e.g. a month, can I auto-set the budget to be higher in early weeks and lower in later weeks? Or do I need to edit this weekly as the campaign progresses?

A: You will need to change the bid manually. We are also always working to improve our tool capabilities so be on the lookout for new functionalities added to our platform.

Q: How long should a specific campaign run? Do we have a choice on day/time that the ads post?

A: The length of campaigns depends on several factors, but it really starts with your goals. Factors include your total budget, cost to reach the specific audience(s), campaign performance once live, engagement rate for your content and whether performance is meeting your KPIs (key performance indicators). If performance is meeting your goals then you can essentially run in perpetuity. If you are not hitting your goals then it might be good to recalibrate your audience, bids and content. Let performance guide you.  

When creating new campaigns, you can schedule your campaigns to start immediately or you can set a start date for your campaigns. Please note that the campaign manager runs in GMT, and that campaigns will only start to serve impressions once they have been approved.

Q: If you set a daily budget for $100 and run 3 different variations of an ad, will each of the ads funding come from that $100 budget or do they need to be budgeted separately?

A: Daily budgets are set at the campaign level, however many ads exist within that campaign, they will all use the same budget. You cannot separate budget per ad within one campaign, you’ll have to run them in separate campaigns.

Q: Looking at the average CPC/CPM, is there a $ that we should shoot for? How do you determine what is a good CPC/CPM? Same question for CTR- is there a % target we should shoot for and what’s a good CTR?

A: For CPC/CPM: The average CPC/CPM for any campaign is going to vary across different audiences. Audiences that include individual contributor roles will generally reveal a lower CPC/CPM, while campaigns targeting senior level executives will generally reveal higher CPC/CPM. You should think about your goals and let your campaign performance inform the benchmark to use. After some time and with optimizations you could see that number decrease or align better with your goals.

For CTR: When thinking about a benchmark to shoot for and exceed for CTR (Click through rate) you should think about your goals. Are you running a branding campaign and want to reach as many people as possible or are you wanting to generate leads? Either way a good place to start is at 0.35% CTR for Sponsored Content, and 0.025% for text ads. The benchmark can vary depending on who you’re targeting but generally that CTR is good to measure against.

Looking to get started? Learn how to advertise on LinkedIn in seven simple steps.