How B2B Companies Are Using LinkedIn Marketing Ad Campaigns [Interview]

b2b, marketing, linkedinThe “2016 LinkedIn Ads Benchmark Report” from Bizible found that most B2B software and business service companies (50 percent) consider their LinkedIn marketing strategies to be successful. Additionally, 70 percent have invested in LinkedIn marketing ad campaigns for demand generation purposes.

We spoke to Jordan Con, a marketer with Bizible, for more insight into the report’s findings.

How have B2B marketers changed the way they use LinkedIn to discover new opportunities/leads/customers over the past few years? (Or has their strategy mainly stayed the same?)

“It’s still pretty early in the adoption curve for LinkedIn ads, so how marketers use it is definitely maturing, but it’s not at the level of AdWords, for example. It is still primarily a top and middle of the funnel channel, as we saw in the LinkedIn Ads Benchmark Report.

At the same time, the platform is developing and adding features, which has affected how B2B marketers are able to do things like target ads to specific audiences, target different parts of the funnel, as well as measure campaign performance. The targeting capabilities, like bulk uploading company lists, have enabled marketers to only show ads to qualified audiences, which reduces wasted spend, and lends itself well to account-based strategies. It’s still early for a lot of this, but it’s definitely changing the behavior of those who are at the front.”

B2B marketers appeared to see more leads and opportunities come from their LinkedIn ads, in comparison to revenue. Do you predict a growth in revenue as well in the future? Why or why not?

“A lot of marketers on LinkedIn today still use it primarily as a top and middle of the funnel channel, because if you’re using their standard targeting fields, like skills or job title or company size, it’s hard to tell intent.

However, marketers are under more pressure to show their impact on revenue than ever before. This will cause more marketers to use multi-touch attribution to prove their revenue impact, and, on the other side, LinkedIn will also want to help marketers connect their efforts to revenue so that they will continue to invest and use the platform.

This is already underway — LinkedIn recently released their conversion tracking pixel, which allows marketers to track down-funnel. Before then, unless marketers had an outside attribution solution, they couldn’t track past the initial click.

These forces are helping marketers to understand their impact on revenue. And, as they are able to better measure and understand their impact, they’ll be able to grow their impact on revenue.”

How could B2B marketers improve upon their LinkedIn ad strategies (e.g., content personalization, creating buyer personas)?

“First, anyone using LinkedIn ads should have a good understanding of their buyer personas. Between job title and skills, LinkedIn is an awesome channel to do really good persona-based targeting and offer persona-specific content.

By creating separate campaigns segmented by personas, marketers have the ability to measure performance separately, see how personas react to content, test different offers to personas to find best-fits, and optimize accordingly.

I think the next step for a lot of B2B marketers is to think about how they can use LinkedIn at multiple stages of the funnel. What are your campaigns that target the top of the funnel? What about middle of the funnel campaigns that nurture leads? Or bottom of the funnel campaigns that influence sales opportunities or keep your brand top-of-mind? Optimizing campaigns for each stage of the funnel will, if done well, increase velocity and increase marketers’ impact on revenue.”

Should B2B marketers focus on LinkedIn ads over ads on other social networks? Why or why not?

“At Bizible, we’ve found LinkedIn to be the most effective social channel. We’re able to build really targeted campaigns based on the audience characteristics that we really care about. That doesn’t mean it’s the best channel for every company or even for every type of campaign. It does tend to have a higher CPC compared to other social channels, so you really need to see corresponding results.

LinkedIn is definitely a channel that you should investigate and test. Try multiple types of campaigns and, if they’re not working, trust your data. At the end of the day, B2B marketers should be making decisions based on revenue and ROI.”

What findings surprised you the most from the report?

“Across industries, a little over 20 percent of companies are using LinkedIn at multiple stages of the funnel. Having said that, in the other direction, it’s perhaps even more surprising that the percentage was lowest for the B2B Software/SaaS industry, which I would have thought would be first-movers with LinkedIn ads.

Overall, about 20 percent is higher than I expected at this point, but it shows that marketers are starting to figure out how to use LinkedIn and are testing out how it can work in different ways. I suspect that the number of companies using LinkedIn at multiple stages of the funnel will continue to increase over the next few years.”

Visit the Bizible website for your copy of the “2016 LinkedIn Ads Benchmark Report.”

bizible, b2b, marketingAbout Jordan Con

Jordan is a content marketer at Bizible, the software-as-a-service product provider founded in 2011. He is responsible for content development, including blog articles, ebooks, whitepapers, research reports, and webinars.

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