Inbound 2019 Recap — Advanced LinkedIn Ads — AJ Wilcox

The first session on Inbound 2019 was Advanced LinkedIn Ads for B2B marketers presented by AJ Wilcox a founder of B2Linked. We consider it the best session of Inbound 2019 with lots of practical knowledge and actionable tactics we could put in use with our own clients right away. AJ set a bar pretty high for the rest of the speakers and we are delighted to share what we learned.

Take a look at Ben’s video and Nada’s notes from this session. It’s quite a read, but it’s worth it.

LinkedIn Ads — Pros and Cons


  • Best targeting at scale
  • Up to date data (everyone keeps their LinkedIn profile updated)
  • Business mentality (people are more eager to start business/sales conversation with you)
  • Larger deal sizes


  • Cost
  • No device targeting
  • No ad scheduling
  • No visible relevancy score

Who’s a Fit for LinkedIn Ads

  • High — LTV ( $15K+) B2B
  • White collar recruiting
  • High education recruiting

The Best Performing Ad Formats

  • Not expensive
  • A lot of volume
  • Most versatile
  • .4% CTR
  • $6–9 CPC
  • Combine with sponsored content
  • Lead ads for volume, regular ads for quality
  • Most challenging
  • Expensive — $23–55 cpc
  • Just for personal invitations. No ebooks, or webinars. Yes for VIPs or early access to something.
  • $.35 send / 50% open rates / 3% ctr


  • 10–50% higher CVR


  • Can’t track
  • Can’t retarget
  • Lower lead quality


  • Eloqua
  • Marketo
  • LiveRamp
  • SalesForce
  • HubSpot
  • $.06-.14 per to sec view
  • Subtitles
  • Can’t retarget
  • No value

Targeting on LinkedIn

  • Professional
  • Company
  • Education
  • Demographics
  • Combinations and exclusions
  • Skill or groups:
  • Exclude sales/biz dev/marketing
  • If targeting SMBs
  • Exclude 51+ companies
  • Age or years — Use seniority level instead as there can be young decision makers.
  • Don’t go overboard — too many people
  • Audience size: 20–80K
  • Avoid audience expansion option

Bidding for Performance

  • Set budgets high
  • Set bids low
  • Hitting budget = inefficiency
  • If you are hitting daily budget you are bidding to high
  • No auto-bidding for new campaigns
  • If CTR is <.35% not good — try launching new ads until you are no longer under this range
  • .35< CTR <1% — bid down to get lowest CPSs or bid up to get more traffic
  • CTR>1% — change bid type to CPM and bid aggressively for big discounts.
  • Use these numbers to beat LinkedIn’s autobidding in every case

How to Name Campaigns


“Marketing-mgr and above”


SC | Marketing Manager Titles | US

“Marketing Mgr”, “Marketing Dr.”, “Marketing VP”… all separate

(so the pattern is: ad format | objective | audience)

What Content to Offer With LinkedIn Ads

The offer is the most important. What to use?

A secret is in finding a sweet spot — a content with medium friction. This means gated whitepapers, eBooks, webinars.

LinkedIn Retargeting


  • 90 day cookie duration
  • Cookie only, no event or user ID
  • Still pricey ($4ish for click)
  • 300 min audience size
  • Users don’t hang out

Tip: Retarget all LinkedIn traffic to Facebook Custom Audience and/or Google Ads Retargeting

Advanced LinkedIn Targeting

The hacks:

  • Sales dream account
  • Exclude competitors
  • Exclude customers
  • Product updates to current customers
  • Target only net-new — exclude converters and landing page visitors from campaign
  • 2-step funnel:
  • Create a retargeting campaign of landing page visitors
  • Exclude this audience from the campaign

Testing Methodology

The higher you are in the funnel the smaller your lever is. So, when you change:

  • Ad copy it has 5–15% impact
  • Landing pages 50–150% impact
  • Offer title 200–300%
  • Educating sales team 10–20x sales enablement
  • Click efficiency
  • Conversion efficiency

Pay attention to CTR rate and change the ads if not good.

LinkedIn UTM Tagging

To detect the exact ad that converts. Here’s how to make it.

lisc — short for LinkedIn source/medium

041718 — the date the code was created

01 — incremental digit

Additional tips

  • Test images — if CTA drops after some period i.e. one month try to change the image, sometimes it’s enough. BUT testing the intros is most important.
  • If CTR drops something is wrong
  • In the case of child/parent companies — exclude them all
  • If you have to target them then target “grand-child” first. (so from smaller to bigger)
  • If you target companies by name and you have less than 200 companies pick them one by one
  • Lookalike — new feature getting better but no need for it yet as targeting is already good.


AJ is a rockstar and he knows his stuff when it comes to LinkedIn Ads. We started implementing his recommendations to the accounts we are managing, but also to the new proposals and we truly see a positive impact. We are managing more LinkedIn Paid Ads campaigns and with more success then before.