Social Media Marketing Branding LinkedIn

Our Experience with LinkedIn Ads

The well-known social platform for business, LinkedIn, is known for its superior B2B capabilities, and that's why we chose it for a recent ad campaign. This is the first time we’d ventured into the ads platform on LinkedIn. We learned a lot but didn’t come away with the satisfaction we had hoped for heading in.
The goal of any platform or enterprise software is always to be user-friendly. In some cases, changing the way users expect to use a set of tools is part of that. In this case, we are dealing with ads and the product is rather generic. There were a lot of rules that weren’t made clear, and a lot of ambiguous guidelines for advertising.
This is the story of a first-time Linkedin advertiser (us) who doesn't know all the rules, tips or secrets, and our overall experience.
About the Campaign
Our goal was to promote how we can help brands craft their stories through new or refreshed branding. Our plan was to engage companies interested in re-thinking their brand by signing up for a free audit of their brand. The catch: this audit was a one-minute brand roast that would double as social media content for us and participating businesses. Brand audits don't have a good reputation, and we wanted to share our understanding of that with our audience. This influenced our campaign tagline, "Brand audits don't have to suck."
As a thank you for participating in the program, we delivered a FREE 30-minute brand review to participating businesses.
Success was measured by the number of participating brands and the number of brands we could qualify as part of a simple and engaging lead strategy.
Why We Chose LinkedIn
Since we wanted this offer to reach businesses, LinkedIn's B2B network was a logical choice. LinkedIn offers a few key opportunities, including but not limited to:
  • Direct messaging
  • Ads in the newsfeed
  • Right rail banners
The standout graphics we made wouldn't be done justice using the direct message approach. Same with a small ad in the right rail. So, we opted for the single-image ad in the newsfeed.
Our Experience
With our campaign strategy thought out, complimentary Twitter posts scheduled, and campaign graphics ready to go, we were ready to pull the trigger and go.
After the long process of setting it up — which felt painstaking at points — we were under the impression that we just had to sit back and monitor our campaign when it launched.
We were wrong. Within 24 hours of setting it up, we received a notification our campaign wasn't approved. The reason? It contained "inappropriate or offensive language or imagery".
HUH?? We struggled to figure out what was offensive, especially since there was no concrete indication of what LinkedIn found offensive.
Was it the phrase, "Brand audits don't have to suck"?
Is the word "roast" that bad?
Are flames a no-no? But then why is the fire emoji in every post by hustle culture advocates okay? And the images of Russia's war on Ukraine flooding the newsfeed is okay, but not the flames in our one graphic?
After scrambling and making small tweaks and still not getting approval, or a real reason why our campaign was continually rejected, we made a pivot to instead boost older posts we made about brand audits (and why they don't have to suck). These boosted posts all had links to blog posts on the topic of brand audits. In these posts, we already had a call-to-action promoting the free brand audit.
Although it positively impacted traffic to our LinkedIn page and our website, the CPM and CPC were both quite high when compared to more engaging platforms.
Selecting "maximum big delivery" didn't actually translate to using our full budget, either. It's fine since it wasn't our money, but of our $300 credit, LinkedIn used less than half of it. The credit was for first-time advertisers only, so we lost out on over $150 on ad spend.
The key takeaways from our experience were:
  1. If you're a growing business, we aren’t sure if you can have fun, use flames or throw out the words "suck" or "roast" in your LinkedIn ads.
  2. For a CPC so high and an expectation that all businesses be the exact same in order to be approved, it doesn't seem like the best business decision to let LinkedIn dictate your brand.
  3. If you give permission to use the entire budget, LinkedIn doesn’t provide feedback on why the ad fell short.
  4. Small-budget boosted posts are suitable on the platform as they do deliver significant results in traffic to your page and post engagement.
Since we still have open spots for our free 30-minute brand audit, click the link below to claim one of our final spots.
Emily Goodwin
I'm the Digital Marketing Coordinator here at Neon Supply! I specialize in researching, designing, and implementing multi-channel marketing plans.