How to Slash LinkedIn Ad Spend & Get More Leads

by | Jun 18, 2020

TLDR Key Takeaways

  • If you are a B2B company you need to be on LinkedIn and using LinkedIn Ads.
  • Be aggressive with your content the average user is only on LinkedIn for 17 minutes a month.
  • Start with low bids and then switch to CPM bidding after you’ve established performance.
  • Segment and optimize everything, target specific people, and create a good experience.

If you’re using LinkedIn Ads then you know the struggle of their high CPCs.  We have dealt with the same thing, here are a few of the steps we take to make sure that we are cutting costs while still staying competitive.

First Understand Some LinkedIn Facts

If you are in the B2B space then you need to be using LinkedIn, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.  Although LinkedIn has a lot of reaches it is still not as competitive as other platforms.  Only 26% of companies are using LinkedIn Ads, compared to the over 50% of companies that are using Google Ads.  This means it is still a very efficient platform even though the CPCs are a bit higher. The lead quality and the volume of leads are so much better than other platforms.  If you are interested in learning more we have an entire blog post explaining why LinkedIn is such a good fantastic marketing channel for B2B marketing.

On LinkedIn, you get a lower cost per lead than SEM.  The reason is that you are ultimately targeting exactly who you want.  You are not getting low-quality leads or using keywords to target your ads.  With LinkedIn, you’re targeting your ads with job titles, companies, etc. and you’re able to truly separate the qualified buyer from an unqualified buyer.

The LinkedIn user is different, the average LinkedIn user only spends 17 minutes a month on the platform.  They hop on and check out the latest things and then get off.  Compared to the Facebook user who is on Facebook for over two hours a day.  Because of this, you have to be more aggressive on LinkedIn because you won’t get a lot of opportunities to touch the prospect if they are only there for 17 minutes a month.

How to Cut Costs

Segmented Retargeting

You are probably already using retargeting if you are using LinkedIn ads.  If not you should definitely use the LinkedIn pixel to set up and retarget users.  A way to get more efficient and advanced is to segment the retargeting.

First off, focus on the more engaged users, maybe someone has been to your website multiple times and is a hot prospect.  For them you will want to set a higher CPC, establish more budget, and put them in a completely different category.  This way you have the ability to be more aggressive with them without wasting your budget on those not as likely to convert.

As opposed to someone who has been to the website one time over a month ago, you will want a really low CPC for them, a smaller budget, and again a different category. So now rather than lumping everybody together, and paying the same CPC for everyone you are retargeting.  You segment it and have the capability to adjust your budget based on the warmest and most likely to become a customer.

Another way to segment is by industry or job title, so maybe you have an eBook for the tech industry.  When someone has been to your website and you see based on their LinkedIn profile that they are in the tech industry.  You can then start serving them the ad with the tech eBook, making the ads much more relevant to each prospect and boosting the likelihood of them converting.

Lookalike and Custom Audiences

All platforms now have lookalike (LAL) features.  What a LAL feature does is it takes you retargeting list or whatever list you have and it finds people with similar profiles.  It is an extremely useful feature to use for prospecting new people.

Custom audiences are fantastic and one of the best features on LinkedIn. To use them all you need is an email list, a sales prospecting tool such as Discover or Apollo, or talk to your sales team and get their lead list.  Take those lists and then you upload them directly to LinkedIn and target the exact name and email.  It needs to be a sizeable list, probably at least 1000 people, but you can reach those very specific users and get really good engagement when using custom audiences.

Start with Low Bids

Always start with low bids, this does not mean you are married to the low bid, but always start with them.  We have found that more often than not a low bid is plenty and we get the traffic we wanted and because of it, we do not drain our budget as quickly.  I see this mistake being made a lot and it is because LinkedIn encourages you to set a really high CPC.  If you start at a lower bid test and learn throughout the first few days and are not getting the results you would like you can always increase it later on.

Example of LinkedIn Ads Bidding

For example here LinkedIn’s recommended bid is $9.60, and they make you worried thinking that everyone else is spending anywhere between seven to fifteen plus dollars. When in reality the minimum bid is four dollars, for this, I might put $4.05 and get the results I need.

Switch to CPM Bidding

I suggest starting with CPC but once you have established performance and are getting at least a 1% or more click-through-rate I prefer to switch to CPM bidding.  The reason I suggest switching is that with CPC you have the minimum bid.  So, if you have a $4 minimum bid even if you have a great performance and LinkedIn quality score there is no way to get below that unless you switch to CPM bidding.

Example of bid type

Segment Your Audience

Similar to retargeting you also want to segment your prospecting audience.  A lot of people have all of their prospects in one to three campaigns.  They are all running the same ad and landing page for all audiences, with little to no segmentation or specific targeting.  The more granular you can make your audiences the better performance you’ll have because you can make the experience highly relevant to every single prospect.

So, if they’re in the tech industry versus the finance industry versus eCommerce you’re giving them different ads, offers, landing pages, and experiences.  This way it connects with each lead individually and they are more likely to pursue a relationship.  Through segmenting your audience you can deliver a better experience, which LinkedIn will reward with a lower CPC and you’ll also get better conversion rates.

Additionally, some of your audiences are more valuable than others.  For example, if a CEO becomes a lead that is a lot more valuable than if the intern or the coordinator becomes a lead.  So if you segment to the key decision-makers and pay a little bit higher CPC it’s more likely that you will appear in front of them.  Then you can pay a little bit lower CPC for the others and save your budget.

Optimize for Minimum Qualified Lead

This is not specifically for Minimum Qualified Lead (MQL) it could also be Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) but what I am getting at is do not optimize for any old lead.  You want the qualified leads that are closing and becoming booked revenue.  So look at your data whether it is on Hubspot, Salesforce, or CRM, and see which leads are becoming high-quality leads that are closing with your sales team.

You will have to do a bit of a setup.  We do a lot of these integration setups so that we can pass the data back from Salesforce to LinkedIn to see which lead actually went all the way through.   It is quite possible to do you can use things like Google Data Studio (GDS) or there are a number of integrators that make it possible.  But regardless of how you do it, you will want to optimize your campaigns, your audiences, your ads, all the way to MQL.

In Conclusion

If you implement these six strategies, you’ll notice an improvement in your CPC, as well as a lift in conversion rate and a lower cost-per-lead overall.  LinkedIn Ads is a fantastic platform and can lead to an impressive number of leads and conversions for your company if used effectively.

If you are wanting to improve your account more or are not confident in your skills or strategies feel free to book a consultation with us for a free account audit!  We’d be happy to investigate the quality of your account and show you where improvements can be made.

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Ryder Meehan

Ryder Meehan

Ryder has been on a 16-year journey to master digital marketing from every aspect. His resume includes Razorfish, Slighshot, Fossil, Samsung Mobile and Tatcha before launching Upgrow. Ryder is the acting CEO, heading business development and account services. He has been featured as a digital marketing leader on Forbes, PRNews,, Workamajig, Databox, Fit Small Biz and other outlets.

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