Where your B2B ads setup might stumble


LinkedIn is a powerful way to connect with a targeted B2B audience through its advertising capabilities.

However, LinkedIn ad campaigns can sometimes stumble even with the best intentions. If you’re puzzled by your LinkedIn Ads setup going awry, you’re not alone.

This article will dissect the critical factors that can undermine your once-promising ad setup, leading it down an unfortunate path. 

By identifying these pitfalls, you’ll uncover the challenges and actionable solutions to steer your campaign back on track. 

1. Insufficient audience targeting

If you’re new to B2B marketing or used to seeing Meta’s audience sizes of millions of people, you may be surprised to learn that audience size is way too broad for anything on LinkedIn – even if you’re aiming for pure awareness.

The beauty of LinkedIn is that you can get very specific while casting a wider net that extends beyond your buying committee.

Ultimately, your target should encompass anyone capable of interacting with your business, whether directly or indirectly.

As a general rule, anything greater than 300,000 is too broad.

LinkedIn won’t show you all the job titles, job functions, or seniorities that genuinely engage with your content unless you have API access, making it even more crucial to apply filters for effective targeting.

2. Restrictive audience targeting

Following the last point, the opposite is also true: avoid creating hyper-restrictive campaigns. If you have an audience of only 15,000, you might only receive 10 clicks daily.

LinkedIn’s algorithm and ad placement optimization rely on volume to work effectively.

A small audience might not provide enough data for the algorithm to gauge user preferences and behaviors, resulting in underwhelming performance – even if your content is highly relevant.

Striking the right balance between specificity and audience size is key. This can help you achieve the twin goals of reaching the right people while driving the desired level of interaction with your business.

Don’t rely solely on job titles as the primary targeting criterion. This approach is expensive and unreliable, as LinkedIn often faces challenges in accurately categorizing numerous common job titles. 

Instead, consider utilizing job seniorities and job functions and employ job titles to exclude irrelevant categories.

You could also explore leveraging seniority levels and member skills to achieve a higher level of specificity.

3. Neglected mobile optimization

With the growth of mobile device usage, a seamless and user-friendly mobile experience is paramount. 

If your ads and landing pages are not optimized for mobile devices, you risk alienating a substantial portion of your target audience.

A clunky or unresponsive mobile interface discourages users from engagement, leading to a higher bounce rate and lower conversion rates. 

An engaging mobile experience ensures your ads reach your target audience and deliver a positive interaction that fosters meaningful engagement and drives conversions.

A common pitfall many marketers encounter today is the use of lead generation forms pointing to PDFs. 

Traditionally formatted PDFs are challenging to read on mobile devices, often necessitating constant zooming in and out.

Create content within HTML pages that offer a comfortable reading experience while on the go.


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4. The audience is not in-market

Up to 95% of your B2B audience is consistently out of the market, per a LinkedIn B2B Marketing Institute report. 

So, why do we continually focus on features or merely ‘solving’ someone’s workplace problems?

Instead of dismissing those not yet in the right funnel stage, focus on cultivating potential relationships and staying top of mind. 

This will organically put your products in a prospect’s consideration set when they are ready to buy. 

The essence lies in crafting connections that transcend the transactional and embrace the emotional, using memory metrics to leave an indelible imprint on the B2B users you’re targeting.

5. Poor ad creative

When designing creative for your campaigns, follow the well-studied best practices. 

Visual appeal is paramount, so ensure your images are high-quality, relevant, and aligned with your brand’s identity. 

Images that include real people or showcase your product/service in action tend to have a stronger impact.

Pair your visuals with concise, compelling messaging. Your ad copy should be succinct yet persuasive, addressing your audience’s pain points and presenting a clear value proposition. 

Remember: LinkedIn users swiftly scroll through their feeds, so your ad must grab their attention swiftly and effectively.

Per the previous pitfall, stop focusing on features or ease of use. Instead, create a valuable relationship and show that you know and understand them. This will help your brand stand out.

6. Inadequate budgeting and bidding strategy

The most common issue I see in companies determining a LinkedIn Ads budget is simply allocating “leftovers” after budgeting all other channels. 

This undercuts LinkedIn’s potential, as it often represents the most cost-effective way to reach a B2B audience effectively.

While LinkedIn Ads’ CPCs can be expensive (as high as $11.03, per a 2021 Metadata study), they carry substantial value. 

The cost per opportunity and pipeline tends to be lower than any other advertising channel. 

LinkedIn continues to be a dependable source for industry-related information, according to an eMarketer report. 

In North America, 91% of marketers stated that the platform is the most effective channel for their brand this month. Let’s allocate an adequate and appropriate budget for it.

7. Lack of continuous monitoring and optimization

Creating and launching a compelling ad campaign is just the beginning – long-term success comes from its subsequent monitoring, analysis, and optimization. 

Setting a static budget without periodic review hampers your campaign’s effectiveness.

The B2B world is ever-evolving, with audience behaviors, trends, and competition shifting rapidly. Neglecting to adapt your strategy can lead to underperformance.

Regularly reassess your budget allocation, refine targeting parameters, and fine-tune your ad content. 

The power of LinkedIn’s platform lies in its audience reach and robust tools for analysis and refinement. 

Leveraging these tools and committing to an ongoing optimization process ensures that you’re capitalizing on the full potential of your investment.

My favorite LinkedIn report is the Website Demographic report, which offers an insightful analysis of the audience engaging with your ads. It’s essentially the Google Ads search term report equivalent for LinkedIn. 

Have you ever wondered whether the job functions or skills mentioned at the top of the article effectively target the right personas? This report will provide you with an answer.

Avoiding the common pitfalls of LinkedIn ad campaigns

Recognizing and addressing the potential pitfalls that can undermine your campaigns is essential for connecting with your B2B audience. 

Each aspect shapes an effective LinkedIn Ads strategy, from audience targeting and mobile optimization to thoughtful budgeting and monitoring.

Applying these tips to your LinkedIn Ads strategies will help you avoid common pitfalls and leverage this powerful platform’s full potential to foster meaningful connections, drive conversions and ultimately achieve your B2B marketing goals. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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