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What’s the Best Way to Generate High-Quality B2B Leads on LinkedIn?

top linkedin lead gen strategies

Several of our partnerships here at Tuff are with B2B businesses who are looking for new and fresh ways to generate leads – and quality ones at that. B2B is a different ballpark than D2C and you have to get creative when it comes to how you target, the ads you test, the CTAs you push, and the means you use to convert people into leads.

We’re beginning to find out that digital advertising has become the primary way to drive B2B leads – $442 billion worth of sales happened because of digital advertising, accounting for 62% of the total advertising sales that occurred all over the world. When you’re looking for a digital advertising channel to find these leads, you’re going to want to find one where you know your audience will be – and that’s LinkedIn.

Benefits of using LinkedIn as a B2B marketing channel

It probably comes as no surprise that LinkedIn is THE channel to be on if you want to reach an audience of professionals. Seeing as the purpose of the channel originated as and still stands as a way to connect business professionals to new career and educational opportunities, that’s the network you can find on LinkedIn.

As of this spring, LinkedIn has reported it has 675 million monthly users, 40% of which are on the platform on a daily basis. That’s a whole lot of people to be reaching – a whole lot of ENGAGED people. If you’re looking for a marketing channel that you can rely on as a way to reach new leads and assist with your B2B efforts, you’ve pretty much just found your place.

Audience targeting options on LinkedIn

Not only is the audience you’re likely looking to hit on the platform, but LinkedIn also provides some of the best targeting options to reach business professionals. Since users decorate their LinkedIn profiles with a ton of information, such as their education, job title, company, accolades, skills, and more, you’ll have access to targeting people by these parameters. Some of the most useful ones we use on a regular basis are:

  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
    • This parameter can often be a little broad – this article breaks down which more niche industries fall into a broader category!
  • Job Title
  • Job Function
  • Job Seniority
  • Member Skills

linkedin audience targeting

LinkedIn also offers the option to target lists of contacts or companies if you have a large volume of either of these that you want to reach. The company list targeting allows you to upload a list of company names that will then be matched against the 50 million LinkedIn pages on the platform. The platform recommends that you upload a list of at least 1,000 organizations and allow it to match for at least 48 hours. The most important fields LinkedIn recommends you include to provide accurate and effective matching is the LinkedIn Company Page URL.

These targeting options will help you tailor your targeting to exactly the type of audience you’re looking to reach – and you can even break down performance by demographic once you’ve started running your campaign to see how each job function or company industry is targeting.

Driving leads via your website or native lead generation forms

Once you’ve nailed down your audience targeting, it’s time to decide exactly how you want to collect these leads. You may want to drive this audience to your website so they can learn more and submit their information. However, driving traffic away from LinkedIn needs to make sure you have a really optimized experience once you get there (and don’t get us wrong – we’ve got the skills to help you do that!)

However, LinkedIn also offers a native lead generation feature where users can click the ad and open a form where they’re able to submit their information, all while never leaving their current browser window. These forms are customizable, so you can ask the typical information you may need to qualify a lead, such as:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Company name
  • Job title

linkedin native lead genThe best part about this is that since most of this information is already part of a user’s profile set-up, the platform will auto-fill most this information in the form without the user having to input it themselves, which leads to higher lead submission rates! There’s also the option to include a custom field where users can select a multiple choice response or type something in if you need additional pieces of information that LinkedIn doesn’t offer.

We test a few different ways to drive these leads – we can either just encourage them to submit their information so they can learn more about the company’s products or services, or we can encourage them to submit their information to gain access to a resource or other piece of content from the company. In order to customize this, once someone submits their information via the form, they’ll be taken to a “confirmation” portion of the form where they’re met with a short message and a CTA button that you’re able to customize. You can drive them to a landing page or your website to learn more with the CTAs “Visit company website” or “Learn more,” or you can drive them to a piece of content using the CTAs “View now,” “Download now,” or “Try now.” For the latter, where you’re granting them access to a piece of content, you can link to a page that has the content either on a web page or as a PDF.

Offering content as a valuable incentive to collect lead information

linkedin adWe’ve found that when it comes to driving leads, offering a piece of content in exchange for a user’s information tends to be more successful. Especially in the B2B space, content is becoming more important than ever – 54% of decision makers spend more than an hour a week reading and reviewing thought leadership, and that same amount more frequently purchases a new product/service they had not considered before once they’ve read a compelling piece of thought leadership. Whether it’s an e-book, a white paper, a guide, or a checklist, promoting a piece of content that’s unique to your business will increase the value for someone deciding if they want to fill out the form.

While this strategy is completely possible with LinkedIn’s tried and true Sponsored Content ads, LinkedIn has also released a new product that we’ve been testing lately at Tuff – Document Ads. These ads showcase a preview of a document (in PDF, PPT, PPTX, DOC or DOCX formats) and require a user to submit a form to unlock the full document. They stand out in the newsfeed as a piece of content, which is attention-grabbing as it is, but they also don’t require visiting another page or downloading the resource if they don’t want to – they can simply read the full resource directly in the platform.

Results from real Tuff partners!

We’ve been testing in-platform lead generation with a few of our B2B partners in an effort to increase lead volume after originally driving to the landing page, and it has led to an increase in leads – and, even better, an increase in qualified leads.

linkedin ad exampleRadion Health partners with brokers and consultants to offer level-funded and medical stop-loss insurance to small employee groups, and LinkedIn has been a top-performing social channel for them since we began working with them over the summer. We began to see lead volume decrease and CPLs spike after a few months of driving to the landing page, so we made the adjustment to lead generation campaigns – and leads increased by 265%. These leads also had an over 60% qualification rate, a 164% increase in quality compared to the period before.

Another one of our partners, Multiverse, which builds professional apprenticeship programs that companies can offer in place of corporate training or to adults who are looking for an alternative to college, has also relied heavily on LinkedIn for their B2B lead generation efforts. After testing driving to a landing page with a form from our ads, we switched to lead generation in October and have seen a 3x uptick in qualified leads compared to the period before.

We’ve also been testing Document Ads with a native lead generation form versus Sponsored Content ads driving to a landing page to promote a piece of content for Multiverse. For one particular report, we’ve driven 17 leads from the Document Ads compared to 1 from the Sponsored Content ads during the same time period!

Are you looking to drive leads through LinkedIn?

If driving leads through LinkedIn is on your radar for 2023, we recommend utilizing its products such as the native in-platform lead generation forms or Document Ads and testing them to see what works best with your audience and with your offerings! If you’re looking to get started with LinkedIn advertising or take your existing strategy to the next level, let’s talk!

Man walking into building.

LinkedIn Advertising in 2022: LinkedIn Ad Examples From Tuff Clients

Man walking into building.

Author’s Note: This post was originally published in 2020. It has since been updated for 2022! 

LinkedIn advertising has been quickly gaining momentum as a critical tactic for our clients at Tuff —and for good reason. As a growth marketing agency, we’re constantly testing new channels and tactics to find the right mix for our partner’s target audiences. In this article, we’ll show LinkedIn ad examples for a variety of tactics and industries. 

Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Google, with LinkedIn advertising, you can connect with granular, business-oriented audiences with targeted copy and creative. 

LinkedIn has gotten a rep in the past that it’s only useful for B2B marketing. And while that is somewhat true – and we’ll provide a few examples below – we’ve also seen great success testing the channel for B2C efforts, too! Linkedin’s member base consists of a more engaged, professional audience than some other channels, so it’s a great place to be if you’re looking to promote a product or service that may best be served to this particular audience when they’re paying the most attention.

At Tuff, we’ve known the value of a comprehensive LinkedIn ad strategy for the last couple of years. We ran our first LinkedIn advertising campaign back in March 2017 and are still actively running campaigns for clients today. 

Example of a LinkedIn ad.

This is the first campaign we ran (ever!) on LinkedIn. It looks a little out-dated now but back then it was CUTTING-EDGE stuff.

We’re also willing to bet that LinkedIn will continue to grow throughout 2022 and beyond, especially as LinkedIn advertising features continue to improve and advance to match the same level of sophistication as other paid acquisition channels. 

That’s why we recommend LinkedIn display ads to a variety of our partners, B2B, SaaS, and eCommerce, especially those with valuable content, brand awareness goals, or leads to collect.  

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the LinkedIn ad campaigns we have run so far in 2022 alongside our partners. 

Using LinkedIn for B2C Advertising Campaigns

Promoting Certificate Programs to Professionals for Pathstream

Goal: Driving leads

Campaign Objective: Website Conversions

Campaign Type: Sponsored Content

Creative Type: Static images

Pathstream offers certificate programs in partnership with Facebook, Tableau, Salesforce, and Asana and in partnership with universities throughout the country to help people who are looking to switch careers by learning something new or those who are looking to advance their careers by building upon their existing skill set. They’ve seen great success from Facebook campaigns, but we knew there was an audience on LinkedIn that we could very easily reach while they’re already scrolling through the channel for career-acceleration opportunities.

We leveraged Sponsored Content with the goal of generating leads by sending our target audience to campaign-specific landing pages where they could fill out a form to learn more about the certificate program they were shown. We learned shortly after launching that the best way to really make sure we were showing to a qualified audience for each program was to TEST TEST TEST these audiences.

We launched the campaigns by targeting an audience with relevant Job Titles AND 1-10 Years of Experience for the Digital Marketing program and an audience with the “Project Management” Skill, Years of Experience, and entry-level Job Seniorities for the Project Management program. In March, we layered new audiences into both programs built around another targeting option – Job Functions:

Project Management:

LinkedIn targeting for Project Mangement

Digital Marketing:

Digital marketing targeting on LinkedIn

Job Function targeting allows us to get a little broader and reach those we may be missing out by only hitting Job Titles, but the Years of Experience and Job Seniority targeting parameters still allow us to hone in on those who are not too far in their career and are looking to make a switch or advance where they currently are.

These audience tests helped us glean insights based on which audience was converting more, AND we were able to drive even more leads! By the end of April, the Digital Marketing Job Function audience had driven nearly double the leads than the original audience, and the Project Management Job Function audience, despite driving 4 fewer leads than the Skill audience, had contributed to a $20 lower CPL.

With the abundance of targeting options that are available in LinkedIn, it’s really important to ensure that you’re testing these audiences to find the one that engages with your ad and, ultimately, converts the most.

 

Getting in Front of Newcomers to the U.S. for Nova Credit’s B2C Efforts

Goal: Driving credit card pulls

Campaign Objective: Engagement

Campaign Type: Sponsored Content

Creative Type: A/B testing video and images

Nova Credit is a financial technology company that helps newcomers to the U.S. apply for financial services using their international credit scores from their home countries as long as Nova Credit services that country. 

Since we are looking to reach people who have just moved to the U.S., we have been taking advantage of LinkedIn’s Member Trait targeting options of “Recently Relocated (International)” and “Ex-pat.” Member traits are distinguished by members’ behaviors and actions they take on LinkedIn, their profile, their device preferences, and/or their general location inferred from their IP address.

LinkedIn Targeting for Newcomers

While our goal is to drive conversions from the campaigns, we have been testing the Engagement campaign objective. This objective shows the campaign to people who are most likely to like, share, comment, view, or click on the ads or follow Nova Credit’s LinkedIn company page. We bid on a “cost per engagement click” model, which means we’re bidding anywhere from $2-5 for an engagement click, making the objective fairly affordable with efficient cost-per-conversions – and we know that LinkedIn can oftentimes cost more than advertising on other platforms  

Through running these tests, we’ve found that LinkedIn has been the top channel in terms of driving conversions compared to the other channels we’re testing, which include Facebook, PPC, and Quora. And not only that, but it’s been one of the most efficient in costs due to the engagement objective.

Testing Video and Messaging to Mental Health Providers for Headway

Goal: Driving leads

Campaign Objective: Website Conversions

Campaign Type: Sponsored Content

Creative Type: Video

Headway is a software company in the mental health space that is working to build a virtual network of therapists who accept insurance that will help patients find more affordable access to therapy and care. We partner with them to target mental health care providers who are either working with insurance companies directly and looking to offload the work that comes with that or who have not yet considered working with insurance companies but would if they could find a helpful tool like Headway.

One element we began testing when we began our partnership with Headway was which creative type worked the best at encouraging providers to convert. It’s important to keep in mind with creative testing on LinkedIn is that you choose the ad format on the campaign level – so you can only set up ads within that format in your campaign. If you want to test between two formats, you’ll need to run 2 campaigns. In January, we ran static image videos but after a month or so of low lead volume, we switched to new video creative that our team had designed – and after swapping to video, the ads generated a 28% increase in click-through rate.

Creative for video ads on Linkedin

Since we saw a stronger CTR from the video creative, we deemed video as the winner and have been running video-only campaigns over the last few months. 

Another element that has led to a large spike in performance at a more efficient cost is the messaging in the ads. Headway services a select number of states throughout the country based on where they have large quantities of patients to work with, so our targeting approach has been segmenting the campaigns out by state and Job Titles. In March, we began to call out the states and statistics around the number of patients in each state in the ad copy. This doesn’t involve a ton of lift on our creative team’s end – we were able to simply swap a different state abbreviation or number depending on which state’s ad it was. 

The difference in performance, specifically the CPL, was very significant. When comparing March-April vs. January-February, the ads generated a 71% decrease in lead costs. While we’ve learned that testing and fine tuning our targeting on LinkedIn is very important, it’s also safe to say that our creative – both the image/video and ad copy text – truly make a difference as well.

Creative Split Test LinkedIn for Headway

Using LinkedIn for B2B Advertising Campaigns

Leveraging LinkedIn’s Company List Feature for Nova Credit’s B2B Efforts

We also partner with Nova Credit to promote their products to financial institutions who are looking for a way to tap into a new market of consumers, and we have been leveraging LinkedIn to get in front of these professionals. Their team provided us with a large list of companies they were looking to target. 

LinkedIn offers company list targeting that allows you to upload a list of company names that will then be matched against the 50 million LinkedIn Pages on the platform. 

LinkedIn recommends the list size be at least 1,000 organizations and to allow it at least 48 hours, or sometimes longer, to generate once uploaded. 

They offer a template to follow so that you can provide all of the appropriate fields to ensure the highest match possible. These fields include:

  • Company name
  • Company website
  • Company email domain
  • LinkedIn Company Page URL*
  • Stock symbol

While not all of these fields are necessary to properly match, the channel recommends you have at least company name, company website, and, most importantly, the company page URL. This last field requires you to manually find the LinkedIn page for each company you’re looking to target, but it’s well worth the match rate you’ll get once you upload.

The list we uploaded was only a couple thousand, but we were able to match to over 2 million members on the channel! From there, you can append more granular targeting options, such as Job Seniority, Job Functions, Years of Experience, or Job Titles. We layered Job Title targeting options into the B2B audiences so we could reach the most relevant people at these companies.

This targeting has allowed us to generate over 150,000 impressions in just over a month to aid with driving brand awareness around Nova Credit’s offerings to lenders and underwriters, all while specifically targeting the companies they truly want to be in front of!

How Are You Using LinkedIn Advertising?

At this point, it’s pretty clear that there is a lot more we can do to fully activate LinkedIn campaigns outside of just targeting Job Title or Company Industry. By taking advantage of the channel’s other features, we’ve been able to layer LinkedIn into our paid social channel mix to reach our target audience in new ways and with new messaging, and there is so much more to explore! If you’re looking to take your LinkedIn advertising to the next level, let’s talk!

A user scrolling Twitter on their phone.

The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Ads: Metrics, Insights, Tools, and Tips

A user scrolling Twitter on their phone.

Author’s Note: This post was updated on November 8, 2022 with new content, resources, links, and information. 

Here at Tuff, we love to shout 🗣️ “diversify your channel mix!” 🗣️ from the rooftops – especially when it comes to paid social advertising. The more channels you can implement into your marketing mix, the more times you’ll be staying in front of your target audience.

Twitter is a channel that we don’t always include in every growth marketing strategy, but it’s one that we still like to explore and test. Even though we haven’t heard of it much over the last few years as it’s behind the likes of TikTok and Facebook/Instagram, it’s still the world’s 7th favorite social media platform – so might as well be on it!

If we think it’s right for our partners, we’ll brainstorm some audience targeting, design and write creative and copy that works for the platform, and get started! Here are some important things to know if you’re looking to incorporate Twitter ads into your social ads strategy – and how some tests have panned out for us here at Tuff!

Placing the Twitter Pixel + Setting Up Conversions

One of the first steps you want to take when preparing to launch your Twitter campaign is to place the pixel on your website – this will allow you to not only build remarketing audiences of people who have visited your site, but also set up conversions to track the particular actions you want them to take. 

You can place the Twitter universal tag directly into your website’s code or via a supported third-party Tag Manager, like Google Tag Manager. Then you can set up events such as Purchase, Lead, Download, etc. depending on what makes sense for your campaign – you can set these up via Google Tag Manager as well.

Audience Targeting

An important question to ask yourself when deciding if Twitter is the right channel to advertise your product or service on is “does the targeting make sense for me?” Like most ad platforms, Twitter offers a variety of audience targeting options that can cater to the goal you’re trying to achieve while advertising on the channel, but keep in mind that they might not be the most relevant to every business. 

In addition to demographics such as location, language, age, gender, and device/platform settings, you have the option to target prospecting audiences and custom audiences, like retargeting and list-based:

Prospecting:

  • Keywords
    • Includes people who searched for, Tweeted, or engaged with the keywords you choose
  • Follower look-alikes
    • Targets people with similar interests to an account’s current followers
      • Recommend including 30 @handles per campaign and that are mostly tied to your business rather just Twitter accounts with a lot of followers
  • Interests
    • Includes 350+ pre-set interests across 25 categories
  • Movies and TV shows
    • Includes people who Tweet about or engage with movies & TV shows in a specific market
  • Events
    • Includes predetermined events in 8 categories but updated regularly
  • Conversation topics
    • Includes people whose everyday conversations include content around predetermined 25+ categories and 10,000+ topics

To create the following custom audiences, navigate over to Tools > Audiences on the top navigation bar.

Retargeting:

  • As long as the Twitter universal website tag is installed on your website, you’re able to target people who have visited any web page or a specific web page if you want to get more granular!
    • This audience needs to reach 100 Twitter users in order to be eligible for targeting

List-Based:

  • If you have a list that contains your own user and customer data, you can leverage it for targeting on Twitter – however, there are a few pieces of information that are necessary in order to match accurately in the platform:
    • Email addresses
    • Mobile Advertising IDs (iOS Advertising Identifiers and Google Advertising IDs, or when not available, Android IDs)
    • Twitter @handles or Twitter user IDs

Since you set the audience targeting at the ad set level, you can very easily test a few different audience types to see what works best for you and where you’ll find the most engaged members of your target audience. We’ve conducted a few tests for a few partners and seen the following results:

For our partner Multiverse, who was promoting their Software Engineering apprenticeship program to big tech and non-tech companies who may be interested in hosting in implementing it into their company, we used the Follower Look-alike option to reach people who looked like the followers of influencers in the tech space and tested it against keywords in software engineering. 

Audience Impressions Clicks CTR Engagements Engagement Rate
Follower LAL 281,039 394 0.14% 1,889 0.67%
Keywords 508,522 849 0.17% 3,841 0.76%
TOTAL 789,561 1243 0.16% 5,730 0.73%

The keywords were not only responsible for more impressions and clicks, but also a higher click-through rate and engagement rate. We didn’t target 30 accounts for the Follower Look-alike audience like Twitter recommends, which could be a reason for the small impression volume!

Similarly, we tested audiences with one of our partners in the fintech space, Nova Credit, who was looking to reach businesses who may want to partner with them to offer their products and services. We tested financial keywords against interests in personal and business finance and business news.

Audience Impressions Clicks CTR Engagements Engagement Rate
Keywords 687,819 2,493 0.36% 8,220 1.20%
Interests 701,588 2,523 0.36% 8,459 1.21%
TOTAL 1,389,407 5,016 0.36% 16,679 1.20%

Interests is a broader approach than the keyword targeting, hence slightly more impressions and clicks, but both CTR and engagement rate were really the same, so we never identified a clear winner throughout this test and continued to target both!

twitter ads audience targeting

Creative Types

An important aspect in executing your Twitter campaign and actually driving results is your creative. You have a few options here:

  • Text ads – these just appear as a simple text ad, like an organic Tweet that doesn’t have any media associated with it
  • Image ads – these appear as Tweets with an image attached below
  • Video ads – these look the same as Image ads except the video will auto-play
  • Carousel ads – these appear like Image ads but as a slideshow that you can scroll through to see a few different slides

These ads appear with a “Promoted” message at the bottom of the Tweet, and they won’t show on your Twitter page as organic Tweets. They’ll also only go live after your campaign starts. To create your first ad, navigate to Creatives > Tweet Composer. You can even batch create Tweets in one fell swoop in the Composer, and then attach them to your campaign when you’re ready to build it out, which makes things very seamless!

You’re probably asking at this point, “Well, what creative type should I go with then?”

The answer is not all that simple, because of course I’m going to tell you the magic word that infiltrates most of our creative work here at Tuff – TEST! If you have the capabilities and resources to develop several types of formats, then we recommend testing to see what resonates with your target audience the best. For one of our partners, Nova Credit, where we tested a static image promoting a white paper download versus an animated version of that same graphic, the ads generated the following results:

Format Impressions Clicks CTR Engagements Engagement Rate
Video 139,732 261 0.19% 1,283 0.92%
Image 226,951 454 0.20% 1,871 0.82%
TOTAL 366,683 715 0.19% 3,154 0.86%

As you can see, the image ad was responsible for more of the impressions, click volume, and a slightly higher click-through rate, but the video ad actually generated an engagement rate 0.10% higher, meaning people engaged with the video ad more often than the video. This makes sense since video tends to capture people’s attention a little more, or keeps them interacting with the ad as long as the video is playing.

Budget

When it comes to determining a budget to get started, we’ve found that CPCs are relatively cheap on Twitter – oftentimes within the $1 to $2 range when we’ve conducted some of these audience tests. We’ve leveraged daily budgets as low as $30/day and still seen sufficient impression and click volume daily, so no matter your budget on the platform, you can still give Twitter a try! 

 

At this point, you’re probably thinking that this whole Twitter ads thing seems pretty simple, so why not get started? And that’s exactly what we’d recommend – if you think that your audience is on Twitter and you have the resources to produce ads for the platform, you might as well incorporate it into your mix!