The Pinpoint Technique: Hack Your LinkedIn Ads for Crazy ROI
LinkedIn ads are expensive – and they deserve to be. Anyone who is anyone in business has a LinkedIn account. If you want to reach them while they’re in ‘work mode’, advertising on LinkedIn is a no-brainer. So what if there was a way to hack your ad targeting and drastically increase your ROI? The Pinpoint Technique does just that. If you’re running LinkedIn ads, jump on this method now while it’s still hot!
What if there was a way to hack your LinkedIn ads and drastically increase your ROI?
The real value of LinkedIn is in its data. Among the 800m users (and counting!) are an estimated 30 million decision makers. All of whom are neatly listed with their name, title, company and a wealth of other data points to dig into. Using the powerful LinkedIn search you can find the exact person, or group of people, you want to communicate with.
The problem is, that level of data detail hasn’t been available for use in LinkedIn ads. As you will know, LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager comes with certain restrictions. You need to create a large enough audience size to show your ads to before they will go live. The targeting options, while much improved, can still be a little loose. Many of us have found ourselves ticking boxes and selecting options that don’t exactly match our target personas, in order to reach our audience size goals.
Are you a cosmetics company looking to reach C-Suite individuals in the beauty sector? Well, you’ll be selecting a box marked ‘retail’ and showing that (very expensive) advertisement to thousands of completely irrelevant users.
That’s a big problem when we’re being prompted to bid up to $75 per click for certain keywords and audiences. No matter how big your marketing budget is, surely none of us are comfortable with burning cash like that. At least not unless we’re completely sure that the right people are clicking.
There’s been no way to harness the power of LinkedIn’s data for ads… until now
This is where things get really interesting. Finally, we can harness the power of LinkedIn’s search function, combined with the treasure trove of business data, to supercharge our LinkedIn ads.
The Pinpoint Technique enables you to search LinkedIn for your ideal personas, sort and filter the results to find the exact people you are looking for and then advertise to those people only! Combine that with some clever algorithm-gaming strategies and you’ve got the key to ultra high-performing LinkedIn ads.
Before we get into the process, really think about this for a second. Using this technique, you can personally choose the individuals that see your ads before they go live. That means not a single penny of your ad spend is wasted. Even if they don’t convert immediately, you have placed your brand in front of relevant industry professionals, rather than unrelated individuals who happen to fit into LinkedIn’s tickbox.
If you’re ready to hack your LinkedIn ads, let’s begin…
The Pinpoint Technique
The aim of the Pinpoint Technique is to build a list of hand-picked individuals that exactly match your desired personas. Then, you upload that list to your LinkedIn Campaign Manager. This can be done in two ways, one that you pay for (faster and more efficient) and one that is free (possible, but slower). You will likely recoup the costs of the paid method in your first campaign. If you’re a small business and those costs are prohibitive, take your time and use the free option.
Step 1. LinkedIn search
Search the desired personas for your campaign. There are a ton of powerful filters built into the LinkedIn search that can really help you get granular here. If you’re not au-fait with LinkedIn’s search, we wrote a whole guide on it here.
It helps at this point if you have LinkedIn Sales Navigator, as this will allow you to access more results from each search. Standard LinkedIn let’s you view the first 1,000 search results, Sales Navigator shows you the first 2,500. As we’re aiming to build a list of 10,000 individuals, Sales Navigator is a real shortcut.
Step 2. Export the results
Once you’ve found your ideal ad-viewers, it’s time to export. For this step, you will need to use a LinkedIn search export tool, like Lix. Again, there is a free option and a paid option here, depending on your budget and how quickly you want to move. Lix’s free starter plan allows you to export 1,000 search results every month. It would take a while to build your complete list, but it’s possible.
Lix’s Data Miner package costs $100 for a month, but will allow you unlimited search exports (up to 10,000 results per day!). You will almost certainly make that back in your first campaign. If you are already running LinkedIn ads, I would definitely advise that you carve that $100 out of your budget so you can hit the ground running.
One of the added benefits of using Lix for this, is Lix’s ‘lists’ feature. Instead of exporting each search into an individual CSV file, then combining and deduplicating them yourself (snore!), Lix can do this for you automatically in the cloud. You can export your searches from LinkedIn into a ‘project’, Lix will then deduplicate multiple searches for you – leaving you with one, pre-cleaned list of data ready for export.
Step 3. Contact targeting template
To upload your results ready for use in your ads, you’ll need to copy the data over into one of LinkedIn’s Contact Targeting templates:
This is just a simple copy & paste job!
If for some reason you’re not using Lix lists, you can perform multiple exports and then copy the data into the template until you’ve reached the 10k goal. When that’s done, you’re almost ready to start those ads…
Step 4. Upload your list
Once you’re happy with your audience, head over to the LinkedIn Campaign Manager and select ‘Matched Audiences’ under the ‘Account Assets’ tab. Click ‘Create Audience’ and select ‘Upload Company/Contact List’.
Once you’ve uploaded your CSV you’ll need to wait up to 48 hours for LinkedIn to build your audience. Sometimes the Campaign Manager can’t match the names in your CSV to a profile, and not all of the people on your list make it through. If that’s the case, don’t panic, simply top-up your list by repeating steps 1-3.
When the green light appears next to your audience, it’s go time. You’re ready to send your LinkedIn ads out to your hand-picked list.
Bonus Content: LinkedIn Ads Tips and Tricks
The Pinpoint Technique is not the only way to improve the ROI of your LinkedIn advertising. Combine the method above with some of the following tips to supercharge your ads.
In our experience, image ads perform poorly both in click-through-rates (CTR) and conversions. Video ads consistently attract more attention, and allow you to convey more information about your offering. We recommend including text or subtitles wherever possible, particularly if your video contains sound.
This doesn’t mean you need to go out and pay for an animated explainer video, or have a crew go out and film testimonials (but if you’ve got that content, use it!). You can build a simple slideshow video, or use a stock template, in something like Canva, Lumen5 or Animoto.
Game the algorithm
The more engagement your ad gets, the less each click costs. If you’ve ever run Facebook ads before, you’ll know this as the ‘relevancy score’. If your ad gets lots of likes and comments, it is seen as being relevant to the audience and therefore less costly to run.
You can use an app like Podawaa to join LinkedIn engagement pods. Pods allow LinkedIn users to auto-engage with each other’s content. When your ad is live, simply instruct your pod to engage with it and watch your ROI increase.
We almost always recommend bidding for clicks. You can mostly assume that if someone clicks on your CTA, they have some form of interest in your product. We can also build cohorts consisting of those who have interacted with previous campaigns for retargeting, allowing us to hone in on prospective clients.
Ignore LinkedIn’s ‘maximum delivery’ option and select manual bidding. LinkedIn’s recommended bid is always far higher than the minimum bid. If you allow the Campaign Manager to bid for you, you can be assured that it will almost always bid the maximum. LinkedIn is a business too, remember!
You can adjust your bid based on the data you get from the campaign. If you’re not getting the clicks you want, up it a little. Do this gradually to find the sweet spot. It takes a little more effort but it will make a huge difference to your ROI over time.
This tip is short and sweet. If you’re sending users to a landing page, make sure you have a retargeting pixel installed. This allows you to capture those that don’t convert. Maybe you didn’t catch them this time, but it doesn’t mean they’re not interested. If you can retarget them, it gives you a second bite of the apple.
Lead Gen Forms
If the capturing leads is your primary goal, then we recommend LinkedIn’s internal Lead Gen Form tool. We’ve found that the typical conversion rate with this tool is much higher than other types of LinkedIn ad. Users feel more comfortable when they don’t have to leave the page they’re on.
Unlike sending users to a landing page to capture their details, the lead gen form pre-populates their information based on their account details, allowing them to submit their interest almost instantly. They click the CTA. They click submit. They’re a lead.
If your team are comfortable prospecting via LinkedIn, you can optimise your form to include just the user’s LinkedIn Profile URL. This way, the lead is parting with as little information as possible, increasing the chance of conversion.
Plus, if you’re a Lix user, you can run a search for their profile and use our ‘Generate Email’ option to find and export their email address using our clever algorithm, allowing you to follow up via email.
Lead gen form do come with an option to acquire emails, pre-filled, but the email provided here is the email the user signed up to LinkedIn with, which is almost always a personal email. Most of the time businesses will want a business email address, therefore this feature can be fairly redundant.
There you have it, The Pinpoint Technique will supercharge your LinkedIn advertising and maximise your ROI. Combine it with our best practice tips and tricks and your campaigns will soon be the toast of the office.