Self-service ad platforms, they’re all the same right? Wrong.
I found navigating Twitter and Facebook’s self-serve ad platforms relatively easy but when it came to setting up a campaign on LinkedIn, I hit a few stumbling blocks which, quite frankly, I never expected – and can’t really believe exist.
To avoid you having to make the same mistakes and end up with content that you can’t delete (you read that right), here are our:
Top 5 Things To Know About LinkedIn Ads
1. Once you create an ad on LinkedIn, you can’t delete it…or edit it.
Yup. Don’t panic, this doesn’t mean that you are stuck running ads that you don’t want, you can of course switch ads ‘on’ and ‘off’ and archive them. This just means that you’ll be stuck with unusable and unwanted content in your list that you can’t remove! Grr. So think before you create – and don’t accidentally save.
According to LinkedIn, editing for Direct Content is in Beta testing, however we are yet to see this. They have noted they do not have the functionality for editing sponsored organic posts.
It’s actually this inability to edit your content that’s the most frustrating, e.g. if you have the perfect existing post in your feed to sponsor but need to change the URL (e.g. to include your UTM parameters) you can’t do this.
The only way around this currently is to create the exact same post with your new URL, post it to your feed and then sponsor it, which means you’ll end up with a duplicate post on your company page. Sure, you could delete the first version but you’ll lose any social interaction and analytical information with it – as well as pulling it from the feeds of those who have shared it. Not good.
2. Limited options with Linkedin direct sponsored content
Creating an ad that won’t appear in your feed has it’s limitations. If you want to run multiple variations of the same ad but don’t want to annoy your company followers by clogging up their feed, or indeed your company page, there’s an answer for that: Direct Content.
What LinkedIn don’t tell you is that when selecting this option, you sacrifice the character count you get with a standard sponsored post – in fact, you get just 22% of the standard LinkedIn character limit with direct content and yes, that includes the URL.
Direct content also has to be reviewed by LinkedIn – whereby creating an organic post and sponsoring it doesn’t – so don’t expect your content to go live instantly with your campaign.
3. LinkedIn Lead-gen form campaigns aren’t as good as they sound
If you create a lead-gen form campaign, you’re really setting up a direct sponsored content campaign with a form bolted on. The LinkedIn user will see your ad first and will have to click through before they are presented with the form. You pay per ad click or impression, not per form fill – so we’d recommend sticking with a sponsored content campaign that leads clickers to a landing page on your own website with a form instead. That way you can easily configure and edit your form (yup, you guessed it, you can’t change your form once you’ve created it in LinkedIn) and if users decide not to fill it out? Then hey, at least they’re on your website, not LinkedIn, so you can encourage them to navigate to further around your site.
4. When your campaign is live, it’s always running
LinkedIn has very limited options when it comes to defining when you’d like your ads to be running. Yes you can set a start and end date – or ask LinkedIn to run the campaign indefinitely (until your budget is hit). With a professional network however, wouldn’t it be useful to have the option to run your content during certain hours? Not over the weekend? Not during the middle of the night if you’re targeting users in specific time zones? Bad luck.
If you like to hold the reigns tightly when it comes to exactly when your ads are running, you’ll be disappointed. Technically you are able to control this but it would be a manual process, whereby your would ‘pause’ the campaign – say for the weekend – and need to ‘activate’ it again come Monday morning. When I’m sure you’ll have plenty of other things to be getting on with.
5. LinkedIn Campaign clickers – are they actually landing?
LinkedIn analytics are limited – you’ll want to make use of UTM parameters in Google Analytics to see where those clickers end up. LinkedIn can tell you that your ad was clicked on, which ad is receiving the most clicks etc. but what use is that if you can’t tell what the clickers of each piece of content are doing when they reach your site? If 100% of clickers on your most served LinkedIn Ad are bouncing, then whilst your content might be popular by LinkedIn’s standards, it’s not doing you any favours – but you’re paying for it.
Make sure to add UTM parameters to your LinkedIn campaigns to ensure you can accurately report on the success of your campaigns and individual variations of content. Not sure how to generate UTM codes? We have a free Excel UTM generator right here!
Once you have set up your UTM parameters to track ‘landings’ on your website from LinkedIn sponsored content, you’ll notice that the numbers just don’t add up. Check out our bonus section to find out why!
We’re not for any second saying that LinkedIn campaigns aren’t worthwhile, or that they’re too fiddly to use. Just keep in mind our 5 lessons learned the hard way, so you can breeze through your campaign creation!
We hope this blog helps to remove the pain from your campaign – but if you’d rather we did it for you… get in touch!
BONUS TIP – BEWARE LINKEDIN BILLABLE CLICKS!
When you’re setting up your sponsored content, you’ll be presented with the below option:
If you’re running a CPM campaign then go ahead, tick that box, it won’t cost you anything. If you’re running a CPC campaign however and your main goal is to direct people to your website or landing page – Don’t tick it!
What LinkedIn fails to tell you here, is you’ll be charged for users that click ‘follow’ on your Ad, so if you want to minimise the billable clicks that don’t result in a user clicking through to your landing page, leave that box empty.
Unfortunately there’s no way to turn off undesirable billable clicks that don’t result in a visit to your landing page.
LinkedIn will charge you exactly the same amount for a click through to your company website (desired) as for a click on: Your company name, your company logo, LinkedIn’s own ‘sponsored’ flag and even a click to view the no. likes/comments on your post – none of which send clickers to your post URL. So make sure to bear this in mind when weighing up LinkedIn’s CTR and Click stats compared with the true clicks through to your website!
Image demonstrating the clicks LinkedIn will charge you for, despite not sending users to your Ad URL
1. LinkedIn – Editing Your Ad Creative
You’ve just started a new job. One of the first things you do is create your email signature, mostly likely copying the format – and links – from a colleague’s. Sorted.
Then your boss says to you: “You’ve got my UTM code in your signature”. You scan your mind to think what film this quote comes from. Surely he can’t be serious? Don’t call me Shirley.
You click the link (to your company website) and you see a little bit of gobbledygook at the end of the URL, which ends with “?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MikeSig”.
UTM codes – Just what are they and why are they important?
UTM codes or ‘Urchin Tracking Module’ parameters are small codes added to a URL to enable you to break down the traffic to your website to a much more granular and importantly – customisable – level than relying on google analytics alone.
Analytics can tell you the source of your traffic but without UTM codes, how do you know which content encouraged users to click through? Who in your company is generating the most traffic? If coming from twitter, are users arriving through your content or that link in your bio?
Labelling your URLS with UTM codes will give you insights you never thought possible.
The best part? It’s easy.
Particularly with Eugene our free Essential UTM Generator – you can easily generate and track working URLs tagged with the information you need for your reporting. Click here to download.
Urchin Tracking Modules are a lot less painful than Sea Urchins….
If you want to know more, read on for a breakdown of those little bits of code, what they do and what they’ll teach you:
Breakdown of UTM Parameters – Why should you use UTM codes?
Take this example URL
Without UTM codes, a simple link to this blog post would show in google analytics as traffic from twitter, then if we add a secondary dimension (#hassle) we could see the number of people landing on this blog via twitter. Cool.
With the UTM codes above however, we can tell that you clicked onto this blog post from twitter, that the post you clicked on was an organic post, rather than a sponsored (paid for) post and that the creative you clicked on was the image of the sea urchins. Insights!
UTM Parameters: WHERE? HOW? WHAT? WHY?
These are the most crucial questions that UTM codes allow you to answer. We think of these as ways to explain those different UTM parameters you’ll see at the end of your URL.
Where? The UTM Source parameter is mandatory when using UTM codes, it defines exactly where the traffic is coming from – where you are using this link, e.g.
website, newsletter, twitter, vimeo
Why? Do you have a name for the campaign you’re about to run across social, email etc.? You’re going to want to label all of your URLs with this so you can easily compare the success of different campaigns across all your methods of delivery, and understand why people are visiting your site. e.g.
How? This parameter helps you to understand how traffic is being generated to your site. E.g. social, email, video, cpc, organic – we’d recommend combining these to fit your reporting, e.g. if you wanted to compare ‘ social-sponsored ’ to ‘ social-organic’.
What? Whilst considered optional, this is a crucial parameter when you’re running multiple creatives. For example, if you’re trying a more ‘formal’ creative as well as a more ‘fun’ creative for the same campaign, you’ll want to know not only which is generating more traffic but which is driving more engagement.
You can also specify different types of content here too E.g.
fun_banner, business-image, product-x-copy, launch_image1, launch_image2.
It’s really up to you how you configure your labels, so use whatever will work best for your reporting and be as descriptive or simplistic as you like!
UTM Codes: Best Practice
UTM CODES ARE CASE SENSITIVE!
We recommend choosing lowercase or propercase right from the start, otherwise you’ll end up having to combine CPC with cpc and Cpc to track your paid traffic.
KEEP IT CONSISTENT!
It doesn’t matter what terminology you use, e.g. if you use ‘Paid’ ‘Ad’ ‘Sponsored’ – just make sure to stick with
it to make reporting easier, likewise if using _ or – to separate words.
DON’T FORGET TO SHORTEN IT!
UTM codes obviously make for very long links – don’t forget to hyperlink if using in an email or use a URL shorten-er such as bit.ly.
DON’T BE RUDE!
Just because you’ve got this snazzy new way of identifying your traffic, don’t forget that users (if they happen to click into the URL bar) can see your UTM parameters, so maybe don’t use: UTM_Campaign=StealingCandyFromABaby.
Where can I report on my UTM tags?
Various analytics and marketing platforms support UTM reporting, the biggest and most widely used of course being Google. To view your parameters, head to:
GOOGLE ANALYTICS > ACQUISITION > CAMPAIGNS > ALL CAMPAIGNS:
Here you’ll see all of your UTM parameters and will be able to report by source, medium, campaign and ad content!
In our example below, we can see which ad creative is generating the most clicks through to the website in our campaign and better yet – track the behaviour of users that click on each ad!
We hope that you might now see the power of UTM codes but if you’re still convinced they’re too fiddly..
1. Google’s URL Builder:
2. BufferApp’s UTM Guide:
The Complete Guide to UTM Codes: How to Track Every Link and All the Traffic From Social Media
We’re proud to announce that we have received Silver Partner Certification from leading Marketing Automation provider SharpSpring.
What does it mean to be certified?
In order to be certified as a Sharpspring Silver Partner, Essential had to demonstrate our marketing automation expertise and knowledge of the SharpSpring platform by completing and passing 4 tests. This included undertaking a 4-hour exam, in-app exercise and implementation of SharpSpring features. We covered the automation process from lead-gen to sales to 3rd party integrations and passed with flying colours!
How does it benefit you?
The Silver Partner Certification demonstrates our commitment to ensuring we are experts in the tools we provide and utilise on behalf of our clients and also within our own agency. We are constantly striving to learn more, test and master new features so that we can pass this proficiency on to our clients. Silver Certification means that you don’t just have to take our word for it, SharpSpring recognises our expertise and we get a nice shiny badge to prove it!
What is SharpSpring?
SharpSpring is a cloud-based marketing platform for marketing agencies and small and medium sized businesses. It is among the most flexible platforms on the market, offering native or third part CRM integration, universal CMS compatibility and additional integrations with hundreds of applications. With SharpSpring, you can monitor every lead that comes in and analyse all of your data for a full picture of end-to-end ROI.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation systems allow organisations to more effectively manage elements of the marketing process, saving time, minimising mistakes and providing consistency across all segments of the marketing journey, eliminating many a repetitive, otherwise manual task. It’s about efficieny, management and insight and is utilised by 80% of marketing agencies.
Experts in Email Marketing
Not just SharpSpring, we have expertise in-house on a number of the leading email marketing tools out there such as Communigator, MailChimp, Constant Contact to name but a few. In addition we’ve had plenty of experience in the integrations between these platforms and CRM systems such as Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.
Get in touch with us now to find out more!
It is Friday lunchtime. Friday 23rd June 2017. I have just looked down on a post it that has been stuck on my laptop since Monday. It reads “BLOG! JUNE 23rd (FRIDAY)”. Ah. Yes. That.
Deadline looming, I have decided to take what I have learned in Mike’s blog and to ‘Ask a Question’ that I will attempt to answer in 15 minutes.
Now I’m going to be a little bit cheeky here and try to kill two birds with one stone, by writing an answer to the very question I am asking myself right now: “What should I write about in my blog!?” Blogception.
Where do I start?
Exactly. There’s so much to write about, so many great blogs out there that it’s difficult to know exactly what to turn your hand to. The simple answer is: Anything! Narrowing that down is the hard part.
That’s not helping.
Sorry, let’s start with an empty page and a few ‘jumping off points’. Write down ideas as you go.
Is there something you’ve been dying to know but never got around to finding out?
“One day I’ll find out just how Barry does those keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop….”
Why wait for Barry? Be BOLD! Research that question that’s been gently tugging at your grey matter and then write down what you’ve learned. Looks like you’ve found yourself a blog topic.
Is there a question you find yourself being asked frequently by colleagues?
“You know that thing you showed me last week and the week before and the week before that…”
Think of the time you’d save if you typed up that answer, packaged it up into a tidy ‘how-to guide’ or FAQ and sent the link out to those who would find it useful? It’s the blogical thing to do.
Want to mix business with pleasure?
Are you a follower of football? Collector of coins? Gadget geek? Here’s a challenge: If you find it difficult (or boring) to write about something in ‘business speak’, why not try to combine your favourite hobby with a bit of practical business advice? Learning new things can be difficult, so if you can relay your knowledge through a bit of common ground, you might just find that people understand and relate to it more. Like what? You ask. Well check out how Mike used his hobby Fishing to teach us all a little something about Email Marketing.
Recently uncovered a new tool, app or piece of software that has altered the way you work?
Surely it would be selfish to keep that to yourself – why not sing it from the rafters? See how Carol shared her experience getting to grips with Smartsheet. She took the time to tell the world a little bit about the tool and just how it might benefit them, saving readers the job of having to do the hard part themselves!
What do you think?
No matter what you’re writing about, the key thing is that it’s you writing it. If the above options don’t help you out therefore, have a think about what’s new in the world today, particularly in your industry. What do you think about the latest developments, technology or announcements? Do they make you hopeful for the future or are alarm bells going off? This is the chance to not only educate your readers on what’s going on but to use your experience and insight to sift through the noise and share your opinion on what really matters. You tell ’em!
Okay, we’re 30 minutes in, that flew by! I have doubled the amount of time challenged but here sits before me…..a blog! Hopefully that blank page of yours is no longer blank either (no, your name and the date don’t count).