Profitable LinkedIn Ads for $3k/mo? (📈 MTN #10)

Author's avatar Move The Needle UPDATED Feb 20, 2024 PUBLISHED May 10, 2023 6 minutes read

Table of contents

    Peter Caputa

    To see what Databox can do for you, including how it helps you track and visualize your performance data in real-time, check out our home page. Click here.

    In this edition

    • 📊 LinkedIn Ads Benchmarks for B2B
    • 💡 Profitable LinkedIn Ads for $3k/mo?
    • 📈 Run More Successful Growth Experiments

    📊 Featured Benchmark Data (from Benchmark Groups)

    LinkedIn Ads Benchmarks for B2B Companies

    Median LinkedIn Ad performance for B2B companies (April 2023):

    • Avg CPC: $3.71
    • Avg CPM: 36.59
    • Avg CTR: 0.7%
    • Avg Engagement: 1.19%
    • Bid: $631
    • Clicks: 446
    • Conversions: 16
    • Daily Budget: $2,529
    • Impressions: 58k

    Join this group to see how your company stacks up. See if you’re ahead or behind the curve, and where you can improve.

    💡 Trends & Insights (from Reports & Surveys)

    Can You Use LinkedIn Ads as a “Digital Billboard” to Accelerate Demand Creation, For $3k/mo?

    Why don’t more companies use impression-focused LinkedIn ads to accelerate demand creation (or “brand awareness” or “demand generation” depending on what you might call it)?

    In other words, a campaign where you target your ICP really specifically (likely by uploading your own curated list), and run a campaign optimized for impressions (vs direct actions like clicks or conversions). 

    The content would be designed to communicate what you do, the pains you solve, customer success stories, etc. Basically, treat LinkedIn like a sort of billboard.

    And as a result, see an increase in direct visits or branded search after 3-6+ months, because when viewers finally do have intent to purchase, you’re top of mind and skipped the shortlist.

    Databox Benchmarks shows that the average CTR on LinkedIn is incredibly low (0.65%) which might explain the higher median CPC of $4.73, a whopping 203% higher price point.

    Not to mention, some companies in the benchmark groups might be defining a “conversion” as an e-book download or conversion to an MQL (not a purchase), and the fact that many SaaS companies (like us) have free tiers which they might’ve converted to, and you can see how your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) could get out of hand pretty quick.

    None of this is surprising to me, mainly because I don’t see LinkedIn as a “high intent” platform the way Google Search is. Sure, your target audience is paying attention there, but you have no guarantee that they’re aware you or your category exists, or that they’re in the market for a solution right now. So it makes sense that it would be expensive to try and drive direct conversions.

    But what if you didn’t try to drive direct conversions from LinkedIn? What if you treated it as a digital billboard to blanket your target audience with your message instead?

    In other words, run impression-based ads to guarantee that your ideal prospective customers know what you do, why you’re different from competitors, and what pains you can solve for them.

    Median CPM is just $40.39, so if my math is right (not always a guarantee) you could drive 24,758 impressions for just $1k/mo. So for $12k/year, you could reach almost 300k impressions. Most brands pay significantly more than that for a social media manager who is only able to gain a fraction of those impressions organically.

    So I wanted to know:

    • Why don’t more brands do this? What am I missing?
    • I’ve been in marketing long enough to know that “$1k/mo in spend is too low” but at those impressions, wouldn’t that yield ROI eventually?
    • Has anyone tried this for 6 months and found it ineffective? If so, why was that?
    • And if anyone is doing this successfully, what advice do they have for others?

    If you want to find the answers to some of those questions (and more), you can read our recent article below, check out the responses to this LinkedIn post, or listen to this podcast episode.

    📈 Drive Predictable Performance (from Metrics & Chill)

    How to run more successful growth experiments.

    We try things that don’t work all the time. Growth experiments that don’t work. Features users don’t use. Content that doesn’t get viewed.

    Why? We started with false assumptions.

    We’re inherently biased. We assume our audience will think or act as we would, but they often don’t.

    We think, “they’ll resonate with this messaging, need this product, love this podcast.” But that’s not always true.

    And as a result, we waste time and money. And in the worst cases, we often don’t learn anything from that failure. We’re not any closer to identifying what *would* work, we just know what *didn’t*.

    In a recent Metrics & Chill episode, Andres Glusman offered a solution. It’s called “truth-finding”.

    The goal is to get as close to the truth about the market, your customers, and what they find valuable, as quickly as possible.

    Here’s how it works in a nutshell:

    1. Determine your goal -> e.g. add 3,000 users this year.

    2. Articulate your hypothesis ( = assumption) on the best way to arrive at that goal -> e.g. use SEO, paid ads on LinkedIn and Google, and improve homepage conversion

    3. Ask, “what has to break in my favor, in order to succeed?” In other words, what has to be true, in order for this plan or hypothesis to prove successful?

    In this case, you might answer that you’d need:

    – to be able to rank in the top 5 for 20 keywords
    – a CPC of $x and a conversion rate of y% on ads
    – to improve homepage conversion from a% to b%

    4. Test to see if those things are likely to be true. You need to validate if your assumptions about your customers, market, etc. are true.

    Your goal is to try and quickly get to a midpoint that shows promise of trending in the right direction. This midpoint only needs to be about 30-40% of the way toward where you want to end up, because you’ll be able to further optimize it to get the rest of the results you want.

    In our example, you might spend 6 weeks testing every single channel. And at the end of that, you’ll find that some assumptions were way off, while others were better than expected or right on the mark.

    For example, you might find you can’t get anywhere near the assumed CPC to make Google Adwords effective, but the rest of your plan shows promise. You find that with some optimization, you’ll be able to hit the numbers you need to drive the signups you want.

    Andres shared the illustration of being in a row boat at sea, with fog all around you. You’re looking for a big metal ship, and shoot bullets out into the dark listening for a “ping!” sound. When you hear one, it indicates you’re headed the right way, and you can row faster and more confidently toward that direction, knowing you aren’t wasting your time.

    Once you get the early validation you need and learn the truth about the market conditions or what your customers want, you can invest more confidently and quickly toward your goal.

    If you want to dive deeper and hear how to apply this at your company, give the episode a listen.

    Drive predictable growth

    Join “Move The Needle” and get issues like this delivered to your inbox. Each issue we share tactics, strategies and ideas from B2B leaders on how to drive consistent, predictable growth at your company.

    Author's avatar
    Article by
    Jeremiah Rizzo

    More from this author

    Get practical strategies that drive consistent growth

    Read some