Acquisition Channel Opportunities: LinkedIn, Microsoft Ads, Apple Search

Acquiring new users is a topic that keeps founders up at night.

This week I've done the hard work for you, analyzing 1500 tech/marketing news from last week and identifying the top 3 opportunities that can help you acquire more users from new/existing acquisition channels. Here they are:

  • LinkedIn outreach: LinkedIn published an analysis on which messages get the best response rates;
  • Own an app? The future of app advertising (getting in-app installs) can be Apple. Learn why.
  • Microsoft Ads: If you're finding Google Ads to be too expensive, Microsoft just published a few updates on its ad network that might interest you.

1. Improve Your Reply Rates with These Insights From LinkedIn

LinkedIn recently published a study on the InMails, LinkedIn's name for their internal messages, that get the best response rates. The blog post specifically targets recruiters, but the LinkedIn data from the post is taken from all InMails sent on the platform.

Here are some insights from the report:

  • Shorter InMails get above-average response rates.


There was a huge correlation here. The longer the message was, the less likely it was to receive a reply.

  • Don't send InMails on Saturday.


The reply rates were pretty stable on Mon-Fri and Sunday. Saturday was the outlier here; the reason was probably because people were taking a break after a long week of work.

  • Personalized InMails perform about 20% better than ones written or sent en masse.

Yes, personalized email work. Don't copy and paste your message then blast it out.

  • InMails sent to "Open to Work" candidates do 75% better.

This is true in almost every niche. For example, ads that target high-intent keywords do significantly better in terms of conversion vs. Facebook ads, for example. The main reason is because people are actively working for whatever your providing.

What this means for you: If you want to send messages that get replies, make them:

  • Short (less than 400 characters);
  • Personalized (so they don't look like they've been sent in bulk);
  • Use tirgger-based marketing and identify cues when people are likely to be looking for whatever your providing.

2. Microsoft Ads - a viable alternative to Google Ads for bootstrappers?

In my research, I've identified several founders who had success with Microsoft/Bing Ads over Google Ads. One of them was ArkServers ($20k/mo), a game server hosting company:

Google ads for juicy search terms like "ark server hosting" turned out to work extremely well, and Bing ads were pretty good too. The cost per conversion with Bing was half of that with Google,...

Of course, the volume isn't there, but Bing's advantage is that is costs less than AdWords which means you can get started with PPC on a budget.

Last week, Microsoft published a few updates to Microsoft/Bing Ads, including:

  • The ability to import data from Facebook for native campaigns;
  • Video extensions ads so you get better clickthrough rates for your ads;
  • New types of ads if you're promoting properties or tour activities.

The opportunity: If you have a product and you can demonstrate what it does via video, then video extensions might be a good idea.

Google Ads only has image extensions are still in beta, and no video extensions are currently available.

Figuring out how to use video extensions for your Microsoft Ads can lead to increased CTRs and paying less for your per-click campaign.

3. Own an app? The future of app advertising might be...Apple

Apple just released iOS 14.5, along with ATT.

Facebook prepared a guide on how app advertisers can continue with (limited) tracking for their app installs. TikTok did the same, saying that app campaigns will now have less and more limited data.

Apple, however, appears to be working on adding a new ad slot for Apple Search Ads. This could greatly expand their inventory and the number of potential advertisers who will run ads on their network.


The opportunity: Unlike Facebook & TikTok, Apple uses a proprietary tracking system, meaning you're likely to get attribution data for your campaign. This is huge if you're running app install ads for you or a client.

Keep track of when Apple will release this, because there will probably be a temporary opportunity for getting low CPMs, meaning more free/paying users for your mobile app.

  1. 3

    Loved the LinkedIn post. FIrst-party outreach data is quite rare.

    1. 1

      Closest data to this is analysis made by cold email SaaS tools like Lemlist/Mailshake, etc.

  2. 2

    Facebook/Twitter/other social media fought against the open web (they de-valuate posts with links on them on purpose). Now they get angry when someone does the same against their ad networks. Karma is a b*...

    1. 1

      Yep, can't help but notice the irony here.

  3. 2

    Smaller ad networks:

    Pros: Less cost

    Cons: Less traffic

    But when you're trying to validate a product or get your first 10 users, the cons don't really matter.

    1. 1

      I've also seen people finding a really niche keyword inside AdWords with not much traffic and going all-in on that. So it also applies within bigger channels as well.

  4. 1

    Great content! Thanks for sharing.

    As a developer I get constantly DMed (btw I’m completely aware that this is a good thing and a huge privilege having the choice and getting paid for it) but, if you send me an InMail I’m not even going to look at it. And as a Co-Founder/CTO I get spammed with people trying to sell all the time and to this, inmail you won’t even get an open.

    I personally hate that LinkedIn essentially sells other access to my inbox/spam

  5. 1

    This apple thing has been in the making for some time. they control the highest market segment of consumers so most probably they will win :D

  6. 1

    I've also noticed that shorter emails get way better reply rates. People are simply busy and the last thing they'll spend their time on is reading a 10-minute email from a stranger. Keep it short.

    1. 1

      Same thing here. We did some experiments, trying to get people to sell us their domain names. I've noticed that short > self-serving. In my first emails, I just wrote a short email asking a question, in the second a longer pitch on why they should sell, etc. The first version vastly outperformed the second one.

  7. 1

    If Apple releases this, expect lots of anti-trust lawsuits.

      1. 2

        Wow, seems Apple calculated thei pros/cons and figured it's worth doing these lawsuits...

  8. 0

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  9. -2

    This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

    1. 2

      This is a bad comment, be ready to spam less in the future.

      1. -1

        This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

        1. 3

          Have you bothered reading this post? How is your link relevant to the post at all? IH is all about supporting founders, but what you're doing here is dropping an off-topic, irrelevant comment just for the sake of it. And that's spam.

          1. 0

            No problem, apologies if it was taken the wrong way. Yes, I read the article.

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