Results from LinkedIn Ad Campaign

Channel: LinkedIn ads - sponsored content.

Creative: Tested 3 pieces of creative that have worked well on other channels (eg. FB retargeting). A mix of bright colours and white backgrounds. White backgrounds seem to work on LinkedIn.

Product: Multi-step form builder that helps marketing agencies build forms that boost conversion rates

Audience: Conversion rate optimisation experts (members in related groups - very targeted).

Previous experience: I used to spend about $100k a month on LinkedIn ads in my day job, so I'm not exactly new to this - although must admit I had forgotten a lot when I set up the campaigns!


... insanely expensive.

You've probably heard before that LinkedIn ads are expensive, but this test really took the prize.

CPC: $15.95 per click!!

The landing page performance was terrible (80% bounce rate compared to a <40% bounce rate on most traffic), and didn't get a single lead.

Learnings and advice

For anyone interested in trying out LinkedIn ads, I must pass on these two nuggets of wisdom:

1.) Don't set delivery to "Maximum delivery (automated)" - you can try setting your own target cost (subject to their estimates). I've reduced my CPC from $15.95 to $4.87 doing this.

2.) You can deliver on audience network to decrease CPCs by 25% (i.e. banner ads outside LinkedIn). This is supposedly the same quality targeting, but from cheaper locations.

My next steps

Having implemented the above, I should be able to slash my CPC by 50-75%. I don't think this is going to be a competitive channel for us (it ends up costing a similar CPC to Google Ads, but is MUCH lower intent), but want to keep testing as these are fairly significant optimisations.

  1. 2

    I've never had any success with LinkedIn ads and I've never heard of anyone running ROI+ ads on LinkedIn

    1. 1

      I do have first-hand experience of running LinkedIn ads at my day job for a SaaS company in the HR space. It was an ROI positive channel - very expensive clicks, but they tended toward the corporate end, so we made up for this in LTV.

      That said, I think there's a tonne of channels indie hackers should be exploring before LinkedIn, which is why I wanted to share this cautionary tale xD

      1. 1

        Interesting to hear. Yeah I agree with you - Facebook being a good first port of call. The travesty is that LinkedIn hold the B2B audience but through an inferior ad product are unable to let advertisers effectively reach these users.

        1. 2

          Haha, couldn't have put it better myself.

  2. 2

    I think the product you are advertising has a lot to do with things. We actually got quite good results from LinkedIn, but then again, we sell a B2B HR system direct to company owners and HR managers on there.

    The only "marketing people" I meet on LinkedIn are always trying to sell me stuff - none of them want to buy. I can surmise that most of your visits were by people who sell marketing automation tools, forms or methodologies who just wanted to check out your offering to see what the competition is doing.

    1. 4

      Yes, very true. The $100k previous spend I mentioned about the day job was actually a B2B sell to an HR/director audience. From what I remember, the CPCs were always high, but we made up for it in deal size + LTV (was very easy to target corporates).

      Very good insight about "marketing people" on LinkedIn... "want to buy my course?" xD

      1. 3

        PS - one of the other weird things I learned back in the day was text ads convert slightly higher and are a bit cheaper - who knew!

  3. 1

    Linkedin ads is really expensive.
    And Linkedin's pixel isn't as impactful as the Facebook one.

    But I think their targeting is really interesting if your target market niches.

    Linkedin Ads forms can also make the difference by reducing friction!

  4. 1

    Did you try with your own custom audiences?

  5. 1


    That is so expensive! Thanks for sharing your learnings.

  6. 1

    I've worked at multiple startups and marketing always tries to run ads on LinkedIn and it never works. It's always insanely expensive.

    At my last startup I didn't pay one cent to advertise on LinkedIn and drove a ton of business from LinkedIn.

  7. 1

    LinkedIn is pretty expensive. I once tried LinkedIn in 2019, spent about $800 with zero results.

    How about channeling your efforts and budgets on partnerships rather than paid ads?

    1. 1

      Would absolutely love to scale via partnerships. I could pay a decent recurring commission, and "just" need a large audience of marketing agencies.

      Any idea where I should start?

  8. 1

    I didn't get good results from Facebook. Is Linkedin's targeting better? I want to target agencies on Facebook, but most of the time, unrelated people like my ads.

    1. 1

      Targeting on LinkedIn is very good if you're targeting specific job titles or specific companies.

      What Facebook targeting have you tried?

      1. 1

        just the regular targeting based on interests, job titles, areas, etc.

        I have a list of emails and phone numbers, but cannot upload them

        1. 1

          Fair. From all the first-hand accounts I've heard, Lookalike audience is where it's at - I'd season your pixel with 100+ agencies and then try 1% LaL.

          1. 1

            I run partnershiphunt.com and I can help.

            I also run a done-for-you partners recruitment and management. partnershiphunt.com/dfy

            What's the best way to reach you?

            1. 1

              Hiya, just had a look at your site and noticed a small typo with ‘partnership’ on the landing page.

  9. 0

    LinkedIn ads don't work, Facebook has been lying for years about it's audience numbers, Google just does whatever the hell it wants to. I am seeing a pattern here. I also remember the old 'cold calling/emailing' is dead but ultimately it looks like unless you have a killer product, these growth hacks are just a sham unfortunately.

    Personally I wouldn't mind paying that much for a click ($15+), especially as you target the title, company, location, etc etc etc. If your ad/product doesn't convert then is it a platform problem or a product problem?

    I would say that you assume you have the best version of your product that answers every single issue/problem but it appears that it does not work that well. You mentioned remarketing via Facebook and that it worked better - is your LinkedIn ad an awareness or remarketing campaign?

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