Don’t put your head in the sand like an ostrich and just hope that your ads will suddenly begin to perform well. (Hope is generally not considered a good strategy.) Like anything, it takes work and I am going to show you a little .
Having spent years working to perfect LinkedIn Sponsored Ad campaigns through loads of testing, I am ready to share some of what I have learned with you to help you improve your results and hopefully get more leads or clicks.
Let’s get started…
Dos and Don’ts #1: Go Against the Grain
Rather than try and explain this through text, here is a little exercise. Go to your Home feed on LinkedIn and just start scrolling through the posts at a fairly fast speed. (Make sure to come back when you are done!). Stop when something catches your eye. Chances are the this is something that stands out about the graphic, text or both. Make a note of what types of posts or ads these are. Most likely they will not be images of people smiling in some obviously over posed and crafted image. Rather, I am guessing you stopped on ones with color, possibly illustrations or other “outside the box” graphics. Maybe something humorous, but most likely not your “run-of-the-mill” stock photo..
Don’t: Use a stock image that is the same old stuff everyone seems to pick. You know the ones, a bunch of people in a boardroom looking bored with a smile on their face, some abstract metaphor for a concept that nobody gets or a bunch of random words in a circle in different fonts and colors etc.
Do: Design an original graphic, that may incorporate a photo, either in-house or through a freelancer. Don’t skimp, the little investment could make or break the campaign. Theses type of graphics really stand out as most posts are straight photos or stock images that someone is trying to make fit into their messaging, and it is often hard to do. Be creative, have fun. If you don’t have the ability to create graphics, then dig deep for obscure, unusual or funny photos that will grab people’s attention
Try to be creative in tying in fun images to your message. This is often the most time consuming part of ad development, looking through hundreds of stock photos to find the right one. Look past the usual and you will have success.
Extra Tip: There is a lot of advice out there not to use text with graphics or pictures in ads. The data shows that these can often be a lot more effective as not many people read the surrounding text…which leads to #2
Dos and Don’ts #2:Text in Graphic
Anyone that does marketing knows the words you use can be a make or break a campaign. Let me say that again…the words you use can be a make or break a campaign. Here’s an example:
Our company has been doing a great job for 30 years.
For 30 years straight, 100% of our customers have given us a 5 star rating.
(A little over the top as an example, I realize, but you get the point.)
Don’t: Spend 2 minutes or just recycle the same old copy that hasn’t been getting you results.
Do: As with the ad graphic or photo, no matter the media or platform, choose your words carefully. Be as succinct and memorable as possible. Don’t have the budget or creativity to come up with ads that are “Madison Avenue” quality? No problem. Think of something that is catchy, but brief. I have found some of the best ideas come out of conversations with clients. As you, or your sales team, speaks with clients jot down things they say that catch your attention. Often these turn out to be industry buzzwords that others are also thinking about. Speaking of buzzwords, be aware of trending terms in your industry and try to stay ahead of the curve. Google Trends, a somewhat obscure Google tool, is a great way to find these trending words.
Also don’t forget to include a Call to Action (CTA) in your ad. One of the first rules of marketing is you have to tell your audience what to do. You can have the greatest catch phrase, but if it doesn’t tell someone what to do next, your click rate will be quite low. Examples of a CTA could be Free Trial, Learn More, More Info etc. Try to make this a prominent part of the design of the graphic with bold colors and as a way to set it apart.
Dos and Don’ts #3: Surrounding Text Above Ad
As of the writing of the blog (Feb 2018) you have 150 characters, including spaces, above the graphic to supplement your ad. In testing myriad of ads, I have not seen a huge difference in clicks when doing A/B testing changing this text (as opposed to when the graphic is changed). While I don’t have empirical data to backup my thoughts on why, I do believe the nature of the way people scroll their feed lends itself to being attractive to the visuals. The text is such a small part of the ad that it becomes a secondary piece of information. So, I would personally focus more effort on the graphical part. That being said…
Don’t: Ignore the text
Do: Put time into making it sound good, Try to use as much of the 150 characters as you have as a supplement to your graphic message and it will also cover more real estate on the page to have a higher chance of someone stopping on your ad. The character count includes the URL link, which I always recommend including in case someone prefers clicking links to graphics. I recommend using a URL shortener service like bit.ly or tinyurl. That way you can maximize the characters for copy and not a URL. Make sure to include a Call to Action!
Let’s take a look at all of these elements combined:
Good Luck and I am always happy to meet with people to discuss your ads and give my insights. Ping me and we can chat.