If you work at a B2B company, your target audience probably spends a lot of time on LinkedIn. It's always been an essential platform for companies that want to reach potential buyers at other companies, and when you use its paid advertising features, it becomes even more powerful. In this episode, I spoke to Alfred Broman, former Zooma intern and seasoned LinkedIn Ads user, to find out more about how you can take advantage of this tool.
Alfred has worked with LinkedIn Ads for a few years now, both for B2C ecommerce companies and his own personal projects. Over that time, he's built up a good picture of what you need to do to get a return for your investment with LinkedIn ads, as well as how best practice is changing as competition for the best ad placements continues to ramp up. During our talk, me and Alfred covered:
- The best ways to stay updated about changes and devlopements in the world of paid ads
- Which segments of your target audience you can effectively reach with LinkedIn ads
- How integrating your HubSpot CRM data can make your ads even more effective
- How to optimize ads that have already launched to use your assigned budget as effectively as possible
Generally speaking, the B2B world is a little bit behind when it comes to paid advertising on social media. So if you're planning on trying out some LinkedIn ads to try to reach new members of your target groups, take a listen and get a good base of knowledge that you can build on.
You can listen and subscribe to The Onlinification Pod on most of the top podcast platforms using the links below. You can also scroll down a bit further for a full transcription of our discussion.
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Alexander Evjenth: So, now we're all set. We have had some, uh, sound checks, and your voice sounds perfect. So let's roll. So, Alfred, welcome. How are you?
Alfred Broman: I'm doing good, thanks. Excited to be here.
AE: Yeah. Nice to have you here. We've been talking about this for some weeks now, but, uh, finally, we were both in the office at the same time, and now we sit in the same room to record, so that's good. You're an intern here. So how long have you been at Zooma?
AB: Uh, this is my eighth week, I think, here, or maybe ninth. So I've been here for a little bit more than two months now, and, yeah, it feels good to be here. I've been I've had only positive positives yet, and I hope that maybe in the future I'll be able to come back here after my studies.
AE: Yeah. It's been, uh, very nice to have you here. And you will be here for, uh, three, four weeks more.
AB: Yeah, three more weeks. And then I go back to school and do my final examination project. And then I am a certified marketing automation specialist.
AE: Yeah, You're on a very good way there. And what have you been doing so far at Zooma?
AB: Yeah, so, so far at Zooma I've been doing a lot of different things. I've been doing a lot of things that is really like, associated to, to what I, what I've been practicing in school, which is like getting to know the CRM and learning about workflows, learning about how to handle contacts with properties, lists, segmentation and all of that. But I've also been able to write blog posts and now even record a podcast. And I've also been able to to work with you where I've been able to been able to set up ads, which I've been really excited about because I must say that that is one of my favorite topics.
AE: Yeah, and that's the reason why we sit here. Based on that project, we got the idea that we definitely need to talk a bit about paid ads and your experience in paid ads. So yeah, tell us a bit about your previous experience with working with ads.
AB: Yeah, sure. So a little bit about my background. First, I started working as a instrument technician, and that is not, that is not. That doesn't have anything to do with fixing like, musical instruments. It's instruments that measure stuff. So like, flow meters and temperature meters and fixing valves and stuff at a process industry sites. So yeah, that is my background. So I was troubleshooting this, these instruments and installing new ones and all of that. So that is where I come from, from the, from before I started studying to become a marketing automation specialist. And the reason why I actually started to study or why I applied to study was because I stumbled on Facebook ads, which I found really interesting. And the reason why I did that was because I was really interested in building websites. So I tried to build a couple of websites and I pretty soon after that stumbled across something that we call drop shipping, which is when you when you add a product to your store or your website and then you promote that somehow, and the way I chose to promote my products was through paid ads. So it went from me wanting to learn how to create websites to me, like wanting to start or just wanting to work with paid ads basically, because that is what I found the most interesting, so I actually tried to, to sell a couple of products, or I think it was like 20 products or so with paid ads.
AE: And can you give an example of what kind of products they were?
AB: Yeah, for sure. So the best product that I sold was a car wax. And the reason why I used to try to sell a car wax was basically because I used these tools to, to track like which, which product were selling right now, which products were hot. And I just copied those products and tried to do what I could with the ads to be able to sell as much as possible. But yeah, that was, I mean, how do you say, I didn't lose any money on doing this, but I didn't earn any money either. But I was pretty fast with discovering that I was really fascinated with, with the ads itself. And that was what I what I realised pretty fast that I wanted to work with in the future because I saw the potential in this. And from there, they have just grown on me ever since that, like over my education and all that. I've got like a lot more knowledge about it, obviously, and I can see way more possibilities now than I could then. So I'm even more excited about it now. So yeah.
AE: What platforms were you using in the beginning?
AB: Yes, in the beginning it was just Facebook ads because that was like the biggest platform at the moment. And it wasn't the only platform, but there wasn't that many platforms that, this was like before, before even Snapchat ads and TikTok existed. So yeah, that was back in the day. This was, I think 4 or 5 years ago. So probably like 2018 or something around there. But yeah, it was pretty easy to make money with, with Facebook ads back then. And I mean, some of the products that I sold, I mean, I just launched them, and I paid for this shitty creative that I promoted in Facebook, and they were performing so good that I could, like, earn hundreds, like just over a day. And the ad cost like $10 for some some guy to create that I didn't even know who he was. So yeah, it was really powerful back then.
AE: And when you did dropshipping, you, you don't store your own products. It goes directly from from the manufacturer?
AB: Exactly. So, I think I sourced my product straight from AliExpress. So straight from China. Because that was, I mean, the purpose of this was from the beginning to learn how to create websites. And then it evolved into me trying to think or me thinking that I can actually make money of this. And then it's translated to me realizing that I really want to work with paid ads because that was so interesting. And I could see like so many possibilities that you could do. And I learned more. I learned more about it like that. You could actually run ads for for B2B businesses as well, which was something that I didn't know that much about at that time. But I mean, that is something that I really want to work with now. So yeah, I'm glad I did.
AE: Yeah. So tell us a bit about how you like first started out. Did you look at the gurus and their tactics and or, or what was your way of learning?
AB: Yeah, YouTube was definitely the platform I use for learning and it was so much content out there. But important to note there, there was lots of shit content as well. So I more and more transitioned into using Reddit instead because that was like more real content. It wasn't these 16, 17, 18 year old gurus that just tried to promote their course and they actually didn't know that much about the ads itself. So that is that is where it began on YouTube, definitely. But it translated more into to other platforms where I could learn more and more in depth of it.
AE: Yeah. So, um, since then, 2018, what, what has changed in the, in the topic?
AB: Oh, a lot has changed. The ads have gotten more expensive obviously, because there is more competition and the algorithm, which is like the way that Facebook in this case determines who's going to see the ad and also how often the ad is going to be exposed for each person. And yeah, all these, what do you say? All these criterias.
AE: So how do you stay updated now on what's happening?
AB: In general for learning. I know one really good podcast which is called, he doesn't even have that many listeners this guy, but he's really good because he he really goes in depth in all the topics around LinkedIn Ads which is I think one of the harder platforms, definitely at least for the B2B industry. I mean you can't go out promoting Facebook or Snapchat ads for B2B businesses. I mean, that won't work. So LinkedIn is is definitely the best one there. And this guy is called B2Linked, I think, and yeah, you should definitely go listen to this.
AE: And it's focused only on LinkedIn ads?
AB: Only on Linkedin, yeah. And he's going really in depth about them and, and discussing like different techniques that his company has tried, and others that he knows has tried. And he also has interviews with people that have these tools linkedin to these ads that can help out to creating the creative or setting up a structure, setting up a funnel for how you're going to structure the ads and and all of that. So yeah, so highly recommend that.
AE: Yeah. So working with you in the project, I know that you have uh, your tactic on how to set it up. And there are many different ways, so can you go through your preferred way?
AB: Sure. So first off, I think one important thing here is that when people hear paid ads, they are thinking like reach. They are thinking that they want to have new customers. That's the only that's, that's not the only way that people are thinking about it. But that's that's the view I got about it when asking like and talking to friends and talking to, to people that don't really know that much about ads. But in reality, like you are able to do so much more than reach new customers with ads. I mean, you could you could if you have a website with with existing traffic, you could just create ads to just focus on this audience that was on the website looking for exactly this so you could like nurture your leads with paid ads as well or nurture your prospects. You don't just have to use it to find your customers. And I mean, this is super powerful in my opinion. I mean, there is so many possibilities nowadays with paid ads and you could like even, like we at Zooma, we use HubSpot. So what you can do is like you can you can synchronize HubSpot with LinkedIn and then you just create lists with segments that you, you know, are interested in this topic or, or just lists of people that you want to display this type of content to. And then you just run the ad for exactly this list and you can even have an active list in HubSpot that is updated over time. So you could target like people who visited this page the last 14 days. And when this time goes out, this guy won't see this ad anymore because he's probably colder now. So that is something that is really important, I think, in this industry that it's not just about reaching new customers.
AE: That's a very good foundation to think about.
AB: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And yeah, when I, when I set up the funnel, the funnel in this case is how are you going to structure the ads? Because in any platform you have these different objectives that you can create in form of ads and that is like who's going to see the ad and what is the goal of your ad? So you can either set up a prospecting campaign, which in LinkedIn is called a awareness campaign, and the only objective or goal with this campaign is to to create brand awareness. And so this this type of ad won't necessarily try to convert the customer in some some kind of way. It will only expose the ad and optimize it so that the viewer of the ad is going to get as much brand awareness as possible. So, yeah, that is something that I find really interesting. And then you can just look at the metrics and see like, who did the most engagement in this ad, who, who viewed the ad? Like if, say, it's a video ad, who viewed it for 50% and more, or who who viewed it for 25% and more and then you can retarget him because then you know that this this person is probably interested in this product or more interested in the one that just skipped it because this guy has no brand awareness yet, because yeah, you know, maybe he has brand awareness, but he knows that he's not interested in this, so he just skipped it. And then you can retarget these people with, with relevant content that you want to continue to nurture them with. And yeah, so you set up this funnel based on your the goals with the campaign and what you want to achieve. And then you set up the ads and then you run them and then you optimize them after these, these KPIs over time.
AE: So give examples of how to optimize it, what do you do?
AB: So when optimizing an ad, you're looking at all the metrics that have changed over time. And when I say metrics and KPIs, I mean like, let's say that your ad, you started your ad yesterday and you have a daily budget of $50. This means that today we probably spent around $100 on this ad, and we can see that we have 2000 impressions on this ad, and then we know the cost of impression. And maybe just the goal with this ad is to get traffic to our website and then we can see that with 2000 impressions, let's say we've created two video ads, two different video ads with two different pieces of copy for each ad, so we have four ads, two videos and two different pieces of copy, but in four ads. So let's say that after two days we can see that one of the video ads has had just as many impressions as the other one with the other copy, but there was 50 people clicking on one of them and 20 people clicking on the other one. Then you can sort of know like which one is performing better and which one will perform better over time. So then you can you can just shut off the bad ads directly. You can either set up this to be done automatically, so you just try this different creatives and different copies and then when it runs over time, Linkedin's algorithm will automatically determine which one is better. So yeah, you can choose how to do there. Like I think you can look at the metrics and do that manually. But if you have a higher budget, I think that you I mean you can definitely trust that LinkedIn is doing a good job itself with the algorithm there. Yeah, that is something that is evolving over time obviously. But yeah, that is really interesting as well as well.
AE: So for a B2B company that hasn't done any B2B or paid ad campaigns, what would you recommend them to start with?
AB: So that is an interesting question. So, so definitely look at the traffic to your website and also look at like how many people are engaging with your content. Because if you have like, let's say you're a B2B business, as you said, and you have over 300 visitors a month on your website, you can definitely start to retarget these with LinkedIn ads. And that is something that I cannot see why you wouldn't do because I mean, if someone visits your website organically because now you don't have any campaigns running, then you know that people are finding your website from any other place. It can be any other campaign that you have, like, I don't know, a podcast or, or like SEO wise, but then you could then when they go into your website and especially if they engage with some, some sort of content, like if they download some white paper or if they play a video or if they book a meeting or if they do anything like that, that's even more valuable because you could set up tracking for this and create lists with this and retarget these people with all sorts of different campaigns through LinkedIn. So yeah, you don't have to create these converting campaigns either. You can just create some sort of informative campaigns that are just going to nurture or follow up your on your lead or prospect.
AE: And would you recommend starting only with LinkedIn, or mixing up with Google or Facebook?
AB: Yeah, it depends. It always depends. You can't say that generally, but I think if you're in the same workspace as Zooma, I think that LinkedIn definitely is the most powerful one. Yeah, definitely at the moment.
AE: How does it differ? Is LinkedIn very much more expensive per conversion than than Google?
AB: Uh, actually, I'm not sure about that, but I know that LinkedIn ads are pretty pricey at the moment. Yeah, it's pretty high competition there.
AE: You started with Facebook ads in 2018 and now you work a lot with LinkedIn recently and so on. So what are the main differences in the way you work with paid ads between those platforms, or is it similar?
AB: Good question. Actually, no, it's very similar. Obviously the interfaces of the platforms is a bit different, but like if you want to learn about LinkedIn ads, you should learn why you do stuff and not where you click because these interfaces are updated regularly. And if you if you're watching a YouTube video and learn from this guy, click here and then you click here and then you do that. That won't apply in 2 or 3 months. So definitely like learn why you're doing this, and with the funnel that I was talking about earlier, you can set that up and then you can use that funnel on both LinkedIn and on Facebook, Meta or on TikTok or anywhere. Because I mean, I see an ad platform as, these platforms are like a CRM system, but you cannot see the contacts and you cannot see the contacts properties. So the contacts and the properties are like, the properties are obviously what this contact is doing on the platform. So if this guy is showing interest in Garyvee, I mean, he probably has these properties that will suit maybe what we are trying to target in our campaign or not, because that is just like any CRM, but it's more like we call it an algorithm because we cannot see it. Yeah, that's how I see it.
AE: That's an interesting thought. So what do you recommend for, for a company that want to do this? What's the first step here?
AB: Uh, that's a good one. So as I said before, I mean, start to, to look at your traffic and see if you could start doing retargeting campaigns first because, I mean, if you have traffic and definitely like if you have a page where people are going in and viewing a video like 300 times a month, the reason why I say 300 times, by the way, is because in LinkedIn you got to have an audience of at least 300 people to be able to run the campaign. So that is an important thing to take into account when you're planning as well, because I mean, it's easy to to find people that like HubSpot and target them with an awareness campaign because that audience is going to be really big. But finding, or not finding, using people that has interacted with your brand or your website, it's easy if you have the traffic. But I mean if you don't you you always have to start by doing these awareness campaigns or some sort of campaign to drive traffic to your website to be able to, to create these audiences that I was talking about so you can retarget them with more converting content or more nurturing content. So also to note there, like the brand awareness campaigns, they are, they are going to be more pricey. So yeah, like to answer your question, maybe if you were thinking about, if you want to promote a product you have, you should definitely consider looking into this and creating a brand awareness campaign just to to gather some data. But also if you already have traffic, then I cannot see any reason why you wouldn't do it.
AE: And could you give some input on how to create creative for that?
AB: Yeah, sure. So one thing to note there is that always before creating creative, you have to know which objective you're creating or the goal with the campaign from the beginning. Because like if you're creating a video of ten seconds of you like trying to promote a certain product, then if you don't have any traffic at the moment, you have to start with promoting an awareness campaign to create some, some some brand awareness, and then maybe consider creating some content to retarget these people with with features about your product and benefits of your product and content like that. And then follow up on the people that showed interest in this, this content with maybe follow up content like a free trial, because now people know about your product, they know about your brand, and now they are ready for converting content. But you cannot start promoting converting content to someone that doesn't have any brand awareness. So that is really important when creating creative for ads in these all these ad platforms, that you think about this and maybe talk to the person that is going to set up the ads before determining what kind of creative to use, because this guy probably has a lot different input on what kind of content you you're going to use then than what you think before the projects. So that is like really important as well.
AE: Yeah, that's a very good point, and it's something that you have talked a lot about internally at Zooma and we're including that in the process.
AB: I think that's, like it doesn't matter if you're going to do ads. I mean, this applies to any content. Like if you're sending an email to a lead as well. Like I think that you have to, to start with creating some sort of, you have to give the lead information that this is an issue and then follow up on that with promoting this content instead of just promoting this converting email directly, even if it's a lead and even if it's a customer that you've worked with before, it's really important to nurture these as well.
AE: So what do you want to do more? What do you want to work more with in the future?
AB: So I definitely want to work with paid ads more because I mean, I have worked with this for a while now, but I want to work more with B2B companies because, I mean, before going into my education and before starting working at Zooma, I would say that I had pretty much experience working with creating campaigns and paid ads for B2C companies. But I definitely want to evolve in this B2B industry because I think it's more fun. Like I enjoy it more. I mean, it's fun in different ways. There is maybe I think it's fun now because it's more like new, new sort of campaigns that we're running and more sort of thinking that I didn't, or ad structure that I never did before.
AE: So Alfred, thank you very much for participating in this podcast, it was a pleasure to have you in this episode. And I think we can, you've got a lot of knowledge about ads, so I think in the next episode we could do a deep dive into one tactic or something and, um, make a series of this.
AB: Yeah, we should, definitely.
AE: So, uh, yeah. Thank you very much.
AB: Thank you for letting me come.