Outshine & LinkedIn: Three Questions on the Platform’s Plans for 2020

As the most effective professional social platform for the B2B sphere, mastering LinkedIn’s marketing capabilities and fine-tuning them to get the greatest return for our clients isn't optional for us—it’s par for the course.

So when we were given a peek behind the curtain of the platform's big plans for 2020—which we learned about at an Agency Champion session hosted in Toronto by LinkedIn Canada—naturally, our ears perked up, excited about what the changes could mean for the strength and success of our clients’ campaigns.
In recent months, LinkedIn has already been making strides to power-up its marketing solutions with changes to its forecasting capabilities, campaign targeting combinations, and attribute expansions, to name a few.

But the list of upcoming initiatives (we think) is even more exciting.

Among our favourites on the 2020 roadmap are:

Multi-ad format campaigns:
This will mean less segmentation between ad campaigns and ad formats, allowing for budget fluidity to run against multiple ad types within the same campaign with the same objective (i.e. you’ll be able to run video ads and image ads without having to create two campaigns and allocate certain budgets for each).
Target bidding & lifetime budget pacing:
The former will allow you to more effectively optimize the costs for your campaigns based on target KPIs, be it Sponsored Content CPCs or Sponsored InMail cost-per-sends. The latter—lifetime budget pacing—will allow for more even spending day-to-day, providing more cost-per-result stability.

Engagement retargeting:
This will allow you to retarget (or remarket) to users based on the action they took on your ad (i.e. retarget users who have commented on a Sponsored Content ad), allowing for a tailored ad experience and the ability to nurture the user towards a specific conversion.

Split testing:
This is a big one. Following in the footsteps of Google and Facebook, split testing on LinkedIn will allow you to effectively A/B test campaigns against one another—whether it’s different ad formats, ad copy, audience targeting, or bidding strategies—giving you a metered way to collect data and measure performance without sacrificing time efficiencies and accuracy of results.

Conversation ads:
LinkedIn’s answer to Facebook’s Messenger ads, the upcoming “conversation ad” format will allow for a chatbot-like experience, so you can customize content to fit the user’s journey.

LinkedIn has long-championed the B2B space for granular and reliable targeting with regards to job function, seniority, title, and skills—but sometimes falls behind other pay-per-click marketing solutions when it comes to robust functionality and seamless user-friendliness.  

The upcoming unveilings will offer added sophistication to paid campaigns, allowing digital marketers and advertisers the ability to leverage LinkedIn’s premium placement and data, while reducing campaign format, bidding, targeting, and testing limitations that you might be facing right now.  

To get a better handle on what these new changes will mean, we talked to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Account Executive, Richard Wong.
Richard Wong
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Account Executive
Outshine: With PPC advertising evolving so rapidly across all platforms—from new available formats and specialized targeting tactics to “smart” bidding and automatic campaign placements—how is LinkedIn changing and adapting to the advanced social ecosystem?

Richard: There have been a lot of changes in the digital advertising ecosystem over the past many years—a lot of it giving marketers more options and features to slice and dice their campaigns in different ways. At LinkedIn, our aim is to provide more customer value by making this as simple as possible for you to develop campaigns and initiatives that meet your goals. We moved over to objective-based advertising at the end of 2018, which allows marketers to streamline campaign creation based on your goals—be it awareness, consideration, or conversion. Outside of that change, the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions platform has been evolving to improve the experience and value exchange between LinkedIn members and advertisers—from LinkedIn Live, auto-fill lead gen forms, interests-based targeting, and many more.

In sum, we shouldn’t be as focused on the new formats or targeting methods, but understanding what we’re trying to accomplish and making it as simple to run and measure our effectiveness against these goals. We believe LinkedIn is delivering on that—for the benefit of the LinkedIn member and the advertiser.

Outshine: 2020 sounds like a big year for LinkedIn. What’s the biggest plan in store and how will it benefit B2B advertisers?

Richard: We’re excited about the momentum for LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions—particularly our growth in Canada where we’ve added more team members and seen a lot of new partnerships with companies finding value with LinkedIn. In terms of 2020, our product roadmap is grounded in three principles: engaging experiences, expanding relationships, and realizing value.

Between 2018 and 2020, we’ll have launched over 150 products and features, and we are just getting started. We’ll continue to innovate on our member environment so that marketers can continue to deliver brand-safe, engaging experiences for their audiences through LinkedIn’s professional context and quality ad placements.

Some of the big things in store include: conversation ads, LinkedIn events, products marketplace, audience forecasting, engagement retargeting, audience insights, multi-format ad campaigns, split testing, [and] optimization improvements, [like] target CPC bidding, lifetime pacing, and reach and frequency optimization.

Outshine: In your opinion, what’s the competitive edge LinkedIn offers that other ad platforms don’t?

Richard: Marketers choose to bring their campaigns to LinkedIn for three primary reasons—which you could call our competitive advantage:

The right audience: People use LinkedIn in a fundamentally different way than they do with most social networks. You typically go to LinkedIn with a “professional mindset” rather than leaning back and killing time with something to entertain yourself. When you’re in the right mindset, you’re much more receptive to advertising—1.7x, based on a Millward Brown study.

The right environment:
Especially in today’s media and advertising landscape, consumers have a large distrust in the messages we see online—from brand safety concerns, fake news, or annoying ads that turn us off—but LinkedIn “is undisputedly the most trusted platform” for three years since Business Insider started the Digital Trust Report in 2017. LinkedIn‘s premium, high quality environment helps advertisers be perceived as more professional, more intelligent, higher quality, and more respectable.

The right engagement: Lastly, campaigns that run on LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions Platform are powered with a large amount of first-party data—pulled from members’ LinkedIn profiles and their behavior on LinkedIn. This means more accurate ways for us to know who the right person is, developing those hard-to-find audiences, and a powerful, scalable way to target your intended audience.

LinkedIn’s new features are slated to roll out over the next year, with additional budget optimizations, expanded location targeting, A/B testing, LinkedIn events, and conversation ads all launching in H1.

Personally, I’m the most excited for the split testing feature to launch, as this will allow for greater testing opportunities within the platform—something that, right now, can often be an inefficient and very capability-limited task. But being able to bring a measured approach to clean, accurate campaign testing on the world’s largest professional network is something that, well, one might say, marketer’s dreams are made of.

What are you most excited—or not—for?
Drop me a line at hillary@outshine.com.
By Hillary Gillis, Associate

Don’t wonder how advertising helps you achieve your goals—prove it.

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