6 reasons your LinkedIn ad isn't converting

Last Updated
October 2021
Molly Tolley
Marketing Manager
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LinkedIn claims marketers see up to 2x higher conversion rates on its platform. But what if your LinkedIn ad isn’t converting?

If your B2B lead gen efforts on LinkedIn are coming up short, what can you do to crack the conversion conundrum? In this post, we’ll dig into how to ensure the components of your ad aren’t getting in the way of its success.

Disclaimer: This is *not* one of those clickbaity articles yelling, “Your conversions aren’t set up properly!” This post will help you as a marketing professional dissect why your copy, creative, forms, and landing pages aren’t converting — not set up tracking.

Why do B2B marketers love LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is the buttoned-up older sibling of the social media family. The Microsoft-owned network predates Facebook and MySpace and turned 18 years old in 2021.

It’s not just the oldest social network still in use, it’s the most trusted one, according to eMarketer. (Sure, there may not be too much competition when it comes to “trust” in social media, but that trust may be one of the reasons why B2B marketers find so much success on LinkedIn.)

Roughly 80% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn ads, according to the Content Marketing Institute. That makes LinkedIn both the top paid and top organic social network for B2B marketers.

From a B2B marketer perspective, there’s a lot to love about LinkedIn.

  • First and foremost, LinkedIn ads work. Brands report a 33% increase in purchase intent from ad exposure on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn offers more than 200 characteristics in ad targeting to help you hone in on your ideal audience—including job title, job function, interests, education, and skills. If you know your audience, LinkedIn can help you find them.
  • LinkedIn reported record increases in engagement in 2020. With more than 756 million users out there, there’s a large and growing number of LinkedIn users to reach.

What makes up a LinkedIn ad?

The anatomy of LinkedIn ads is fairly simple. They’re typically a bit of text, a clickable bit of creative, a bit more text, and a call to action. The exact specs depend on the type of ad.

There are a few different types of LinkedIn ads.

  • Sponsored content — These ads show in the feed and feature text and creative. Types of sponsored content include video ads with (you guessed it) video, event ads, and carousel ads, which include a series of swipeable cards.
  • Sponsored messaging — These are ads that appear in a user’s LinkedIn inbox.
  • Text ads — These simple ads are served on the right-hand side or top of LinkedIn on desktop.

Why isn’t my LinkedIn ad converting?

Is your LinkedIn ad not converting? Here are six reasons your LinkedIn lead gen efforts may not be working out and what you can do to increase your ads’ chances of success.

1. Your offer isn’t clear.

Reading a LinkedIn ad about an awesome-sounding industry survey, a relevant case study, or helpful whitepaper and then realizing you have to hand over your email info to get access to the content can make prospects bounce. Be super transparent in your ad that a download/exchange of info is expected.

This is the norm now in countries that strictly enforce GDPR, and as those standards become more wide-reaching, marketers may as well get used to it.

It should also be clear why prospects should share their info. Asking for a phone number to download a case study? That’s probably going to feel like a stretch. Asking for an email for a webinar (by saying you’re going to email a link to the recording when it’s over if anyone misses it or ducks out early)? That sounds totally reasonable. Sign me up!

Clarity should also carry over in your calls to action. Don’t just make your CTA clickable—make it accurate. Ensure it accurately communicates what the prospect will see next. Otherwise, they may just leave your ad in their browser history rearview mirror.

Tip: If your offer is super clear but your conversion rate is still low, then the next section is for you.

2. Your offer isn’t compelling.

As marketers, it’s our job to put ourselves in the shoes of prospects and understand what type of marketing offer will compel them to act.

Maybe the content you’re promoting is packed with valuable information. Maybe it would help your prospects understand how your product or service will make their life easier. But does your LinkedIn ad make that clear enough to be compelling?

Boil down your offer’s message to the absolute essentials of why your prospect should act on your ad. If you focus on the “why” of your offer’s value—and make sure that’s the first (and main message) your ad conveys—you’ll see your conversion rate trend up.

3. Your targeting is off.

Once you’re confident your offer is clear and compelling, the next thing to look at is if your ad is reaching the right audience.

As called out above, LinkedIn gives you a vast set of options to zoom in on the people you want to reach, but you still have to deal with questions of identifying the right audience and reaching them at the right time.

  • Are you using the right job titles? Sometimes you may not be sure which job titles your potential customers have. After all, we’re living in a world where CFOs are called “Master of Coin” and engineers are “wizards” or “magicians.” While that may be an extreme example and not everyone has a fantasy-based job title, it’s not uncommon to end up targeting job titles that are close but not quite right. If you’re not sure and in a pinch, do a little homework (i.e., some light LinkedIn stalking) and review the titles of your customers (or your competitors’ customers). But, bigger picture, to know the titles you need to target, you can’t neglect the marketing heavy lifting of mapping out your buyer personas.
  • Are you reaching your audience too early in the buyer journey? Maybe you’re hitting the right people but you’re hitting them at the wrong time. Are you implementing awareness, engagement, and lead gen campaigns that work in harmony? Get strategic about each piece of the puzzle and how it all comes together, and higher conversion rates will follow.

4. Something is up with your landing page.

If your LinkedIn ad is getting clicks but conversions drop off on your landing page, it’s time to take a long, hard look at why your landing page isn’t sticking the landing.

  • Is your landing page easy to navigate? Don’t make it hard for your prospects to give you the info you seek and get the goods they came for. Speaking of . . .
  • Is your landing page mobile optimized? Nearly 60% of LinkedIn’s traffic comes from mobile devices. As with basically everything you let loose into the digital ether, it’s best to test your landing pages on mobile and desktop.
  • Does your landing page message line up with the ad message? If you’re testing out ad copy, make sure it stays true to what you’re actually delivering. A disconnect between what’s promised in an ad and what you’re showing on a landing page is a surefire way to make prospects hit the back button.
  • Does your landing page feel safe? Does the page have a privacy policy that is clear and reasonable? Are you featuring the expected, relevant trust symbols? Are you forcing users to wrestle with an old-school CAPTCHA that feels like an eye and/or IQ test instead of the simplicity of the one-click reCAPTCHA? Give your prospects faith that your landing page and organization is legit, and they’ll be less hesitant to act.

5. Your number of field forms is overwhelming.

Imagine you’re on the receiving end of a perfectly targeted LinkedIn ad. It’s for a piece of human-centric content that both speaks to you and seems tailor-made for you. It teases a juicy datapoint you can’t wait to slap in your weekly update or insights that are going to make you the toast of your team.

Then you get to the form. Name. Email. Job title. Phone number. Mother’s maiden name. Go-to karaoke song.

“Is this too many fields?” you may ask yourself. If you have to ask, the answer is likely yes. Get your form as slimmed-down as possible, and nab the info from prospects you need to qualify and follow up with leads while keeping the transaction as quick and painless as possible.

Tip: Look into using progressive forms to keep your form short but get even more info from returning prospects.

6. You aren’t using Lead Gen Forms.

We’ll admit it. We weren’t convinced about LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms at first. It can feel strange to let go of the full and utter creative control that custom landing pages offer. But once you get going, you’ll never look back.

Lead Gen Forms make prospects’ lives so much easier.  (They also make life easier for marketers too.) And, in turn, your conversion rates are higher.

Just like with landing pages, make sure the messaging on your form lines up with the message and compelling bits of your offer to help ensure that a click turns into a conversion.

Grow your clicks and conversions

Like so many aspects of B2B marketing, conversion rates are a creative challenge for marketers like the team at Thaynes. We hope this post gave you something to think about with your own LinkedIn campaigns. And if you're ready to build a content marketing engine, we can help. Contact us to get the conversation started.

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