LinkedIn Paid Ads: Not Even Once

Here’s a topic that I hear social media marketers talk about all the time but I haven’t seen much written about: the horrendous nightmare of a paid LinkedIn ad campaign.

Since its a holiday week and I have things to do, I’m going to keep this short and simple.

LinkedIn Paid Ads, Good or Nah?


Nah. Unless you’ve got the spend of that dude from Monopoly, definitely nah.




Yes, they’re the best way to target B2B and yes, they can provide a lot of leads depending on your industry but from my personal experience, running them is a flat out nightmare.


A Nightmare? Why?


I mentioned last week, that out of every single SEO, PPC, Social Media Marketer and other type of Digital Marketer I’ve ever met, not a single one of them has ever ran a LinkedIn Paid ads campaign that wasn’t a complete dumpster fire.

I’ll give you a story from my personal experience:

I was working with a company that focused only on B2B clients and so, naturally, we thought LinkedIn was going to be a huge sales lead funnel for them. They had pretty good organic LinkedIn traffic to their posts, good engagement, lots of followers and all that so the next natural step was to put a few dollars behind it and branch out.

Boy, did we think wrong.

Since we weren’t sure of what the response would be, we went with a small test budget of $100.00, (which is what I normally suggest to anyone on other platforms like Twitter and Facebook, who isn’t sure about the whole ‘Social Media’ thing)and a run schedule of a week and a half. All we wanted to know was what kind of impressions and engagement we’d get so we’d have a baseline to follow for next time.

So we set the ad all up, put in the lifetime budget numbers and launched the campaign.

We came back three hours later, looked at the campaign manager to see if it had started yet….



I Think You Just Didn’t Know What You Were Doing


That’s what I thought at first, too! It was my first time doing it so I was like ‘hmm, maybe I set the lifetime budget to the daily budget or something like that.’ I mean that problem is super easy to have on a platform like Twitter if you’re not paying attention so I double checked.

Nope. It was fine.

I double checked the run schedule I had set up. Maybe I broke it there and only had it set up for like a one day run or something.

Nope. The schedule was right.

LinkedIn had spent $104 of a lifetime $100 spend in three hours of a week and a half campaign and it was totally going to keep on spending more.




Do you have any idea how fast I canceled that ad and then immediately looked for how I could get the credit card taken out of that account?

I’m not even trying to explain this one to finance.

I didn’t know what happened. I had no clue what could have gone wrong. I’ve done paid ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter before and I had never seen a spend gone horribly wrong like that before.

I just went back to the director and said, ‘You know what, I don’t think LinkedIn is going to be a winner for us.’

The director suggested I call LinkedIn support to see what happened but after seeing the fact that it blew the entire budget and we only had like ten clicks to show for it, I honestly couldn’t be bothered. It was downright offensive to me so I’d just rather not give them my business if that’s how they work and I couldn’t in all conscience recommend doing the LinkedIn version of spam email AKA, the InMail campaign, so I just said forget it and stuck with Twitter and others.


So Was It Just You?


Apparently not. I went on and asked a few people who specialize in nothing but Social Media Marketing and they told me flat out they have personally never seen a LinkedIn campaign not be:

a. ridiculously expensive

b. next to useless in terms of engagement. LinkedIn ads on average have a super low average CTR. LinkedIn apparently says a Good CTR is 0.025% while the average Facebook CTR is 0.90%

c. a complete dumpster fire like what I’ve experienced above. Apparently this has happened to some other people as well. I immediately felt better about myself.


Should I Even Be Using These, Then?


In my personal opinion, unless someone literally cares nothing about their spend and gets absolute zero traction from other platforms, I’d never recommend LinkedIn paid ads to anyone. That being said, I’d still tell people to be super active organically on there.

It’s a huge platform and if you’re in a B2B industry and you’re not on LinkedIn in some way, you’re basically cutting your legs out from under you. Definitely have a presence on LinkedIn, be active on LinkedIn and advertise on LinkedIn but do it carefully. Watch your spend like a hawk or be prepared to suffer the consequences.




My personal advice, and again, this is just from my personal experience, I’d say stick to organic on there and keep your money for Facebook, Twitter and AdWords…you’ll probably get more bang for your buck in the long run.

And nobody likes spam email, not even on LinkedIn.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s