What does the failure of Lead Accelerator mean?
LinkedIn has officially announced that they’re pulling the plug on their Network Display and Lead Accelerator programs after less than a year. They believe that their money will be better spent in the long-run by focusing on developing other high-impact revenue streams like sponsored updates. According to LinkedIn, the first step towards doing that is to “incorporate the key technology into Sponsored Content throughout 2016”. What exactly does that mean? In this post, I’ll discuss what we know LinkedIn will be changing and what we really, really hope they’ll roll out in 2016.
What we know will happen:
LinkedIn Remarketing Ads are coming
LinkedIn has announced that the technology behind Lead Accelerator will be integrated into the Sponsored Updates world in 2016. That’s fantastic news, as the only way to remarket on LinkedIn has always been to allow LinkedIn to manage your ad dollars for you through Lead Accelerator. Ask any digital marketer, and they’ll tell you the thought of an ad platform having control over your targeting, optimizations and spend is a scary thought. Going forward, we’ll be able to manage custom remarketing campaigns just like we can on Google, Bing, Facebook & Twitter.
As of now, there is no way to pull conversions into the LinkedIn Campaign Manager platform. You can of course (and should) tag your posts’ URLs with tracking parameters manually so that you can attribute conversions appropriately in Analytics. However, having the ability to track and attribute conversions in the platform itself will make life easier for advertisers everywhere.
What we hope LinkedIn rolls out in 2016:
We often see that last-click conversions on LinkedIn are sparse, thus making it difficult to justify allocating ad dollars to the network. One way LinkedIn could address this is by adding post-engagement attribution windows. By adding the ability to credit LinkedIn with conversions that happen after a person views, but doesn’t engage with an ad, advertisers could develop an understanding of the true value from their LinkedIn campaigns.
Improved functionality within the LinkedIn Campaign Manager
Let’s face it, despite the (somewhat) new facade in LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, the functionality is still heavily lacking. It’s disjointed, cumbersome and flat-out inefficient. If LinkedIn truly wants to increase usage (and revenue from ad dollars) there’s no better way than providing digital marketers with an easy, or at least less painful, tool to spend their advertising budget.
For example, you can only sponsor large images & videos from your public company wall. That means you’re seriously handcuffed when it comes to testing. Say for example, I want to test different headlines for a new blog I wrote. Tough. I’d have to post the same exact thing on the company wall and change the headline in each.
Full Access to Historical Data
Ask any professional digital marketer what they’d do if someone deleted or removed their access to the data they have worked hard to accumulate over the past year. I can assure you, it wouldn’t be pretty.
Historical data is important. It’s a canon of digital marketing and yet LinkedIn doesn’t provide full historical data. One of their reps recently told me in February 2016, “we currently only display the Social and Click Demographics for 6 months.” That’s right, after 6 months, you gradually lose access to your data which, in this marketer’s opinion, is entirely absurd.
More Granular Click Data
LinkedIn does provide pretty cool click demographics which shows you the percent of clicks from popular member categories. The problem is that you can’t break this data out or combine any segments other than what they give you by default. For example, you can see the breakout of your clicks by industry and the breakout of your clicks by seniority but not the breakout of your clicks by seniority within a specific industry.
LinkedIn clearly understands the importance of mobile as made evident by the recent overhaul of the entire mobile app experience. Why then, would they not provide the ability to view ad performance by device? Or different targeting options for users on mobile devices? Or the ability to adjust bids on mobile devices? Beats me! That said, judging by LinkedIn’s recent focus on mobile, it wouldn’t surprise me to see mobile segmentation added into LinkedIn’s ad platform in 2016.
Google, Bing and Facebook already offer a bulk editing program and it makes what you can do on those platforms exponentially easier. Without the ability to bulk edit, we often have to scale back our account structures on LinkedIn simply due to the fact that it would take us far too much time to build campaigns with the amount of detail that we would like to. Whether it’s browser-based like Facebook Power Editor or offline like Adwords’ & Bing Ads’ Editors, the addition of bulk edit/upload functionality would greatly increase our ability, and desire to include LinkedIn in our digital strategies more often.
Did I miss something? Contact us to let us know what changes you hope to see for LinkedIn this year!