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Why Every Website (Not Just Local Sites) Should Invest in Local Links and Citations – Whiteboard Friday

Written by admin on Aug 25th, 2016 | Filed under: SEO Ideas & Help

Posted by randfish

At first glance, local links and local citations might seem unnecessary for non-local websites. On a closer look, however, there are strong underlying benefits to gaining those local votes of confidence that could prove invaluable for everyone. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains why all sites should consider chasing local links and citations, suggesting a few different ways to discover opportunities in your areas of focus.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to talk about why websites — every website, not just local websites — should be thinking about tactics and a strategy to get local listings and local citations.

Now, this might sound counterintuitive. I’ve actually encountered a lot of folks — especially online-only businesses or even blended online and local businesses — who think, “Are local links really that important to me, or are they off-topic? Could they potentially cause problems and confusion? Should I be trying to get those?” I’m going to try and make the case to you today that you absolutely should.

Recently, I got to visit Scotland to talk to several folks. I visited Skyscanner. I spoke at the Digital Excellence event and spoke, of course, at the Turing Festival, which was a remarkable event in Edinburgh. We actually landed in Glasgow on a Saturday and drove up to a little town called Inveraray. So I’m going to use some examples from Inveraray, Scotland, and I apologize if my accent is miserable.

A few of the businesses we visited there: Loch Fyne Whiskies, they have their own living cask, where they essentially add in whiskies and blends to this cask that keeps evolving; Whisky Shop, which is an online-only shop; and then Inveraray Castle, which is a local business, entirely a local business centered around this lovely castle and estate that I think, if I understood correctly, is run by the Duke of Argyll, Argyll being the region around there. Apparently, Scotland still has dukes in business, which is fantastic.

Local & online business

So for a local and online business, like Lock Fyne Whiskies, they sell whiskies in their specific store. You can go in — and I did — and buy some stuff. They also sell on their website, I believe just in the United Kingdom, unfortunately, for those of you watching around the rest of the world. But there are certainly reasons why they would want to go and get local links from places that link to businesses in Inveraray or in Argyll or in Scotland as a whole. Those include:

  • Boosting their Maps visibility, so that when you’re searching in Google Maps for “whisky” or “whisky shops,” potentially, if you’re near Inveraray, Google Maps will make their business show up higher.
  • Boosting their local ranking so that if you’re searching for “whisky shop Argyll” or “whisky shop Scotland” or “whisky shop near me” and you happen to be there, Google will show this business higher for that ranking as well.
  • Boosting their domain authority, meaning that those local links are contributing to overall ranking ability. That means they can rank for longer-tail terms. That means they can rank more competitively for classic web search terms that are not just in local or Maps.
  • Sending valuable traffic. So if you think about a listing site, like thelist.co.uk has them on there, TripAdvisor has them on there, a bunch of local sort of chamber of commerce — it’s not actually the chamber of commerce there — but chamber of commerce-type sites list them on there, that sends valuable direct traffic to their business. That could be through foot traffic. It could be through referrals. It could be through people who are buying whisky online from them. So a bunch of real good reasons why a local and online business should do this.

Online-only business

But if you’re an online-only business, I think a lot of folks make the case of, “Wait a minute, Rand, isn’t it true that if I am getting local links and local citations, those may not be boosting my relevance, my ranking ability as much as they are boosting my local ranking ability, which I don’t actually care about because I’m not focused on that?”

So, for example, whiskyshop.com, I think they are also based in Scotland, but they don’t have physical locations. It’s an online-only shop. So getting a local link for them in whatever part of the region of Scotland they are actually in would…

  • Boost their domain authority, giving them more ranking ability for long-tail terms.
  • Make it harder for their competitors to compete for those links. This makes link acquisition for an online-only business, even from local sources, a beautiful thing because your competitors are not in that region and, therefore, they can’t go get those same links that you can get simply by virtue of being where you are as a business physically located. Even if you’re just in an office space or working from home, wherever your domain is registered you can potentially get those.
  • Yield solid anchor text. There are a bunch of local sources that will not just point out who you are, but also what you do. When they point out what you do, they can link to your product pages or your different site sections, individual URLs on your site, and provide anchor text that can be powerful. Depending on how those submissions are accepted and how they’re processed, some local listings, obviously, you’re not going to get them, others you are.

There’s one more that I should include here too, which is that…

  • Local information, even citations by themselves, can be a trust signal for Google, where they essentially say, “Hey, you know what, we trust that this is a real business that is really in this place. We see citations for it. That tells us we can trust this site. It’s not spammy. It doesn’t have these spam signals around it.” That’s a really big positive as well. So I’d add that — spam trust issues.

Local-only business

Lastly, a local-only business — I think this is the most obvious one — we know that it…

  • Boosts Maps visibility
  • Boosts local rankings
  • Boosts your long-tail ranking ability
  • Sends valuable direct traffic, just like they do to a local and online business.

Easy ways to find citation/link sources in your locale:

If you’re going to go out and look for some local links, a few quick recommendations that are real easy to do.

  1. Do a search for a business name, not necessarily your business name — in fact, not your business name – anybody, any of your competitors or anyone in the region. It doesn’t have to necessarily be your business. It could be someone in the county or the territory, the state, the city, the town, minus their site, because you don’t want results from their site. You’re actually looking for: What are all the places where their business is talked about? You can add in, if you’d like, the region or city name.
  2. Search for one local business and another one. So, for example, if I was Whisky Shop and I were in Inveraray or I were in Argyll, I could search for “Loch Fyne Whiskies” and “Inveraray Castle,” and I would come back with a list of places that have both of those on their website. That often turns out to be a great source of a bunch of listings, listing opportunities and link opportunities.
  3. Google just by itself the city plus the state, or region or country, and get lots and lots of places, first off that describe that place, but then also that note notable businesses or that have business listings. You can add the word “listings” to this query and get some more great results too.
  4. Try out some tools here — Link Intersect in Moz, or Majestic, or Ahrefs — and get lots of results by plugging in two of these and excluding the third one and seeing who links to these that doesn’t link to this third one.
  5. Use business names in the same fashion that you do in Google in tools like a Mention, a Talkwalker, Google Alerts, or Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer and see who is talking about these local businesses or regions from a news or blog or forum or recent perspective.

So with that, I hope you’ll do me a favor and go out, try and get some of those local links. I look forward to your comments, and we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Marketer’s Guide to Digital Dashboards- Webinar Q&A

Written by admin on Aug 24th, 2016 | Filed under: Internet Marketing, SEO Ideas & Help

In our most recent webinar, Marketer’s Guide to Digital Dashboards, Cardinal Path’s panel of experts, which included Charlotte Bourne, Mark Tallman, and special guest Stephane Hamel, shared insights into some of the most common reasons why so many dashboards fail, and how to save yourself from these pitfalls to set up dashboards that deliver actionable insights for business users.

Judging by the excellent questions posed by our audience, many are looking for ways to get valuable insights from their dashboards. With multiple stakeholders, various data sources, and increasing pressure to ensure that the data & insights are actionable, one thing is clear: marketers feel challenged when it comes to delivering on the promise of dashboards.

Below are some of the great questions asked during the webinar, along with the answers.

1. We have a lack of non-vanity goals/objectives from our stakeholders. They want too much data. How do you arrive at a consensus on dashboard priorities?
A: Stephane Hamel: In a perfect world, you would have addressed the KPIs right at the beginning of the project, when defining the objectives. The reality is that this is often not the case. You could use an investigative approach and answer the 5W+1H questions – which will help to frame the needs & scope of your dashboard. I’m a fervent advocate of breaking something into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. If you can at least control the scope and start by agreeing on a single KPI, then you should go for it. There are many benefits to having a more agile approach with multiple iterations. You can call it a “pilot project” if you’d like, but whatever you call it, make sure that it gives you a “right to fail learn”! For one client, they wanted a very sophisticated dashboard which merged multiple data sources. By using this“pilot project” approach, we were able to scope it down and at least start providing value in a short amount of time. However, the real benefit came from standardizing the KPIs terminology, campaign taxonomy, and getting everyone on board. In the end, change management was actually the most difficult part, once we had that in place, building the dashboard was easy!

2. How do you identify the difference between ‘nice-to-know’ and actionable data?
A: Stephane Hamel: KPIs are usually supported by additional metrics (eg. If you show “conversion rate”, the underlying “Transactions” and “Sessions” should be visible too. If you can start with just a single KPI (or in fact, the magic number, as with many other things, is 7 +/- 2, so start with fewer rather than more… Note: I think I said 5 +/- 2 in the webinar). Keep in mind what is a “nice to know” might be actually be a critical component for someone else. The number of Facebook likes might be more important to someone who is operational, but could be only a ‘nice-to-know’ for your executive-level stakeholders. In the end, there are ultimately three KPIs. To be considered a KPI, the metric should clearly tie back to one of those. Is “Number of Facebook Likes” a good KPI? I’m sorry to say this to you but, ‘it depends’. It depends on the answers to the 5W+1H!


3. I’m using Google Data Studio and trying to bring all sources – web analytics, email metrics, industry ad data and social media engagement all together into a dashboard. Any advice or experience on doing this?
A: Mark Tallman: Good question! There are a number of ways you can tackle this, but it all comes down to how you want to connect to your data. Currently, Google Data Studio can connect to Google Only data sources. This means Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Attribution, Big Query, YouTube, and Google Sheets. They recently announced a connection to Cloud SQL and MySQL databases as well. So, if you only want to connect to Google-owned data sources like Analytics and AdWords, just use the direct connector! If you want to use additional data sources like Facebook, Bing, Twitter, MailChimp, or others, you have to get crafty…you can either push that data into Google Sheets (less technical) or a database (Cloud SQL or MySQL) and pull it into the dashboard from there. You can either do this manually (export the data from each platform, then paste into Sheets) OR programmatically with something like Analytics Canvas.

4. Several people have said they are struggling with managing the needs of multiple stakeholders for a single dashboard. What’s your advice?
A: Stephane Hamel: Stephen Few defined a dashboard as fitting on a single page (or screen), but the reality is that it’s not always going to fit on a single page. It must, however, have consistency in the way you define and present the same KPI on different dashboards. Personally, I would aim to have a single dashboard even if it has to be larger – this way, all of your stakeholders are “exposed” to what is important for their peers, which can facilitate the growth of a data culture, and even spark interesting conversation, maybe even surfacing interesting ideas and solutions. To quote Stephen: “A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives; consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance”. -Stephen Few, Information Dashboard Design.

5. Which tool, besides Tableau, can you recommend that will allow me to pull in social and web analytics data side by side? The trouble with Tableau is that it’s hard to share dashboards since licenses are required to even view these reports.
A: Charlotte Bourne: If you have programming skills or developer resources you can leverage programming languages like Python and various R packages to access the different APIs. The challenging part with those processes is often the authentication step, which can be harder than creating the actual data pulls. Other advantages there are that you can use those languages for data cleaning and wrangling, to join your data sets and to push it into a final format.

If you don’t have programming skills there is quite a market for various connectors. You’ll find a whole range of Excel-based connectors that allow you to re-pull and refresh your data quite quickly. A few options in this area is Next Analytics, Excellent Analytics, Supermetrics, etc. These serve as easy entry points for non-technical resources and have different capabilities with respect to data sources you can access.

Also keep in mind that Tableau dashboard creation requires a licence but Tableau dashboard viewing does not. There is a free dashboard viewing tool called Tableau Reader which allows end users to access the dashboards you create with all of the same interactive functionality. (This would be like the difference between Adobe Acrobat vs. the Acrobat Reader).

Some other options are Klipfolio, PowerBI, Google Sheets, and Google Data Studio, but all come with their own advantages and limitations.

6. What are some examples of companies that provide ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) software?
A: Charlotte Bourne: Analytics Canvas comes to mind (specialized for Google Analytics), Informatica, Talend (open source) or Pentaho (open source) are other well known vendors. There is a Gartner magic quadrant for this as well.

7. We have many data sources, so the big obstacle is automating the data extracts while not yet having a centralized, managed data mart.
A: Charlotte Bourne: I really understand this challenge. You’re looking to get as much automation as possible to have an efficient update process which is difficult as the number of datasource increase. If a data mart build isn’t a good solution, I would do a gap analysis. First, on the data side: what kind of automation can come from the data platforms you currently use. Look into what automation you have available to you in terms of scheduled reports and report formats. Does that give you sufficient data for your dashboard? Are additional joins or data cleaning needed?

At this point, you should think this through from the dashboard visualization side. What automation features are available through your dashboard tool? What data connections are available?

Finally, look at the gaps. If you find that you cannot get to the degree of automation and efficiency using the native capabilities of your data sources, and your data visualization tool alone, that’s when you should start evaluating a data integration tool or ETL tool in order to bridge that gap. That allows you to then work on streaming your dashboard process without resorting to the all-out step of building a datamart to support your dashboard project.

8. Does Cardinal Path offer this software? 
A: Charlotte Bourne: While Cardinal Path doesn’t offer the actual dashboard software, we do partner with leading vendors like Tableau and Klipfolio and provide the services to pull in data, define KPIs, enable integrations and automations, conduct analyses, and ongoing reporting in order to draw out the insights that matter and maximize return on a dashboard investment.

9. I’m using Google Analytics but before to plug the data into my dashboards I need to modify them using Excel CSV. Do you know if there is way for the data to be automatically modified before I plug them into my dashboard?
A: Mark Tallman: Yes, Analytics Canvas! It does however, depend on which transformations you’d like to make. Most of the time, you can skip Excel completely.

10. Does Analytics Canvas connect to Google Data Studio?
A: Mark Tallman: Not exactly. In Analytics Canvas, the best path forward to connect to Google Data Studio would be to export your dataset into Google Sheets and use that as your point of connection into Google Data Studio. There is no direct connector, but the currently available output formats can still fit the needs of Google’s product.


NEW: Rank Beyond 10 Blue Links with SERP Feature Tracking in Moz Pro

Written by admin on Aug 23rd, 2016 | Filed under: SEO Ideas & Help

Posted by Dr-Pete

From Featured Snippets to In-depth Articles to Knowledge Panels, Google SERP features have remade the search marketing landscape. After three years of planning and many months of work, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of advanced SERP feature tracking in Moz Pro, available immediately to all customers! Using the most comprehensive data set on the market, Moz Pro now provides advanced analysis of the 16 features listed below:

Try it now under the [Rankings] tab within any campaign (see screenshot below), or read on for a walk-through of the new features. New to Moz Pro? Take a free 30-day trial!

Stage 1: Awareness

At MozCon 2013, I gave a talk called Beyond 10 Blue Links, documenting the diversity of Google features surrounding organic results. Many of us at Moz felt strongly that the world of SERP features could have a profound impact on search marketers, and so we started to catalog Google’s changes and collect the data to find out just how much SERPs were evolving.

In early 2014, we built a prototype to better understand how we could help customers track SERP features, but we discovered that most of our customers were unfamiliar with them. None of us knew, at the time, exactly what impact SERP features were having or how we should adjust our tactics. The idea of tracking possibly dozens of types of results was daunting, especially in an industry where most of us already wore too many hats.

So, we kept tracking the data, and we learned along with the industry. We also, I hope, contributed to that education. We built the infrastructure we knew we’d need down the road (much credit to our Silo team), even if we weren’t sure when the turn in that road would come. Eventually – and in large part due to the growth of Featured Snippets – we knew that our customers were ready.

Stage 2: Acceptance

As of August, 86% of the SERPs in our 10,000-keyword tracking set had some kind of non-organic feature (a Knowledge Panel, a Featured Snippet, Rich Snippets, a Local Pack, etc.). If you count ads and shopping results, that number goes up to 97% – the days of 10 blue links are long gone.

We recently did an analysis of over 400,000 search result interactions (thanks to Russ Jones) and found that SERPs with rich features send 28% fewer clicks to traditional organic results. At the same time, many of these features, including Featured Snippets, create new opportunities for non-traditional clicks. Either way, the impact on your SEO is very real, and it’s essential to understand what you’re up against.

The challenge in tracking SERP features, as an SEO, is that which features matter to you can vary wildly with your niche. I’ve seen a single feature radically impact traffic for some sites, while that same feature may have little or no impact on others. Once you’ve accepted the reality of SERP features, you have to understand how the landscape looks for your own industries and sites:

One of the first things you’ll see on the new SERP Features page is the overview. This graph shows the presence of features across your campaign, as well as the proportion of features that you’re listed in (where applicable). At launch, we support the 16 highest-impact desktop SERP features. Click on the pull-down above the graph, and you can pull up a Trended Analysis for any feature. Good news: we’ve already got a 60-day history available at launch:

It’s time to accept that SERP features really do exist, and dive into the details. Scrolling down, you’ll see a comprehensive list of your Campaign keywords along with your current ranking, plus the features those keywords displayed the last time we checked them:

The keyword list shows all of your campaign keywords, along with their rankings and a list of icons signaling which features appeared on those SERPs. Blue icons indicate that your site appears in the feature, red icons indicate your competitor is in it, and orange icons mean that you’re both listed (this might occur in multi-listing features, such as News Packs).

At the top of the page, you can narrow your list by keyword, label, location, or feature. Let’s say you just wanted to see keywords with Featured Snippets. Next to the funnel icon at the top, click [+], then select “SERP Feature” and choose one from the list:

The overview graph and keyword list are both filtered now, and you can explore whatever features are most applicable to your work.

Stage 3: Opportunity

So, what do you do with this knowledge? We’ve developed an insights system to help you answer that question. For example, if a keyword in your campaign currently displays a Featured Snippet, and you rank in the top 5 organic results, you’ve got a decent shot at being able to compete for that snippet. So, we call that out:

Click on any keyword with “Insights” to see possible opportunities. At launch, we highlight keywords with Featured Snippets, News Packs, Reviews, Videos, and Site Links (if you’re not currently listed in them). We hope to add more insights in the near future.

Bonus: Questions in KWE

Want to put this to the test today? Here’s a way to easily start tracking Featured Snippet opportunities. Go to Keyword Explorer, enter a term, view all results, and then, in the first pulldown select [are questions]. You’ll get a list of question suggestions related to your chosen search term:

Now, select the questions that interest you, and add them to your Campaign. We’ll start tracking Featured Snippets and other SERP features, and soon you’ll be discovering new opportunities to stand out from your competition.

Thanks to everyone involved on the Product and Design teams, and special thanks to our Silo team for putting the pieces in place over the past year to make tracking features possible. Please reach out to us with any comments or suggestions, and we hope you enjoy the new features!

Join our Launch Day Twitter Q&A Party!

Try it today and tweet questions (the occasional comment or rave also welcome!) to @Moz with #OwntheSERP. Questions will be answered in real-time throughout the day (ok, technically between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm US-PST) by one of our pros: @RandFish, @Dr_Pete, @BritneyMuller, @JontheExiled.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Data Driven Attribution or Media Mix Modelling?

Written by admin on Aug 23rd, 2016 | Filed under: Internet Marketing, SEO Ideas & Help

Data Driven Attribution and Media Mix Modelling (MMM) both help marketers understand marketing channel performance and return on investment. While it’s true that both help to measure marketing success, they differ in their data requirements and capabilities. If you are trying to figure out which one is best suited to your organizational needs, read on.

Below is a table which summarizes the main differences between the two.


Model Type

Media Mix Modelling typically uses a regression or some similar statistical or econometric technique to determine how much each channel impacts your conversion goal. This is more of a correlational measure, as we don’t have a direct link to be certain that any converted users have seen the media. Basically, the data is aggregated and not at the user level.

Data Driven Attribution modelling is commonly viewed as a more causal method, as we can find a  direct link between a user seeing a media channel and converting (or not converting). However, the actual algorithms used to measure the lift from each marketing channel will differ by provider, and may use a range of statistical and machine learning modelling techniques. Basically, the results you will receive may be different.

Data and Data Collection

Media mix modelling (MMM) has a one-time collection process, so if results are needed only once, or even yearly, this is going to be the better option. MMM is typically a better option when you have historical data for all potential drivers of your business readily available. MMM also works well with offline data, such as TV impressions or the number of stores open in a particular region.

Data Driven Attribution works best for the collection of data from online channels and for the ongoing collection and refreshing of models, so if frequent report updates are required, this would be the preferred option. Depending on the attribution provider, tags may be used to collect data or, attribution may work with data collected by your existing analytics platforms. Typically, there will be some time in between  when you initiate data collection, and when there is enough data available for attribution models to run so that  you can get your initial results.

Generally, Data Driven Attribution is the best option for measuring online conversion paths, though some attribution providers have connectors to offline media or offline conversions.

Online or Offline Conversions?

If the majority of your conversions occur offline, MMM makes more sense than Data Driven Attribution. Sure, some attribution providers have integrations available with data collection partners or other connectors to offline data. But the econometric models in MMM readily accommodate offline data. For MMM, the conversion type can be whatever is relevant to your business, provided the historic data is available (typically, this would be sales volumes (online and/or offline)).

Data Driven Attribution is the strongest candidate for online conversion types and can work well with hard conversion goals, such as purchases, and softer conversion goals, such as newsletter downloads.

Reporting Deliverables

If marketing strategy is constantly evolving, and budgets can be shifted easily between channels on a monthly or even weekly basis, then a Data Driven Attribution provider, which allows for daily report updates, is superior.  Reports may include detailed impacts of online effects such as lift analysis, recommended frequency capping, viewability, conversion path reports, and more.
MMM can be refreshed approximately once a year to keep your data recent and relevant, though the cadence of updates will depend on the nature of your business. If budgeting is typically done once a year, this approach can work well. Additionally, it does have the ability to test different budgeting scenarios and their resulting outcomes, whereas Data Driven Attribution may not have this baked in. Depending on the provider of your MMM model, and even though the inherent model is fixed, you may also have the capacity to play out different spending scenarios.  That is, your MMM model may allow you to forecast the ROI of channels based on different spend inputs.

In general, Media Mix Modelling is an approach that works well for companies with significant offline media spend while Data Driven Attribution modelling is most effective for companies with the majority of their marketing activities running online and in large volumes. I hope that this comparison has been helpful in your research! If you have further questions about how you are measuring your marketing success, please contact us.

Reaching Your Golden Influencers with Content Through LinkedIn Ads

Written by admin on Aug 23rd, 2016 | Filed under: SEO Ideas & Help

Posted by WilcoxAJ

We’re all well aware that the tides have shifted in SEO. Building links for the sake of building links is no longer the best strategy.

We’ve all heard the gospel of great content being preached: “Just create great content, and the links will naturally come.” While this may be true for brands with existing followings, it’s often a very different story for most SMBs.

The fact of the matter is that if a brand lacks social presence and followers, it may get more eyeballs on its great content by printing a copy, and stapling it to a tree.

For that reason, you need to pay to get that great content in front of the eyes that are most likely to share/blog/mention it. I’m going to show you how to do this using LinkedIn Ads.

LinkedIn, the resume site?

“LinkedIn?”, you say? “Why would I share content on LinkedIn?”, you ask? Very good question!

Everyone’s favorite professional social network is very well known for its ability to host your resume, as well as its usefulness in finding your next job. What you may not have noticed is that LinkedIn has been making great strides towards becoming a content hub, and it began back in 2012.

In 2012, LinkedIn released their Influencer program. It allowed business celebrities like Bill Gates and Richard Branson to publish long-form articles, and it allowed the likes of us peasants to follow that content without requiring said celebrities to accept our connections.

In 2013, the network announced its acquisition of Pulse, a news and content engine, which can push you content based on your industry, seniority, etc. It then released a new ad unit called “Sponsored Updates,” which allows advertisers to put content in front of the right eyes.

In 2014, long-form posting (such as the likes of Arianna Huffington and Barack Obama enjoyed) was then released to all LinkedIn members.

You can see how, gradually, the professional network positioned itself to become the place you go for your business news.

Getting started

By now you may realize how helpful LinkedIn advertising can be for your content marketing efforts, but you don’t know how to get started. No problem! Here’s what you need:

1. Company page admin access

Sponsored Updates (the native ad unit that was built for sharing content effectively) require a connection to the company page. First and foremost, you’ll need to have an existing administrator of your LinkedIn company page add you to that as well.

Here’s that process:

If your company has not yet created a company page, that’s no problem either — they’re quick and easy. You can create your company page for free.

2. LinkedIn Ads account access

If you have an existing LinkedIn Ads account, here’s how to get access:

If you don’t already have an existing account, here’s how you do it:

Why use LinkedIn Ads?

Although the ads platform may not be pretty, or have the feature set we in PPC have come to expect, its granular control over B2B targeting can’t be beat. I’m certain you can see the value in being able to reach someone by:

  • Job title
  • Seniority level
  • Department
  • Industry
  • Company
  • Etc.

Who should I target?

That depends. Who would you get the most value out of seeing your content? Here are a couple angles that I’ve used:

1. Venture capital hack

Is your company getting ready to raise a round of funding? You could target those within the “Venture Capital & Private Equity” industry. The fact that potential investors have heard of you could mean precious increase to your valuation.

Here are the targeting settings where I did just that for a client:

vc pe canva.png

2. Publisher hack

Do you want to get your content linked to? How about targeting those that buy ink by the barrel? Here’s what I’ve used for just such an occasion:

publishing media targeting canva.png

By reaching those with seniorities of manager and above in the publishing industries, you’re able to get your content in front of those who could cite, publish about, or otherwise authoritatively share your content.

Attitudes toward native ads

How do we feel about advertising? Savvy consumers are suspicious and skeptical of advertisers. The fantastic part about sponsoring content is the vast majority of consumers don’t view it as an ad. When you ask customers how they found you after arriving through sponsored content, you’ll get answers like “A friend shared…” or “I came across…”

Of course, if your sponsored update feels like an ad, you’ve shot all of your blissful goodwill in the foot.

What does it cost?

Depending on the audience, I’ve found LinkedIn clicks to cost between about $4–8. That being said, sharing content carries with it a huge advantage.

For those familiar with the AdWords auction system, it will come as no surprise that you can get significant discounts on your cost-per-click (CPC) if your click-through rate (CTR) is high.

For the uninitiated, each time a LinkedIn user loads a page on the site, there is an opportunity cost associated with showing an ad. Advertiser A may be willing to bid $20 per click, but if their CTR is .1% the platform would make, at most, $20 from showing the ad to 1k visitors. Contrast that with Advertiser B who is only bidding $3, but has a CTR of 1%, which results in a maximum of $30 to the platform for showing ads to those same 1k visitors.

This means that LinkedIn maximizes its revenue when advertisers have great CTRs, so it lowers costs of high CTR performers in order to reward them for their profitability.

The advantage, then, of sharing content that’s low in friction and high in interest is that it garners high CTRs, and therefore lower CPCs than content that presents more friction.

Remember that you’re targeting your ideal audience here, and getting as many of them as possible to your content/offers will likely pay significant dividends in the future.

Added bonus!

Remember in the section above when I mentioned getting your ideal audience in front of your content pays significant dividends? This is where I get more specific.

You’ve got your ideal audience to your site now, and you paid between $3–7 per click to do it, which is costly in many verticals. Do you keep relying on $3–7 clicks to continue to bring them back until they’re raving fans and ready to talk to your sales team? You could, but then your cost per engagement will look sky-high.

Contrast this with the possibility of placing your LinkedIn traffic into AdWords, Twitter, and Facebook retargeting audiences (tutorial here). You can even name those audiences after the persona you drove there (i.e. Media, or Venture Capital) to make interpretation of the accounts easy.

For instance, if your LinkedIn campaign is targeting media, then call your retargeting audience “Online Media Professionals” or something to that effect.

How much do you normally pay for retargeting traffic? $.60? $1? Less? Whatever it is, it’s bound to be a huge discount compared to your original source of the traffic, and the big advantage to you is that everyone in that audience, you got to qualify through the most effective B2B targeting.

Staying on top of your ideal audiences’ minds with banner ads is great and all, but what gets even more exciting is then using those retargeting audiences as persona development.

Persona development

From following the retargeting strategy above, you know that you’ll end up with a retargeting audience that contains your ideal audience. This allows you to serve a lot of impressions very inexpensively. Use this to your advantage to test content titles, etc.

Are you interested in finding out whether the phrase “data-driven” is more engaging than “big data?” How about testing colloquial messages as opposed to more formal? Try running different versions of the content in image A/B tests to test what resonates most with your persona!

As you test against this audience, you’ll start to find out how best to talk to them, and what types garner the greatest results. After all, you’re paying for the traffic, so you might as well get all the use out of it you can.


To sum it all up, start by gathering a significant announcement, and decide the influencer who would have the greatest sway over publishing/funding it. Target those folks using LinkedIn’s powerful ad targeting. Then retarget those visitors using your favorite retargeting channels to further invest in the influencers. Then watch business results happen, in a truly scalable fashion!

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