Summary of my experiences and learnings at CXL Institute's Growth Marketing Minidegree

Note: This is a critical review and summary of the paid course - Linkedin Ads course at CXL Institute, available to you. For all the others please head over to the index here 

Track #5 - Course #9:

 CXL Institute LinkedIn Ads by AJ Wilcox


I had never run Linkedin ads before. Heavy user of Linkedin but never used the ad platform. 

My Review

  • AJ Wilcox is OG. He is the founder of B2Linked, an agency specializing in advertising with LinkedIn ads. Globally recognized as one of the top LinkedIn ads experts, AJ manages Linkedin campaigns for some of the largest and most sophisticated accounts worldwide. That guy is the best. He's fun, humble and knowledgeable. But again, I haven't run Linkedin ads before. So my review might be a little biased. Overall, I enjoyed the courses about channels that I have never been exposed over the courses about channels that I had been exposed to.

  • He takes you through each step of building the campaign similar to Tom Breeze's course YouTube ads. AJ would show you different ad combinations. You are informed where the platform tries to trick you and how avoid those pitfalls..

  • What I didn't like: Could be a little faster but I watched it at 1.75X and I do believe that some information could be edited out. But compared to other courses in the mini degree this one was 'effing amazing'.

Info about Linkedin as a platform

  • 4 out of 5 people on LinkedIn “drive business decisions” Source

  • Up-to date list: Everyone keeps their profile up to date. 

  • Robust targeting: You can target based on seniority, levels of experience, job title, groups etc. We'll get to this soon. 

  • Business Mentality: Most people are thinking about work when they scroll through their linkedin feed. The mindset that target users are in makes it easier for us to pitch. 

  • No Gatekeeper: People don't hand over their linkedin profile to others on their team easily. If you send a message to the CEO, it's very likely that the CEO is receiving that message. 

  • Larger Deal Sizes: In AJ Wilcox's experience, Linkedin closes the largest deal sizes






- You pay $6-9 dollars per click.

- You can't schedule ads to run only on certain time periods.

- There's no device level bidding and there's no exposed relevancy score. You don't know how your ads perform to the others in the industry. 

So.....who is it for?

You use Linkedin Ads in cases where the LTV (Lifetime Value) is more than $15k. Such as:

—> B2B Services/Products.

—> Recruiting

—> Education: finding students for PhD programs.



Types of Linkedin ads

Sponsored Content (these show up in your news feed, just like posts, and can be delivered as static images, videos, or carousels) -

Size = 1200x627px image 
.4% CTR is good
128 char intro
38 char title
70%+ mobile user

Text Ads (copy that appears either above or on the right-hand side of the news feed. These ads are only visible on desktop) -

Size = 50x50px image

0.03% CTR is good

25 char headline

75 char adline

Desktop ONLY

Sponsored Messaging (come in two forms – message ads that look like an email or LinkedIn message, or conversation ads that look like a chatbot and give people action choices)

Pay Per Send (~$0.35-$0.85)
45 Day Frequency Cap (Own it!)
Send from Employee Personal Profile
~50% open rates​

Dynamic Ads (appear on the right-hand side of the news feed like text ads, but feature creative elements (like images and GIFs). These are also only visible on desktop)

Lead gen form ads: 

Available on sponsored content and
Sponsored inmail

Bypass landing page for higher conversion rates

Integrations with eloqua, marketo, liveramp other platforms through zapier


Higher conversion rate


Difficult to work with 

Poor tracking 

No retargeting 

Questionable lead quality

Linkedin video ads​

$.06- .14 per 3-second view

Play muted (hardcode subtitles) 

No retargeting

How to target your audience in Linkedin Ads? 
























New matched audiences

  • 90-day cookies re-targeting

  • 300 minimum audience

  • ios devices ignored

  • limited time on platform

  • Upload list of up to 300k email addresses to target (or exclude) Create campaigns to target only owners of these email addresses.

  • Create campaigns to target (or exclude) certain companies. 

Advanced targeting tactics

  • When targeting skills or groups…

Exclude Sales/BizDev/Marketing Job Functions to keep out folks who are trying to sell into these audiences.

  • When targeting smbs

Exclude larger company sizes rather than including the smaller.

  • Use seniority instead of age or years of experience 

Age and yrs exp are both guesses.

  • Seniority is based on title/industry avoid “audience expansion” like the plague

Complete and utter garbage which is enabled by default

examples of targeting on linkedin ads.
ways you can target people on linkedin ads

How to structure your account? 

Name campaigns after audience & ad type microsegmentation: 

• Bad: “2018 webinar” or “whitepaper”

• Good: “sc | marketing manager titles | us”


When in doubt, break it out 

• Bad: “marketing mgr-and-above” 

• Good: “marketing mgr,” “marketing dir,” “marketing vp,” “cmo” all separate campaigns 

Audience sizes 

• Bad: linkedin’s recommendation of 300k+ 

• Good: 20-80k

What content should I use?

Blog post/Infographic - least friction

Trial/Demo - most friction

Try to test throughout the funnel - ad messaging, title of content, landing pages, improve nurture process.  

Advanced retargeting?

Target net-new 

> Exclude ‘converters’ and ‘landing page visitors’ from campaigns


2-step funnel

> create retargeting campaign of ‘landing page visitors’

> exclude this audience from campaign

Advanced Account-based Marketing

  • Sales Dream Accounts

  • Exclude Competitors

  • Exclude Customers

  • Product Updates To Current Customers

  • Funnel Acceleration

Recommended UTM Tagging

utm_source -  linkedin 
utm_medium -  sponsored content - sc
utm_campaign - IT directors -  Describe the audience
utm_content - lisc04171801 - Identifies the specific ad

Additional things: 

> Add linkedin insights tag. 

> Set CPC to the lowest amount, bid by CPC and set budget to the max number. 

> Integrate data with rest of the tools in your stack. 

Ad Benchmarks: 

Sponsored Content
• $6-9 CPC
• .35% CTR
• 8-12% CvR (content) or 1.5-4% (friction-prone offer)
Text Ads
• $3-5 CPC
• .025% CTR
• 4-6% CvR
Sponsored InMail
• $.45 Cost per Send
• 50% Open Rate
• 8% CTR

Gather $3-5k worth of data and you’ll likely have statistical significance
to the initial conversion rate
• Gather enough MQLs to predict MQL-SQL conversion rate
• Gather enough SQLs to predict SQL-Proposal conversion rate
• The further down the funnel, the more accurate your predictions

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I am a professional growth marketer and an absolute tech geek. I intend to deploy data-driven tools to drive revenue. Visit my site or connect with me on Linkedin