As you may have heard, LinkedIn has updated its previously anemic DIY advertising platform to include targeting specific job titles and companies. LinkedIn PPC is now useful for a range of paid b2b direct-response and branding tactics. We’ve been getting our hands dirty to gratifying success.

Even aside from the flaky UI that (poof) vaporizes half-hours of work from time to time and high CPCs, I just have to say, “Here we go again…” Back in the day it was Overture PPC’s inconsistent editorial process that stunk up the room, making search marketers’ lives miserable.  Then the Paid Stumble(Upon) social media advertising fire drill confused many of us with editorial decisions that stupefied. Facebook’s ad screening process is a bit convoluted, if not outright queer and only predictable in  its unpredictability.  Now we’re finding that LinkedIn Ads PPC ads editorial process is hardly ready for prime time. This is a story of ads approved, run, rejected, and then approved unchanged again.

First, don’t depend on getting ads approved at night.  It’s not uncommon to wait until the sun rises in Mountainview for an editorial decision to be rendered. The solution for that is easy. Don’t leave any mission critical deployment for the last minute.

Human After All
If you work for LinkedIn and happen to be reading this, I’m here to tell you that inconsistency in your teams interpretation of  LinkedIn Ads Guidelines is what will drive PPC practitioners nuts.  Please train the editors better or fix the algorithm.

Last week we successfully ran a small campaign which served up 261,149 impressions, targeted Minnesota-wide, featuring quirky branding ads.  There was no call-to-action by design because we wanted to serve impressions without paying for many clicks.  This is a classic contextual PPC branding tactic. The ads were approved and ran over the course of about 10 days and, we assume, LinkedIn enjoyed the $223.63 paid. Then we paused the ads.

Last night I wanted to target the same ads to a single company.  We duplicated the campaign, targeted and submitted the new campaign which subjected the ads to another round of approval. Sure the copy was off the beaten path but these ads had already run for days in another campaign, to the expected level of success.

Imagine our surprise when, about 12 hours later, all four new versions of the old ads were rejected.  As an aside, you will note in the rejection email that “You can submit your advertisement for re-review by: umm, hmmm, I wonder what is supposed to go where the blank space is?

Look, maybe the copy should have been rejected the first time around. Whatever…that’s fine.  All we ask for is consistency in the review process.  BTW, it was no problem to re-target the ads. We went back to the original campaign’s approved versions of the ads and changed the targeting. They ran all day today with no trouble at about the same CTR.

Think I’m just picking nits? While writing this post, I resubmitted the rejected ads in the new campaign, without changing any of them. The ads below and at the top of this post were accepted within seconds. Go figure. The others are still under review. I probably won’t know the status of those  until the sun rises over Silicon Valley.

Sadly, we suppose the takeaway is that, if you have an ad rejected, submit it over and over until the ad is accepted.

  • Jacq

    It is very possible that there different people running this “ad review” department of LinkedIn. Their guidelines might also somehow falling for subjectivity. I cracked on the last part of your post. “The takeaway is that, if you have an ad rejected, submit it over and over until the ad is accepted.” Often times works

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Jacq: That is most certainly true, along with an automated system that needs a few tweaks. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Merry

    Story of my life with Facebook ad approval process… :\ I feel your pain, Marty 🙂 At least you can re-submit ads for approval in LinkedIn, Facebook wont even let you edit disapproved ads so they comply with their guidelines. Horse Pucky!

  • Jacq

    @Merry: At least you know that someone’s really looking at it. Bad part, it won’t get approved because they follow guidelines faithfully.

  • Tihomir Petrov

    Human after all. The most important statement we always forget

  • David

    As they just rolled out this feature, hopefully it will get a little better. Have you done any testing on conversion rates vs. facebook ads or something similar?

    • Marty Weintraub

      @David: Yes, we’ve been testing and will share the data in an upcoming blog post. Generally the results are good but, as with all paid platforms, the conversion is dependent on the reality of the KPI.

  • Tim

    I am no fan of LinkedIn ads, but come on – the “by:” clearly isn’t a mistake. The colon indicates the beginning of a list which then follows. It details the steps you can take. It is correct grammar and perfectly clear, so you may want to edit that.

  • Joris

    Just tried to launch my first LinkedIn campaign, targetting Dutch people in The Netherlands, and the ads were not approved because English is the only supported language for LinkedIn ads… After all those years English is the only supported language?? Now that’s what I call bullsh*t!

    After all those years of LinkedIn, don’t they get it ??? Campaigns will have a higher ROI, so advertisers are happier, advertisers spend more money on LinkedIn ads, so LinkedIn also happy…