Growing Your B2B SaaS with Demand-Gen Ads on LinkedIn

LinkedIn advertising presents a major opportunity for B2B SaaS companies looking to generate quality leads and accelerate growth. With over 930 million members, LinkedIn provides access to a massive professional audience. However, simply creating a few basic Sponsored Content ads is not enough to cut through the noise on this crowded platform. 

To fully capitalize on LinkedIn’s demand generation potential, experienced B2B marketers need advanced tactics optimized specifically for promoting SaaS offerings to targeted business decision-makers. This includes sophisticated audience targeting, multi-touch attribution modeling, and integrating ads with your full marketing funnel. 

This guide pulls back the curtain on proven LinkedIn advertising best practices for SaaS lead gen at an expert level. Let’s dig into the tactics and data-driven approaches that are working right now to drive real ROI from your B2B ads.

Fine Tune Your Audience Targeting

With a platform as large as LinkedIn, merely selecting “Information Technology” as a broad targeting category will not get your ads in front of qualified accounts. You need to leverage LinkedIn’s extensive demographic, firmographic, and interest targeting options to laser focus your ads on your best-fit audience.

A few advanced audience targeting approaches to consider for your SaaS ads include:

Title Targeting: Identify key titles like CTO, CIO, Chief Digital Officer, Head of Engineering, etc. Use boolean to target multiple titles simultaneously.

Company Targeting: Build lead lists and target accounts you’re already engaging with or want to land as customers. This is crucial for targeting enterprise sales.

Group Targeting: Join relevant LinkedIn groups where your audience is actively participating in discussions. Sponsor those groups or target members.

Interest Targeting: Layer on interest categories like “Software Decision Makers” and technologies your solution utilizes to find more qualified prospects.

The goal is to identify the segment of the LinkedIn audience that aligns best with your ideal customer profile. Invest time upfront in audience research and testing to determine the targeting that drives the highest conversion rates from your ads.

Implement Multi-Touch Attribution 

The biggest mistake you can make with LinkedIn ads is evaluating their success or failure on last-click conversions alone. The reality is most B2B buyers need to see your brand and offerings multiple times before converting. 

Make sure you have multi-touch attribution set up in your LinkedIn Campaign Manager account and integrations. This allows you to properly credit ads for influencing conversions even if they don’t drive the final click.

With multi-touch attribution, you’ll likely see much higher conversion rates and ROI from ads that serve to warm up your audience early in the buyer’s journey. Common early funnel ad objectives like reach and traffic driving should not be judged on last-click conversions.

You can even build customized attribution models within Campaign Manager to reflect the typical sales cycles and touch requirements in your industry. This ensures you optimize the number of ad exposures that actually influence conversions for your business.

Sequence Ads Across Buyer Journey Stages  

The most advanced LinkedIn advertisers think beyond driving conversions from a single ad. To maximize performance, you need to map different ad variants and objectives to each stage of your ideal buyer’s journey. 

Here’s an example multi-stage demand gen approach for SaaS:

Awareness Stage: Run LinkedIn Sponsored Content for reach and traffic objectives to attract net new audiences and increase brand awareness. 

Interest Stage: Create LinkedIn Message Ads focused on lead magnet gated offers to capture contacts from accounts engaging with your brand.

Evaluation Stage: Target key decision makers with LinkedIn Conversation Ads focused on a free trial or demo of your software.

Each stage focuses on moving target prospects closer to a conversion, with conversion tracking enabled at the final demo sign-up phase. This full funnel methodology relies on multi-touch attribution to credit the influence each stage has on driving conversions.

The key is engineering your LinkedIn campaigns to nurture prospects over time. This establishes your brand, generates inbound interest, and closes with a conversion-focused call-to-action when prospects are sales-qualified.

Integrate Retargeting Pixels for Additional Touchpoints

Don’t let prospects slip away after they leave LinkedIn. Implementing tracking pixels from LinkedIn Campaign Manager allows you to create customized audiences for retargeting across channels. 

For example, you can:

  • Retarget website visitors across display and social networks through integrations with demand-side platforms and custom audiences.
  • Upload lead lists to create lookalike audiences that mirror your best contacts for expansion.
  • Integrate offline conversion data like demo sign-ups to identify additional contacts to target from those accounts.  

The ability to track prospect behavior and re-engage them with relevant messaging after leaving LinkedIn is invaluable. This gives you more touchpoints throughout their buyer’s journey to influence decisions.

With multi-touch attribution, you can optimize retargeting campaigns specifically to assist conversions driven by your LinkedIn ads. Make sure to build out cross-channel interaction tracking for each prospect touching your brand.

Test Conversion Rate Optimization Approaches  

Even the most seasoned B2B marketers make optimization mistakes that hinder SaaS conversion rates. This includes failing to test alternative messaging, offers, creative, and even completely new audience segments.

To continually improve performance, you need to avoid fixation bias by testing new variables instead of just scaling what seems to be working.

Some advanced testing concepts to incorporate for your LinkedIn efforts include: 

A/B Message Testing: Craft multiple summaries and ad variations to determine what resonates best with each target audience.

Dynamic Ad Copy: Personalize your ads with custom names, companies, and other details for more relevant messaging. 

Lead Magnet Testing: Evaluate different gated offer types and pieces of collateral to improve lead quality.

Negative Keyword Testing: Add negative keywords where your ads show poorly to steer the budget to better-performing targeting.

The key is picking one core element at a time and creating a testing roadmap to run regular experiments. Over time, you’ll hone in on what truly works to capture attention and drive conversions with each audience.

Analyze First-Party Data for Insights 

Sophisticated SaaS advertisers integrate their LinkedIn efforts with marketing automation platforms, CRMs, and analytics for a comprehensive view of prospect interactions. With so much first-party data at your disposal, it’s imperative you dig into the numbers for optimization ideas.

Here are some examples of valuable multi-channel insights for improving your LinkedIn ads:

Lead Stage Analysis: Evaluate conversion rates by lead source and stage to identify bottlenecks in your funnel.

Win/Loss Evaluation: Profile the accounts engaging with your ads that close vs. those going cold to identify gaps.  

Ideal Customer Benchmarking: Combine firmographics from your best customers to fuel lookalike targeting and audience expansion.

Campaign Progression Monitoring: Assess multi-touch performance for each campaign to the right size budgets and reallocate to better performers.  

Don’t just rely on the limited conversion and attribution reporting native to LinkedIn Campaign Manager. Connect all the data sources together to uncover why certain messaging, offers, and audiences hit the mark or miss the mark with prospects.

Consider LinkedIn Partners for Management

While master B2B marketers can achieve stellar results managing LinkedIn ads in-house, the platform also lends itself well to outsourcing to specialist partners. The combination of LinkedIn’s robust targeting capabilities and hands-on optimization from an agency well-versed in SaaS promotion can drive superior performance.

Reasons you may want to consider a LinkedIn marketing partner include:

Time Savings: Agencies handle the heavy lifting of strategy, creative, and day-to-day campaign management duties so you can focus on big-picture priorities. 

Expert Strategists: Partners intensely focused on LinkedIn ads live and breathe audience data insights you may lack visibility into.

Expanded Capabilities: Agencies have more experience orchestrating advanced tactics like lookalikes, retargeting pixels, and custom attribution.

Ongoing Optimization: On-demand expertise to fine-tune messaging, offers, creative, and audiences to continually lift results.

Before deciding on the right strategist, vet partners thoroughly based on their proven SaaS lead gen results and account management approach. Together with the perfect agency fit, your LinkedIn advertising can accelerate to new heights.

In a Nutshell

Mastering advanced demand generation advertising techniques opens up LinkedIn’s full potential for attracting and converting buyers ripe for your SaaS solution. By zeroing in on your total addressable market with precise targeting options, engineering a sophisticated multi-touch approach across the funnel, relentlessly testing optimizations, analyzing first-party data, and potentially engaging specialist partners, your campaigns will unlock greater B2B sales velocity and pipeline value.

The tactics covered in this guide are proven to push LinkedIn advertising ROI to the next level, separating your program well beyond the novice phase. Now dive even deeper into the data-driven methods that move the needle today for experienced SaaS marketers committed to maximizing every facet of their LinkedIn investment.

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