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Why we hate sponsored impressions

I’m sure there’s a rule against writing LinkedIn articles in anger.

This article doesn’t follow that rule.

If members of your team, or your marketing partner are paying for sponsored LinkedIn posts, please ask them the following. Why are they sponsoring those posts specifically? And on what organic metrics are they basing their decisions?

Why?

When we start marketing engagements with clients, one of the very first things we do is examine what LinkedIn posts have garnered the most impressions, and the general trendline on impressions (are they going up, down, or around).

If clients have engaged in sponsored posts in the past, that clouds what we can see in terms of how their network is responding to what they’re sharing. We’re not against paid promotion of content or social media. But we like to know what we’re putting dollars behind before amplifying it.

Organic impressions, what folks saw and engaged with, because friends and colleagues reacted and shared gives us a clearer picture of what an audience is interested in from our client, why they like it, and from whom they like to get it.

Too often we’ll look back into a client’s LinkedIn history and see posts that seem to have done remarkably well and are exemplars of good content, only to see that we’re looking at sponsored impressions, and the organic impressions tell a different story.

If anything, this post is directed to the super smart folks at LinkedIn who have on one one hand, made it a lot more challenging for marketers to work on LinkedIn than other social platforms. But on the other, that has meant that people from our tribe have not watered down the content that’s shared by our manipulations. LinkedIn interactions are more authentic, which is excellent.

However, in part to allow for that authenticity perhaps, LinkedIn makes it difficult to more easily see how posts perform organically, you have to do extra work to see it. The least amount of clicking, checking and work only shows you that if you spend more money, you reach more people… but to what end?

That’s why we often ask our clients to stop sponsoring posts after we engage with them, so we can get a cleaner picture of what’s going on. And because we can’t endorse where the money should be spent until we get a validated signal of what the money should be spent on.