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Case Study





LinkedIn Ads for SaaS: How Targeting Decision Makers Generated $150k on $48k Ad Spend


monthly ad spend


ad spend ROI



Case Study Summary

The Challenge

The Solution

The Results

The Challenge

Our client, a niche environmental health and safety SaaS provider, was looking to start their first venture into B2B advertising to reach and engage decision-makers on their software suite to help grow their portfolio of clients.

The challenges with starting B2B advertising for the first time were three fold:

Identifying the Right Advertising Channel

This first challenge came in pinpointing the most effective channel to reach the client’s diverse and specialized target audience. With a clientele that spanned across Fortune 500 companies, universities, government agencies, and pharmaceutical groups, the task at hand was not just about finding a platform with a broad reach, but one that offered precision targeting to engage key decision-makers in these varied sectors.

Hint: the channel we chose was LinkedIn. LinkedIn Ads for SaaS offer the best targeting of decision makers (as we’ll outline in our solution below).

Identifying the Right Decision-Makers

Identifying the right people with purchasing power and influence between both large and small organizations as well as across differing industries can be challenging.

The breadth of industries served meant that a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing would not be effective. Each industry required a tailored approach, taking into consideration its specific language, pain points, and decision-making hierarchies.

Furthermore, within those industries, the key decision-makers in smaller companies can be vastly different from those in larger organizations. This shift required a nuanced understanding of each company size segment as well.

Setting Expectations

As our client was embarking on their first venture into paid advertising (as many of you may be), it was essential to establish realistic expectations with them regarding the inherent uncertainties of paid advertising and the need to build data in order to optimize.

While we, as advertising experts, are committed to laying the groundwork for our clients' success, it's crucial to recognize that the realm of advertising is intrinsically tied to a process of trial, error, and continuous adaptation as you build data in your campaigns over time.

As a general rule of thumb for B2B SaaS, you typically need 90 days with at least 15 to 30 qualified leads per month in order to start truly optimizing your campaigns.


The Solution

Analyzing Client Audience Personas

Given that our client did not have any historical data on paid advertising channels, we built the foundation of our strategy with a thorough analysis of their existing client portfolio, encompassing over 1,000 clients.

This deep dive was crucial for understanding the diversity of industries they served and the range of company sizes of their clients. Most importantly, it shed light on the profiles of the main decision-makers within these companies, a key factor in tailoring our marketing approach.

Strategic Selection of LinkedIn Ads for SaaS

After evaluating various paid advertising channels, including search engines and social media platforms, LinkedIn emerged as the standout choice.

Its unique capabilities for targeting specific job titles and industries, along with the ability to filter by company size, made it an ideal platform for reaching the desired decision-makers. This choice was critical in ensuring the ad spend was focused and effective, maximizing the impact on the right audience.

While we did try several search marketing strategies, ultimately, LinkedIn proved to be the best channel for qualified SaaS leads.

Building Out LinkedIn Target Settings

Collaborating closely with the client, we developed a comprehensive list of 76 unique job titles that correlated with key decision makers.

This list was segmented into adgroups across 26 industries and relevant company sizes layered with key decision-maker job titles. This granular approach was pivotal in crafting campaigns that could precisely target the right individuals in each sector.

Tailoring Ads for Each Segment

For each industry and company size, unique ads were created.

This bespoke approach ensured that the messaging and visuals were highly relevant and resonant for each target group. The team took care to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, understanding that decision-makers in different industries and at different company levels have varied priorities and pain points.

Dynamic Landing Pages and Lead Forms

Complementing the tailored ads, dynamic landing pages were created for each industry and company size.

These landing pages were designed to seamlessly continue the narrative and value proposition introduced in the ads, providing a cohesive and engaging user experience from the first click.

We also leveraged LinkedIn's in app lead forms. While LeadForms helped boost the volume of leads given they keep users within the LinkedIn ecosystem, we found that leads converting on landing pages we’re more invested in finding a service provider and proved to be higher-quality leads.

A/B Testing for Data-Driven Optimization

A/B testing played a significant role in gathering data to refine our campaigns.

Various elements of the ads, including imagery and call-to-actions (CTAs), were tested to identify combinations that yielded the highest conversion rates. This continuous optimization process was vital in enhancing the effectiveness of the ads over time.

Staged Offline Conversion Tracking

To accurately measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, offline conversion tracking was integrated. This system allowed for the importing of revenue values from leads back into LinkedIn from the client's CRM.

Given the 2 to 6 month average sales cycle, we needed a method to quickly inform LinkedIn of the lead quality before the final sale.

We did this by assigning partial revenue values to leads by taking a percentage of the potential revenue value and increasing it as leads progressed towards closing through qualified lead stages:

Qualified lead form submission (based on form fields): standard qualified lead value of $100 Qualified initial call (completed): 10% of potential revenue value minus $100

Verbal or written confirmation (to pay for a SaaS plan): 30% of potential revenue value minus $100 Paid conversion (SaaS subscription active): 60% of potential revenue value minus $100

This tiered approach to both online and offline conversion tracking for LinkedIn, allowed the campaigns to quickly optimize for leads that progressed through qualified lead stages.

At the same time, this approach allowed us to put no emphasis on leads that were unqualified through their initial form submissions (based on form fields) and only partial emphasis on leads that never progressed beyond a qualified lead form submission.

LinkedIn Campaign Optimization

We treated the first 2 months of advertising as the opportunity to collect data on which pieces of our LinkedIn campaigns delivered the best results in terms of qualified leads.

We did this by segmenting and A/B testing our ads across different industries, job titles, company sizes, ad creative, ad copy, calls-to-action, and conversion methods — landing pages versus leads forms.

By looking at click-through-rates, qualified lead rates, and qualified lead CPAs, we were able to first identify the highest performing ad creative and copy by job title and industry — thus turning off low performing ads by month 3.

We then found that 16 job titles within 4 industries accounted for 80% of the qualified leads we got in the first 3 months. We also found that the majority of these leads came from companies that had between 51 to 1,000 employees.

Given our campaigns were massively limited by budget, we took those insights to then refine our campaigns to only focus on those segments. This meant that we could allocate our budget to where it was best utilized while allowing us to explore the other segments once the client was ready to increase budget.

It was all about running the campaigns in a segmented fashion to identify which pieces work and which don’t, so we could refining the campaigns to only focus on the highest performing segments.


The Results

4.6x Increase in Qualified Leads

The LinkedIn campaigns quickly positioned themselves as a primary source of new leads. This was a significant achievement, considering the campaigns were initiated from scratch with the client never having run paid B2B advertising.

The specificity of targeting decision-makers meant that the leads generated were not just numerous but also of high quality.

From organic channels, the client was used to getting ~30 leads per month, of which roughly 25% were qualified (~8 qualified leads per month).

As expected, our first month running LinkedIn campaigns generated a modest result of 20 new leads coming in at a qualified rate of 50%. While this was nowhere near our target, it still represented a 2x increase in volume of qualified leads (10 additional qualified leads).

By month 5, we managed to optimize and fine-tune the LinkedIn campaigns to more than 4x the number of qualified leads using the same budget — sourcing ~60 new leads per month at a qualified rate of 70% (~42 qualified leads per month).

76% Reduction in Cost Per Qualified Lead (CPQL)

Over 5 months of campaign optimization, we managed to continually reduce our cost per qualified lead (CPQL) — reducing the CPQL by 83.5% from month 1 ($960 CPQL) to month 5 ($228 CPQL).

These improvements allowed us to make the most of the client’s ~$9,600 monthly ad budget in sustainably sourcing qualified leads at around an$165 cost per qualified lead by month 5.

313% ROAS in the First 5 Months

On just $48,000 in ad spend over the first 5 months, we achieved an outstanding 313% Return-On-Ad-Spend (ROAS) with 32 customers closed for over $150,000 in new SaaS subscription revenue — with over $320,000 in opportunities.

At an average closed annual subscription LTV of $4,800, these metrics dramatically exceeded our expectations given the 2 to 6 month sales cycle for closing qualified leads.

This quick establishment of strong ROAS indicated not only the effectiveness of the ad content and targeting strategy but also the efficient use of budget in maximizing the impact of every dollar spent.

A Foundation for Long-Term Success

The success of our initial campaigns set a strong foundation for our client’s future marketing endeavors — laying the groundwork for increasing their investment in advertising with new campaigns.

The strategies and tactics employed can be scaled within the existing campaigns in addition to being replicated across new industries, job titles, company sizes, regions, interest groups, and channels.

Furthermore, the insights gained about their audience and what resonates with them are invaluable for shaping future strategies both within LinkedIn and across other verticals.



SaaS ad revenue


qualified leads


cost per qualified lead

About the Author

rob castellanos founding partner headshot

Rob Castellanos

Founding Partner and President

@Mookie Digital

Rob founded Mookie Digital after managing a $90M+ book-of-business while employed at Google.

He leads advertising strategy and operations at Mookie Digital and is an expert in omni-channel account management across search, social, e-commerce, and video/display channels.

Date Published: 02.02.2024

Date Modified: 02.02.2024

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