Your Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads

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LinkedIn has been around since 2003, even before Facebook and Twitter were launched, which makes it one of the oldest social networking platform that’s still around and used today. It has been successful in connecting more than 562 million professionals to make them more productive. The 15-year-old platform has always had the vision to create economic opportunities for every business professional of the global workforce. 94% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn as a content distribution channel. If you have exciting and trendy content to distribute (which you definitely should), LinkedIn should be your first stop!

Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads

Why You Should Choose LinkedIn Ads?

LinkedIn is a self-service advertising platform that allows you to design different types of advertisements, define bids for specific campaigns, and create logical groupings. You can measure the performance of your campaigns with metrics like impressions, clicks, and conversations. Marketers need to deliver measurable, substantial and constantly improving results in this fast-paced, competitive atmosphere.

LinkedIn Targets Specific Audience

You may think LinkedIn is focused on business connections and it’s more B2B centric, but there’s more than that to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a highly targeted communications channel that gives marketers great opportunities for advertising. Yes, it’s LinkedIn ads that will give more power to you than you might realize in networking with like-minded professionals. LinkedIn helps you achieve a precise audience reach. This is due to two factors:

  1. Availability of great targeting options where you can target the audience by job title, employer, role, skills, interest, qualifications.
  2. More detailed and updated professional information and description compared to what people list on their Facebook or Twitter profiles.

This means that marketers that purchase LinkedIn advertising solutions can access and target LinkedIn users’ highly descriptive profile data for accurate targeting. LinkedIn ad systems analyze the profile description and data entered by each LinkedIn profile user in their network. It recognizes if an user is a marketing director, an office manager, the head of sales, a content writer, or the CEO. The system knows if the user works for brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Intel, Microsoft, and so on. And what more? The system also knows the location of the user whether the person lives in Boston, London, Tokyo, etc. LinkedIn allows advertisers to choose which target audience and demographics can view their display advertisements. Optional targeting characteristics include:

Seniority

Company name

Industry

Gender/Age

Company size

Geography

LinkedIn Filters Leads Based on Skills and Qualifications

LinkedIn ads have been working exceptionally well due to the demographic targeting. As LinkedIn members update their ‘skills’ in their profiles, brands and companies can endorse or sponsor influencers and business professionals that might be a good fit for their products or services. For example, those members who have designing skills, software skills, understand design principles, have a graduate or postgraduate architecture degree, are an excellent fit to leading architecture designing and drafting firms. LinkedIn visitors are constantly searching or waiting for their next career advancements or work opportunities. Similar ideology can be applied to all industries wherein employers can run an advertising campaign to find prospective employees. Hence, an engaging advertisement for a new position in your firm is definitely going to catch their attention. LinkedIn offers similar advertising features for lead generation objectives, other than recruitment efforts. This can be achieved by targeting specific audience and using content marketing strategies.

When You Should Use Paid LinkedIn Ads?

Organic growth means to increase your number of page followers and generate leads without any payments to the social media platform. But, the drawback of organic growth is that it’s a long, slow process. The only way to grow your followers is to consistently post content on your LinkedIn page. The content you post reaches out to your followers, and only if they interact with the post in the comments or they share it with their digital circle, your LinkedIn page may receive organic growth. That’s how slow it works. If your objective is to have a brand presence online, then this kind of organic growth will suit your business. However, if you desire to utilize your LinkedIn account for lead generation and sales, then turn towards paid marketing.

What Types of LinkedIn Ads You Can Create?

Each LinkedIn advertising solution has an analytics dashboard to display the results of your campaign’s performance, which makes it easy for you to optimize your ads easy and improve your campaign over time. Here are some ad formats, how you can use them, and some inspiring stories of brands that have achieved remarkable success with each tool.

Text Ads

Text Ads

Texts Ads are display ads that appear on the right side of the screen or at the top of the LinkedIn page. They feature a short blurb box with text and a small image (optional). These ads are easy to create and launch, giving new marketers a good introductory option. It consists of a headline, a description, with an optional image. It also favours marketers to run multiple campaigns at once along with A/B split testing of the ads, thus having continued optimization. In general, marketers use Text Ads to generate leads and promote offers that are audience specific. The most effective Text Ads are the ones that have easy-to-express value propositions in a shorter and simpler format.

Success Story Example: Hubspot

HubSpot Case Study

According to LinkedIn’s case study on text ads’ success, Hubspot, which is a developer and inbound marketer of software products for sales, has been able to achieve click through rates that are 60% higher than the average rate across other social networks. According to Dan Slagen, the head of paid marketing, Hubspot, the quality of leads generated by LinkedIn text ads is greater than other social media platforms as LinkedIn has no clutter and the members are active to only do business.

Display Ads

Display Ads

Display Ads are typically visual banners that feature to the right side of your LinkedIn content feed page for desktop or laptop users. Display Ads are LinkedIn’s solution of programmatic advertising which is a wonderful opportunity to be featured to a highly-specified audience. These ads are great for using different media formats for ads that include video, audio, text, images, etc. With Display ads, you can strengthen your brand presence at a high scale and reach more professionals, influencers, and decision-makers. This brand presence through Display Ads also helps in generating new leads and sales. LinkedIn uses standard Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) formats for Display Ads, making it easy to adopt creative trends in advertising and marketing.

Success Story Example: MarketShare

MarketShare

According to LinkedIn’s case study on Display Ads, MarketShare, a marketing analytics technology company, launched a Display Ad campaign to drive awareness of the role of analytics in assessing marketing success. With Display Ads, MarketShare achieved high-quality leads that moved further down the sales funnel. MarketShare could even generate new leads in their new high-value verticals of financial services and retail. Andrew Hahn, senior manager of online marketing, MarketShare, says that LinkedIn’s ability to target the right audience for their campaign helped in receiving high-quality responses from professionals that were looking for marketing solutions. MarketShare could reach out to the right audience to help them in their online marketing challenges, which lead to increased conversion of the hot leads that they received from LinkedIn’s Display Ad campaigns.

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Ads by LinkedIn help in creating personalized ads that capture and engage the audience with a personalized experience. It features your LinkedIn profile data like photo, job title, company name, and much more. Similar to Display Ads, Dynamic Ads are also programmatic that use standard IAB formats, which makes it easy to purchase and program it in advance. These ads display to the right side of your LinkedIn feed just as the Display Ads. You can customize each ad campaign with different marketing objectives such as brand awareness, conversion of prospects, lead generation, etc.

Success Story Example: ESCP Europe

ESCP Europe

According to LinkedIn’s case study on Dynamic Ads, ESCP Europe, one of the world’s oldest business school, needed to attract high-valued candidates for the Masters Degree programmes that the business school offered. They used Dynamic Ads that featured member profile pictures of the campus students that engage prospective students to visualize themselves in receiving higher education achievements. The Dynamic Ad campaign surpassed ESCP Europe’s targets, achieving 116% of its lead generation goal with twice as targeted conversion rates.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content

LinkedIn has Sponsored Content that runs native ads in the LinkedIn feed across all digital devices. The Sponsored Content ads in the LinkedIn home feed reaches a larger professional audience which creates brand presence and awareness. With Sponsored Content, you can set objectives for your ad other than brand awareness like lead generation, nurturing business relationships with the leads at every stage of the sales funnel, etc. You could also use Direct Sponsored Content to promote and share your posts on the user’s LinkedIn Homepage news feed without publishing it on your company page first. Sponsored Content perform well in attracting followers to your LinkedIn page and building brand awareness. It can be used to build thought leadership and to start conversations with prospects, encouraging discussions and shares.

Success Story Example: HSBC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG86io60xLQ

LinkedIn’s Case Study on Sponsored Content

According to LinkedIn’s case study on Sponsored Content, HSBC, one of the world’s largest commercial banks, works with LinkedIn to engage key business audiences with expert Sponsored Content. Amanda Rendell, global head of marketing, commercial banking, global banking and markets, HSBC, says that the big win with LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content is being able to build global connections by posting global business of multiple countries. HSBC wanted to target the middle market business owners specifically, and LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content with audience targeting helped them in generating high-quality leads.

Sponsored InMail

Sponsored InMail

Sponsored InMail works with LinkedIn’s private messaging system to reach the targeted audience directly. These direct messages are only delivered to signed in and active users on LinkedIn, allowing 100% guaranteed deliverability. Marketers in the programme observe high open rates with personalized targeted InMail. Sponsored InMail can drive more leads, boost conversions, drive attendance to online and in-person events, and offer downloads of content like ebooks, infographics, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kkfqy8GiMGE

Success Story Example: Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz, the luxury automaker, ran an award-winning campaign titled, “Update your CV, Update on the Road.” They used LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail to achieve their key goal to connect their new auto model to potential auto buyers. The campaign was launched in four countries, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, and Portugal. With LinkedIn’s specific target audience capabilities, Mercedes Benz was able to approach business professionals with higher seniority that have just moved up on the career ladder. Mercedes Benz wanted to engage buyers personally for nurturing them towards conversions. The Sponsored InMail campaign by Mercedes Benz reached almost 200 million new buyers in the four countries that it was launched. The campaign was also awarded the ‘Best Digital Media Idea’.

You can measure and optimize the results of all the mentioned ad format types in the Campaign Manager.

What are the Features of LinkedIn Advertising?

LinkedIn advertising can help connect your clients with LinkedIn’s global network of business professionals and give your agency the tools to obtain excellent campaign results. These are some features of advertising that LinkedIn’s Advertising Starter Kit includes.

Conversion TrackingConversion Tracking

With the conversion tracking feature on LinkedIn, you can record website conversions that are tied to your LinkedIn Ad campaigns and track the results of how many members have converted after clicking on your ads. You could also understand your advertising ROI by measuring the true value of your ads, the return on ad expenditure, and cost per conversions, all by using the analytics provided by LinkedIn Campaign Manager.

Carousel Ads

You can tell your audience a complete brand story with the Carousel Ad feature. Carousel Ads are swipeable series of cards in a single ad campaign, showcasing multiple offerings, products, services, etc. of the brand. You could also provide insights into the minds of the target audience about your brand using the Carousel Ad feature. With eye-catching visuals in a Carousel Ad, the interactions with the audience on the desktop and mobile devices are enhanced. This increases brand awareness and sends traffic to the brand’s landing page.

There are many other features that the LinkedIn Advertising Solution Kit offers like Contact Targeting, Lead Generation, Website Demographics, Account Based Marketing, and many more.

How to Run LinkedIn Ad Campaigns?

Now that you know all about LinkedIn Ads, it’s time to create and run an ad campaign for your brand too. To run LinkedIn ad campaigns, you must need a LinkedIn account, a company page, basic understanding of your audience, images or videos (optional). On LinkedIn, you can either create self-service ads or managed campaigns.

LinkedIn Ad Campaigns

Self-Service Ads

Using LinkedIn’s self-service solution, you can now launch a targeted advertising campaign in a short period of time. The self-service solutions let you:

Set your own budget for the ad.

Choose clicks or impressions.

Stop your ads at any time.

Choose the type of ads from Sponsored InMail, Sponsored Content, and Text Ads that are supported in Campaign Manager.

Managed Campaigns

With LinkedIn’s Managed Campaigns, you can partner with a dedicated LinkedIn team and create highly visible and exclusively placed ads for premium audiences that you will be targeting for your ad campaign. The LinkedIn team will filter your targeting audience to be more specific and create personalized content for lead generation. The ad formats that the Managed Campaigns include are Display Ads, Dynamic Ads, Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, and Account-Based Marketing.

Step 1: Set Your Basic Parameters

Once you have made a decision of which type of campaign you are considering for your brand, you’ll have to fill in some basic parameters for the advertisement. You will have to choose the language of the advertisement, choose a name for your campaign, the target audience demographics that you wish your advertisement to be viewed by, and many more. By selecting a language, make a note that LinkedIn won’t translate your ad into other languages. However, you can create ads in languages that LinkedIn supports: Spanish, French, and German.

Step 2: Choose Your Ad’s Format

Once the basic parameters are set for your LinkedIn ad, you need to choose which kind of advertising feature would you want to use for your advertising campaign. You get to decide where you want your visitors to be directed as they click on your LinkedIn ad. You could link a landing page to the ad or your website contact page. Once you choose the format, you would need to create a copy of your ad where you can preview different layout options and pair it with images. You need to include the following while creating an ad copy:

Ad Headline: The headline of your LinkedIn ad cannot be more than 25 characters.

Ad Body: The ad’s body can be around 75 characters long. The ad copy that you create must be relevant to both, the person viewing your ad and the page to which your ad is sending them.

Call-to-Action: Having a CTA button or link within your ad copy improves your LinkedIn ad’s click through rate.

Value: Include your value proposition in your ad copy. Something like “20% off on your first purchase”, this could make people more likely to click on your ad.

Testing: Test your ad copy before you launch your ad. You can create multiple variations of your ad in each campaign, allowing you to test different images within the ads.

Step 3: Target Your Audience

Setting a target audience for your ads gives you the power to filter the viewers of your advertisement. In this way, you can achieve more specific audiences that will relate to your ad post much more than a cluttered audience. With a more specific audience, your ad will generate high-quality leads and more click through rates.

Step 4: Choose Your Bidding Options

After selecting your targeting options, you can set up the bidding options that best suit your brand or business requirements. The two options you have for any pay-per-click advertising are:

Cost-Per-Click: You will be charged each time someone clicks on your LinkedIn Ad. LinkedIn has the feature that suggests a bid range depending on your budget and the level of competition that your campaign will receive. Globally, if a campaign has received bids from a lot of marketers, the bid rate increases accordingly for that particular kind of campaign. Therefore, a higher bid will be needed from you if you wish to publish the same kind of campaign that will compete with other marketers. This is the maximum of the bid that will be charged to you. If the current bidding rate is lower than your maximum bid amount, then you will only be charged the current bidding rate.

Pay Per 1000 Impressions: You will be charged a certain amount each time your ad is viewed by 1,000 members on LinkedIn.

Congratulations! By following the steps of LinkedIn Ad Campaign creation, you will officially launch your LinkedIn ad to the viewers on the professional networking platform. With LinkedIn Ad Tracking system, you can track your LinkedIn Ad’s progress and performance in the Campaign Manager dashboard. This is where you will be able to see various charts and graphs that measure your ad’s clicks, expenditures, CTR, etc. over a certain period of time.

When it comes to spending your dollars for digital marketing, there are many other strategies that are accounted for. For all your advertising and brand marketing services, you can always approach digital marketing agencies that help you create high-quality, lead-generating ad campaigns. They can also guide you through some top marketing automation tools that help you manage your marketing and advertising better!

Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches. Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.

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