Ultimate Guide to Paid Advertising on LinkedIn

Want to run paid ads on LinkedIn? This guide will show you how to create profitable campaigns from scratch.

Cleverly Team
Aug 3, 2021
15 min read

LinkedIn is a valuable social media platform to connect with other professionals, share ideas with them, stay updated about your industry, and build a strong network. Through LinkedIn, you can connect with your peers and share content about your offerings with potential partners. More importantly, LinkedIn offers tools for B2B marketing, generating leads, increasing sales, and hiring experienced industry professionals.

But before you leverage this tool to run your ad campaigns, it’s crucial to understand how LinkedIn helps you create these ads and tap into audiences to meet your business objectives.

Why Advertise on LinkedIn

‌With an ever-increasing user base of over 750 million professionals across 200 countries, LinkedIn is the largest social network of businesses and professionals. No wonder it’s a great platform to recruit talented people, share content and news with your fellow employees, make new connections, and learn more about your industry.

For B2B companies, LinkedIn Ads present the opportunity to achieve specific business goals through customized ad campaigns and online marketing. It also helps provide solutions to businesses seeking assistance and allows you to build long-term partnerships.

Benefits of LinkedIn Ads

‌LinkedIn Ads allow you to:

  • Connect with industry leaders and professionals in your niche
  • Improve lead generation and achieve higher lead to conversion rates
  • Identify your target demographic, promote your business through goal-oriented campaigns, and spread awareness about your products and services
  • Network with your connections by sharing quality content
  • Direct traffic to your company website or blog and promote your brand
  • Share your content on other social media accounts
  • Promote your company’s training workshops, webinars, or conferences
  • Increase your brand visibility and build your brand image
  • Generate profits through increased sales

How to Advertise on LinkedIn

Here are seven simple steps to advertise on LinkedIn.

1. Sign in to Campaign Manager

LinkedIn’s all-in-one Campaign Manager advertising platform is an effective marketing tool for users to create campaigns and target specific audiences.

Start by signing in to Campaign Manager. Through Campaign Manager, create an ad account to build ads, launch campaigns, track conversions, and manage target audiences. The platform also gives you a detailed account of your ads to monitor their progress. The amount of views along with the demographics of those who clicked your ads helps you track your ad’s reach, engagement, and performance.

2. Choose a campaign objective

‌Before you run a campaign, you need to establish its objective, in line with your business goals, so that you can achieve tangible results. It can be as simple as promoting your product or gathering audiences for a workshop.

To make things easier, LinkedIn allows you to choose from a set of objectives or possible marketing goals for your campaign. These are called LinkedIn Objectives.

Based on the objective you select, the platform’s algorithms will target and show your ad to relevant people on LinkedIn. Selecting a particular campaign objective unlocks specific LinkedIn ad formats and related bidding strategies that you can use to run the campaign.

Campaign Manager allows you to choose one objective out of three main categories that best fits your marketing goals.

Awareness

Brand awareness: This is appropriate for increasing your ad’s reach and enhancing your company’s visibility on LinkedIn. Through this, LinkedIn’s algorithms will target your ads only to those who are most likely to view them.

Consideration

Website visits: Instead of just increasing impressions, this objective ensures that the LinkedIn algorithm optimizes your ad for viewers who are most likely to click on it. With this, it aims to send traffic to your website or landing page.

Engagement: If you select this objective, the algorithm shows your ad to viewers who are most likely to interact or engage with it by liking, reacting, following, commenting, or sharing.

Video views: With this objective, you can target viewers who are most likely to click and watch your video.

Conversions

Lead Generation: Under this objective, you can create ads to generate new leads. Anyone who clicks on such an ad is directed to a lead generation form page so that you can obtain the contact details and email addresses of potential customers. It can be a contact form, registration form, or a newsletter sign-up page.

Website conversions: This objective also aims to generate leads. Ads created under this objective directly take users to the company website instead of a form to drive conversions.

Job applicants: You can promote job offers available at your company through the Jobs, Spotlight, and Single Sponsored Content ad formats.

3. Build the target audience

‌LinkedIn Ads is an ideal platform to identify and build quality target audiences. Based on your objectives and criteria, Campaign Manager will display an expected target audience size on the right.

LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences feature offers targeting options that merge your business’s customer database with your professional network on LinkedIn. This feature allows you to discover audiences by running company-specific marketing campaigns to target key decision-makers and other professionals. You can also directly upload your existing contacts or connect to your contact or customer relationship management platform.

To enhance your campaign’s reach, LinkedIn offers an option for Audience Expansion. If you choose it, LinkedIn will show your ads to audiences that are similar to previously specified target audiences. With this feature, you can connect with potential LinkedIn members that you may have missed.

Apart from this, you can segment your audiences and target ads based on how they engage with your brand. This promotes precise and customized targeting to capture the right audiences.

4. Choose the ad format

‌Depending on the criteria and objective, LinkedIn offers the following types of ad formats to choose from.

Single image ad or sponsored content

‌The single image ad or sponsored content ad format is ideal for lead generation. You can use sponsored content ads to direct users to a landing page or an auto-filled form, which collects user data from their LinkedIn profile. You can use this to promote everything from an upcoming event or a webinar for your products or services.

Sponsored content ads are the most popular, versatile, and effective LinkedIn ad format, making its suggested ad bid one of the highest among other ad formats.

Carousel image ad

A carousel image ad is an ideal way to showcase your product portfolios, collections, or ebook pages. This ad format features multiple, swipeable images or cards, which can direct your viewers to a landing page or website when clicked.

With a carousel image ad, you can tell your audience a story through images and provide them with more insights about your products/services. This can help gain brand recognition and improve audience engagement and clickthrough rates.

The suggested bid for a carousel ad is the same as that for sponsored content.

Video ad

‌Video ads can be a great way to attract audiences and improve engagement. Although this ad format can be used for lead generation and driving traffic to your website, it is more often used for increasing brand awareness.

Apart from adhering to LinkedIn’s video ad specifications, the following parameters can help you create a high-quality video ad:  

  • Clear branding
  • Attractive, high-quality visuals
  • A call-to-action message
  • Short duration
  • Good quality audio

A video ad’s suggested bid is the same as that for carousel and single image ads.

Text ad

‌A text ad can be used to increase your brand awareness. It’s more cost-effective than the other ad formats, as they’re simple and have few or no visuals. However, a text ad may not grab a user’s attention‌, so be strategic.

Spotlight ad

‌This ad format is used to announce job positions, increase LinkedIn followers, and generate leads. These dynamic ads usually appear on the right side of your feed and are designed to instantly attract a user. The LinkedIn algorithm automatically extracts the user’s profile image and places it in the ad. Seeing their own photo in an ad instantly grabs their attention. Such ads are cost-effective and perform well as they appear personalized.

‌ If you select the objective Job Applicants, LinkedIn offers a type of spotlight ad and a single job ad to promote job positions.

Message ad

‌Message ads or Sponsored InMails are recommended for lead generation and capturing highly targeted, niche audiences. These ads are more cost-effective than the other ad formats. They are directly delivered to your target audience’s message inbox. They include the core text message and a call-to-action at the beginning, upper-left corner, and bottom of the InMail.

Advertising in  LinkedIn's InMail gives you the option to add a visual element as well. These can be used for other purposes, like connecting with industry experts and key decision-makers.

Conversation ad

‌This ad format is a newly introduced, cost-effective ad format that can be used to personalize offers for specific users. It appears in the target user’s message inbox. Conversation ads enable lead generation through automated conversations with the users in chatbot-style boxes.

LinkedIn gives you an option to create a conversation from scratch or use provided templates. It also provides a detailed report on the number of users who clicked on the ad and their level of engagement during a conversation. These ads generate fewer, but higher-quality, leads.

Event ad

‌This unique and new ad format is specifically designed for promoting LinkedIn live events. LinkedIn allows you to create live events from your page and screen them on your users’ feeds without directing them to a website.

Experimenting with different ad formats based on the campaign goals can help you identify the ads that work best for us.

5. Set the bid and budget

‌The next step involves setting the budget and choosing your bid while keeping your campaign goals at the forefront.

Campaign Manager allows you to set a daily budget for ongoing campaigns and use the amount each day to promote your ads. It also has an option to set a total budget, which is perfect for targeted campaigns.

Next, you can set bids for actions like clicks and impressions based on the chosen ad format. Cost-per-click bids are used for conversions or lead generation, and cost-per-impression bids are for building brand awareness.

Campaign Manager displays the suggested bid ranges for an ad. Staying on the upper end of the suggested range is recommended to increase your chances of beating the second-highest bidder. A low bid can affect the results of your ad campaign.

6. Create the ad creative

‌Finally, it’s time to create the content for the ad. Here are some of the best practices to follow when making an ad creative:‌

  • Your ad creative must feature a straightforward but catchy headline, a description with superior content, and attractive visual elements to hold the attention of the target audience.
  • The ad content must be informative, provide valuable insight into products or services, and offer solutions to users’ problems.
  • Highlight demos, free trials, tutorials, webinars, whitepapers, and other benefits that can get audiences to notice the ad.
  • Use assertive call-to-action messages like Download, Subscribe, Request a quote, or Sign up.
  • Review what qualifies as appropriate ad content in the LinkedIn Ads Policies.
  • Experiment with different ad variations and A/B test to identify creatives that perform best.
  • Enable ad rotation while creating or editing a campaign. LinkedIn allows you to rotate ads evenly or optimize for performance.

7. Measure and optimize

You must regularly review the performance of your ads and experiment with new variations of ads. It’s important to discontinue low-performing ads and scale, promote, and reproduce the high-performing ones.

Key metrics to optimize campaign performance include the following:‌

  • Clicks and clickthrough rate
  • Average engagement and metrics such as likes, comments, and shares
  • Conversions and conversion rate
  • Leads and cost per lead

‌‌Campaign Manager offers ad analytics to collect and analyze data from previous campaigns. This helps you track and improve results, understand the target audience better, scale optimized ads, and boost the ad campaign performance.

‌LinkedIn Ads vs. LinkedIn Outreach

Though LinkedIn’s paid advertisements are valuable, they require a lot of trial and error to optimize and scale up ad campaigns. The process can take up considerable time, effort, and money to be effective and generate sales in the long run.

Instead, improving LinkedIn outreach is a faster and more effective marketing strategy to tap into the 750+ million-user network to ensure lead generation.

It can be time-consuming, because outreach is a manual process and every prospective connection’s profile must be studied carefully. However, setting aside a budget for automating LinkedIn outreach can be a great way to save time and effort and reap the benefits of LinkedIn’s superior social network.

Automate LinkedIn Outreach with Cleverly

‌Cleverly helps B2B companies effortlessly grow their business through LinkedIn . With years of experience and research, Cleverly automates LinkedIn outreach to achieving positive responses through personalized messages.

For a free consultation, contact Cleverly today to scale your leads, expand your LinkedIn outreach, and take your business to greater heights.

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