If you want your brand to connect with an audience of professionals, you might advertise on LinkedIn. LinkedIn ad campaigns can reach people who make purchases on behalf of their companies, which makes them great for business-to-business advertising. Here’s how to use a LinkedIn advertising campaign to reach your ideal audience and generate qualified leads.
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What is a LinkedIn ad?
A LinkedIn ad is an advertisement that appears on LinkedIn, a social media network for professional connections. LinkedIn advertising works much like other forms of social media advertising. Brands design an ad campaign that targets LinkedIn members based on information like industry, job title, geographic location, and special skills. This information comes from a user’s LinkedIn profile data.
You can set a budget and schedule, then a campaign objective for your LinkedIn ads. You can use customized tools, most notably through LinkedIn Campaign Manager, to help you reach your marketing goals.
LinkedIn ad objectives
The LinkedIn Ads platform revolves around an objective-based advertising strategy. The platform can help you select the best LinkedIn ad format and the right audience to target to produce a successful advertising campaign. The three LinkedIn ad objectives are:
Tapping into LinkedIn’s vast user base, you can introduce a new product, service, or brand. This type of ad helps businesses increase their brand visibility and reach a broader audience within their target market. LinkedIn can suggest ad copy that maximizes the number of times your ads appear on LinkedIn users’ feeds, thus magnifying your brand exposure in your target market.
Consideration-focused ads encourage users to engage with your content by liking, commenting on, or sharing that post, or by following your LinkedIn page. These ads are particularly useful for nurturing potential leads and increasing website visits.
Conversion ads aim to inspire specific actions from your target audience, such as filling out a form, signing up for a trial, or making a purchase. A LinkedIn conversion ad may seek to:
- Promote website conversions. Drive specific actions on your website, such as visits, form submissions, or product purchases.
- Generate leads. Optimize a conversion ad by using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. These lead generation forms allow users to submit their information with just a few clicks. This helps businesses find matched audiences who are more inclined to pay for their products or services.
LinkedIn ad formats
LinkedIn offers a few core ad formats—sponsored content, text ads, and dynamic ads—to help you mount a successful campaign that resonates with your unique audience. Here’s a rundown of the three main LinkedIn ad types, and the ad variations nested within them:
Sponsored content ads are native ads that live within the main LinkedIn newsfeed. Users see these ads as they scroll through their feeds. Sponsored content can appear in many forms, including:
Single image ads
Single image ads feature an ad image like a photograph or an infographic, accompanied by descriptive text.
Document ads let LinkedIn members read and download documents directly through their newsfeeds. For instance, LinkedIn job ads could have a downloadable form that job applicants could fill out and submit.
Video ads let you engage audience members with short videos that showcase your brand and inspire action. You can create up to five videos for a single ad campaign, which LinkedIn suggests as a way to get more exposure. The LinkedIn Campaign Manager shows you the number of video views and user clicks for each video, so you can adjust your campaign based on what’s most successful.
The carousel ad type lets you show a swipeable series of image cards to LinkedIn users to help tell your brand story.
If you’re planning an in-person or virtual event, you can use event ads for promotion. Describe the event in your ad headline and invite people to engage. Later, you can use LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager function to track the impact your ad had on your event.
Thought leader ads
LinkedIn thought leader ads help you distinguish your brand as an industry authority. You can present a company employee as a thought leader and create an ad based on one of their LinkedIn posts.
LinkedIn conversation ads invite users to interact through a mixture of call-to-action buttons and documents such as LinkedIn Lead Gen forms.
LinkedIn text ads are simple message ads you can purchase either via a pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) model. Create an ad headline and text-based ad copy with outbound links to a destination URL, such as your business website. The LinkedIn Campaign Manager gives you conversion tracking data to reveal how much traffic you generate with these ads.
LinkedIn dynamic ads can use the same formats as sponsored content ads: single image ads, document ads, video ads, carousel ads, and more. What makes this ad format special is its targeting criteria.
Specifically, you can personalize ads by featuring a viewer’s own LinkedIn profile data, photo, company name, job title, and more. This helps audience members imagine a direct connection between themselves and your brand. You can also set objectives for these ads, such as building brand awareness, driving website traffic, and steering prospects into your sales funnel.
How to create a LinkedIn ad campaign
- Define your objectives
- Select a target audience
- Set your budget and schedule
- Create a LinkedIn Campaign Manager account and create your campaign
- Choose your LinkedIn ad format
- Set your ad bid and budget
- Design your ad
- Preview and review your ad
- Launch your campaign
- Monitor and optimize the campaign
LinkedIn makes it easy to launch, monitor, and adjust an advertising campaign. If you’re new to the platform, here’s how to create your first campaign:
1. Define your objectives
Decide what you want to achieve with your ad campaign. Is it brand awareness, website visits, or lead generation? Define specific marketing goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to guide your campaign.
2. Select a target audience
Identify and define your target audience based on demographics, job titles, industries, company size, interests, and other relevant parameters. LinkedIn’s robust user data will ensure your ad reaches the audience that fits your criteria.
3. Set your budget and schedule
Set your LinkedIn marketing budget, whether that’s a daily budget or a total budget for the campaign, and how you want to allocate it. You’ll also need to choose a schedule for your ads to run, specifying the start and end dates.
4. Create a LinkedIn Campaign Manager account and create your campaign
Sign in to LinkedIn and access LinkedIn Campaign Manager. Click Create Campaign and choose your campaign objective: awareness, consideration, or conversion.
5. Choose your LinkedIn ad format
Based on your campaign objective, select the appropriate ad format, such as sponsored content, dynamic ads, or text ads. You may choose one single format or opt for a mix—for instance, a blend of text and dynamic ads—to reach your target audience. The platform will prompt you to enter information like an ad headline, an ad description, the ad language, and your target audience.
6. Set your ad bid and budget
Like other ad platforms, LinkedIn uses an ad auction model, where users decide how they want to bid for ads, whether it's cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM). Set your bid and daily or total campaign budget. LinkedIn outlines bidding strategies and can even offer a suggested bid to users who are advertising on the platform for the first time.
7. Design your ad
It’s now time to develop compelling ad content, including headlines, images, ad copy, and a call-to-action (CTA). You can engage your audience with videos, pre-filled forms, infographics, and image carousels to command their interest.
8. Preview and review your ad
Before you launch your ad, preview it to see how it will appear to your target audience. Review all the details and make any necessary adjustments to ensure accuracy. You can make as many changes as you need before starting your campaign.
9. Launch your campaign
Once you’re happy with your ad and settings, click Launch to push your campaign live. From this point onward, you’ll begin drawing from your ad budget as LinkedIn shows the ad to users on its platform.
10. Monitor and optimize the campaign
LinkedIn offers analytics tools, conversion tracking, and many more resources to help you monitor your campaign. Evaluate key metrics such as engagement, clicks, conversions, and ROI. Based on insights, make data-driven optimizations to improve your campaign's effectiveness.
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LinkedIn ads FAQ
What are the benefits of using LinkedIn ads?
LinkedIn ads let you reach a self-selecting audience of business professionals. This audience may have B2B purchasing authority or may be seeking career advancement, both of which can benefit you as a marketer.
How much do LinkedIn ads cost?
LinkedIn sells ads via an ad auction process. The company does not advertise its rates, but LinkedIn advertising tends to be more expensive compared to other social media platforms, due to its highly targeted professional audience. Shopify provides a comprehensive guide to LinkedIn advertising costs.
What is objective-based advertising?
Objective-based advertising refers to a strategic approach where ad campaigns focus on specific, well-defined marketing objectives, such as getting more website conversions or recruiting job applicants.
Can I use a LinkedIn ad to target specific audiences?
Yes, like other social media platforms, LinkedIn collects data from its users. It uses that data to let advertisers precisely target users based on criteria like location, industry, and job title.