LinkedIn Ads: Best Practices for Launching Ad Campaigns

As LinkedIn has been gaining popularity in Japan, I've recently helped a few companies set up their LinkedIn accounts, including the company page, LinkedIn Recruiter and Jobs for recruitment marketing, and of course advertising. You'll need to first create an account to use any of these features.

In this post, I will provide an overview of how LinkedIn advertising can fit into your digital strategy, and introduce different types of LinkedIn ads.

LinkedIn Ads vs. Other Social Media Platforms

As with other social media, you can expect to generate mid-funnel leads from LinkedIn ads, and you'll most likely use free content such as whitepaper downloads or webinar signups. If you've worked on other PPC campaigns such as Facebook or Twitter ads, the workflow is pretty similar.

LinkedIn is a unique platform for advertising because users are naturally in a business mindset, so they are open to engaging with your ads, especially for BtoB or recruiting sectors. The downside is that unless users are in a sales role or actively seeking a new job, they might not be regularly active on LinkedIn, compared to other social media sites. However, you can use retargeting and combine LinkedIn ads with other social media and SEM to get full coverage with your digital marketing strategy.

Targeting Options

Of course, the selling point of LinkedIn ads is that you can target users specifically based on their employer or job title. I'd recommend starting out with audience sizes of about 20~80k. You can try narrowing the audience to further optimize your campaigns - for example, if your target audience is marketing decision makers, try creating separate ad groups for "CMOs" and "Marketing Managers" as long as the audience sizes are still large enough. You can also exclude recruiters and salespeople who are probably using LinkedIn to promote their own services.

LinkedIn Advertising Cost

LinkedIn ads are generally a bit more expensive than other social media ads, so might want to optimize for leads that are most likely to have a high LTV. The average CPC is around $7.

If you'd like to trial LinkedIn ads, I'd recommend starting with around $3000 to $5000 to confirm whether LinkedIn ads would work for your business. If the trial budget is too low, you might miss out on potential conversions, and the algorithm won't learn and optimize.

If your account is still running out of budget every day, you can try decreasing the bids.

LinkedIn Advertising Format

LinkedIn offers a variety of ad formats. Here are some examples and when to use them.

Text Ads

Text ads are shown on the right rail on desktop only, which is part of the reason why their CTR is lower than other ad formats. To combat this, you should setup a larger audience size. I'd recommend text ads in the following situations:

  • Your budget is limited. Text ads are the cheapest LinkedIn ad format.

  • Your goal is to generate leads by having users fill out a lengthy form that isn't optimized for mobile.

  • You don't have large, visually appealing images to use for ads. Text ads only use a 50x50 pixel image, and most advertisers just put their logo.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is probably the main ad format that comes to mind when people think of LinkedIn ads. This is the type of ad that appears in your newsfeed.

Most of the sponsored content ads will be shown on mobile, and the average CPC is around 8~9$. A CTR of 0.4% or higher is considered decent, and you can get up to 15~20% CVR if you are offering gated content that is valuable to the user, such as a whitepaper containing market insights. For marketing materials such as brochures for your product or service, the CVR will be lower, around 2~3%.

Sponsored InMail

Sponsored InMail allows you to send a DM to your target audience from your LinkedIn profile, or another member's profile if they approve it. Make sure that the sender has filled out their profile before running your ad campaigns, to increase credibility and ultimately conversions.

For Sponsored InMail, a CPC of around 4$, CTR around 0.25~0.3%, and open rate of 50% is considered decent, at least in the US where LinkedIn is widely used. You'll probably be spending around 0.50~0.80$ per InMail, and you are charged for the number of sent InMails, regardless of whether they are opened or led to conversions.

To still get the maximum results, you should personalize the messages as much as possible, and provide a more valuable offering. For example, you could invite the recipient to a closed event, instead of just asking them to download a whitepaper that is available to anyone.

An interesting bonus to Sponsored InMail is the 45 day frequency cap, which means that for 45 days after your sponsored InMail is sent, your competitors won't be able to target the same users.

Please note that you can't specify which users will receive your Sponsored InMail, just targeting based on audience characteristics as with the other ad formats. If you are working on an outreach campaign targeted towards specific users, you can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator instead.

Data Integrations for LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn offers data integrations with some CRMs such as HubSpot, Marketo, and Salesforce Advertising Studio. You can also use Zapier to connect with many other tools such as G Suite.

LinkedIn Ads Customer Support

You can check the help page, or chat with support by clicking the question mark in the top right corner of the campaign manager next to your profile picture. If chat support isn't available at the time, you can also create a support ticket from the same menu. In my experience before, I received a response to the support ticket within a few hours.