Everything you need to know about running ads on LinkedIn

You might have tried Google ads with success and your paid posts on Facebook might be doing well too. But have you ever considered LinkedIn ads?

With 722 million members globally, LinkedIn is a platform that is worth investing your digital marketing budget into if you’re not already. However, before you dive in, it’s worth taking the time to get to know the ins and outs of the platform. It works differently to Facebook so understanding exactly how LinkedIn works will help you to get better results.

We’ve put together an easy step-by-step guide to help you navigate LinkedIn’s ad platforms and to help you get the most out of your marketing spend.

You can jump to the right section by clicking the links below:

Getting to know your audience

Developing an understanding of your target audience is one of the most important things to do as a digital marketer or business owner.

The key to success when advertising online is not in targeting anyone and everyone. It’s about knowing exactly who your audience is, and where they’re likely to be. For example, if you run a commercial flooring company in Leeds, you’ll want to target homeowners in the surrounding area.

These are the people most likely to be interested in your products and services – and it’s likely they’ll be united by some common features or interests. You just need to find out what those are. Armed with this information, you can find your niche and dominate it.

As you drill down into defining your target audience, don’t shy away from being highly specific. You might start with broad categories – like double-glazing suppliers – but with more research, you’ll soon be able to define your audience in much finer detail.

Audience profiling will also help you create relevant content, which leads to more clicks and shares, and higher conversion rates – meaning a better return on your investment for the money you spend, and a better bottom line for your business.

Setting up your ads Here are the first steps you need to take.

1. Choose between self-service or managed campaigns

LinkedIn has two types of campaigns on offer: self-service, or managed.

  • Self-service means you manage your ad yourself, including targeting, monitoring progress and optimisation.
  • Managed campaigns mean that LinkedIn sets you up with a team of dedicated LinkedIn experts who will help you through each stage of the process. The former means you have more control over your budget, the latter means you’ll save time and potentially attract more leads.

There is a third option – which we’ll go into in a little more detail in the Final Thoughts section at the bottom of this post.

2. Head to LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager

Head to LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager to get started. This is the central hub for creating and configuring your ad campaigns. You’ll find useful metrics there, including stats on factors such as ad performance, demographics reached, clicks and engagement, and more.

Image Source

3. Choose Your Ad Format

LinkedIn has three ad format options: text ads, sponsored content, or both.

Sponsored posts appear in the user’s main news feed, whichever device they’re on. It looks almost identical to a regular post.

 

Sponsored images look just like regular posts, and appear in the main feed. The word ‘promoted’ at the top is the only thing that lets you know it’s sponsored.

With text ads, you pay to place simple adverts on the side, bottom, or top of the feed.

Top tip: LinkedIn posts with images get 2x higher engagement. Bigger images do even better, with 38% higher click-through rates compared to smaller pictures. LinkedIn recommends 1200 x 627 pixels.

Creating your advert

Once your planning is done, now comes the really fun bit: creating and placing your advert.

4. Create Your Ad campaign

If you’ve chosen sponsored content, you can create an ad from scratch, or select a popular company update to promote.

For text ads, add a headline, an image, and a short description. Don’t forget to add your link!

Top tip: create multiple versions with variations on the messaging and imagery to see which gets the best results. You can run up to 15 versions at a time. Start with a broad selection, then hone in on your top performers. Keep measuring and testing to refine your winning formula.

5. Target your audience

Select your audience criteria. As you do this, LinkedIn will show you your average audience size in the sidebar. Begin with a broad range at first, so you have enough results to work with for the next round of optimisation.  

Top tip: LinkedIn’s Audience Expansion feature finds similar audiences to the one you’ve specified. Enable this to discover individuals you may not have included in your primary target audience.

6. Set your budget

LinkedIn offers two types of payment settings: Cost-Per-Click (CPC) or Cost-Per-Impression (CPI).

Choose CPC when each click is related to a conversion, such as a lead capture. If you’re after brand awareness, CPI is your best option.

Setting your budget is easy with LinkedIn’s campaign manager. The system will automatically suggest a range of bid options for displaying your ad.

LinkedIn currently has three bid types to choose from:

  • Maximum Delivery is a fully automated option where LinkedIn’s system sets your bid for you. Choose this option when you want to use your full budget for maximum results.
  • Target Cost is what you’ll get if you choose either CPC, CPM (Cost per 1000 impressions) and CPV (Cost per visit). Again, this option is automated, meaning LinkedIn’s system automatically sets the bid for you. It also allows you to set your own preferred cost per result, and LinkedIn will stay as close to that as possible.
  • Manual bidding, which means you have all the control. It also means extra work monitoring and measuring ad performance. You’ll get to have full control over your bids: the figure you enter is the figure that’ll be used in the ad auction.

7. Measure and Optimise

Adverts that aren’t getting any engagement are a waste of money – so it’s important you regularly review your offerings and kill any low performers while channeling funds into promoting high performing campaigns. The Campaign Manager will give you all the metrics you need, including clicks, views, and audience demographics. Use this information to continually test and fine-tune your offering.

Don’t forget to add tracking parameters to the URL. This will allow you to track the performance of your ads in Google Analytics. Use Google’s URL builder to create the tracking parameters.

Final thoughts

LinkedIn could open up a whole new world of business potential for you. But investing shouldn’t be taken lightly. Opting for LinkedIn-managed campaigns will be costly and you won’t have full control over your adverts and bidding. On the other hand, going for the manual option means you’ll need to learn on the job, not to mention dedicate time each week to managing and optimising your ads. Not easy if your primary job is trying to run a business, or you’re a one-person marketing team.

There is a third option: let us manage your ads for you. This gives you the best of both worlds. We can make recommendations and apply our expertise while working directly with you to make sure your ads are doing exactly what you want them to do.

With our paid social media services, we stay ahead of the rapidly changing social media landscape, so you don’t have to. This means researching your audience, using the latest tools and techniques to get their attention, and monitoring and optimising your campaign ads so they’re operating at peak performance. To find out more about how we can help you, get in touch today for a free campaign audit.

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