The Complete Guide to Launching an Effective LinkedIn Ads Campaign

Advertising campaigns using Google Ads or on Facebook have become one of the most indispensable elements of the marketing strategy of many companies. But there’s another platform that is definitely worth a look for its effective advertising solutions—LinkedIn. If you have already used PPC systems on social networks, setting up the first campaign on this leading business network will be a snap. However, if you need a helping hand to get things up and running, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know.  

Anne Bereza
Performance Manager
Added 7 months ago | 14 mins, 22 secs read

You will learn, among other things, how to create your first ad campaign on LinkedIn, what advertising formats to choose, what mistakes to avoid and how much it will all cost.  

  • Why should you advertise on LinkedIn? 
  • Getting started and setting up an advertising account 
  • Advertising campaigns on LinkedIn, step by step 
  • Campaign categories and goals available in the panel 
  • Advertising formats offered by the platform 
  • Good practices in advertising 
  • The costs of advertising on LinkedIn

Why LinkedIn is a great choice for advertising

LinkedIn is the most popular business network in the world, with over have a billion specialists from all over the world.  

Its purpose makes it fundamentally different from any other social network. It’s the largest global network focused on professional content, like industry news, expert advice, recommendations and access to educational platforms. More than 40% of registered users log in to their profiles at least once a day to work on their professional development.   

All of this means that LinkedIn is the place to be for business people and you simply can’t not be there.

Getting started and setting up an advertising account

The system requires you to satisfy two conditions to set up an account for managing advertisements: 

  • you must have your own individual profile on the platform 
  • the company you want to promote must also have a business profile (similar to a fanpage on Facebook) 

When these conditions are satisfied, you have to connect your personal profile to the business profile, which will then allow you to publish ads in the name of the company.        

When everything is set up, you will have access to management of the company account and advertising options

The picture presents  how to start advertising with Linkedin and create up Linkedin Ads Manager account.

The next step is creating a Campaign Manager account, which will allow you to control the settings for your promotions. Then, just click “Advertise” and “Create Ad” to move to an existing ad account or make a new one.

The picture presents next step of linkedin ads guide, how to move to an existing ad account or make a new one.

If the system asks you to log in, use the same data you use to access your personal account.

If you don’t have an account or don’t have access to it, a creator will open. Supply the requested data and create a new account. 
 

The picture presents next step: how to create first linkedin ad account and start advertising on linkedin.

TIP: Make sure to select the appropriate currency for accounting purposes. It can’t be changed later so make the right choice from the beginning!

If you’re using an existing account, you will be automatically logged in to the advertising panel.

The picture presents linkedin ad campaign manager panel with accounts list.

The ad panel is where you can access all ad accounts, including those belonging to your business and any others that have been shared with you.

Ad campaigns on LinkedIn – step by step

Step 1 – Select and prepare ad account 

In the ad panel, choose the account you want to use for the campaign. Remember that the account must have all payment information settled before you can launch anything.

Step 2 – Create new campaign and set goal

Start a new campaign by clicking “Create campaign”
 

The picture presents how to create a campaign and prepare ads in linkedin.

Next, go to the settings and set the goal of the campaign: 

The picture presents how to choose and add linkedin ad targeting options for your business ads.

Campaign categories and goals available in LinkedIn: 

Awareness: 

Brand awareness (available soon)
Recommended for advertisers that want to maximize the number of views for their ad while increasing brand awareness. 

This will soon be available in the new version of the ad panel but what about right now? To promote awareness for a current campaign, follow this path: 

Consideration -> Website Visits -> Ad format: Follower Ad

Interest: 
  • Traffic to a website. If your goal is to direct traffic to your company page or some other site, this is the best choice.
  • Engagement. The ideal solution if you want to increase social engagement for your ad or followers of your company page.
  • Video views. Recommended if the goal of your campaign is to maximize interest in video content.
Conversion: 
  • Conversion on a page (available soon). Designed specifically for driving conversions on a landing page.
  • Lead generation. Recommended for advertisers that want to maximize leads gathered from lead gen forms automatically filled in with data from LinkedIn user profile.  
  • Job applicants. Recommended for Talent customers who want to drive clicks to job-related experiences, including LinkedIn job posts. 

For job applicants campaigns: 

1. Choose “website visits” 

2. Choose “Job ad” format in the campaign set up flow. 

Tip: Remember that accurate monitoring of conversions requires the use of tracking codes. 

For our purposes here, let’s choose: 

Consideration -> Website Visits 

Step 3 – Identify target group for your ad 

This is where you have to define the group you want to reach with your ad. You can create a new target group based on the options that LinkedIn gives you or use an existing group from previous campaigns. 

Remember that if you have properly implemented Insight Tags, you will be able to use groups of users who have visited your site.  
 

The picture presents how to use linkedin targeted advertising options for best ads average.

Another option worth considering is the ability to import your own CSV file (for example, from the CRM you use) containing user data. After importing it into the system, LinkedIn will verify if the data is already found in its database. 

The picture presents how to upload your own list or use retargeting in linkedin  for more precisio ads audience.

So what kind of targeting options do you have for your ad? Actually, quite a lot. You can define your target group with a wide variety of criteria. 

The picture presents all categories of targeting options appears in ads on linkedin.

Targeting options include:

  • Job function
  • Job title
  • Job seniority
  • Member schools
  • Fields of Study
  • Company size
  • Company name
  • Company Industry
  • Company connections
  • Company followers
  • Member skills
  • Years of experience
  • Degrees
  • Groups
  • Geography
  • Gender
  • Age

TIP: To even more precisely target your group of recipients, remember that you can add multistage conditions and apply exclusions. Always remember to exclude users of your company and their friends! You don’t want to waste money marketing to your employees!

The picture presents multistage conditions and applies exclusion which can you use to increase your linkedin ads effectiveness.

TIP: On the right side, next to campaign settings window, you’ll find an estimation. This is useful information about how big your potential target group is. Too large? Too small? Take a careful look at your targeting filters!

There is no “right” size for every campaign. Different industries will have different standards. From experience, I can suggest that you not narrow your target group too much. Leave the algorithm a bit of space to optimize. The best results are achieved by campaigns with:

  • 60-600,000 for test ads
  • over 300,000 for sponsored content 

Step 4 – Select the right ad format

There is a wide range of formatting options for your ad.

The picture presents a wide range of linkedin ad formats.

TIP: Formatting options vary depending on the type of campaign you’re setting up. 

Here’s a closer look at the ad formats offered by LinkedIn: 

Sponsored content 

What is it? 
It’s just a sponsored post displayed in the news. It’s possible to select an existing post or create an entirely new one with the help of a creator. 

When? 
A great way to promote company news, upcoming promotions, useful articles, Slideshare presentations or video content published on YouTube or Vimeo. Is BlackFriday is approaching? Maybe you want to share some important company news? These are perfect times for sponsored content.  

Available formats: 
 

The picture presents available ad formats which can you use in linkedin sponsored content like: video ad, carousel image ad, and single image ad.

Example: 

The picture presents example of linkedin sponsored content ad.

Source: LinkedIn Help

Dynamic ads 

What is it? 
A kind of ad that uses profile data to automatically generate personalized content based on user activities.

When? 
Effective for business goals like: increasing traffic on a site, recruitment, gaining followers on your LinkedIn profile or increasing brand awareness.

Available formats:

The picture presents available formats which can you use in dynamic ads.

Examples: 

The picture presents examples of linkedin dynamic ads.

Sources: Dynamic ad 1, Dynamic ad 2, Dynamic ad 3

Test ads 

What is it? 
Text content similar to that in Google Ads or Bing. Visible on the right side while browsing the service. It’s the counterpart to the right-column display on Facebook. It only displays on desktops. 

Tools available for this format: 

  • headers with up to 25 characters
  • content/description - 75 characters
  • small graphic/company logo

When? 
This is the format to use if you like classic forms of text ads, if you can write attention-getting ads and if you like to test different headers and stand out with original content. 



The picture presents available formats which can you use in linkedin test ads for example: text ads.

Example: 

The picture presents examples of linkedin test ads.

Sponsored InMail message 

What is it? 
An ad format that allows you to send private messages to users registered on the site. This is the most powerful tool that LinkedIn offers. Thanks to the possibility to precisely target certain professional positions, we can send a message that contains tailored content along with an additional banner and a Call-To-Action (CTA) button.

When? 
Build trust through direct contact. The average open rate for sponsored inMail is as high as 57.5%! A great solution when you want to invite individual recipients to webinars and other events organized by your company.


The picture presents message ad, ad format available in  Sponsored in mail Message.

Check out the specifications for ad formats.
 

Example: 

The picture presents examples of linkedin in mail ads.

Source: Sponsored InMail message

For our purposes here, let’s choose Single Image Ad (a type belonging to the Sponsored Content group)

Step 5 – Set up an ad budget and harmonogram

This might be the least fun part of the whole process since this is where you have to decide how much money you’re going to part with.

This is where you set up parameters like: budget, harmonogram displaying ad, method of payment and amount to spend.  

Currently, LinkedIn offers four ways to pay: 

  • CPC - Cost per Click  - this is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click.
  • CPM - Cost per 1000 Impressions - you pay up to your maximum bid each time your ad is shown for each 1,000 times on LinkedIn, no matter how many clicks you receive
  • eCPC- enhanced Cost per Click - this allows you to bid on a cost-per-click basis, while the system auto-optimizes your bid for a lower cost per conversion. This bidding option is available only for Sponsored Content campaigns to advertisers that have enabled conversion tracking or are using lead gen forms.
  • Automated bid  - the system will automatically adjust your bid using machine learning to get you the best results for your budget. Maximizing for: Clicks, Impressions and Conversions.

The picture presents a screenshot of the panel, where you can set up a minimum budget and schedule in LinkedIn ads.

TIP: Remember that the available billing options depend on the selected campaign goal! Start with the suggested range of rates, otherwise you risk getting limited coverage for your campaigns. 

Step 6 – Create your ad

The time has come to create your ad. Depending on the purpose of the campaign and the ad format you chose, in the configuration phase (See step 2 and 4) you will be able to choose between two options: use existing content or create a something new for the campaign.

The picture presents what do linkedin ads look like.

Step 7 – Check & launch! 

Ready! Your campaign is ready to go. In the summary window, check again to make sure that you have set up everything correctly. If so, it’s time to go live. Just click "Launch Campaign".

The picture presents linkedin ads payment methods.

 

Congratulations! You’ve created and launched your first campaign onLinkedIn!  

Step 8 – Track and optimize campaign

The LinkedIn Campaign Manager allows you to not only to create campaigns, but also to measure their effects and current optimization. 
 
In the Campaign Manager panel, you can keep track of campaign statistics (generated ranges, comments, commands, observation), budget status, recipient statistics, and generate graphical reports.

The picture presents some stats like: linkedin ads average cpc, bid, average car etc.

Source: LinkedIn Ads

Remember that starting the campaign is only half the battle. The real fun starts when it’s up and running!
Measure, test and optimize! Fingers crossed!

Good practices for advertising on LinkedIn

General 

Personalize your content 

Make sure your readers have no doubts that the advertisement is directed to them, not randomly to anyone. Adjust the message content to the user segment, by their position, industry, seniority, etc.  

Clearly define your target group

Take some time to think abou exactly who you want to reach and who belongs in your audience. A more precise description of the target group will help you take advantage of the targeting capabilities that LinkedIn offers you and match your message with those most likely to respond. 

Test, test and test again 

Create several variations (preferably at least three) for each ad. Change headings, descriptions and graphics. Test which one best suits your audience. Eliminate the elements that do not work and replace them with new ones. Make your ad the best it can be.  

Use the language of benefits 

Rememer that anyone potentially interested in your ad, more than anything else, wants to you know what you can do for them. Use the language of benefits to tell them.

Use multimedia

Multimedia content always attracts attention and has become a standard element in advertising. Add graphics and video to your creations and see how it increases the engagement and CTR of your ads. Use visual effects, sound and movement to tell even more interesting stories!

Manage your budget carefully

Track your budget and carefully decide on your maximum CPC/CPM rates. If you want to increase the percentage of auction winnings against other advertisers, set bids that fall in the top areas for the suggested range. Remember that the maximum rate is the one that the system can not exceed during the auction. You will pay as much as necessary to win the auction but this does not mean that you will always pay the maximum! Monitor and modify bids depending on the results you get.

Landing pages are important 

An element that is of great importance in any campaign is the quality of the landing page that you direct traffic to.  Be sure that its content matches the adverstising promise made to users and it feels like a contiuation of your ad. People don’t like it when they click because they’re interested in A, only to find the landing page is about B.

For particular formats 

Sponsored Content

  • remember to add URL tracking codes to measure the number of visits and conversions on the page
  • be sure that the post does not exceed 150 characters
  • add attractive photos, graphics or video
  • use 3 to 5 cards in the carousel to create an engaging story

Test ads

  • use creative headlines that attract interest
  • strong calls to action are a must
  • use the language of benefits
  •  add graphic content
  • don’t use industry-specific jargon
  • use simple, clear messages
  • experiment with the use of emojis
  • despite all the available options, remember that "less is more"

InMail messages

  • message subject is important, use it to get the recipient to open the mail
  • add a personalized greeting
  • you have 1000 characters to work with so use them well
  • the text should be precise and clear, if you expect the recipient to perform specific actions, describe them step by step

What about the costs of using LinkedIn? 

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. Advertising costs on this business platform vary depending on the industry. The targeting options chosen you choose also have an effect on the price.

Due to its orientation and the type of recipients (professionals) it attracts, LinkedIn typically has slightly higher rates than Facebook or Google Ads. There are exceptions, such as industries like insurance or law, where the cost of CPA may be lower than elsewhere. In my experience, when planning a campaign budget for LinkedIn, you should count on a total cost of about double that of a similar campaign on Facebook.
 
A factor that is also worth keeping in mind and which affects the higher costs is the fact that LinkedIn offers a choice of payment in two currencies: Euro and dollars. So if one of the above is not your native currency, you must include the additional cost of currency conversion.
 
A good starting point for your campaigns is setting initial bids according to the suggested range. This will also reduce the risk of limited reach. An important factor is also setting the daily / total budget and maximum rates. This gives you more control over how much money you spend.
 

The picture presents how to use linkedin ads best practices and where is setting initial bids according to the suggested range.

Average costs on LinkedIn start at around two or three Euro on a CPC basis. 

The LinkedIn platform is constantly evolving and offers newer methods of targeting or optimization, such as the recently introduced automatic bid optimization, thanks to which most marketers can expect better results within the same budget.
 
Remember that advertising costs can be significantly reduced by continuously optimizing the campaign.

Summary

Observing the rapidly growing rates for even CPM on Facebook and the changes taking place in advertising platforms, it’s clear that more and more advertisers will start investing larger budgets on the LinkedIn platform. I think that soon we will see a greater number of brands investing in advertising on this platform due to the quality of leads, traffic and coverage that is increasingly difficult to achieve on Facebook.
 
I hope my tutorial will help you with your first few campaigns. As you can see, the process of setting up a campaign is not complicated, and the ads themselves do not require a large budget. The key will be constant observation of results, testing various elements of the advertisement and optimizing them. Good luck!