LinkedIn Ads: How they work and how to get started

LinkedIn often gets missed as the platform of choice when social advertisers consider their targeting options – but it shouldn’t be. LinkedIn ads are an absolute necessity for B2B brands looking to improve awareness to a professional marketplace. As the corporate platform among the main social networks (further reading on Facebook and Twitter via the links), LinkedIn ads give brands the opportunity to reach key decision makers across a number of industries and verticals.

But what are they all about?

We get asked a lot – by clients and prospects alike – about the benefits that LinkedIn ads can yield for a Paid Social campaign, and even more about the required investment, both of time and money, to get them set up and working to full potential. In the interests of not repeating myself, I thought it was time to pull together a post to cover LinkedIn ads in all their glory.

So here goes…

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What do LinkedIn ads look like and where do they appear?

Like other platforms, Linkedin ads can come in a variety of format, enabling you to choose the one that best suits your campaign and audience.

Sponsored InMail

These ads appear in the receiver’s LinkedIn inbox on the web and within apps, and contain Sponsored email messages from advertisers.

When displayed on desktop, the receiver also sees an accompanying image to the right of the message for added brand awareness.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content is displayed in the main news-feed of LinkedIn on web and within apps. The combination of text with hashtags and links makes the ad resemble organic social content. They are used to gain a greater reach than organic company posts (as these are only seen by Linkedin users who already follow the brand).

Once the ad is clicked, advertisers can choose to direct the user to the brand’s Linkedin company page or a separate landing page on the brand’s site.

Text ads

Text ads are one of the older ad formats on LinkedIn and appear to the right of the news-feed. Although they are more restrictive in terms of engagement (i.e. users cannot like, share or comment as they can on Sponsored Content), they are displayed consistently throughout the campaign duration.

When shown without an image, these ads may appear below the main navigation, as below.

Linkedin Ads: Why bother?

Advertisers can utilise up to 100 combinations from the targeting options below in order to show ads to their audience (as long as the targeted audience is over 1000 users).

Once multiple attributes are selected (i.e. location, industry and job title), advertisers will see the audience size and approximate CPC or CPM based on the popularity of the target audience. Budgets can then be set per day or per campaign.

• Location (required field): Geographic location is based on location specified by the member or the IP address location of relevant audiences within a specific geographic region
• Company Name: Current employer listed on member’s profile (partially inferred)
• Company Industry: The industry of the company at which the member is employed
• Company Size: As listed on the Company Page of the member’s current employer
• Job Title: Standardised from member-entered and industry-standard job titles
• Job Function: Inferred from member-entered job title
• Job Seniority: Inferred from member-entered job title
• Skills: Member-entered skills in the Skills & Endorsements section on their profile, skills mentioned in their profile text, or inferred based on their listed skills
• Schools: Member-entered schools (partially inferred)
• Degrees: Standardised from member-entered degrees
• Fields of Study: Standardised from member-entered degrees
• Groups: Specific LinkedIn Groups that a member within your target audience has joined
• Gender: Inferred in English from first name of member
• Age: Inferred from member’s last graduation year
• Years of Experience: Inferred from member-entered experience

Sponsored content is the preferred format for engagement and conversions on LinkedIn ads (the platform recommends an audience size of 300,000+), but Sponsored InMail (recommended audience size of 100,000) and Text ads (recommended audience between 60,000 – 400,000) are also available for direct response and brand awareness objectives respectively.

How to create Linkedin Ads

The LinkedIn advertising interface is straightforward and intuitive, so once the ad format and audience is selected, the following specifications will ensure the ad is approved by the LinkedIn moderators and the ad is live as quickly as possible:

To make the process extra simple – here are the best practice guidelines for creating killer LinkedIn ads:

Sponsored InMail

Sender Name: Suggested 25 character maximum (including spaces)
Subject Line: Suggested 30 character maximum (including spaces)
Body Copy: Suggested 1000 character maximum (including spaces)
Button Copy: Suggested 25 character maximum (including spaces)
Banner Ad size: 300×250
File Type: JPEG, JPG, GIF, PNG
Maximum file size: 40kb

Sponsored content
Image Size: 1.91:1 ratio (1200x627px) Industry Standard.
File types: JPEG, JPG, GIF and PNG
Manual image upload max weight: 5MB
Introduction Text: 150 characters or less, including the landing page URL
Title: 70 characters or less
Description Text: 100 characters or less – does not appear on mobile

Text ads
Headline: 25 character limit (including spaces)
Description: 75 character limit (including spaces)
Images are optional, and use logos from company profile if necessary:
Size: 50×50

This post should cover all the ‘need to knows’ you might have before embarking on a Paid campaign on Linkedin, but If you need additional support for social ads for business, or would like to understand in greater detail how LinkedIn ads will work for your business, contact us today.

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N Peale
Alnwick Castle
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Newcastle Building Society
Hays Travel