The world of digital advertising is complex, layered, and can oftentimes be confusing for those taking their first stab at it.
However, despite the potential difficulties, giving it up as a lost cause is irresponsible to your business; digital advertising is swiftly becoming the gold standard in the marketing game. At the same time, utilizing digital marketing incorrectly or improperly can sap your advertising budget quickly and leave you with little to show for it.
Not only are there dozens of moving parts associated with digital marketing campaigns, but there are a plethora of marketing platforms to choose from. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. One of the strongest platforms available is the business-based social media giant, LinkedIn.
Advertising on LinkedIn is easier than you would think, and we at Digital Logic are here to make it even easier. Here are a few simple steps to give your business a jumps tart into the world of advertising on LinkedIn.
Choose a Campaign Type
There are two types of ad campaigns on LinkedIn: self-service and account-managed campaigns. These types of campaigns are optimized for different types of ads and are also managed and controlled differently.
When advertising on LinkedIn with self-service ads, you can control your ad campaign from Campaign Manager. Campaign Manager is the hub for all LinkedIn’s targeting controls. From there, you can set your own budget, choose whether you would like to pay by clicks or impressions, and also monitor your ads’ success.
But more on Campaign Manager later. Suffice it to say that you personally control your marketing strategy from Campaign Manager when you advertise on LinkedIn with self-service ads. The types of ad formats supported by self-service ads are:
These are also known as Native Ads. These ads will simply pop up on your targeted audience’s feed while they’re browsing LinkedIn as any normal post would. They can include single photos, videos, or appear as carousel ads, which have multiple images that can be scrolled through.
These ads are useful for things like clothing brands or other types of businesses that benefit from aesthetics.
These are personalized messages driven towards increasing your conversions and brand awareness. You can use Sponsored InMail to advertise events your business is hosting, or simply to reach a larger audience through content distribution.
For instance, if you are a lawyer working on a very high-profile case with lots of media attention, you may want to film a video answering questions from yours and your client’s perspectives. You can invite specific members of your LinkedIn community to watch this video through Sponsored InMail.
Advertising on LinkedIn with Sponsored InMail is simple, yet effective. You can target LinkedIn users by their age, gender, or industry they work in. Your Sponsored InMail will only appear in their inboxes when they are active on LinkedIn, and there are strict constraints on how many sponsored messages can be sent at once, ensuring that your message is seen.
Sponsored InMail is an excellent B2B advertising tool, and is almost completely unique to advertising on LinkedIn.
Advertising on LinkedIn with text ads is probably the most common type of advertising. These ads are most similar to Facebook or Google ads. They are highly targeted and drive your audience to the appropriate landing pages on your website.
Through Campaign Manager, you can determine if you want to pay by clicks or by impression; in other words, whether you want to pay every time someone clicks on your ad, or every time a certain number of people see your ad.
Like with all LinkedIn ads, you can target the specific groups of people you want to see these ads. If you deal in luxury automobiles, for instance, you could choose to market your business only to those in certain professions that may place them in an income bracket that will enable them to purchase your product.
You can also still target by age, by gender, or by geographic location; if you are a brick and mortar establishment, it doesn’t help to spend money so that people two states over will see your ads.
LinkedIn Account-Managed Ads
Don’t know much about advertising, or maybe you just don’t have the time or resources to create and nurture your ads? That’s okay. Advertising on LinkedIn is still accessible to you through LinkedIn’s account-managed ad campaigns. This will pair you with a dedicated team of LinkedIn experts to help craft your ads from beginning to end.
This is perhaps the slightly more expensive option, as it will place your ads in front of a more premium audience. There are two types of ads you can run through an account managed campaign that you cannot run through self-service campaigns:
These ads will appear along the side of your target audience’s news feed and will be tailored to each individual. The ad may include their profile picture and information to draw their attention to your ad.
You can use dynamic ads to entice LinkedIn users to follow you on LinkedIn, to drive traffic to your website, or to prompt users to download your content.
For instance, if you are a divorce lawyer and have written a blog post about recent changes in your state regarding child custody laws, you can use a dynamic ad to entice others practicing family law to download or read your blog post. The ad will probably include each individual’s LinkedIn profile picture as well as their name and say something like “As a divorce attorney, keep up with recent legal developments in your state regarding custody laws!”
Display ads are something Google and Facebook do as well and are an extremely effective means of advertising on LinkedIn. They appear as banners on websites and pages related to your industry, on and off LinkedIn. In this way, you can put your ads in front of users who are searching for and consuming content related to your business.
So, if you’re comfortable paying a premium for account-managed ads, your work here is done. However, if you have the time and the inclination to create and manage your own ads, and most likely save a few dollars in the process, the rest of this guide will focus on advertising on LinkedIn using Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, or Text Ads through a self-service campaign.
Explore LinkedIn Campaign Manager
You didn’t think I forgot about Campaign Manager, did you?
Creating an account with Campaign Manager is simple, and can be done in a matter of minutes through your personal LinkedIn account. It is necessary to set up an account with Campaign Manager in order to advertise on LinkedIn.
This is the nervous system of your advertising on LinkedIn. Some of the features available on Campaign Manager are:
- Highly specific visual reporting so you can see exactly which ads are most effective and where.
- A breakdown of the actions your Sponsored Content campaigns generate, including Clicks, Likes, Shares, Comments, and Follows.
- A detailed view of the demographics and categories of LinkedIn users that are engaging with your ads.
This information will help you refine and optimize your ads. Campaign Manager is also where you will go to set budgets for your Text Ads and stop or start your ad campaigns. It is advisable to click around Campaign Manager a bit and get a feel for it before creating any ads.
Choose Your Ad Format
As previously mentioned, the types of ads available in Campaign Manager are:
- Sponsored Content
- Sponsored InMail
- Text Ads
You can choose any one of these three formats, or you can utilize any combination thereof. Once you have logged in to your Campaign Manager account, it’s as simple as clicking the “Create Campaign” button. You will then be given the option to choose from among the formats.
When you are choosing your ad format, it is helpful to think about exactly what you want to market.
Like I mentioned earlier, if you are a clothing brand or any type of business with strong visual or aesthetic appeal to your products, Sponsored Content with photos may be the best route for you. However, less visual-based businesses like law firms may benefit more from text ads.
Create Your Ad
This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for: actually creating your ad. Don’t get ahead of yourself, though. There are still a few clicks left before you can start watching your business prosper.
Creating Sponsored Content on LinkedIn
Once you’ve selected Sponsored Content for your ad campaign, you will have the option to either use an already-created update on your LinkedIn Company Page or to create new Sponsored Content.
What this means is that if you have a popular post that’s gotten a lot of Likes or Shares, you can simply convert it into an advertisement to get more eyes on it. However, it is always beneficial to create multiple variations of the same Sponsored Content so you can test out which messages get better results from which demographics.
When advertising on LinkedIn with new Sponsored Content, it will look very similar to creating any other LinkedIn post. There will be a text box to enter any text you may want to include as well as the ability to attach photos, links, or videos. You can Preview the ad before saving it. Once you’re happy with the Preview, you can save it, and return to your Campaign page and select the ad you just created. Then hit the “Sponsor selected” button, and you’re all set!
Create LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Ads
So once you choose Sponsored InMail, you can title your Campaign and choose a language for your ads. Next, you will need to:
- Choose the sender. This can be you, or one of your employees. The sender’s first name, last name, and profile picture will appear in the recipient’s inbox.
- Add the subject line and summary. The summary is just a sneak peek of your message that will appear to your recipients on desktop. You should keep your subject lines short and conversational, something like “Thanks!”, “Join us/me”, or “Connect”.
- Craft your message. Make your message conversational. LinkedIn also gives you the option to add each recipient’s first name within the Sponsored InMail tool. This is a good idea. Keeping your message under 1000 characters is also advisable; any longer and your recipient may lose interest.
After crafting your message, you will be able to add the landing page URL for the appropriate page of your website.
Create a Text Ad
When advertising on LinkedIn with a text ad, you must first decide where you want the text ad to take your potential customers. This can be your page on LinkedIn or a page on your website. Add an image, such as a company logo, a headline of up to 25 characters, and a description of up to 75 characters. As you add content to your ad, you’ll be able to see a preview on the right-hand side of the page.
You can create up to 15 text ads at a time to see which variations of your advertisement get the best results.
LinkedIn Ads Targeting
No matter what ad format you choose when advertising on LinkedIn, choosing your target audience works the same way. LinkedIn provides a wide variety of criteria from which you can choose your desired audience, including but not limited to:
- Company Name
- Size of the Company
- Seniority of the Job
- Job Title
- Function of the Job
- Member Schools
- Field of Study
- Member Age
- Member Gender
This is information LinkedIn collects from everyone as part of each member’s profile, information that users may not include on their Facebook or Instagram profiles. This gives businesses advertising on LinkedIn some unique opportunities they may not get on other platforms.
You will also be able to see exactly how many users are estimated to belong to your target audience, so you can be sure your target audience is as specific or general as you want it.
Apart from selecting audience criteria, you have other options for targeting with LinkedIn, such as:
This is a feature that shows your ad to audiences similar to the audiences you’ve selected. This prevents you from missing out on any relevant marketing opportunities from a simple oversight. After all, you can’t be expected to think of everything.
For instance, if you want to target LinkedIn users that list “online advertising” as a skill, Audience Expansion may also choose to show your ad to users with the “interactive marketing” skill on their profile. This way, your ad potentially gets more relevant attention without you being forced to think of every synonym for “online advertising”.
In this scenario, interactive marketing users will not appear in your estimated audience number. So if you have audience expansion enabled, it is always beneficial to remember that the estimated audience number LinkedIn shows you may be a bit on the low side.
You will also be able to see demographics, clicks, impressions, etc. from both your expanded audience and your originally targeted audience.
You can also exclude certain demographics to ensure they will not be included in the Audience Expansion. For instance, if for any reason you want your ads to appear to online advertising users but not interactive marketing users, you can exclude “interactive marketing” from your audience criteria, and your Audience Expansion will not include interactive marketing users.
You can enable or disable Audience Expansion at the bottom of the page that allows you to select audience criteria.
LinkedIn Audience Network
If you can believe it, advertising on LinkedIn has even more perks.
LinkedIn has an expansive network of partner audiences. If you have Sponsored Content, and if you have cost per click enabled rather than cost per impression, you can choose to allow your ads to appear on other brand-safe publishers and apps outside of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn will honor the budget you have already set for your ads, so this won’t cost you any extra money; however, your daily budget may not last as long as it did before since it’s likely you’ll be getting more clicks than before.
In Campaign Manager, you will be able to see just how many clicks and impressions are driven by these Audience Network ads so you judge the effectiveness for yourself.
Just like with Audience Expansion, you can also choose to exclude your ads from certain publishers or sites. You can block certain partner audiences based on their category, or block specific apps or sites.
Set Your Budget
This is usually the first question business owners when they’re learning how to advertise, and this is still true when learning how to advertise on LinkedIn. It doesn’t matter if every user on LinkedIn sees your ads, after all: if you bankrupt yourself getting it in front of them, its no use.
LinkedIn Advertising Cost
Fortunately, LinkedIn has a few pricing options:
- Cost per click (CPC). You’re charged every time someone clicks on your ad.
- Cost per impression (CPM). You’re charged every time a certain number of people see your ad, usually 100 or 1000 people.
- Cost per send (CPS). This is used for Sponsored InMail. You’re charged for every successfully delivered message.
CPC is typically used for action-based campaigns, such as lead generation or event registration. CPM is preferable for brand awareness.
For all of these pricing options, you can set daily budgets. For instance, you may be able to spend $150 a day on LinkedIn ads. Once you have reached that threshold, your ad campaigns will be paused until the next day.
Within your daily budgets, you can also set “maximum bids”. Say your maximum bid per click is $5.00. If your daily budget is $150 a day, then after thirty clicks, your budget will be spent and your ad campaign will be paused until the next day.
They are called bids because LinkedIn displays ads based on an auction system. But if you have trouble understanding speedy auction chanting, never fear. It isn’t like that at all.
So here’s how it works:
Ad Rank for LinkedIn
In a nutshell: LinkedIn has slots for an ad. Obviously, the higher the position, the better. All the ads that could potentially fit into these slots are given a rank based on the amount of money they’re willing to spend per click or per impressions, in conjunction with past ad performance.
Due to this process of ranking ads, it isn’t always the highest bidder that wins the auction. The better your past ad performance, the less money you need to achieve the same or a higher ranking when advertising on LinkedIn. However, new advertisers may have to pay a slightly higher premium for their clicks or impressions until they get some positive ad history under their belts.
Maximum bids and daily budgets can all be set from within the Campaign Manager.
Advertising on LinkedIn: Measure and Optimize Your Campaign
So your ads are live now: congratulations! But that isn’t your final step in advertising on LinkedIn. It is important that you monitor your campaigns and make any changes that need to be made based on the reports you receive. These reports can be accessed through Campaign Manager; I told you it was your nervous system!
Within your Campaign Manager analytics, you will be able to see for each individual ad:
- Overall performance
- Branded searches: have Google searches for your brand increased since launching your ads?
- Website traffic: have more people been coming to your website?
- Cost per lead: does the amount of genuine business you’re getting match up with what you’re paying for it?
These are features LinkedIn provides so that you can fully optimize your ad experience when advertising on LinkedIn.
Still Not Sure? Digital Logic Has You Covered
If you’re still not sure if you have the time or know-how to pull off an optimized ad campaign on LinkedIn and you’re thinking it’s time to bring in a professional, look no further!
Digital Logic is a full-service SEO company that will help you create and optimize your ad campaigns across platforms, including LinkedIn.