LinkedIn Ads: The Ultimate Guide 2020

LinkedIn Ads: The Ultimate Guide 2020

LinkedIn is a business network that stands out from other social media. Meanwhile, more than 630 million specialists and executives rely on LinkedIn. But what distinguishes LinkedIn from Facebook, Twitter, and Co.?

LinkedIn is a web-based social network for maintaining existing business contacts and establishing new business connections. With registered users in more than 200 countries (as of January 2018), the platform is one of the  50 most-visited websites

And unlike Facebook, Instagram, and Co., LinkedIn offers an exclusively professional business environment for your advertising campaigns. Corporate messages and relevant topics are guaranteed not to go under between party pictures and cat content.

LinkedIn Ads: In a nutshell

An advantage of LinkedIn is the very detailed data records of the registered users. They meticulously maintain their professional CV, including information on employment relationships, positions completed, career status, employers, and industries. Because every advertiser benefits from current, accurate, and, above all, extensive data, it is worthwhile to deal with LinkedIn ads. Because this way, target groups can be created and targeted much more precisely.

Both the price and the goals (leads, brand awareness, event registrations) can be easily set. There is a choice between mass and individual messages that are easily tailored to mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones, or conventional desktop versions.

LinkedIn ads are sold through auctions, with advertisers bidding against other advertisers who want to reach the same target group. The principle is known from GoogleAds. There is a choice between CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) or so-called Sponsored InMails. Here you only pay when a message is delivered immediately.

Create a foundation

A house is not safe without a foundation. Likewise, advertising measures do not work without the right basis. At LinkedIn, it is the campaign manager account.

Such an account is a prerequisite for using advertisements as sponsored content and sponsored InMails. It can also improve the results of the bids because the LinkedIn relevance value rewards users who regularly publish content with high clicks and many reactions.

Create an account in Campaign Manager

The campaign manager is the central advertising platform for LinkedIn. From here, you can set up advertising accounts, create campaigns, and control your budget.

Creating it is very easy. Either you go to the campaign manager: Or click on the “Advertise” icon on the LinkedIn homepage in the top right under “Apps“.

Now define your advertising account name and the desired currency. You can then optionally assign this account to a LinkedIn company page.

Now just click on “Create Account” and you will be redirected to the Campaign Manager homepage. Now your advertising campaign can take shape.

Step by step instructions: Create a LinkedIn campaign

1.) Log in to the campaign manager

2.) Select campaign target

The goal of any campaign is the response the audience should take after seeing the ad. With LinkedIn Ads, users can choose between three campaign categories :

Awareness:  Aims at impressions, primarily to strengthen brand awareness. (Brand Awareness)

Consideration:  Aims at increased customer activity and clicks, with which the target group is led to a landing page. And more engagement, such as reactions and ad views. (Website visits, engagement, video views)

linkedin campaign manager

Conversions:  The goal is to generate leads. The advantage: The user can track all actions on the desired website (downloads, leads won). (Lead generation, website conversions, job application)

3.) Define the target group

The target group can be easily narrowed down based on job-related characteristics such as job title, company name, industry, location, language, training, work experience, or interests. There is also the “Matched Audience” option.

Your own data is used for retargeting, contact targeting, and account targeting. That means: The program uses its own data to calculate a suitable target group.

4.) Select ad format

Depending on the selected target and target group, you can choose from various sponsored content formats:

5.) Set bid and budget

Since LinkedIn ads are sold through auctions, the campaign manager now suggests a bid range based on currently competing for bids from other advertisers for your target audience.

6.) Complete the advertisement draft

When you create sponsored content or text ads, the campaign manager shows you how they will look in different sizes and environments. So you can test how your ads work. With Sponsored InMails, you can optionally send yourself a test message.

7.) Provide billing information

Now only the payment data remains to be stored. You will then be forwarded to the preview of the advertising campaign, where the last changes can be made.

The formats of LinkedIn Ads

A big advantage of advertising on LinkedIn is the fact that users in this network are already on the move with a business mindset. Also, the competition on LinkedIn is (still) comparatively low, even though it is the world’s largest business network – the perfect place for B2B marketing. You can advertise here with three ad formats, and video ads are also being planned.

1. LinkedIn Sponsored Ads

The sponsored content is marked as such with the name “sponsored“. The content can be, for example, contributions that can already be found on your company profile: From YouTube videos to blog posts, you can highlight the content that interests your target audience.

LinkedIn Sponsored Ads

Direct Sponsored Content, in turn, enables you to test and personalize content in the newsfeed without having to have a corresponding post on your company profile. Either way: Sponsored content increases brand awareness and increases the conversion rate. For optimization, it is worth measuring traffic and conversion with URL tracking codes right from the start.

Sponsored Ads are placed on LinkedIn in the newsfeed and in the desktop version on the right edge of the homepage. This guarantees high visibility and promotes engagement with the post, especially since the ad format allows a lot of text and large images.

2. Sponsored InMail Ads

You are the predecessor of messenger marketing with chatbots: Sponsored InMail Ads on LinkedIn. These are direct messages to your specified target users. These messages should be personalized, i.e., address the user by name.

In terms of content, you can invite sponsored InMail Ads, for example, to attend a training event or offer a white paper for download. It is only important that an explicit call to action is included, and the message of the message is immediately conveyed understandably.

Sponsored InMail Ads

Incidentally, this type of advertisement on LinkedIn cannot be “lost.” Because it is only delivered if the user in question is also online and active, this puts the message at the top of the mailbox, where it is displayed just like any other message. So the likelihood that your ad will be opened is very high. The format is also very efficient at the cost level: costs only arise if the message is transmitted ( cost per send ).

3. LinkedIn Text Ads

With Text Ads, you can also increase traffic and increase brand awareness. This format is particularly useful if, for example, you want to place a job offer in such a way that applicants who are interested in it are made aware of it.

Text ads are very easy to create, are inexpensive, and are therefore well suited for entry into the world of LinkedIn advertising. You set the budget yourself, and you can create up to 15 versions of an ad and test which one works best. A small picture can also be added optionally. It has this possibility in itself: Images in social media posts can increase engagement by up to 150 percent.

LinkedIn Text Ads

But you should know the following: This type of advertisement on LinkedIn is comparatively small and is only displayed on desktop PCs. Text ads are placed on the side of the feed and only allow 100 characters, including spaces: Precise, engaging wording is mandatory here!

For attention to be guaranteed, an unmistakable CTA and an interesting headline are essential. And as natural as it sounds: Of course, the name of your company must also be included in the text.

4. LinkedIn Display Ads

The so-called display ads are also only displayed on desktop PCs and on the right edge. However, these ads are only sold via platforms for programmatic buying.

LinkedIn Dynamic Ads

The design options are diverse: You can use several media types. With Display ads, you increase brand awareness at an early point in the provider-recipient relationship.

5. LinkedIn Dynamic Ads

Like Display Ads, Dynamic Ads can be found on the right side of the desktop version of LinkedIn. However, the difference lies in the extent of personalization: Dynamic Ads obtain information from a user’s profile to make the display as individual as possible. For example, this type of LinkedIn ad shows when a person the user is connected to has joined a certain group.

Targeted Ads: Targeting for LinkedIn advertising

As with any type of social media advertising, it is, of course, indispensable to do clever targeting with LinkedIn advertising. You should not neglect retargeting either: where there has ever been interested, you may be able to rekindle it.

Use the email addresses you have already collected or the LinkedIn pixel, also known as Insight Tag. This JavaScript code makes it possible to track visitors to a specific landing page so that they can be addressed again later.

As far as targeting is concerned, LinkedIn Ads can benefit from the fact that you have very in-depth user data and can, therefore, narrow down your target group very precisely. With the respective filters, for example, only users who have a certain professional career or already have a certain expert status can be addressed. This kind of business level is even unsuccessful in the filter system of Facebook Ads.

Apart from that, you also have the classic options with LinkedIn Ads to filter according to demographic and interest-based information. The standard is age, gender, and location.

Even more exciting for targeting in the business area are information such as current and previous employers, work experience, and the time that the target user is already working in a company. Because all of this provides information about the level of expertise that the person has and makes it possible to address exactly the right users with the advertisement. Summarized at a glance, you have the following targeting options on LinkedIn Ads:


✓  Type of job

✓  Company

✓  Skills

✓  Membership in a certain group

✓  Location

✓  Gender

✓  Age

If you know what characteristics your target group should bring, you need the gold coin of LinkedIn advertising for the next step: the ad manager.

The cost of LinkedIn advertising

Advertising items are generally assigned to LinkedIn Ads according to the auction system. That means the more budget you bring, the better your chances of high visibility. The “auction,” which decides whether your ad gets a position, takes place in a fraction of a second and always when a target user visits a certain LinkedIn page.

A certain minimum budget is specified, and LinkedIn also provides suggestions as to which budget would be useful for a campaign. Because, of course, certain target groups are particularly sought after and for which a small budget could not do much. Apart from that, you can decide how much you want to invest.

There are several options for dividing up the LinkedIn advertising budget. One of them is the cost-per-click system (CPC): Here, you pay for each click on the ad. The situation is different with the Cost per mile (CPM) variant: This results in costs per 1000 impressions; the number of clicks is irrelevant. The CPM system is recommended if you are primarily aiming for increased brand awareness.

And what about Sponsored InMail Ads? Quite simply: Cost per send (CPS) applies here. So you pay for every message that was successfully delivered. Which system makes the most sense depends on the goal you are pursuing with your advertising campaign.

However, it should be said: With LinkedIn Ads, you should set your advertising budget a little higher because both the conversion rates and the CPC amounts tend to be higher in this network than on Facebook and Co. Nevertheless, the investment is worthwhile, since LinkedIn is all the more effective for B2B marketing and can give you valuable leads.

If you are looking for business contacts and have set B2B marketing as a priority in advertising behavior, you should not do without LinkedIn ads. The precise targeting, as far as the business level is concerned, should not be underestimated – especially not when you consider the (still) comparatively low competition. Ready? Then go ahead, the Ads Manager is waiting!

Caution! Guidelines

Advertisements that do not comply with LinkedIn guidelines will be deleted from the site, and advertisers may be excluded from future advertising on LinkedIn. The following LinkedIn Ads guidelines provide a summary of the guidelines for advertising on LinkedIn. There are some interesting restrictions with LinkedIn:

  • So advertising for downloadable ringtones is prohibited.
  • Advertising fortune telling, dream interpretation, and personal horoscopes are prohibited unless the emphasis is on entertainment rather than serious interpretation.
  • Advertising for the purchase or sale or general trading in cryptocurrencies is not permitted.