July 26, 2021

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The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads in 2021

Without careful planning, social media can sometimes feel like shouting into the void. By using LinkedIn ads, though, you can guarantee your brand’s voice makes its way to the right audience. And, an audience of influential decision-makers at that.

Among the platform’s 690 million+ members, four out of five members have the power to impact business decisions. These movers and shakers also have 2x the buying power of typical online audiences.

Follow along with our guide to LinkedIn ads to discover the types of ads available and the kinds of goals they can help you achieve. We’ll also walk you through the process of creating an ad on LinkedIn and share some of our best tips and tricks that will boost your conversion rates.

Bonus: Download a free guide that shows the 11 tactics Hootsuite’s social media team used to grow their LinkedIn audience from 0 to 278,000 followers.

Types of LinkedIn ads

LinkedIn offers advertisers several ad placement options.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content, also known as native ads, show up your audiences’ LinkedIn feed, regardless of whether they’re scrolling on mobile or their desktop. LinkedIn labels these ads as “promoted” to distinguish them from regular content.

When advertising with Sponsored Content, you can go with LinkedIn carousel ads, single image ads or video ads.

Source: LinkedIn

Sponsored Messaging

Sponsored Messaging (previously known as Sponsored InMail) lets you directly advertise to LinkedIn members in their inbox.

Just take note—LinkedIn has a cap on how many members will receive a Sponsored Message ad per month. For instance, a member of your target audience won’t receive one of your ads more than twice within a short timeframe.

While 89% of consumers prefer that businesses stay in touch via messaging, only 48% of companies currently interact with customers and prospects this way.

Text Ads

Text Ads show up along the top and right-hand side of LinkedIn’s desktop feed and are a good option if you’re looking to build strong leads with a professional demographic.

Considering 58% of marketers say that improving lead generation is one of their top digital marketing goals, LinkedIn Text Ads can be a way to cast a wide net on a budget.

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Ads run in the right rail of LinkedIn and speak to audiences directly through personalization. When a Dynamic Ad pops up in a member’s feed, their own personal details, such as their photo, employer’s name and job title, are reflected back to them.

However, if members find these ads a little too personal they can change their settings to hide these details.

Follower Ads and Sponsored Ads are two types of dynamic ads.

Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn ad objectives

LinkedIn uses objective-based advertising, which helps advertisers build ad campaigns around specific business goals.

Businesses can work through all three stages of a sales funnel, from awareness to conversion.

The three main types of objectives are broken down below.

Awareness ads on Linkedin

To get your brand on the tip of people’s tongues, start with an awareness ad. These ads help get audiences talking about your products, services and brand.

Through these impression-based campaigns, you can also gain more followers, increase views, and spark greater engagement.

Consideration ads on LinkedIn

Opt for a consideration ad if you want to qualify leads already somewhat familiar with your brand.

These types of ads are optimized to help advertisers meet the following goals:

  • Website visits: Get more eyeballs on your website and landing pages.
  • Engagement: Encourage likes, comments and shares, as well as visits to other social media platforms and websites.
  • Video views: Share your business story, your latest product, or a day-in-the-life via video.

Conversion ads on LinkedIn

When you want to generate leads or drive home a sale, consider a conversion ad.

They can help meet these three objectives:

  • Lead generation: Gain leads on LinkedIn by using forms pre-filled with LinkedIn profile data.
  • Website conversions: Inspire more website visitors to download an ebook, sign up for a newsletter, or purchase a product.
  • Job applicants: Spread the word about your company’s latest job opening with a job post.

LinkedIn ad formats

To help meet your ad objectives, LinkedIn has 10 different ad formats to choose from.

This section will break down each ad format and explain what goals each ad can help you achieve. We’ll also share LinkedIn ad examples and ad specs.

Carousel ads

LinkedIn carousel ads use a swipeable row of cards to tell your brand’s story, showcase products, or share insights. The key here is to use strong visuals to keep your readers swiping to learn more.

Goals: Brand awareness, website visits, engagement, website conversions, and lead generation.

LinkedIn carousel ad specs:

  • Name of ad: Up to 255 characters
  • Introductory text: Up to 150 characters to avoid shortening on some devices (255 total character limit)
  • Cards: Between two and 10 cards.
  • Max file size: 10 MB
  • Max image dimension: 6012 x 6012px
  • Rich media formats: JPG, PNG, GIF (non-animated only)
  • No more than two lines in each card’s headline text
  • Character limits: 45-character limit on ads leading to a destination URL; 30-character limit on ads with a Lead Gen Form CTA

LinkedIn carousel ads B2B treats

Source: LinkedIn

Conversation ads

Conversation ads offer a choose-your-own-path experience for audiences (think of those choose your own adventure books, but for advertising).

Once you start a conversation, your audience can select a response that speaks most to them. This type of ad lets you showcase products and services while also encouraging event or webinar signups.

Goals: Brand awareness, website visits, engagement, website conversions, and lead generation.

LinkedIn conversation ad specs:

  • Name of ad: Up to 255 characters
    Banner creative (optional and for desktop only): Up to 300 x 250px. JPEG or PNG.
  • Custom footer and terms and conditions (only): Up to 2,500 characters
  • Introductory message: Up to 500 characters
  • Image (optional): 250 x 250px using either JPEG or PNG
  • CTA text: Up to 25 characters
  • CTA buttons per message: Up to five buttons
  • Message text: Up to 500 characters

conversation ads direct message

Source: LinkedIn

Follower ads

Follower ads are a type of dynamic ad personalized to your audience. These ads promote your LinkedIn Page to others in hopes that they’ll hit that follow button.

Goals: Brand awareness, website visits, and engagement.

LinkedIn follower ad specs:

  • Ad description: Up to 70 characters
  • Ad headline: Choose a pre-set option or write up to 50 characters
  • Company name: Up to 25 characters
  • Ad image: Preferably 100 x 100px for JPG or PNG

follower ad explore opportunities from Golden Phase

Source: LinkedIn

Spotlight ads

Spotlight ads shine a light on your products, services, content and more. When members click on the ad, they’re immediately directed to your landing page or website.

Like follower ads, these are another type of dynamic ads that uses personalization to connect with audiences.

Goals: Brand awareness, website visits, engagement, lead generation, and job applicants.

LinkedIn spotlight ad specs:

  • Ad description: Up to 70 characters
  • Ad headline: Up to 50 characters
  • Company name: Up to 25 characters
  • Image: Preferred size is 100 x 100px for JPG or PNG
  • CTA: Up to 18 characters
  • Custom background (optional): Must be exactly 300 x 250px and 2MB or less

spotlight ads careers at FixDex

Source: LinkedIn

Job ads

LinkedIn job ads, also called Work With Us ads, boast up to 50x higher clickthrough rates than your average recruitment ad. That’s likely because these LinkedIn ads leverage employee networks and block the ability for other competitors to have their ads show up on your employees’ profiles.

Goals: Job applicants and website visits.

LinkedIn job ad specs:

  • Company name: Up to 25 characters
  • Company logo: 100 x 100px is recommended
  • Ad headline: Up to 70 characters or the option to choose a pre-set headline
  • CTA: Up to 44 characters if custom text; pre-set options available

LinkedIn job ads Acme hiring

Source: LinkedIn

Lead gen forms

Lead gen forms, short for lead generation forms, are available for message ads and sponsored content, can help you discover more qualified leads.

For instance, if you’re hosting a webinar, you can connect a lead gen form to your CTA, which will automatically input your target audiences’ profile data. After, you can download your leads from LinkedIn’s ads manager or integrate LinkedIn to work with your own CRM.

You can learn more about lead gen forms here:

Goals: Lead generation

LinkedIn lead gen form specs:

  • Form name: Up to 256 characters
  • Headline: Up to 60 characters
  • Details: Up to 70 characters to avoid truncation (Up to 160 characters total)
  • Privacy policy text (optional): Up to 2,000 characters

lead gen form FixDex webinar series

Sources: LinkedIn

Message ads

More than 1 in 2 prospects open up a message ad, making this format very appealing to advertisers,

This type of ad lets you send a direct message to your audiences’ inbox, complete with a CTA.

Goals: Website visits, website conversions, lead generation.

LinkedIn message ad specs:

  • Message subject: Up to 60 characters
  • CTA button copy: Up to 20 characters
  • Message text: Up to 1,500 characters
  • Custom terms and conditions: Up to 2,500 characters
  • Banner creative: JPEG, PNG, GIF (non animated). Size: 300 x 250px

LinkedIn message ad program for project managers

Source: LinkedIn

Single image ads

Single image ads appear on LinkedIn’s home page and look like regular content posts, except that they’re paid for and will specifically be noted as “promoted” to distinguish from other unpaid content. These ads only include one image.

Goals: Brand awareness, website visits, engagement, website conversions, lead generation and job applicants

LinkedIn single image ad specs:

  • Name of ad (optional): Up to 225 characters
  • Introductory text: Up to 150 characters
  • Destination URL: Up to 2,000 characters for the destination link.
  • Ad image: A JPG, GIF or PNG file 5MB or smaller; the maximum image size is 7680 x 7680 pixels.
  • Headline: Up to 70 characters to avoid shortening (but can use up to 200 characters)
  • Description: Up to 100 characters to avoid shortening (but can use up to 300 characters)

single image ad on LinkedIn dashboard by FixDex

Source: LinkedIn

Single job ads

Single job ads promote opportunities directly in your audiences’ newsfeed. If you’ve been struggling to find that perfect candidate or always seem to be in hiring mode, these ads are the way to go.

It also doesn’t hurt that LinkedIn internal data shows that these ads provide a 25% increase in the average click to apply rate.

Goals: Job applications

LinkedIn job ad specs:

  • Name of ad: Up to 255 characters
  • Introductory text: Up to 150 characters to avoid shortening of text (desktop max of 600 characters); any legally required language must go here

single job ads Golden Phase promoted jobs

Source: LinkedIn

Text ads

Text ads are easy to set up and work within your own budget. Since 80% of B2B leads on social media come through LinkedIn, text ads may be particularly attractive for those seeking B2B leads.

Goals: Brand awareness, website visits and website conversions.

LinkedIn ad specs:

  • Image: 100 x 100px with a JPG or PNG 2MB or less
  • Headline: Up to 25 characters
  • Description: Up to 75 characters

LinkedIn text ads you may be interested in

Source: LinkedIn

Video ads

By getting creative with LinkedIn video ads, you can promote thought leadership, highlight the customer experience, reveal new products, give an insider look at company culture, and anything else you can dream up. This is an opportunity to show, not tell, your brand’s story.

Goals: Video views

LinkedIn video ad specs:

  • Name of ad (optional): Up to 225 characters
  • Introductory text (optional): Up to 600 characters
  • Video length: 3 seconds to 30 minutes (high performing LinkedIn video ads tend to be 15 seconds or less)
  • File size: 75KB to 200MB
  • Frame rate: Less than 30 frames per seconds
  • Width: 640 to 1920 pixels
  • Height: 360 to 1920 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1.778 to 0.5652

video ads TechCore AI

Source: LinkedIn

How to create a LinkedIn ad in 9 steps

To create your own LinkedIn ad, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Create a LinkedIn Page if you don’t have one already

This is required to create Sponsored Content and Sponsored Messaging Ads. If you need help setting one up, read our guide on LinkedIn for business.

Golden Phase LinkedIn page

Source: LinkedIn

Step 2: Log in to Campaign Manager or create an account.

The Campaign Manager platform, also known as LinkedIn’s ad manager, will be home to all your advertising activities, such as running campaigns and managing your budget.

Campaign Manager platform

Source: LinkedIn

Step 3: Select your ad objective

Think about what type of action you want to inspire among your audience.

ad objective awareness consideration or conversion

Source: LinkedIn

Step 4: Choose your target audience

First, you must choose a location, and then you have the option of adding job title, company name, industry type and personal or professional interests.

If it’s your first campaign, LinkedIn recommends a target audience of at least 50,000 for Sponsored Content and Text Ads. For Message Ads, 15,000 is best.

Campaign Manager target audience

Source: LinkedIn

You also have the option of connecting with people you already know through Matched Audiences. You can do this by retargeting people who’ve visited your website or uploading a list of email contacts.

Learn more about Matched Audiences here:

Step 5: Select an ad format

Depending on the objective you chose, you’ll be able to pick from Sponsored Content options (single-image, carousel or video ads), Text Ads or Message Ads.

ad format options


Source:
LinkedIn

Step 6: Create your budget and schedule

Campaign Manager will provide a budget range based on other competing bids for your ideal audience.

The initial 2-4 weeks are typically considered a learning experience to figure out what works (or doesn’t). For testing, LinkedIn recommends a daily budget of at least $100 or a monthly budget of $5,000.

budget and schedule

Source: LinkedIn

Step 7: Start building your ad

If you opt for Sponsored Content or Text Ads, the Campaign Manager will share previews so you can get a sense of the final look of your ad. In the case of Message Ads, you’ll be able to send yourself a test message.

Step 8: Provide payment information

Before you can debut your ad to the world, you’ll have to provide payment information. Once that’s done, you’re ready to launch!

Campaign Manager billing information

Source: LinkedIn

Step 9: Measure performance

When you sign in to Campaign Manager, the first thing you’ll see is the reporting dashboard for your LinkedIn ads. From here, you can review performance metrics, access charts and demographics, or export a CSV report. This is also where you’d go for conversion tracking.

Campaign performance

Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn ads best practices

Last but certainly not least, here’s the criteria LinkedIn itself says are vital to crafting a successful ad campaign on the platform.

Figure out your target audience

On LinkedIn, defining where in the world you want your ads to be seen is mandatory. Your desired location is actually the only field that’s mandatory when setting up your ad campaign. You can go broad by only designating the country, state or province, or you can go granular and target audiences by city or metropolitan area.

You can then further refine your target audience with company details (e.g. industry or company size), demographics, education, job experience and interests.

One word of caution: LinkedIn advises against getting over-specific with ad targeting. If you’re new to LinkedIn ads, you might want to try casting a wider net initially and sticking to three targeting facets.

You can also A/B test campaigns with different targeting criteria, such as skills versus job titles, to learn which audiences connect better with your brand.

Craft your ad copy around a succinct, clear call to action

LinkedIn ads should typically end with a clear CTA, often in the form of a text button.

Your readers are busy. They need someone to spell out exactly what they should do next, otherwise, they might miss out on signing up for that career-boosting webinar or purchasing a new product that could simplify their life. Just make sure that your CTA matches the objective you initially selected.

Some effective CTA’s include “Register Now” or “Sign Up Today!”

Read Hootsuite’s blog to learn more tips about creating captivating CTAs.

Choose the right content

LinkedIn can boost your content so it finds the right audience, but that won’t keep people glued to the screen.

Try the techniques below to keep audiences hanging onto every word you say.

Sponsored Content:

  • Repurpose content from your blog, website and social media channels.
  • Use video, audio or other rich media elements.
  • Develop an emotional connection by sharing human interest stories.
  • Do more than just share trending news. Add your insights into the mix to show off your brand’s thought leadership.

Sponsored Messaging:

  • If encouraging brand consideration, share blog posts, webinars, or industry trends and analysis.
  • When developing leads and trying to convert customers, promote product demos, tutorials and success stories or advertise an upcoming webinar or event.

Text Ads:

  • Despite the name of these ads, you won’t want to skip the visuals. Images are optional but they land better results.
  • Instead of including an object or logo, opt for a profile image when possible.

Video Ads:

  • According to LinkedIn, videos under 30 seconds saw a 200% lift in view completion rates, so keep them short and sweet.
  • Design videos for sound-off viewing and add subtitles.
  • Don’t save the best for last. Viewers drop off after the first 10 seconds.

Carousel Ads:

  • Use 3-5 cards to start, and test adding more cards later.
  • Create a carousel of content that speaks to a similar theme or break down a large piece of content into carousel cards.
  • Use visual storytelling to pique your audience’s interest.
  • Each carousel card description should include a CTA and clear, direct messaging.

Dynamic Ads:

  • Skip the brevity and be descriptive as possible in the main ad headline and text.
  • Test image layouts in advance of posting.
  • Include one clear message and CTA in each ad.

Promote organic posts as sponsored content

When time is of the essence, hop on Hootsuite to promote organic posts as sponsored content. You can target audiences based on their location, interests, or professional information.

create new sponsor post on LinkedIn

Source: Hootsuite

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The post The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads in 2021 appeared first on Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard.