LinkedIn is a phenomenal platform for distributing thought leadership content, and for reaching a vast professional audience across many industries. Many marketers believe LinkedIn’s audience to be of the highest quality compared to other social media platforms such as Facebook.
LinkedIn Ads are a fantastic way to target defined audiences and ensure higher visibility for your brand and content. LinkedIn Ads have matured over the last several years, and they now offer a broad selection of options that you can use to fine-tune your Ads for your audience and campaign objectives. In this article, we explore what Ad campaigns and Ad formats work best on LinkedIn Ads for a variety of campaign objectives. Let’s get started!
Getting Started With LinkedIn Advertising
When setting up a LinkedIn advertising campaign, your first step in the campaign manager is to decide what Ad types you want to utilize. However, the “right” Ad type is dependent on your campaign’s goal. Before you choose an Ad type, you’ll need to establish an objective for your campaign. Your goal can be to grow brand awareness, generate leads, and/or increase engagement, video views, website visits, and conversions. Let’s break down the different goals of a LinkedIn Ad campaign so you can determine the right Ad type and objective that will work best for your marketing objectives.
How to determine your campaign objective
The best LinkedIn campaigns oftentimes choose several different objectives based on what content they are promoting. Let’s dive deeper into when you’d use each one.
- Job applications:
If you’re looking to promote a job posting on LinkedIn. If you are a recruiter or an employee in HR, you would be most likely to choose this objective.
- Brand awareness:
If you’re looking to reach as many people and serve as many impressions as possible, this is the objective for you. You would choose this if you’re a large organization that has lots of marketing dollars or you have a product or service that appeals to a mass audience.
If you’re trying to increase engagement and traffic to your company’s LinkedIn page. This objective will show your campaign to people most likely to take the following social actions such as: like, share, comment, view, and/or follow your company’s LinkedIn page. This objective is helpful if you’re trying to build your audience following and trying to build out your organic social marketing efforts.
- Video views:
This objective is meant to promote your video Ads to a large audience. You would choose this if you have a video or series of videos aimed at promoting your product or service that would be suitable for a professional audience. Its cost model is a CPV (cost per thousand video views). You can and should expect this to be within $0.20-$0.65. Tip: Keeping your videos at under a minute (or even less) is suggested. 30 seconds is the industry norm and once you increase, viewership and engagement begin to fall off.
- Website visits:
This is the standard ‘traffic’ goal on other social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. You would use this if your main goal is to increase traffic to your website, however choosing website conversions or lead generation as your objective might be more suitable for your goals if you’re looking to gain qualified leads.
- Website conversions:
This is very similar to the website visits goal, however, it takes it one step further because LinkedIn optimizes for members who are more likely to take a certain action. If you have not run an Ad campaign before, you might want to start with a website visits goal and then move to a website conversions goal after a month or so of running because LinkedIn needs time to collect the data needed to understand what your conversions count as. A conversion could count as a variety of different things. Most notably: scheduling a demo, scheduling a call with a sales rep, downloading an asset, registering for a webinar, registering for an event, listening to a webinar, and signing up for an e-course.
- Lead generation:
This goal is similar to website conversions, however, after a prospect clicks on your Ad, they will see a light box pop-up within LinkedIn. Instead of being directed to an external website, they will see a form-fill that is pre-filled with their LinkedIn profile information. They can then submit their contact information right away. Rather than it taking 7, 8, or even 9 clicks to get through a form-fill (which can be the case on some websites), you can use LinkedIn lead gen forms and have all of the information you need for that lead within 2 clicks. The form-fills are verified by the user’s LinkedIn profile, are highly intent-driven, and make for a simple and secure process for your target to submit their information. In our experience, lead generation forms deliver the best results for your LinkedIn Lead Generation Ad campaigns.
Which Of These LinkedIn Ad Campaign Formats Works Best?
In short, lead generation campaigns typically perform best. LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Form campaigns increase conversions by 2-3x when compared to standard Sponsored Content campaigns. However, this is highly dependent on what content you are promoting, what your CTA is, and what your campaign objective is.
What are the different kinds of LinkedIn Ad formats
LinkedIn offers a variety of Ad formats, each of which is best suited for a specific campaign objective and campaign type. Here’s a quick summary of the different formats and how it’s best to use them.
- LinkedIn Sponsored Content:
This is an ideal format on LinkedIn as well as other social media channels. These are native ads in your LinkedIn feed. They often do not feel like advertising (if done correctly), are optimized for mobile, and you can promote a video or an image. Sponsored Content is the highest performing ad format on LinkedIn, so any campaign you choose to run should have it in the mix in some way.
- LinkedIn Sponsored InMail:
Similar to an email campaign, Sponsored InMail is a personalized message that you can send to a LinkedIn members’ inbox. What’s interesting and valuable about LinkedIn InMail is that you can only send these to a member once every 60 days. In other words, if I received a Sponsored InMail today, I would not be able to receive another Sponsored InMail (from any other company or individual) until my 60 days are up. Despite your instinct to want to send as many InMails as possible, this rule is actually advantageous to your marketing efforts. It significantly helps to reduce spam on LinkedIn and because a LinkedIn member only sees one message every two months, it keeps the messages fresh.
- Text Ads:
This is a very traditional advertising format and is rarely used anymore. They are cheap and good to run in conjunction with other formats. LinkedIn text Ads appear on the top of the page as a blue hyperlink.
- Dynamic Ads (spotlight Ads):
These Ads show the picture of the LinkedIn member for a more personalized experience, but your ad copy has to be much shorter than usual (25 characters), so make your words count!
- Conversation Ads:
This is LinkedIn’s newest Ad product and works similarly to Sponsored InMail. Rather than sending an email type message, you can add some conditional logic. It works like a chatbot but is still delivered to a LinkedIn member’s inbox (just like InMail).
- Carousel Ads:
These are essentially Sponsored Content but with multiple images. You can use these Ads to tell a story or promote multiple products or services at once.
- Video Ads:
As the name implies, these are videos that you can sponsor on LinkedIn. Your video should be no longer than 1 minute (ideally should be around 15 or 30 seconds in order to achieve the best performance). Remember, there’s an abundance of content out there, so you really have to impress and capture your audience’s attention within the first few seconds. Cut out the fluff and get to the point. Touch upon their challenges and pain points, not what makes your product stand out.
Well-crafted LinkedIn Ads can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy. And with your campaign objectives and ad formats aligned, you can unlock new levels of ROI from your LinkedIn campaigns.
Adam Yaeger is the CEO and founder of Llama Lead Gen, a digital marketing company focused on generating high quality leads through paid social advertising. As an ex-LinkedIn employee, Adam and his team are well versed in all things digital marketing including, but not limited to: strategy, organic social, platform-specific campaigns (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter), marketing automation (chatbots, pop-ups), email nurturing, CRM setup and analysis, and campaign management.