5 Steps to Successful LinkedIn Advertising

social media how toWith more than 100 million users and counting, LinkedIn is a flourishing social media platform for business professionals worldwide.

That’s great news for B2B marketers, because LinkedIn is much more than just a bunch of résumés.

LinkedIn advertising is a huge opportunity for lead generation for B2B companies. Business messages are well-received in LinkedIn’s professionally focused environment.

In addition, LinkedIn lets marketers target ads to users by important B2B demographics such as job title or industry or even focusing on members of particular LinkedIn groups.

This is different—and arguably better-suited for B2B—than Facebook ads, which typically target users by lifestyle interests (such as gardening, music or religion).

Marketers can create an ad on LinkedIn in just minutes with a minimum spend of $10/day. For LinkedIn ads, there are some basics of PPC advertising to keep in mind, as well as nuances of LinkedIn to leverage to ensure you’ll get the most from your campaigns.

The Basics of LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads appear in two places on the site. First, your ad will appear along the sidebar with a photo and text. Depending on your ad’s performance, a text-only version will appear at the top of LinkedIn.

linkedin ads

LinkedIn ads appear in two places: On the sidebar and as text-only versions at the top of the site.

LinkedIn ads include a photo, 25-character headline and 75-character description. You can choose to pay LinkedIn via CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions).

Finally, LinkedIn allows you to offer several variations of your ad so that you can test which drives the most click-throughs and leads.

5 Steps for LinkedIn Ad Success

Now that you know the basics of what LinkedIn’s advertising has to offer, here are 5 tips to keep in mind as you create your ads.

#1: Create great ads with powerful copy and relevant images

Before you fine-tune your campaigns with targeting or increase your bids, you’ve got to start with a great ad.

Write effective ad copy. LinkedIn ads are short: they’re just 75 characters for the description and 25 characters for the headline. Every character counts.

LinkedIn allows you to send people to a link on your own site or to a page on LinkedIn itself. Similar to how Facebook marketers use Sponsored Stories to promote Facebook pages, marketers can use LinkedIn ads to promote company pages or LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn recently added the ability for companies to post status updates to company pages.

LinkedIn also recently hinted that accruing “followers” for your company page will be an increasingly important goal for marketers, and using targeted ads to attract those followers is a good strategy. Another option is to direct ad readers to a page on your site where they convert to a lead through a contact form.

No matter where your link sends ad readers, include a strong call to action. Words and phrases like “download,” “sign up” or “request a demo” are clear and direct instructions for your audience.

Include strong calls to action in your ad copy. The call to action in this ad is clear: "Get a free quote."

When writing your calls to action, remember Copyblogger’s “4 U” guide to writing:

  • Be useful.
  • Convey a sense of urgency.
  • Show that the benefit of your offer is unique.
  • Do it all in an ultra-specific way. (Your audience should know explicitly what action you want them to take based on your ad copy.)

When it comes to PPC ads, a picture could be worth a thousand clicks. Choose a picture that matches what you’re offering, and make sure it works with LinkedIn’s white background and 50×50 pixel parameters.

Another helpful tip for when you’re getting started: Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with LinkedIn’s advertising guidelines to learn more about what language, photos and promotional tactics are or aren’t approved by LinkedIn.

#2: Target your ads to a specific audience

Narrow down your audience to the most relevant prospects. A few common targeting options include industry (banking, marketing and advertising, Internet), job function (marketing, academics, engineering) and groups.

Tip: Check out LinkedIn Today to see what the top-shared news is for each industry to learn more about your audience. Understanding what news they are interested in sharing is a good indicator of what offers they may be interested in as well.

linkedin today

Tip: See what the top stories are in each industry on LinkedIn Today. Understanding what news your audience is interested in sharing is a good idea.

Generally, the more specific your offer and targeting are, the better your LinkedIn ads perform. Monitor your click-through rate (CTR) on LinkedIn and your visit-to-lead conversion rate by setting up goals in Google Analytics or using marketing analytics software to determine how effective your targeting is.

#3: Split-test different variations of your campaign

LinkedIn ad accounts are organized by campaigns. Each campaign has its own daily budget, targeting options and ads.

LinkedIn recommends that you create at least three ads per campaign with varying headlines, call-to-action phrases and images. You can create up to 15 different ads for each campaign.

LinkedIn displays your ads to your selected target audience. When you start getting clicks, the top ad by CTR will be shown more frequently, so it will receive even more clicks.

You can change your settings so LinkedIn shows your ads at a more even pace, with each one getting the same number of impressions. Keep track of which ads are most successful, and pause the ads that have the lowest CTR.

hubspot

Test several variations of the same ad to see which one performs best.

#4: Budgets and bidding—spend your money strategically

BudgetsYour daily budget is the maximum amount that you are wiling to spend each day. LinkedIn displays ads at different rates during the day depending on when LinkedIn users are active on the website. 50% of your budget might be spent in the morning, with 25% going to the afternoon and another 25% at night. When you reach your daily budget limit, your ads stop showing for that day.

Not receiving as many impressions and clicks as you’d like? Your daily budget may be too low. Calculate the average total spend per day for the last week and compare that amount to your daily budget. If those numbers are equal or close to each other, then increasing your daily budget could help you get more impressions and clicks.

linkedin page

Now, businesses can post status updates on their company pages just like individuals can on LinkedIn. You can use an ad to promote your company page and generate more visibility for your brand on LinkedIn.

BiddingEach time a prospect visits a page on LinkedIn, an “auction” happens between your ad and other advertisers. LinkedIn offers a suggested bid range, or an estimate of the current competing bids from other advertisers. The higher your bid, the more likely it is to “win the auction.” If you do not enter a bid within the suggested range, your ad will be less likely to beat other advertisers’ bids in the auction, resulting in fewer impressions or clicks.

#5: Measure the performance of your ads

Like for any marketing initiative, you want to pay attention to metrics to understand your LinkedIn ads’ effectiveness. But consider your overall marketing and business goals first when you think about what your goals are with LinkedIn ads, and measure accordingly.

Measuring CTRWhether you’re promoting a page on LinkedIn or a page on your own website, CTR is good to track. According to LinkedIn, good ads have a CTR greater than 0.025%. Monitor the CTR frequently, and if you notice a drop, refresh the ads with new copy or images. Narrowing your target audience so your ad is more relevant (and there is less competition) could also be helpful for driving a higher CTR.

Measure leadsIf you’re hoping to send ad viewers to a contact form on your site, don’t only work on the LinkedIn ad; also take your landing pages into consideration. If you have a strong CTR, but the conversion from visit-to-lead seems low, your landing page may not be as effective as it could be.

What do you think? Have you considered using LinkedIn ads for your marketing? Will you use them to promote content or to increase your company “followers”? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author, Janet Aronica

Janet Aronica is Head of Marketing for Shareaholic. You can read her social media blog at JanetAronica.com or say hi on Twitter @JanetAronica. Other posts by »




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  • http://twitter.com/aboutbart Bart van der Kooi

    Why is there nothing about the possibility for lead tracking? LinkedIn recently published this feature and it is of great worth to B2B marketeers.

  • http://twitter.com/Lesleywoo Lesley Wood

    I am told it is now 131 members on LinkedIn now! Nice bite sized summary, thank you.

  • http://www.lookingformarketingjobs.com/ John Thomas

    I went to a training session on LinkedIn this past weekend. I haven’t used it in a while because I am not “Looking”, but wow it has changed. The possibilities have made me really think of ways to expand my brand.

    Thank you for this article. 

  • http://karenruntz.wordpress.com/ Karen Runtz

    Your post does a great job covering the what-to-do and why, giving me what I need to set out into what has been until now unfamiliar territory. Thank you.

  • Ricks

    LinkedIn ads are too expensive. Whilst LinkedIn can be more targeted, Google Adwords has shown to be more cost effective and generates actual leads/sales – whereas, from what I’ve read, LinkedIn doesn’t provide good leads.

  • http://www.extremejohn.com Extreme John

    I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn and it is one of my top highly reliable site for social media marketing. This post is a great source of information and is surely helpful for my business. Thanks for such an excellent share.

  • http://twitter.com/JanetAronica Janet Aronica

    glad you liked the post!

  • Janet Aronica

    Would have to respectfully disagree as I think that’s a general statement to make… it’s different for each business. The key is to track your campaigns with UTM parameters and see what not only drives the highest CTR but also what actually drives conversions for your business. My take – for B2B… you may get more impressions from Google Adwords but because you’re targeting more specific and engaged people on LinkedIn, you could get a higher CTR and conversion rate. Again, different for each business though.

  • http://twitter.com/JanetAronica Janet Aronica

    thanks for reading!

  • Janet Aronica

    Great point! Was written before that launched. Thanks for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/JanetAronica Janet Aronica

    thanks for reading! :)  

  • Alexandra

    For some types of products you have to create the demand. Businesses might not be searching for them on Google. In that case LinkedIn is great. You can pitch your product to the targeted audience. You won’t be able to find as much targeting precision on Google and you won’t be able to find that audience on Google either. 

  • http://twitter.com/jonathan92591 Jonathan Thompson

    Thanks for the article! I’m sending this to our HR person and the company I consult for. Thank you!

    JT

  • Grant

    Terrific article. We are just now expanding our efforts within social media marketing, so your information could not have come at a better time.

  • http://twitter.com/JanetAronica Janet Aronica

    I tend to agree. Again, like you say – for some types of products. No hard and fast rule. Thanks for your excellent comment!

  • http://twitter.com/JanetAronica Janet Aronica

    That’s awesome! Thanks for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/JanetAronica Janet Aronica

    So great to hear! Good luck!

  • http://twitter.com/JanetAronica Janet Aronica

    These are a lot more targeted than yellow pages. For context…LinkedIn considers a good CTR on these ads to be .25%. I think that’s just the nature of PPC though. Hence why other things like blogging, eBooks (especially) and webinars are useful – and using email to promote that content. More value and better conversion rate. That said, I think these ads amplify those content efforts. It’s all about paying attention to measuring whatever you’re trying to achieve with these ads and seeing if it works *for you.*

  • http://learnit2earnitwithlynn.com Lynn Brown

    This is really good information Janet!  Thank you for taking the time and not only giving step by step, but also some examples and your advice which is also very helpful.  I have not tried Linkedin ads, but will be doing so in the near future.

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  • http://about.me/jkiss James Kiss

    Thanks for writing this article. LinkedIn has been one of the last places I’ve looked into for marketing purposes. I’m glad you gave a good insight for what to do/expect.

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce-magento Henry Louis

    Hi Janet! The way that you have explained about steps to be taken to get success with LinkedIn advertising is really very interesting and helpful to me. Thank you so much for sharing this information.

  • Amnuai Beckenham

    Hello from Thailand Janet,

    As a small handmade silk business located in a remote Thai village we have had wonderful B2B success with Linkedin BUT we have never used the advertising option.
    This post really opened my eyes to opportunities that I have completely overlooked. Thanks for sharing this information and we will re-think our advertising strategy

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  • Sylvain Quendez

    Think twice before trying out LinkedIn ads. After you give your credit card number, it is quite difficult to anticipate how much it will cost you, and even harder to have them remove your billing info from their system.
    Sylvain

  • http://www.facebook.com/nickdageek Nick Smith

    Sylvain, you can set a daily budget so you don’t have to worry about going broke by trying.

    And if you pause all the campaigns in your account, you won’t be charged anything other than what you’ve already spent.

    AdWords and AdCenter works the exact same way.

    HTH

  • Charles Blanchet

    Hello Janet, 
    I hope this message finds you well.  Thanks for the post.  I was amazed at how poorly written the other articles were that I came across.  Most had no useful information and were even grammatically incorrect.  I am about to launch a .com or perhaps a .co and social media is going to be a big part of our success.  I did initial email, facebook and LinkedIn campaigns and LinkedIn was a winner by a landslide.  With some new information on-hand, I can’t wait to fire-up the campaigns to get users to our Alpha product.

    Warm Regards, 

    Charlie 

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  • Callowayc7

    I have spent 1k on LinkedIn ads in the past month. Tons of clicks & leads, but no conversions. I am stoning the quality of clickers because I have received responses of some looking for jobs. Does the patform offer quality leads that may convert? We have yet to see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gagandeep-Singh/1570614397 Gagandeep Singh

    Janet and want to know what is UTM parameters? Any link where i can get detailed info. 

  • Ricky

    We are considering using linkedin for our business http://www.biccies.com we have not had much luck at all with google adwords so we are going to drop them as a strategy. I just hope linkedin pays off.

  • Shreyansh Modi

    Great Article, Thanks for the share!
    $2 Minimum CPC is way too much, I think Linkedin should reconsider this.

  • Jeremy B

    Hi Janet, 

    I am running ads now and on day 1 I had poor results and day 2 I increased my daily spend and my bid per click and had great results. Then day 3, 4, 5 I had poor results again using the same bids as the day with great results. SO, I increased my bid and my daily spend and have not seen increased results. Any idea why this may be happening? 

  • Ediemorton

    Hello Janet,

    I am researching LinkedIn ads as a possibility for our school. We are not selling widgets but an education and would like to attract students who are a good match for our wellness programs. What is your experience or observations regarding this niche (education)?

    Edie Morton
    Atlanta School of Massage

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  • Natascha Thomson

    Thanks so much. How do “Calculate the average total spend per day for the last week” ? Best, Natascha

  • Lisa Moeller

    Well done! Just what we needed!

  • Lora Zayn

    Very clearly explained article!
    We have decided to start investing in online advertising and have been considering mainly AdWords / banner campaigns. Therefore, I also got interested in what LinkedIn have got to offer. Looking at the minimal prices set (min $2 per click), seems like LinkedIn is the more expensive one but it also seems like a totally good option (for a B2B business).
    Someone has thoughts on those two ways of advertising: LinkedIn and Adwords banners?







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