social media how to

Are you wondering how to use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates?

Does your business have a LinkedIn company page?

Do you want to grow your following outside of your company page?

In this article I’ll show you 6 steps for creating and measuring the impact of your first LinkedIn Sponsored Update.

Why Sponsored Updates?

If you’re one of the 3 million companies that have a LinkedIn company page, you’ll know that you can post updates directly from your company rather than as an individual. And you can like and comment as your company as well.

And now, just like Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories on other social sites, LinkedIn has launched its own Sponsored Updates function, which runs on the same principle.

If you’re a B2B marketer, Sponsored Updates allow you to promote your message to others outside your company page following. At the same time, you can target who sees that message, so your marketing efforts can be focused on the right people.

Here’s how to use Sponsored Updates:

#1: Create Your Post

Post your update to your company page as normal. You’ll need to wait a few minutes and then refresh your page until you see the Sponsor Update button.

sponsor update button

Select an update to sponsor by clicking the Sponsor Update button.

You can sponsor any of the updates on your company page, even one that’s a few months old like this one. When you click on it, you’ll be taken through to choose your target criteria for your Sponsored Update.

#2: Name Your Campaign

When you set up your first campaign, you’ll need to give it a name. I suggest you pick something generic like trial 1.

As you set up other Sponsored Updates, you have the opportunity to use the same campaign criteria each time, making it easy to duplicate an equation when you find one that works for you.

#3: Target Your Campaign

You can target your update for:

  • Location – by country and some areas
  • Company – by name or category (industry or size), or exclude
  • Job title – by title or category, or exclude
  • School – by school name, or exclude
  • Skills – by skill name, or exclude
  • Group – all or a particular group, or exclude
  • Gender
  • Age – several age brackets to choose from

#4: Choose Your Payment Option

Now you choose your budget and whether you wish to use cost per click (CPC) or cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM). You don’t need to wait for LinkedIn to authorize your Sponsored Update; it’s live within a few minutes.

choose payment option

Choose how you’ll pay for your Sponsored Update.

#5: Check Your Preview

Once your ad is set, you can preview it by clicking Preview in your Campaign Manager.

preview you update

Access a preview of your Sponsored Update in the Campaign Manager.

You can see what your visitors will see.

example of sponsored update

An example of a Sponsored Update.

#6: Measure the Results

So now that you’ve created your post and set up a campaign for it, what do all the figures mean?

Interactions refers to any action that the viewer took, such as clicking Like, Share or Comment.

The engagement rate is worked out by adding clicks and actions, divided by impressions.

You’ll also be able to see how your post is doing organically, outside of the Sponsored Update feature, and with those who follow your company page and see the post in their news feed.

track impact

Track the impact of each Sponsored Update.

The green + signs will be seen on your Sponsored Update statistics, but not on your organic statistics. They simply refer to the extra visibility you have given the update by sponsoring it. Lastly, you’ll see any new followers you may have acquired via the update promotion.

You can view your metrics at any time by going to your post and clicking on the highlighted campaign name or you can go directly to LinkedIn Campaign Manager to find out how your updates are performing.

When you click on the highlighted campaign name, you’ll see all of your campaigns. If you click on View Details, you’ll see the current criteria attached to your campaign and you can easily make any adjustments.

access your metrics

Use the Campaign Manager to access all of your metrics.

By clicking on View Details, you’ll be taken through to more information about your campaign criteria and given the opportunity to tweak your audience, campaign settings (not shown on this image) and general information.

campaign overview example

Example of a campaign overview.

Once you’ve created your campaign criteria, they will all show in your Campaign Manager, where you can see how each campaign is performing.

Click the question mark icons to find out more detail about each tab heading.

campaign performance

An overview of a campaign’s performance.

You can turn off your campaign at any time in two ways—through your Campaign Manager page by turning the status to off or directly from your post by clicking on Manage. Simply uncheck the box and your promotion will be stopped.

turn campaign on or off

Easily turn your campaign on or off.

There are two types of clicks to be aware of—social and billable. Social clicks are simply post likes, shares and comments. Billable clicks are amassed by someone clicking the post title, the post link or your logo within your Sponsored Update.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates have pretty much the same metrics you would expect from any ad campaign manager. Take a few minutes and have a look around on the Campaign Manager page.

Consider using Sponsored Updates for:

  • Ticket sales for upcoming events
  • Marketing giveaways such as white papers and eBooks
  • New product launch information
  • A blog post that is already working hard and generating good results for you

Best Practices

The great thing about LinkedIn Sponsored Updates is that they run on a very professional B2B networking platform, so your target audience is very much available to you.

With that in mind, you don’t want to throw money away through either poor targeting or poor ad creation.

Here are a few things to consider when you decide to sponsor an update:

  • Create a killer headline—something that creates intrigue to encourage others to click on it.
  • Use only one link per post. You don’t want to confuse the reader on where to go by providing too many choices.
  • Keep it human as well as professional. Remember people are surfing their news feed to catch up on what’s happening in their network, not to be sold to.
  • Add a striking cover if you’re promoting a report or other PDF. If you simply upload a text PDF, it won’t stand out very well.
  • Use great images to get your post noticed.
  • Select your targeting options carefully.


LinkedIn Sponsored Updates are very easy to create and manage, and can be used as a lead generation tool for your business. The metrics will allow you to optimize the targeting of your content delivery so that you’re sure to reach the right audience.

What do you think? Have you used the Sponsored Updates feature yet? Will you give it a go? What will you be sharing? Leave your comments in the box below.

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  • Salmaan Aslam

    I’d be interested to see real success stories form Linkedin sponsored updates because out of all the things the only thing which I don’t like is the homepage feed. It’s a mess and I believe they could tweak some design/typographic elements to improve user experience.

  • Very Interesting Post. Thanks for sharing Linda. Good to see the detailed and step by step procedure of using Sponsored updates. I really appreciate your efforts.

  • Maxine Brand

    Out of all the emails I get through LinkedIn, I always find yours to be of great value. Thanks for sharing You provide a wealth of information.

  • Hi Linda! Thank you for the step-by-step guide here. It’s amazing how quickly social media platforms are picking up different ways to help businesses market their brand and their products!

  • Hello Salmaan, I think you are right, it could be sorted and tidied better, and like all of the social platforms, they constantly evolve, so you just never know 🙂

  • Thanks 🙂

  • Hello! A constant effort 🙂

  • SME certainly do!

  • Great step by step instructions, Linda! But I’m with Salmaan in seeing how well they do. I think a lot of the Facebook sponsored posts do OK because they aren’t too disruptive and are pretty streamlined in the newsfeed. Interested to see how these evolve!

  • jamie9millar

    Hi Linda.

    I trialled sponsored posts recently – one week trial on CPC. I think the reporting is quite good (though, like any digital metric, it’s the actionable insights you draw from it that count). We maxed out our small budget daily, targeting a highly specialised niche and regional audience of around 10,000. Click through percentage was 0.983% which is pretty solid.

    I’d say the critical points are getting the value proposition right, ensuring the landing page is customised for that specific campaign and optimised for conversion.

    All-in-all, it’s simply digital advertising, just with more selective targeting to an intelligent audience who will see it for what it is – which is why it has to offer value.

    We’ll probably tweak the plan and have another go.

  • Hello Jamie, The targeting is very good and the analytics I have seen since only yesterday are getting better. I can now see which town out of my selection is performing best as well as which title. Tweak and tweak again to get it right.

  • jamie9millar

    Yes, the regional breakdown is great (ours was five city regions). Job function, industry, seniority and company size were the others. Useful.

  • Tom Butlin

    Hi Linda. Greetings from up the road in Auckland. The last time I investigated LinkedIn’s self service offerings, the cost of entry was too high to be practical – either the minimum CPC or the minimum daily spend were unrealistic. What is the threshold now? Thanks

  • Angela Wright

    Hi Linda – many thanks, v clear. Jamie, appreciate your report too.

  • Deanna Layton

    Can comments be added to sponsored posts?

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  • Zack Bridges

    I’ve had good success with one of my clients – an IT services agency that only deals with Fortune 1000 companies. LinkedIn has been a great way to target upper management in those companies.

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  • Pieter van Diggele

    One caveat seems to be that clicks on attached images also seem to count as paid clicks? I want my image to attract attention, but I only want to pay for clicks on the link to my landingpage. Does anyone know if this is correct?