LinkedIn Advertising 101

By Tripp Stanford, Papercut Interactive

LinkedIn is the largest business social network, boasting 260 million monthly active users. Reid Hoffman launched the site in 2002 and Microsoft has since purchased it. In 2013 LinkedIn posted the first sponsored ad, but it wasn’t until 2016 that Microsoft really built out the ad platform. Now it has a ton of great features allowing businesses to market themselves, connect and recruit great talent. 

LinkedIn has truly become the perfect platform for B2B businesses to connect and market to one another. It allows you to target specific companies and even specific job titles in specific industries and send personal messages to them. If you have the correct strategy, you can build an entire campaign for B2B lead generation through LinkedIn.

Top Types of LinkedIn Advertising

  • Sponsored Content
  • Direct Sponsored Content
  • Sponsored InMail
  • Text Ads
  • Dynamic Ads
  • Lead Gen Forms (can be used with Sponsored Content & Sponsored InMail)

Targeting Capabilities

With LinkedIn, you’re able to target your audience by location, company, industry, titles, skill level and more. If you’re curious about seeing the dimensions of targeting, review LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities guide.

After you understand your target audience, it’s time to choose how you’re going to communicate your message. This is when we decide which types of ads we’re going to use. Below I’ll expand on what each type is and how it’s used.

Sponsored Content and Direct Sponsored Content

By sponsoring a piece of content, you’re able to amplify how many people see your post in their newsfeed. This is a post you’ve already posted to LinkedIn, you’re just increasing its reach. With this, you’re able to drive users to a landing page or encourage your target audience to read your organic and owned content.

If you choose to do a direct sponsored post, this will be presenting your piece of content specific to the audience you choose. That means this isn’t necessarily public-facing. When using these sponsored posts, you can set them up to charge you based on CPC or CPM. CPC is when you are charged per click to your website and CPM is a cost per one thousand views. I personally like to do CPC, but I’ve found that CPM and CPC on average cost the same. Sponsored content is perfect when you want to increase traffic to a certain piece of content or if you want to increase brand awareness.

 

Sponsored InMail & LeadGen Forms

The next type of ad is a Sponsored InMail. This is my personal favorite when it comes to B2B advertising. This is a chance to send a personal message to specific people you’re targeting. 

The content consists of a custom greeting, call-to-action button, body text and ability to add a link to the message body. It also comes directly from you which gives it some personality. You are charged by the number of sends with this type of ad. The beauty in this is you know each message is delivered when the recipient is online, so it shows up directly at the top of their inbox. It stays in their inbox just like any other message. This could lead to multiple clicks over time to your desired content.

You can also use InMail as a lead generation tool. When you choose the LeadGen InMail ad, it will show up in their Inmail, just like a sponsored InMail, but when the user clicks the link, they are given a completely filled out lead gen form to submit. The LinkedIn LeadGen ad can also be used in sponsored content, but I’ve found utilizing it in the InMail ad is more effective.

As a marketer, you should use this style of ad when you want a highly personalized message. It is an opportunity to humanize your message and also encourage your target audience to take a step and submit their contact information to you.

Just like on Google or Bing, you’re able to communicate your message through text and image ads. These ads are shown on the right side of the newsfeed and are perfect for brand awareness. You can use a cost per click model or a cost per thousand impressions. Compared to sponsored content, text ads normally have a lower cost.

Dynamic Ads

These are a really fun and unique way to engage your potential audience. When you choose dynamic ads, they can be designed to be specific to your target user. The user can then either download information from them or send their contact information through them. 

Dynamic ads are limited to just the right side of the newsfeed and only on the desktop. They are really effective when you’re promoting a specific job and want to increase the number of applicants. The unique ad format leverages information from LinkedIn Member profiles and pre-fill out their information, so if they consent to submit their information, they only have to click one button and it is all sent over.

LinkedIn Advertising Costs

Just like any other ad platform, LinkedIn requires each campaign to have a budget and a bid for CPC, CPM or in the InMail view, Cost Per Send. I’ve found on average, CPC and CPM on Sponsored Content and Text Ads are cost $2 - $4, and Cost Per Send in the InMail is about $0.30 - $0.50. LinkedIn does have campaign minimums that you need to be aware of.

  • $10 daily budget per campaign
  • $10 total budget per campaign (an optional feature for Sponsored Content)
  • $2 bid for CPC or CPM on Text Ad campaigns

Who Should Use LinkedIn Ads?

Two types of people love using LinkedIn’s ads, recruiters and B2B salespeople. The LinkedIn ad platform gives them the ability to target a very specific audience and communicate a specific and highly customizable message to them. Through all the different ad types, the opportunity to have potential customers and employees fill out their information directly through an ad is about as close to perfect that you can get.

At Papercut Interactive, we specialize in B2B digital marketing. Because of this, we have become experts in LinkedIn Advertising. If you have any questions or want to get an ad started, we’d love to help.