How To Run Successful LinkedIn Ads

Ravi Davda Rockstar Marketing CEO

Written by Steve

Jul 3, 2022

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Succeeding as a business online is mostly based on good lead generation. Without frequently getting quality leads, a business cannot thrive, or worst, survive.

Fortunately for you and the rest of other businesses online, generating leads can be done through numerous channels. One of these channels is LinkedIn.

Although predominately used by B2B marketers, LinkedIn is also a hub for B2C marketing if that’s what you’re going for. Paid advertising on LinkedIn can be effective if done well. The ads reach the people you need if done properly, and the data you get from your campaigns is very valuable.

We’ve put together this guide to help you answer the question of how to run successful LinkedIn ads. Keep reading to learn more.

How to run successful LinkedIn ads – 5 easy steps

How to Run Successful LinkedIn Ads – 5 Easy Steps

Here’s how to run successful LinkedIn ads in five steps:

Step 1: Pick the right ad objective

The first step in any successful LinkedIn ads campaign is choosing the right objective. At the end of the day, if you don’t know where you’re heading, then what’s the point of it all?

The objective you go with will have an impact on your entire campaign, from the ad type to the budget and, of course, your success.

First off, use any analytics tool you have at your disposal to try and figure out who your target audience is and what their needs are. Once you do that, you’ll have a better idea of what objective suits your need. These tools can be anything from your own LinkedIn analytics, social media analytics, website analytics, your own CRM platform, and more.

After that, you’ll have to pick the objective of your campaign. Upon trying this, you’ll find that LinkedIn organises all the different objectives under three main categories.

Each of these categories corresponds to a different stage in the marketing funnel.

For example, using the data you’ve collected, you come to realise that your target audience isn’t visiting your website much. This would lead to you using the Website visits objective under the Consideration stage.

Anyway, let us not get ahead of ourselves here, these stages and their corresponding objectives, go as follows:

How to run successful LinkedIn ads: Awareness

Awareness is all about getting your brand in front of people. In other words, your focus won’t be on clicks or conversions. Rather, your main objective would be getting your ads in front of people.

The key metric that you would focus on when going for this objective is the number of impressions you generate. Under this stage, LinkedIn only offers one objective, and that is Brand Awareness (not quite creative, we know!).

Simply put, this objective aims to help increase your reach if that’s what you want. This will usually result in more followers and better engagement which may or may not turn into conversions.

Say, for example, you’re running an outbound prospecting campaign. This campaign objective is the way to go if you want to warm up your prospects before you start reaching out.

How to run successful LinkedIn ads: Consideration

At this point in the funnel, your main objective is getting people to click on your ads. You want views, visits, and actions. Here, you get to pick from three different objectives:

  • Website visits: A pretty self-explanatory objective, this is the way to go if you want to get more people visiting your website or landing page. What you do with visitors once they get there is your business. It can be a sign-up, a download, a sale, or whatever works for you at the time
  • Engagement: This objective is the way to go if you want to increase both the quantity and quality of followers. So, not only do you want more people to follow you, but you also want them to interact with your posts and become loyal followers
  • Video views: Video marketing has been a digital marketing staple for years on all social platforms, and LinkedIn is no different. Research has shown that video ads drive higher sales than static ads. If one of your goals as a business is to become an industry leader and boost brand awareness, then video is the way. This objective will be helpful in that

How to run successful LinkedIn ads: Conversion

As the name suggests, this is the stage where your main goal is to get people to perform a specific action.

That action could be anything from a sign up to a download, a sale, or even a job application. Similar to Facebook advertising, choosing objectives under the umbrella of conversion would probably lead to a higher CPC.

This is because this point in the funnel is where users are worth the most to a business. Anyway, LinkedIn offers marketers three objectives for this stage, they are:

  • Lead generation: This is the way to go if you’re looking for some professionals to register for your next webinar, or fill out their details for more information about your business. With lead-gen forms, everything is possible. These forms pre-fill the information of your users, making the process easier for both them and you. It also doesn’t require a user to click off LinkedIn (the form pops up on LinkedIn itself!) so can be a great user experience
Picture 3 - Lead Gen Forms
  • Website conversions: Yes, leads are great, but sometimes businesses want something more. And this is where the website conversions objective comes into play. Thanks to the Insight Tag (see FAQs for more info), you can optimise your ads for any conversion. Anything from a sign up for software to a product purchase can be accounted for. If you go with this objective, LinkedIn will optimise your ads for people it deems likely to complete a conversion.
  • Job applicants: Do you need an extra boost of applicants to find the chosen one? Well, this objective is for you. As is the case with all of the objectives above, LinkedIn will try to optimise your ads for users who are more likely to be interested in your job post

Step 2: Choose the right audience

LinkedIn has a database containing detailed employment information about its users. Such a database cannot be found on any other social media platform. With LinkedIn, targeting people based on precise and accurate employee and company information is easier than ever.

Such an environment is especially great for B2B marketing but is also effective for B2C too. Besides basic bits of information about users, such as language and location, LinkedIn has 5 other targeting options:

  • Company: Industry, name, size, company connections, followers
  • Demographics: Age and gender of the target audience
  • Education: Degrees, fields of study, and schools
  • Job Experience: Job function, seniority, job title, skills, and years of experience
  • Interests: The interests of the users you’re targeting

You can try out different combinations of these targeting options until you find a sweet spot. That sweet spot is usually when you feel like you’ve found an audience that works for you.

Once you achieve that, you can then use the matched audiences option for retargeting. Of course, you wouldn’t want to target new groups of people that don’t know your brand. That’s a waste of money.

Matched audiences allow you to target people who have previously been to your site and signed up for a piece of content. Basically, anyone who knows you and your brand can be targeted with this option.

However, if your goal is to simply expand your reach, then we recommend going with audience expansion instead. With this option, you can create a new campaign that targets other similar audiences.

Similar to Facebook’s Lookalike Audience, audience expansion will make use of LinkedIn’s powerful algorithms to reach people with similar attributes to your target audience.

Step 3: Choose the right ad type

The answer to the question of which ad type should you use depends on your needs, budget, and expertise. Here are the different ad types that you could use:

  • Sponsored content: As the name suggests, this ad type can be used to promote a piece of content (blog post, webinar, etc.)
  • Single image ads: These ads aren’t particularly the most exciting out of the bunch, but they do the job just fine
  • Video ads: Similar to single image ads, these ads feature a single video. And similar to Facebook’s default settings, video ads on LinkedIn will auto-play as a person scrolls over them. Note that the sound will be muted by default, so it’s generally a good idea to include captions
  • Carousel ads: These ads house multiple images and are perfect for telling a story while grabbing the full attention of your audience
  • Lead generation ads: As we have mentioned before, lead-gen forms allow you to pre-fill your ads with your prospect’s information. This can drastically improve your conversion rates if used properly
  • Dynamic ads: This is the way to go if you want to send out personalised ads on scale. These ads will deliver targeted messages that speak to the audience received by them
  • Text ads: These ads will promote a message on the right side of a person’s newsfeed. They can be accompanied by a thumbnail to better grab the attention of your audience
  • Sponsored messages: Previously known as InMail ads, these ads refer to the process of sending advertising messages to users. It doesn’t matter if you have a connection or not with the people you’re reaching. These ads will make it to their DMs
Picture 4 - Message Ads

Step 4: Create a successful LinkedIn ad

Creating a successful LinkedIn ad depends on a number of different factors, many of which are based on your own needs and goals. Read along as we discuss three major examples of what an effective LinkedIn ad might look like.

A high-converting sponsored content ad

Sponsored content ads fit naturally in the newsfeeds of users since they don’t differ much from non-sponsored content. In other words, the key to making these ads successful is to make them look as natural as possible.

People must feel like they’re reading a piece of content that is relevant to them and not looking at a cheesy ad. To achieve this, use a headline under 70 characters and the main copy under 150 characters. You want your ads to be easily readable by users on both mobile and desktop.

You should also include an image, preferably text-free, that enforces the message behind the ad’s content.

Furthermore, you could experiment with video, which tends to be far more engaging than images or text, as confirmed by research.

Picture 5 - Ad Example #1
Picture 6 - Ad example #2

A successful LinkedIn message ad

In an old yet relevant overview, LinkedIn reported that message ad open rates can go as high as 70%. Such a number makes message ads quite exciting, doesn’t it?

Message ads should be perceived and treated like email ads. In other words, most of the rules applied to email marketing also apply here. For starters, you should make your offer clear from the get-go. You don’t want your recipient guessing the point of the message they just received.

Moreover, you should try and focus on the relevancy of your message to your recipients. Indeed, no one will bother with a message ad if it doesn’t appeal to them and their different pain points.

How to run successful LinkedIn ads: Creating the ideal text ad

In comparison to most other ad types, text ads have much less ad real estate to work with. This means that your job is to try and make the best out of the elements given to you. Speaking of which, these are the headline, the ad copy, the ad destination, and the image.

You can try to get creative with these four elements, but there’s a limit to it all. You need to resort to using the right words and expressions instead.

Unlike sponsored content, these ads look like nothing but ads. There is virtually no way to blend text ads with the rest of the content in a user’s newsfeed. So, you would basically be competing with other ads.

To find the right text ad combination, you have to test and test again, which takes us to our next point.

Step 5: Optimise!

One of the greatest things about digital marketing is the fact that you can track and measure everything you do. And LinkedIn is no exception in this department.

Using the LinkedIn ads dashboard, you can access data from your ads. Everything from impressions, and clicks to conversions, amongst other things. LinkedIn also offers a demographics chart that breaks down your engagement metrics by job function, title, industry, and more.

Using this data and thorough testing, you can try and create more compelling campaigns that would result in better engagement rates and even more sales.

Need help with your LinkedIn Ads?

LinkedIn can be challenging (and expensive) to get right. Worry not, though, as you needn’t do it alone. Book a discovery call with us today, and one of our LinkedIn experts will chime in to help.


How to run successful LinkedIn ads – FAQs

How to Run Successful LinkedIn Ads – FAQs
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