LinkedIn Document Ads Done Right

Linkedin document ads cover
Ravi Davda Rockstar Marketing CEO

Written by Ravi

Mar 3, 2023

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Are you looking to take your LinkedIn lead gen efforts to the next level?

If the answer is yes, you ought to check out LinkedIn Document ads – a LinkedIn ad option that’s often ignored by marketers.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of using LinkedIn Document ads, when to use them, how to set them up, and tips to maximise your campaign’s potential. We’ll also include real-life case studies to show you how other businesses have successfully used this feature. Let’s get started,

What are LinkedIn Document ads?

Document ads are a feature that allows you to share documents directly in the LinkedIn feed, giving members the ability to read and download content without having to leave the platform. When done properly, it’s a great way to build brand awareness and generate leads.

When sharing a document using this ad format, you can either give members full access to your content or require them to fill out a lead gen form to unlock the document, which is known as a gated document.

Here’s what an ungated Document ad looks like

Here’s what an ungated document ad looks like:


  • More people will have access to your document, increasing visibility and potential reach
  • No need to fill out a form means a smoother and quicker user experience, which may result in more downloads


  • You won’t capture any leads from the people who download your document since there’s no form to fill out
  • You’ll have less data on who’s downloading your document, making it harder to determine the quality of your leads

Here’s what a gated Document ad looks like

Here’s what a gated document ad looks like:

Basically, they’ll see a preview of your document along with a lead gen form that they have to fill in order to see all the pages. Once they do that, they’ll receive a confirmation or “Thank You” message right in their inboxes along with the downloadable document and a CTA to an off-site URL.


  • You’ll capture lead data that can be used for future marketing endeavours
  • You’ll be able to determine the quality of your leads, as only those who are genuinely interested in your content will be willing to fill out the form


  • Adding a form can be a barrier for some users, leading to a potential decrease in downloads
  • Some users may provide fake contact information or be deterred by having to provide their personal details, resulting in lower-quality leads

Benefits of using LinkedIn Document ads

Benefits of using LinkedIn document ads

LinkedIn Document ads can yield a plethora of benefits, including:

Build brand awareness and nurture audiences

Using Document ads, you can share educational and inspiring content that your followers will want to read and download. That can be an effective way to build trust and credibility with your target audience.

Enhance your lead generation efforts

Use a Lead Gen Form to capture quality leads. Share a preview of your document within LinkedIn’s feed to entice audiences and convert at scale. With the lead gen form, you can also collect specific information from your leads that can help you segment and tailor your messaging to them.

Measure the engagement level of your content

Using Document ads, you can track how many members are consuming your content using metrics like the number of views, downloads, and shares of your document. You can leverage that data to better understand how effective your marketing efforts are, and identify what types of content resonate with your audience so that you can optimise your future campaigns.

So, are they worth it compared to other types of ads?

Compared to standard lead gen ads and sponsored content ads, Document ads allow you to showcase your brand’s expertise in a more tangible way. You’re not just asking someone to sign up for your newsletter or visit your website, you’re giving them something they can actually use – a helpful guide, a useful checklist, a valuable e-book, etc. It’s like giving them a little gift in exchange for their contact information.

And the data doesn’t lie – according to LinkedIn, Document ads, which feature a low-friction offer, have a conversion rate between 10 and 15%, which is higher than ads with a high-friction offer, such as those offering a free trial. Plus, since you’re collecting more than just their name and email address, you have the opportunity to learn more about your target audience and tailor your follow-up approach accordingly (more on that later).

Now, we know what you’re thinking – “creating visually appealing content sounds like a lot of work.” And it can be, but remember, you’re creating something that has the potential to really grab your audience’s attention and set you apart from your competitors. Plus, you can always repurpose the content for other marketing efforts, like social media or email campaigns.

So, to sum it up, if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort, Document ads can be a great way to showcase your brand’s expertise and convert leads into customers.

When to use LinkedIn Document ads

LinkedIn Document ads are perfect for marketers who use eBooks, slideshows, guides, case studies, data sheets, analyst reports, infographics, and other visually appealing content. If you’re trying to educate your audience and showcase your products or simply generate leads using a new method, this ad format is a great fit.

How to use LinkedIn Document ads

Using LinkedIn Document Ads is easy and straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started:

Step 1: Create your document

Obviously, you need a document to create a Document ad. It goes without saying that that document should be of high quality and relevant to your target audience.

Furthermore, make sure your document is in a supported file format (PDF, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX) and meets the specifications (300 pages or 1 million words, vertical, horizontal, or square aspect, and 100MB size). As for the character limits for the actual ad, they go as follows:

  • Document ad: up to 150 characters for the ad’s introduction
  • Optional lead gen form: up to 60 characters for the headline and 160 characters for the offer details. The form must also include a link to your privacy policy
  • Confirmation message (for gated documents): up to 300 characters for the “Thank You” message

What kind of content can you use, you ask?

You can use different types of documents in a LinkedIn Document ad. Here are the main kinds of content you can use and how each of them can be of use to you:

  • eBooks and slides can help you inform your audience on topics related to the products and/or services that you offer
  • Guides, checklists, and cheat sheets can help you demonstrate how your products or services work
  • Case studies are a great way to show off how customers are achieving results using your products or services
  • Datasheets and analyst reports can help you demonstrate your command over your industry
  • Infographics and how-to guides can help you prove that you’re a master in your industry
  • Gated documents, as mentioned, allow you to capture leads and collect valuable information

Step 2: Decide on your targeting and campaign objectives

Step 2 Decide on your targeting and campaign objectives

After creating your document, head over to Campaign Manager (create an account if you don’t already have one) and create a new ad.

Consider who your target audience is and what your campaign objectives are. You can target specific industries, job titles, and locations, and choose from brand awareness, engagement, or lead generation objectives.

For example, if you’re trying to generate leads, you should select the lead generation objective and target individuals who match your ideal customer profile.

To get a better understanding of LinkedIn targeting and which options to use, check this guide we wrote some time ago.

Step 3: Select the Document ad format and upload the document

After picking the objectives and selecting your targeting options, you’ll be asked to select the ad format you need to use. Here, simply select “Document ad.”

On the next page, you’ll have to upload your document and enter an introductory text along with a headline as shown here:

Step 3: Select the Document Ad format and upload the document.

Step 4: Add a Lead Gen Form (optional)

If you want to capture leads, you can add a Lead Gen Form to your ad. Members will need to fill out the form to access the full document. The form should be easy to fill out and should only ask for essential information such as name, email address, and job title. This is a great way to collect customer info while still providing value to your followers.

If you decide to add a lead gen form, you can also include a CTA that’s sent to users once they submit their information. This CTA can be used to drive people even deeper into your marketing funnel.

For more information on the matter, check our guide on the benefits and best practices of LinkedIn lead gen forms.

Step 5: Launch your campaign and monitor it

Once your ad is set up, you can launch your campaign and start reaching your target audience. You can track your ad performance and optimise your targeting and campaign objectives as needed.

Here are the main metrics you should monitor when running LinkedIn document ads:

  • Clicks, which, as the name indicates, is a metric that reflects the total number of clicks on your document ad
  • Click-through-rate, which is the total clicks divided by total impressions
  • Download clicks, which is the number of download clicks
  • Displays, a metric that reflects the percentage of your document that has been viewed by LinkedIn users
  • Completions, which is the number of users that have gone through the whole document

If you feel like your ads are failing, make sure to check these possible reasons behind them.

Step 6: Follow up

So, you’ve successfully used LinkedIn Document ads to get people to fill out a form and give you their precious contact information. Now what?

Well, it’s time for the follow-up game! And trust us, it’s just as important as the initial ad. After all, you don’t want all those potential leads to go to waste.

First things first, thank them for filling out the form. Maybe send them a funny meme or gif to show you’re not a robot. People like feeling appreciated, and a little humor never hurt anyone.

Next, it’s time to put that contact information to good use. For those who filled out the gated form, you can add them to your email newsletter list. Keep in mind that these people have shown interest in your content. So make sure to personalise your emails and give them more of what they want.

But wait, there’s more! You can also give them a call or reach out on LinkedIn to introduce yourself and see if they have any questions or concerns. Just make sure to be polite and not too pushy or spammy.

Another great option is to retarget them with LinkedIn Ads. For example, you could show them an ad for a related piece of content or offer a discount for your product or service. This will keep your brand top-of-mind and increase the chances of conversion. Here’s an excellent guide that we published on remarketing on LinkedIn.

The bottom line is that follow-up is key to converting those leads into paying customers. So, don’t drop the ball after the initial ad. Keep the conversation going and show them what your business is all about.

Tips for LinkedIn Document ads

Now that you’ve learned how to launch LinkedIn Document ads, here are some tips that can help you get the most out of such campaigns:

  • Test different targeting options, campaign objectives, headlines, images, and descriptions to see what works best for your business. Here’s a detailed guide we published on A/B testing
  • Share your document on other platforms and websites to expand your reach and generate more leads. For example, you can offer the same document as an incentive for people to fill in a form on your website
  • Use LinkedIn’s analytics to track your ad performance and optimise your targeting and campaign objectives as needed

For more best practices for Document ads, take a look at this guide by LinkedIn.

Check this guide for more details on how to create a LinkedIn ad the right way. We also have a detailed guide on how to run successful LinkedIn ads, so make sure to give it a read.

We can manage LinkedIn ads for you

Managing LinkedIn ads is no small feat, especially considering how expensive they can get. That said, it’s definitely doable if you have the right team. Book a discovery call with us today. We’ll explain how we can take your B2B marketing efforts to the next level using LinkedIn ads.

LinkedIn Document ads – FAQs

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