LinkedIn Paid Ads for Prospecting and Lead Generation

LinkedIn Your Audience

LinkedIn Paid Ads: Target Your Audience on LinkedIn.

You should use LinkedIn Paid Ads to target your audience.  In fact, the latest stats according to LinkedIn is there are more than half a billion professionals worldwide who gather on LinkedIn to stay connected and informed, advance their careers, and work smarter.

  • 63 million decision-makers
  • 17 million opinion leaders
  • 90 million senior-level influencers
  • 10 million C-level execs and more.

Using LinkedIn’s Paid Ads, Sponsorship, and Premium Tools for Prospecting and Lead Generation

While there’s almost no organic reach on Facebook anymore, LinkedIn is one of the few social platforms that actually encourages users to create and publish content on its site and assures that it will be seen and shared.  To really make a difference, you have to use LinkedIn Ads to extend that reach even farther.

Businesses That Should Consider LinkedIn Ads

If you’ve got a B2B product or service with a high price tag—think business coaching, exclusive communities, masterminds, etc.—then you can do really well on this platform.

Who Shouldn’t be Advertising on LinkedIn

  • B2C companies (with the exception of recruiting and education. Particularly higher education such as an MBA program looking to recruit new candidates. LinkedIn’s education targeting is amazing).
  • Smaller deal sizes (<$10K)
  • Broad targets
  • E-commerce
  • Ad agencies
  • Commodities

Tips for Creating Effective LinkedIn Paid Ads

  • The very first thing in your ad should be, “Here’s why you should pay attention.” The second thing should be a call to action that’s quick and to the point.
  • Strong copy is perhaps the most important indicator of how successful an ad will be.
  • LinkedIn recommends that you create at least three ads per campaign, but gives you the ability to create as many as 15 different variations.
  • LinkedIn considers a CTR of 0.025 percent to be good.


Types of LinkedIn ads

Each type of LinkedIn ad has its own benefits and approaches. They come in two flavors: Self-Service ads and LinkedIn Advertising Partner Solutions.

According to LinkedIn, including an image with humans in your sponsored content post can increase your CTR by 160% (versus an image without humans).

  • LinkedIn text ads
  • Sponsored InMail
  • Video ads
  • LinkedIn Display Ads
  • Dynamic ads


LinkedIn Ads Best Practices

Sponsored Content

  • Use custom or at least, non-stock-looking images
  • Add URL tracking codes to measure site visits or conversions
  • Keep the copy under 150 characters
  • Stay focused on the people interacting with you the most
  • Use a “‘hook’ within the first 35 characters of your post to engage the mobile users. (Ads will show up differently depending on the device the user is using).
  • Keep your character count under 140.
  • Use images and shareable visuals to stand out.
  • Make sure you have a call to action! (This goes for all ads, of course.)

Text Ad

  • Include a strong, clear, and specific call to action
  • Write a headline worth reading
  • Write from the reader’s perspective, not yours. Because it’s about them, not you.

Sponsored InMail

  • Use the recipient’s name, maybe twice, even
  • Keep it concise, under 1000 characters
  • State a clear and specific action you want them to take next
  • Write a subject line, stating what problem you’re solving

Here are my main dos and don’ts for using Sponsored InMail in LinkedIn:

  • DO narrow the scope and use your customer data for targeting. Just like any campaign, the more tightly targeted your campaign is, the better your response rate will be.
  • DON’T be formal. Be conversational, and people will be more likely to read and engage with your message.
  • DO include a clear call to action. Ask people to “Try” your solution, “Register” for your webinar, “Reserve” a copy of your product, “Join” your community, “Confirm” whether they meet your specifications, or “Download” a whitepaper or other online resource.
  • DON’T have just anyone send the message. You can choose who to use as your “From” profile, so choose someone high up in your organization whose message would carry the most weight and credibility with your target audience. And make sure that person has a dynamite LinkedIn profile, because anyone interested in your message will almost certainly check out the sender’s profile.
  • DO plan for mobile. Remember that a lot of people will see this message on mobile, so keep it to about 1,000 characters to avoid overwhelming people with too much text.


Some LinkedIn Paid Ads Resources and On-Demand Training

On-Demand Training

Master the fundamentals of marketing on LinkedIn with these on-demand video courses.

Available courses:

  • Get Started with LinkedIn Ads
  • Content Marketing on LinkedIn
  • Measuring and Optimizing Campaigns on LinkedIn
  • Achieving Your Marketing Goals on LinkedIn
  • Demystifying Targeting on LinkedIn
  • Programmatic and LinkedIn
  • Fundamentals of Advertising on LinkedIn On-Demand Webinar
  • The LinkedIn Secret Sauce: Extra Hot Edition! This is where LinkedIn’s latest A/B tests and real results using LinkedIn Sponsored Content, InMail, Dynamic Ads, and Lead Gen Forms Tactical tips on campaign naming, bidding and budget management and targeting tactics we’ve developed to maximize recently unveiled tools like LinkedIn Matched Audiences, Website Demographics and Conversion Tracking.


How to Write a Great Ad for LinkedIn

  1. Write from the reader’s perspective. Because… people don’t care about what you do. They only care about what they can get from what you do.
  2. Use relevant images.
  3. Write personalized content by segmenting your audience. For example, by job title, function, industry, company size, and seniority. Tailor your message accordingly.
  4. Test frequently using variations of your ads. See what works best. Do more of those.


LinkedIn Advertising Best Practices

  1. Think carefully about the customer journey
  2. Target effectively
    • Layering multiple LinkedIn targeting options is the only way to do this.
    • Don’t layer your LinkedIn advertising targeting options too much. If you go too far, you’ll target an extremely narrow audience and miss some valuable opportunities.
  3. Glean insights from other advertising platforms
    • From a tactical standpoint, that means repurposing the ad copy and targeting parameters that work really well on other platforms.

Use a Relevant Landing Page

Message match.

If your ad says “Free Stuff,” your landing page should say, “Free Stuff.”


Targeting Strategies

Unlike Facebook or Google AdWords, LinkedIn does not have a built in conversion tracking code, so you will need to add tracking parameters to the end of your ad’s URL and/or have the ability to capture lead source on the landing page your ad points to.

Quick tip: Always make sure un-check enable audience expansion because it is absolute trash.

Targeting By Job Title

Job title is a pretty weak form of targeting on LinkedIn for two reasons. Number one, it is the place that most marketers go to — to start off with — because we tend to understand job titles pretty well and that pushes competition up meaning that you are going to pay more for that audience.

Number two, job title is a free-form field so you can write whatever you want.

Because of that, if you are using job titles, you only have access to probably 40% of your audience instead of 80% of 90% that you might get through another targeting option. Higher cost and smaller audience sizes mean that this is going to be a low volume and a more expensive type of campaign.

Targeting By Group

Groups tend to create very precise audiences, very small audiences. They tend to be the most active users on LinkedIn and generally have pretty good lead quality. If you add a seniority layer on top of a group about marketing, you can say it is a marketing group, and I am going to add a VP or a C level of seniority, and that is going to get me marketing VPs and CMOs.

Multiple Campaigns For Every Top Level Campaign

In most campaigns we would actually create four separate campaigns for about every persona out there so that we can try job title, job function, skill, and group. The reason why is because there absolutely will be some overlap between these audiences, but at the same time, we know over time we are going to get data on each type of targeting, and we might learn something like, skills cost per conversion is lower, but lead quality is also lower so we should bid down there.

Long Tail Keyword Targeting

Now, what I don’t want you to do is just select something so broad as marketing because sales folks can add that, students can add that. It is just too broad.

Let’s go for more of a long tail approach to the keyword of marketing; how about digital marketing, online marketing, social media marketing…those are good.

Basically, anything that has two words is probably okay.

If I have a small budget, I am probably going to go to really specific two-word keywords or even a three-word keyword.


Bonus Tip: Retarget LinkedIn Connections on Facebook

You’ve learned a few masterful tactics, but this one is the best.

All you need to do is get your LinkedIn connections’ emails to retarget them on Facebook with engaging content.


I’d love to hear how you use LinkedIn paid ads, and as always, feel free to connect with me there!

Connect With Me On LinkedIn