Advertising on LinkedIn helps businesses of any size achieve their goals, and the way it works is very similar to advertising on Facebook and Twitter.

With LinkedIn advertising, you can:

  1. Target a unique audience
  2. Create easy and effective ads
  3. Control your budget and costs

Over 560M active professionals are on LinkedIn. Target them by job title, function, industry, and more. 

With LinkedIn, you're targeting a quality audience in a professional context.   Market to influencers, decision makers, and executives who act on new opportunities.   Combine targeting criteria to build your ideal persona: IT decision makers, C-level executives, prospective students, small business owners, and more.

Some interesting facts:

  • 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions
  • LinkedIn's audience has 2 X the buying power of the average web audience

Real Professional Data, for Real Results

LinkedIn data is differentiated because members have professional incentives to keep their profiles accurate and up-to-date.   Use real, member-generated demographic data to reach the right audience: job title, company, industry, seniority, and more. 

Customized Targeting with Matched Audiences

Nurture interested prospects, leads, and contacts by using your data in three ways:

  • Re-engage your website visitors with Website Retargeting
  • Upload or integrate email lists with Contact Targeting 
  • Run account-based marketing with Account Targeting

Expand your reach with LinkedIn Audience Network

LinkedIn Audience Network helps you reach your target audience with Sponsored Content on a premium network of publishers beyond the LinkedIn newsfeed.Stay top of mind, deliver your budget, and advertise in brand-safe environments.

How to Prepare Your First LinkedIn Ad Campaign

Lay a strong foundation for your marketing success on LinkedIn. If you're new to advertising on this platform, these three simple steps will set you up to get strong results.

1. Create a Free Company Page

Company Pages are a free and easy way to establish your brand on LinkedIn. All you need to get started is a LinkedIn account and a verified email address (we'll verify if you're eligible to create a page on your company's behalf).Having a Company Page is required to run Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail ads. Plus, posting high quality content will improve your bid auction results: the LinkedIn relevance score rewards marketers who regularly post content that earns lots of clicks, likes, comments, and shares.

2. Get to know the Ad Formats

Advertisers on LinkedIn can use Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, Text Ads, or a mix of all three. Here's a brief description of each format:

  • Sponsored Content is native advertising that appears in the LinkedIn feed across desktop, mobile, and tablet.
  • Sponsored InMail delivers personalized, targeted LinkedIn messages that drive more conversions than email.
  • Text Ads are pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) ads that appear across LinkedIn desktop. These ads feature a simple headline, description, and small image.

3. Create your Campaign Manager account

Campaign Manager is the all-in-one advertising platform on LinkedIn. You can set up ad accounts, run campaigns, and control your budget as soon as you sign in.  All you need is a LinkedIn account and a credit card to get started.

Create Your First Campaign

1. Sign in to Campaign Manager

Campaign Manager is the advertising platform on LinkedIn. After you create a free account, the platform will guide you through each step of setting up your first campaign.

2. Choose your Ad Format

After creating your Campaign Manager account, you'll be asked to choose an ad format for your first campaign. You can select Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, or Text Ads.

3. Set up your Ad Creative

As you create Sponsored Content and Text Ads, Campaign Manager will generate previews in different sizes and environments, so you can see what they'll look like.  For Sponsored InMail, you can send yourself a test message to preview.

4. Build your Target Audience

Next, you'll be guided to build and save an audience for your campaign.  You can target with professional traits-like job title, company name, and industry type-or customize by bringing in your own data using Matched Audiences - which includes retargeting, email contact targeting, and account-based targeting.

5. Set your Bid and Budget

Setting the right initial budget will help you control costs and validate your marketing strategy. 
Campaign Manager will suggest a range based on current competing bids for your target audience.

Set Your Budget

The first 2-4 weeks on a new platform are an investment in testing and learning.  During this time, you'll lay a strong foundation for your long-term marketing strategy. We recommend testing with at least $100/day or $5,000 total (generally in a month).

Don't go too small with your budget. It's not about how little you can spend, but the growth you can drive. Your campaigns have to reach enough people to generate data, so you can evaluate ad performance (based on the goals you set above).

Allocate Your Budget

When setting up a campaign, you can set limits on how much to spend per day and in total.  But how do you decide how much of your budget to spend on each campaign? 

Use these tips to allocate, and then adjust as you learn what works best for your business

  • A good starting point is a 70/30 split: put 70% of your budget on campaigns that drive bottom-funnel conversions or leads, and 30% on campaigns that drive top-funnel awareness or engagement with your content. This strategy helps you generate revenue while you're learning what works
  • Another way to start is with a mix of ad formats (Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, and Text Ads). This allows you to test which types of ads and content yield the best results for your goals

Troubleshoot your Campaign Budget

Once a campaign goes live, you may see it spending the budget allocation too quickly, or not spending it at all. 

Use these tips to adjust your settings.

  • If your campaign is exhausting its budget too quickly, lower its daily budget
  • If your campaign is not spending its budget, set more competitive bids. To make sure your ad gets seen, bid one or two dollars above the suggested range to increase chance of winning. You will only pay the minimum needed to win, not your maximum
  • You can also spend your budget faster by following ad targeting best practices, like targeting no more than 2 or 3 audience facets in a single campaign, using the LinkedIn Audience Network, and enabling Audience Expansion
  • If you're not getting enough clicks, your total or daily budget might be too low. Set it higher to gain data and insights based on audience behaviour. You can always lower it after you've learned what works

Optimize your Budget

As you learn how your campaigns and tests perform, try these tips to refine your budget and maximize ROI. Build on the tactics that work for you, and you'll develop a winning strategy that is unique to your business.

  • If you want to spend your budget faster, you can monitor campaign metrics and turn off ads that aren't getting many paid clicks or impressions
  • Want to make your total budget last?  Set a daily budget to moderate the pace of your campaign
  • Need results fast?  Ditch the daily budget. For campaigns that benefit from faster results (like a time-sensitive offer or event registration), leave the daily budget open. You can still set a total budget for your campaign to control ad spend
  • Frontload your daily budgets.  Set daily budgets higher earlier in the lifecycle of a campaign to generate more activity and data. Use your learnings to optimize the campaign. You can always lower your budgets later
  • Maximize your advertising budget with smart bid management.  Apply bidding best practices, and then keep testing and learning
  • The relevance of your ads directly impacts your budget.  Improve your ad content as you learn what your audience responds to, and you will spend your budget more cost-effectively over time. Use these tips to improve your Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, and Text Ads

How to Set the Right Bids for your Ads

How bidding works

Space for advertising is limited, so marketers compete in ad auctions by bidding.  You compete against other advertisers targeting the same audience.  Based on demand for your target audience, you may pay less, but never more than the bid amount you set.

When you create a campaign in Campaign Manager, the advertising platform on LinkedIn, you'll choose your bid type and set your maximum bid.

Why Bidding Matters

If your bids are too low, your ads will not get delivered and the audience you want to reach won't see your ads.

You can't bid "too high" because LinkedIn runs a second-price auction, which means you only pay the minimum needed to win the auction, not your maximum bid.  However, smart bid management will improve your ROI and ensure you're spending your marketing budget where it matters most to your business.

Types of Bids

For Sponsored Content and Text Ads, you can bid in three ways: 

  1. Cost Per Click (CPC), 
  2. Cost per 1,000 Impressions (CPM), or 
  3. Enhanced Cost Per Click (eCPC).  eCPC is auto-optimized, and you cannot set a limit on the maximum bid.   Sponsored InMail bids are Cost Per Send (CPS), which means you pay for each sent message if you win the auction.

How to Choose the Right Bid Type

If you're running a Sponsored InMail campaign, you can only make CPS bids (see 'Bidding Best Practices' below).  For Sponsored Content and Text Ads, consider the goal of your campaign:

  • If you're just starting out, CPC tends to be the easiest bid type to understand and optimize for. So use it if you plan to test and develop your own strategy.
  • If you're driving leads or content downloads, start with CPC bids. You'll only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • If you're focused on thought leadership and branding, impressions of your ads might be more important than clicks, so try CPM bids.
  • If you're focused on conversions and driving at least 70 conversions per week, try eCPC. This bid type is auto-optimized to decrease CPA and increase conversions.

Here's one easy test to compare pricing models:

  1. Create two campaigns with the same ad creative and target audience
  2. Select CPC bidding on one, and CPM on the other
  3. Run both and compare results when you have enough data

Bidding Best Practices

When you create a campaign in Campaign Manager, you can set your bid, budget, and scheduling. Use these tips to get started with a smart bidding strategy:

  • Bids and budgets work together to support campaign performance. Learn the best ways to get started with your budget
  • Start at the high end of the recommended range. Campaign Manager will suggest a bid range that makes your ad content most likely to be seen.  For a strong start, bid toward the top of that range
  • If your campaign is not winning auctions, your ads are not being seen. Try bidding one or two dollars above the suggested range to increase chance of winning. You will only pay the minimum needed to win, not your maximum.

Optimize your Bidding Strategy

Optimizing your bids means getting the strongest results for every dollar of ad spend. Try these tips, build on the tactics that work for you, and create a strategy that's unique to your business:

  • Access your campaign insights to understand how your ads are performing and get recommendations to improve bids and budgets
  • Try reducing your bid slowly to find your ideal level.  Monitor campaign performance and stop lowering the bid amount if you see a dip in key metrics (like impressions, clicks, or conversions)
  • Experiment with changing your bid type to see how it affects the delivery and performance of your campaign.  For example, if you're bidding by cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM), you could change the pace of your ad spend by switching to cost per click (CPC)
  • Increase website traffic to use eCPC. Once you're driving at least 70 conversions per week, this auto-optimized bid type can help you decrease CPA and increase conversions
  • Select Audience Expansion to reach more people who are similar to your target audience. This increases the number of people seeing and clicking on your content, which generally decreases the bid needed to win.

For Sponsored Content, here are some additional tips:

  • LinkedIn assigns a relevance score to all Sponsored Content based on indicators that LinkedIn members find the ads interesting (like clicks, comments, and shares)
  • It's possible to win with a lower bid if you have a high relevance score, so focus on the quality of your ad creative with the goal of improving your click-through rates on every ad
  • Bid high at the start of a campaign to get traction. This helps boost your relevance score. 

LinkedIn Ads Training Videos

Click on the videos below for in-depth training on how to create Ad Campaigns and start advertising on LinkedIn

(Acknowledgement to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions)

Getting Started with Advertising on LinkedIn

Identify your marketing goals and understand how LinkedIn solutions can help you meet them.

Creating LinkedIn Campaigns

Step-by-step guide to create campaigns on LinkedIn Campaign Manager.

Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail cCampaigns

How to create Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail campaigns.

Conversion Tracking Setup

Enable conversion tracking to easily measure and optimize your campaigns.

Targeting, Bidding and Budgeting

How to use Campaign Manager to manage your targeting, bidding and budgeting options.

Measuring Performance

How to take full advantage of Campaign Manager reports and insights.