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At the end of 2020, LinkedIn had 722 million users. Unlike many social media platforms, LinkedIn has a very specific user base. It’s a professional networking site, so most users are there with a view to either find work, hire people, or meet others in their field.
With that in mind, LinkedIn advertising can be a smart investment for big brands. You can use it to recruit top-quality candidates, spread the word about your business, and reach smart professionals from around the world.
If LinkedIn advertising is something you’ve been considering for your brand, but you’re not sure where to start, this is the place to come. Read on to discover everything you need to know about LinkedIn advertising strategy.
Let’s get started with the stats. LinkedIn users are very international, with almost equal percentages of users in Europe, Asia, and North America. Almost 60% of users are aged between 25 and 34, reflecting its more mature and professional qualities.
In other words, it’s an ideal target market for larger brands who want to reach working people around the world. LinkedIn users are there because they want to learn more about their industries and further their careers.
They are ready to take action to achieve their goals – and your company could help them do that, with the right advertising strategy.
LinkedIn content is quite varied; the platform has made it easy to share articles and videos directly on the platform, instead of navigating to another site like YouTube or Medium. Indeed, LinkedIn actually favors posts without external links.
That means that LinkedIn users are used to seeing native content and engaging with it within the platform. It’s an ideal opportunity to slot your ad in amongst the other polished and high-value content and make a splash.
Of course, every social media platform is different. So why should you specifically choose LinkedIn?
Using social media as a marketing tool is widely accepted, but many brands don’t dive into each individual platform to see which one is best for them. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all offer something unique when it comes to advertising.
Knowing what LinkedIn, in particular, can do for your company is vital. Ad campaigns made for a specific platform with a distinct audience segment in mind will always perform better than general ones.
Let’s dig a little deeper into LinkedIn advertising and see what unique benefits it can offer, as well as what it’s not best at.
When looking at LinkedIn adverts, there are a lot of plus points that can be enticing for ad campaigns. First off, there is a range of customizable options for the kinds of ad content that you can share.
We’ll look at the different types of LinkedIn adverts you can create later on, but suffice to say now that, whatever format you want to express a message in, it’s possible on LinkedIn.
What’s more, the specialized filters on LinkedIn advertising mean you can choose your target market down to highly specific characteristics. You can not only filter your audience according to all the usual parameters, such as age, location, gender, and so on, but also according to job role, income, company affiliation, and more career-related specifications.
Being able to focus so closely on certain groups improves the likelihood that your ads will appear to your ideal customers. For example, imagine you’re heading up a campaign for an eCommerce website designer.
You want to target CEOs and decisions makers are at eCommerce companies. Being able to specifically target these people through niche filters means your ad can be tailored directly to them, calling out specific attractive USPs that will be relevant to them.
The more targeted and personalized your marketing campaigns are, the more successful they will be.
Moreover, LinkedIn is perfect for B2B businesses. LinkedIn users are already on the platform with a view to network and achieve their professional goals. They are primed and ready to take action: your advert just needs to convince them that your business is the way to do it.
Managing to reach an audience of already engaged participants is undeniably valuable. On other platforms like Facebook and Instagram, many users are using social media to wind down and aren’t ready to take action immediately. The opposite is true for LinkedIn users.
With LinkedIn advertising, you can also reach high-value audiences. The largest and often most engaged audience segments on LinkedIn are high-earners and decision-makers from big brands.
Being able to market directly to them gets your foot in the door with influential names and profiles. You can specifically appeal to C-suite executives that will ultimately sign off on B2B decisions. What other social media platform can offer you that?
Naturally, as with anything, LinkedIn advertising does have its own disadvantages and limitations. The first one to consider is that it usually works best for business-focused products and services.
That is not to say that B2C businesses can’t have success using LinkedIn advertising. However, you do need to remember that the audience is largely there for professional reasons. That means that LinkedIn advertising is best suited for products and services that will help people in their professional lives.
Users are there to be professional and some only use it for jobs. That means that not everyone is scrolling through their feeds merely to browse, so you might receive less engagement on these ads than Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for example.
The second potential hurdle is the comparatively higher cost of LinkedIn advertising when compared to other social media platforms. On LinkedIn, the cost-per-click (CPC) averages between $2-7, in comparison to just $0.28 on Facebook.
Nonetheless, the customizable filters and specific targeting mean that even though you may get fewer clicks, they are often more valuable leads. For many, that makes the higher price tag well worth the investment.
Let’s move on to what a LinkedIn advert will actually look like. There are four different LinkedIn ad formats that you can customize to your specifications. Read on to discover what each of them looks like in practice.
We mentioned above that LinkedIn likes to keep their users on their site, rather than navigating away to an external link. That means that running ads through native sponsored content is a smart way to go.
Sponsored content ads appear directly on people’s feeds, both on mobile and on desktop. You can use sponsored content ads to generate leads, increase brand awareness, or create engagement.
You can choose from single image ads, video ads, or carousels when creating your LinkedIn advert. Single image and video ads are fairly self-explanatory: you can create a graphic or video and share it as an ad with a short caption, much like any other LinkedIn post.
A carousel ad is a series of photos that appear in a row. The user can swipe through them to find out more about each image. Each image has its own mini-caption and a button with a call-to-action (CTA).
Carousel ads can be particularly useful for promoting products or services with multiple features or selling points. You can outline each key feature with its own place in the carousel, appealing to different people with each separate point.
Sponsored content has its own specifications that LinkedIn recommends, so you need to make sure your ad ticks all of these boxes before you try and publish it.
The ad headings should have fewer than 150 characters, the descriptive text should have fewer than 70 characters, and the recommended image size is 1200 x 627 pixels. Anything over 100 characters for the descriptive text will be cut off on desktop computers and smaller images can look blurry on different screen sizes.
InMail is LinkedIn’s own direct messaging service. Paying for message ads gets you direct access to people’s inboxes. As LinkedIn limits how often and to whom users can send messages, you’ll likely find the competition for people’s inboxes is far less fierce than on the newsfeed.
In fact, more than one in every second person opens message ads, so you’ve got a strong chance that the person you want to target will see your message.
For InMail, there is no character limit, so you can be a bit more detailed with your message and CTA than with sponsored content. The one-to-one nature of InMail ads also means that your ad can be made more personal and tailored to the group you’re trying to reach.
Think of InMail as an even more focused and specific form of email marketing. You can target specific job roles or companies that you’re trying to reach and have a high chance of having your content seen by them.
LinkedIn text ads appear at the side of the page and are one of the simplest forms of LinkedIn advertising. There are also often the best value, as you can keep your budget low and pay by CPC.
The simple format of text ads means that they are all about the copy. You can personalize them to suit specific targets and are great for pulling in leads and high-value contact details.
Although they are not the most eye-catching, they are a great choice for a low-budget LinkedIn advertising campaign.
Personalization is the future of marketing. Consumers and businesses alike are used to being bombarded with information and adverts from every direction. Being able to inject personality and customization into your LinkedIn advertising strategy can make a real difference.
Dynamic ads can help you do just that. They call out to users by name, grabbing people’s attention and making them more likely to take action. With LinkedIn’s smart filtering, you can make your CTAs hyper-specific and targeted, similarly increasing your chance of success.
71% of consumers prefer personalized ads; to tap into this growing demand, dynamic ads are the ideal way forward.
Now that you know all about the different ad formats available to you, it’s time to look ahead to what goes into a strong LinkedIn advertising strategy. Let’s dive into the qualities that make a great LinkedIn ad stand out from the crowd.
High-quality content for social media ads is always vital. This might be the first impression that your brand makes on potential customers. If your imagery looks blurry or your graphics look too basic, then that will also reflect poorly on your company.
According to LinkedIn, sponsored content with larger and clearer images usually achieves a click rate that is up to 38% higher than smaller, less focused images. Clearly then, focusing on the details pays off.
Try to avoid using over-used stock imagery. As much as possible, use original photos or graphics that really convey the tone and personality of your brand. After all, that is what you’re selling, so make it clear what the business is about from the very beginning.
Video advertising can also do the job of catching people’s attention remarkably well. After all, if a picture says a thousand words, how many more can a video say?
Once again, it’s important to invest in quality. The production of your video ad doesn’t need to be complicated; a simple shot of someone speaking to the camera can still get people’s attention when done right.
You can also use color to stand out. Most of the LinkedIn feed is blue, so try to stay away from the same tones. Anything you can do to make people stop and take a second look will help your ad find success.
We’ve discussed above how LinkedIn marketing allows you to filter to highly specific parameters. Be sure to use this to your advantage.
Before you even start getting creative with LinkedIn advertising ideas, you should have a clear idea of who you’re going to target. This should go further than ‘CEOs at companies’. Think about what kind of companies, what age the people might be, whether they have shared interests in specific sectors.
All of this information will feed into how well you can target your ads. The better you target, the more likely it is that your ad will end up in front of the right people.
Above all else, LinkedIn is a professional and work-oriented platform. Your ad needs to feel like the rest of the content on there: polished and respectable.
Although you can of course use humor and color to grab people’s attention, remember that you’re reaching people in a virtual work environment. Your LinkedIn strategy should reflect that.
Try to stay as concise as possible as well. People will likely only pause over your ad for a few seconds before moving on. You need to hook them in those few seconds if you’re going to persuade them to take action.
Lengthy copy on a social media ad only serves to get people to switch off. Keep it short and sweet, so people can understand your message as quickly as possible.
It helps to have one key focus for your ad as well. Although you might well want people to sign up for your newsletter and visit your website, pick just one of those CTAs per ad. People are much more likely to act when it’s one swift click, rather than a lengthy process.
Now you know all of the context that goes on behind the scenes of LinkedIn advertising, you likely want to try it out for yourself. When it comes to any form of paid social media, each platform has its own way of creating and publishing ads, so it’s smart to use a guide if it’s your first time.
With that in mind, let’s dive into a detailed guide on how exactly to create a LinkedIn advertising campaign.
When creating the content for your LinkedIn adverts, keep the tips from above in mind about concise copy, eye-catching imagery, and appropriate tone.
You should also create between two and four variants for your adverts. These variants might differ on messaging or use slightly different imagery.
For example, if you know that people often buy your product or service for two reasons, create an ad that appeals to both of these factors. That way, you can test which one works best for the audience on LinkedIn.
In future campaigns, tailor your fresh adverts to the variants that performed best. There is always something to learn from any advertising campaign, even and often especially ones that didn’t do as well as you’d hoped.
Now comes the time to actually build your campaign on LinkedIn. Go to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions via the drop-down menu in the top right of the main navigation bar.
You will need a business page to create LinkedIn adverts, so now is the time to create one if you haven’t already.
Follow the steps on the advertising platform after clicking ‘Start now’. LinkedIn does a good job of walking you through every step of the process.
You should reach a page where you asked to choose a campaign objective. Your options are website visits, engagement, video views, and lead generation. Choose the one that is most relevant to your campaign.
Next up is what we’ve mentioned several times now: LinkedIn’s detailed targeting options. Answer the questions from LinkedIn on your target audience demographics.
You’ll be able to target your ads according to education, job experience, interests, and more. Remember that you should have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is already prepared.
Use the filtering options to narrow down your reach so that you have the best possible chance of reaching those that fit your profile of someone likely to buy your product or service.
Use the insights from the above ‘LinkedIn Advertising Features’ section to pick the right ad format for you. Depending on the message you want to convey, different formats might suit you better. This is another opportunity for experimentation and testing, so using different formats could be a way of testing different variants.
You can also choose whether you want your ad to be displayed on the LinkedIn Audience Network at this point. This will give your campaign more reach and exposure, but isn’t available for every ad format.
When confirming a campaign, you will need to set a daily budget that suits your marketing budget. If you’ve got a tight budget, it’s probably wise to start low and see what kind of results you get. You can always increase on the next campaign.
You will also need to decide on a bid type now. There are three types: an automated bid, a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid, and a maximum pay-per-1,000 Impressions (CPM) bid.
Automated bids allow LinkedIn to decide what level of advertising will give you the best chance of hitting your campaign’s objective, whether that is for clicks, impressions, or conversions.
A CPC bid is often best for driving traffic or gaining new leaders, whereas a CPM big is best for awareness. That should help you decide which bidding option is best for you.
With all that done, you’re ready to schedule or publish your campaign for when you want it to start.
However, publishing is not quite the end. It’s vital to check back in on your campaigns, including all the different variants you tested.
From these initial campaigns, you can learn a lot about what worked and what didn’t. Whatever version of your ad got the most engagement from the most relevant people is the one you want to try and recreate in the future.
All in all, LinkedIn advertising can be a highly effective and lucrative means of marketing, when done correctly. Everything you need to know to get started has been summarized here, so your next LinkedIn advertising campaign should get off to a flying success.
Should you need any other, perhaps more personalized, advice, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team. We will be only too happy to guide you in running a LinkedIn advertising campaign and make sure your business gets the recognition it deserves.