The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads
May 04, 2020
LinkedIn remains one of the most popular social media platforms on the planet. As of May 2020, LinkedIn boasts a monstrously large user base, with 675 million monthly active users and over 30 million companies. As a result, LinkedIn boasts the ability to connect companies with tens of millions of people at the touch of a button.
LinkedIn's ad system can help you connect with business-oriented customers. Like most social media ad systems, LinkedIn has a self-service platform, making it easy for you to spend money...even while it makes it easy for you to spend money the wrong way.
As such, here's an overview of LinkedIn's ad system, including the various types of ads, requirements, and some best practices.
What You Need To Do First
If you've made the decision to jump into LinkedIn advertising, wonderful! However, remember, this is not just a decision that can work if you snap your fingers. Before paying for a LinkedIn ad, you have to do some prep work. This includes:
Create A Robust Company Page
LinkedIn, of course, allows for the creation of active company pages that you can use to discuss your company, push out industry-related content, and potentially recruit new people to work for you. In many cases, your advertisement will link back to your company page, and you will need to have an actively updated company page in order to avoid looking foolish or unprepared.
As such, before creating an ad, it's best to create a company page and begin to update all of its content.
Determine What Ad You Want
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all model on LinkedIn. Indeed, there are a variety of different types of ads. All require different graphics, text, and messaging. These include:
- Display Ads: These are ads that appear on the right-hand side of someone's LinkedIn newsfeed column. They come with pictures, texts, and a link.
- Text Ads: These are smaller ads that also appear in a right-hand column. However, unlike display ads, they are smaller, more text-heavy, and only come with a small picture.
- Sponsored InMail: These are ads that are relatively unique to LinkedIn. They appear in LinkedIn's built-in messaging system and can be clicked on, giving the appearance that it is a text sent from a friend. They also rise to the top of someone's message list and are clearly labeled as "sponsored."
- LinkedIn Dynamic Ads: These are highly targeted, personalized ads. They display on the right-hand column and mention a prospects someone's name, enhancing the ability of the advertisement to get your prospects' attention. The link and message can all be customized based on a series of targeting metrics that you decide.
- LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ads: These ads are different than the rest of the above in that they appear as items in a user's feed. You can choose what sort of story someone sees and customize the message accordingly. The format of the ad makes it appear that the content comes natively with someone's news feed. It will also come from a business page, increasing the importance of you making sure that your page has been properly created.
What Are You Trying To Accomplish?
It goes without saying that all ads are not created equal and come with different objectives. Sometimes, you may be trying to sell a product. Other times, you are trying to build brand awareness or increase attendance at an event.
These are important questions to be able to answer, because how you answer them will determine the type of ad you set up and what sort of advertisement you purchase.
LinkedIn's help page breaks down the types of ad campaigns you can create into roughly three categories:
- Brand awareness: These are simply efforts to increase the number of people who have a general sense of awareness of your business. LinkedIn describes this as a great way to start building your sales funnel.
- Video views: A video campaign is a perfect way to get someone to consider your business.
- Engagement: This objective is meant to drive people towards a specific LinkedIn page.
- Website Visit: This type of ad is meant to bring people to your website.
- Website Conversions: This is like getting people to visit your website, but with an obvious twist - it will take leads and bring those specific to your website.
- Lead Generation: This will help you capture leads via the use of a Call to Action form.
- Job Applicants: This will help you get more applicants for a job opening.
- Talent leads: As noted before, this will help you find applicants for job openings within your company. It only applies to companies that are using the Pipeline Builder premium account.
Requirements of Each Type of Ad
All of these ads are different in terms of the text, pictures, videos, links, and forms that they use. Here's a look at these various requirements.
These ads have stringent requirements. The image must be no more than 300x250 pixels and no greater than 200KB. The video cannot exceed thirty seconds.
You can use a small image with your text ads - the size of the image depends on the size of the ad that you take. In terms of text, the headline can't be more than 25 characters, and the text itself no more than 75.
The requirements here are the lowest of any of the other types listed: Simply use a banner ad (300x250 pixels) and type in your text. LinkedIn recommends that you don't blow past a 1000 character limit, but there are no requirements as such. However, remember, the longer you go, the lower the odds that your message will actually be read and acted upon.
LinkedIn Dynamic Ads
There are different types of dynamic ads, including follow company, spotlight, job, and picture yourself ads. These ads do have different requirements, however, some are consistent, including an image (100x100 pixels) and a company name of no greater than 25 characters. There may also be a call to action requirement and a custom background image.
LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ads
Sponsored content ads require introductory text, an image with a 1200x627 pixel ratio, and a website link. The picture cannot be larger than 5MB and must be a PNG, GIF, or JPEG.
Types of Sponsored Content
As noted above, of the various ads that LinkedIn offers, the Sponsored Content is arguably the most unique. That's because, unlike the other ad types listed here, it appears as an individual item in someone's news feed. However, as LinkedIn's advertising help page makes clear, there are a variety of different options when it comes to sponsored content. They include:
- Single Image Ads: These ads come with one image, text, and video, appearing as much like a naturally-occurring item in your LinkedIn news feed as any of these other options. However, they like the attention-grabbing nature and punch that the other two items below have, so whether or not you use them really depends on your specific objective.
- Carousel Image Ads: Carousel ads allow for multiple images to be displayed that users can click through. Each image can actually display different text and come with call-to-action buttons.
- Video Ads: Video ads are exactly what they sound like - ads that will play a video directly within the LinkedIn news feed. While there are some specifications, they do allow for a wide range of flexibility at getting your message out.
- Single Job Ads: These advertisements directly advertise a job on LinkedIn and allow users to click on it and apply directly for a job within LinkedIn's system. When used in conjunction with other premium LinkedIn account services, you can quickly open up the number of job applicants you get to a slew of people.
Best Practices for LinkedIn Ads
There are so many different types of LinkedIn ads that it can be difficult to say what is best, as the best thing to do changes from ad to ad. However, there are some general ideas that you should keep with you, no matter what type of ad you do.
- Have consistent branding: This is a general advertising practice, but you want to have the same branding, tone, and graphics across all forms of advertising. Failure to do so will hurt your overall image and make your company appear less consistent in the mind of your customers.
- Know your target: This requires some prep work that has nothing to do LinkedIn. You should make sure you fully understand who your target is. What customers are you interested in connecting with, and how can you find them? This understanding requires deep work through your databases and serious market research. However, it is absolutely required for your LinkedIn campaign to be successful.
- Understand the payment system: As LinkedIn's own system notes, you are essentially "bidding" against others who are trying to reach the same target market as you - and potentially even bidding against your direct competitors. This means that you have to understand how popular and lucrative your target demographic is, and adjust your bid upwards as needed.
- Fully understand the requirements: As noted above, LinkedIn does have some very stringent requirements. However, it's important that you understand and comply with what the various requirements are. Failure to do so will result in your ad getting rejected, costing you time and money.
- Track and Test: LinkedIn does have a solid analytics suite that will tell you which ads get the most attention and clicks. Check out these analytics and make sure you are updating your advertising strategy accordingly.