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Getting started with LinkedIn advertising: A step-by-step guide

Written by Bakti Jethwa on 18th December 2020

LinkedIn Ads: Targeted and Focused

US retail merchant John Wanamaker famously stated that he knew that half of his advertising budget was wasted but he didn’t know which half. Fast forward nearly 100 years and not only can we know how much of our advertising spend might be wasted, we can target so much more accurately that we can plan before we even get to money possibly being wasted. And LinkedIn ads provide one of the most refined and focused channels thanks to the platform’s business-first approach and its networking foundation.

Bakti Jethwa, our paid media account director, recently presented a webinar on ‘Getting started with LinkedIn Advertising’, looking at reasons to use LinkedIn for promotion, setting up an account, ad formats and choosing your target audiences. Bakti has worked in social media for nearly 8 years and has worked with a number of major clients including Thomson Reuters, IBM, and Orange Business. She has worked across the full gamut of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and, of course, LinkedIn.

View the webinar video and slide deck

Click below to view the webinar in full or to see the presentation slides. Alternatively, read on for the overview of the webinar’s key points.

Video TopicsTimestamps
Why LinkedIn Advertising03:23
How to advertise on LinkedIn07:58
Advertising options and formats12:49
Designate your LinkedIn ad audience18:53
Decide on your LinkedIn ad format27:08
Set your ad budget and schedule32:27
Build your LinkedIn ad34:21

Why LinkedIn advertising?

LinkedIn:

  1. Has unique, unrivalled and rich targeting capabilities: 90m senior level influencers, 60m decision makers and 10m ‘Chief’ level operatives.
  2. Offers business-specific advertising objectives such as audience engagement, lead generation and brand awareness.
  3. Has fast evolved, particularly in its advertising capabilities, since its acquisition by Microsoft in 2016, with expanding business-focused developments.

How to advertise on LinkedIn

LinkedIn advertising is run from the parallel platform ‘LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’.

If you’re new to the platform, it will take you through the account set-up and if you’re returning it will take you to Campaign Manager (your dashboard), which is where new users will also end up once the account has been set up.

From this dashboard you manage your campaigns via campaign groups, from which you’re able to manage multiple campaigns, including testing varying objectives, ad formats and audiences.

Following the footsteps of Facebook, in 2018, LinkedIn revamped Campaign Manager with an objective-based campaign workflow, now uses ‘objective based’ advertising to make campaign definition and management easier.

Advertising Options and Formats

LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager offers seven different campaign objectives, under an umbrella of three themes. The themes are: awareness, consideration and conversion. The objectives available (and the associated LinkedIn ad formats) are:

  1. Brand awareness – the simplest objective with the ability to choose from single image, carousel, video, text, spotlight message and conversation ad formats. A single image ad to
  2. Website visits – to push visitors to your website through text, single image, carousel, video, spotlight and message ads,
  3. Engagement – single image, carousel, video and follower ads that incorporate a ‘follow’ button to increase followers of your company page and engagements with your ads.
  4. Video views – video ads to increase video views.
  5. Lead generation – making it as easy as possible for those that click on your ad, a partially pre-filled form, based on the viewer’s LinkedIn profile, appears ready for completion and submission. Available ad formats are: single image, carousel, video message and conversation ads.
  6. Website conversions – to drive users to complete an action on your site, such as a file download. Choose from single image, carousel, video, text, spotlight message and conversation ads.
  7. Job applicants – to generate clicks on job-related content, including job posts. Job ads, single image ads and spotlight ads are the available formats

How to select your LinkedIn target audience

LinkedIn allows you to drill down to very specific and targeted audiences for your advertising, thanks to the amount of information that users provide when they join LinkedIn. This improves the accuracy of your LinkedIn ad campaign and therefore the return on investment as well.

On top of the basics such as region, location and language you can also specify company-related criteria, education level and subjects, job experience and skills, areas of interest/groups membership and, to some extent, their behaviour on LinkedIn.

Pre-defined audience templates are available that can be a good starting point to target specific professionals and industries, including ‘Financial Decision Makers’, as just one example.

As you begin to build your audience, LinkedIn will provide you with an estimated forecast of how many users you can expect to reach along with other KPIs such as click through rate. There are also recommendations on minimum audience sizes in order for your campaigns to be effective.

Lastly, you can choose whether to include the LinkedIn Audience Network. This expands the exposure of your ad but there is less control over ad locations and not all types of objective are catered for.

Decide on your LinkedIn ad format

There are four categories of ad format on LinkedIn: sponsored content, Sponsored InMail (LinkedIn’s in-platform messaging service), dynamic ads and text ads. Those available vary according to the objectives that you’ve chosen.

Sponsored content tends to have the highest click-through rate and works across both desktop and mobile devices.

Message ads and conversation ads both use InMail to present messages in users’ inboxes across desktop and mobile devices when users are logged in. Message ads feature a single message and call to action, whereas conversation ads can display multiple call to action buttons.

Dynamic ads are personalised to the viewer. They are available only on the desktop version of the site and consist of three types: follower, to promote your company page, spotlight, to highlight offers and job, to promote current vacancies.

Text ads are also desktop-only ads. They appear on the homepage, profile pages, in inboxes, on company pages and on search result pages. They generally have poor click-through rates.

Set your ad budget and schedule

  1. You can control your ad spend through three budgeting options: daily, lifetime or daily and lifetime.
  2. Your bid optimisation goal will relate to your chosen objective. Automated bidding is the default.
  3. LinkedIn uses AI to evolve and improve your campaign and maximise your results as time goes by.
  4. You will also need to specify ad rotation options, for example to rotate them evenly or prioritise your best-performing ads.

Build your LinkedIn ad

The ad-building process varies slightly according to the ad format that you have selected, here we focus on LinkedIn Sponsored Content ads.

Make sure that your creative will stand out in the user’s feed. It’s competing against a lot of other information.

You will need to complete a number of key fields such as the headline, the ad description and the destination URL. You can also add call to actions buttons relating to your ad’s message.

That completes the ad set-up process. You can review your target audiences, your ad objectives and your forecasted results and then launch your first LinkedIn ad campaign!

 

Hopefully, this has improved your understanding of how to get started with LinkedIn advertising, given you some ideas as to how to leverage LinkedIn’s unique audience and inspired you to run your first (or next) campaign.

If you’d like to see some of our LinkedIn ad examples and find out more about Anicca’s own paid social ads service, or contact us on 0116 298 7482 or via our Contact Form.