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A beginner’s guide to LinkedIn advertising

With over 600 million users worldwide and two professionals joining every single second, LinkedIn is fast becoming the most important business platform.

You might already be using it for networking or to recruit new staff, but have you ever considered using LinkedIn for your advertising campaigns? If not, now is a better time than ever to start!

Advertising on social media can be one of the most effective ways of quickly reaching your target audience and driving revenue for your business. But with many marketers opting for Facebook or Instagram to deliver their advertising, LinkedIn often gets overlooked – despite it offering one of the best avenues to reaching a more professional and industry-specific audience.

The options

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for communicating with a specific audience. Whether you are looking to reach professionals in a certain industry, managers at a specified level of seniority or individuals living in a particular geographical location (or a combination of these and numerous other demographic variables), LinkedIn can connect you with the ideal people.

Paid advertising on LinkedIn is available in a range of options, including:

  • Text ads
  • Display ads
  • Sponsored content
  • Sponsored InMail

Getting started

With LinkedIn advertising, you begin by setting up your campaign and then creating your individual adverts – for this, you’ll need a LinkedIn Campaign Manager Account. Once you have created this account, you will have access to a user-friendly dashboard to start planning and setting the parameters for your campaign.

The first thing to do is define your goals. Think about what you would like to achieve. Are you aiming to drive more traffic to your website, build brand awareness, increase engagement on your LinkedIn company page, or generate new leads? When you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, you can choose the appropriate campaign objective on LinkedIn.

Your audience and ads

Once you have chosen your goals, it’s time to look at targeting the right audience. Remember, for your advert to be successful it will need to be relevant to your target audience. Select your targeting criteria; the options are extensive and include: demographics, company/industry, location, interests, level of education and skills.

You can then move on to selecting your ad format and creating the advert. Think about the wording and any images you want to use carefully, but most importantly, ensure your message and any call to action is clear.

Budget and scheduling

Allocate a daily budget to the advert and set the start and end date (adverts can be set to run continuously if you wish). LinkedIn offers several options when it comes to paying for your adverts, you can choose from automated bids, maximum cost-per-click (CPC) or maximum pay-per-1,000 impressions (CPM). Your decision on which one to go for will depend on what you want to achieve. If you aren’t sure which approach to take, it may be worth experimenting with different options on a limited budget before increasing your budget based on the results.

Analysing and measuring success

Once your ads are running, keeping regular track of how they are performing is hugely important to their overall success. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes this relatively straightforward. Log in to your Campaign Manager and under ‘Campaign Performance’, you’ll be able to see at a glance how your advert is performing.

Be sure to make good use of this information. If an advert isn’t doing as well as you had hoped for example, then adopt and improve your approach by making any necessary changes – whether it’s a play on the wording, a different image, or some tweaks to your targeting options.

Test different versions of the same advert (known as A/B testing) to see which one drives more results. If making changes, aim to only edit one thing at a time so you’re able to determine what it is that’s working most effectively.

LinkedIn will give you statistics on impressions and click-throughs, but it is also important to look beyond these. Regularly review your advertising efforts and assess how they’re contributing toward your wider business goals.

*Figures from Hootsuite (2019).

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