The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads in 2021

Without careful planning, social media can sometimes feel like you're screaming nowhere. However, by using LinkedIn ads, you can ensure that your brand's voice is reaching the right audience. And an audience of influential decision makers.

Among the more than 690 million members of the platform, four out of five members have the opportunity to influence business decisions. These makers also have twice the purchasing power of a typical online audience.

Follow our guide to LinkedIn Ads to find out what types of ads are available and what goals you can achieve. We'll also walk you through the process of creating an ad on LinkedIn and share some of our best tips and tricks to help you increase your conversion rates.

Bonus: Download a free guide This shows the 11 tactics the Hootsuite social media team used to grow their LinkedIn audience from 0 to 278,000 followers.

Types of LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn offers advertisers several options for ad placement.

Sponsored content

Sponsored content, also known as native ads, displays your target audience's LinkedIn feed, whether they're scrolling on mobile devices or their desktop. LinkedIn marks these ads as "promoted" to differentiate them from regular content.

When you advertise with sponsored content, you can use LinkedIn carousel ads, single image ads, or video ads.

Source: LinkedIn

Sponsored messaging

Sponsored Messaging (formerly known as Sponsored InMail) lets you promote LinkedIn members directly to their inbox.

Just keep in mind that LinkedIn has a limit on the number of members who will receive a Sponsored Message ad per month. For example, a member of your audience will not receive your ads more than twice in a short period of time.

While 89% of consumers prefer businesses to stay in touch through messaging, currently only 48% of businesses interact with customers and prospects this way.

Text ads

Text ads appear at the top and right of LinkedIn's desktop feed and are a great option if you're looking to build strong leads with a professional demographic.

Given that 58% of marketers think improving lead generation is one of their top digital marketing goals, LinkedIn text ads can be a way to build a wide network on a budget.

Dynamic ads

Dynamic ads are displayed on the right rail of LinkedIn and speak directly to the audience through personalization. When a dynamic ad is displayed on a member's feed, it will reflect their personal information such as photo, employer name, and job title.

However, if members find these ads a little too personal, they can change their settings to hide these details.

Follower ads and sponsored ads are two types of dynamic ads.

dynamic ads

Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn ad goals

LinkedIn uses objective advertising that allows advertisers to create advertising campaigns for specific business goals.

Businesses can go through all three stages of a sales funnel, from awareness to conversion.

The three main types of targets are listed below.

Awareness ads on Linkedin

Start with an awareness ad to bring your brand up to date. These ads help audiences talk about your products, services, and brand.

These impression-based campaigns can also help you gain more followers, increase the number of views, and generate greater engagement.

Viewing ads on LinkedIn

Opt for a contraindication if you want to qualify leads who are already reasonably familiar with your brand.

These types of ads have been optimized to help advertisers achieve the following goals:

  • Website visits: Get more eyeballs on your website and landing pages.
  • Engagement: Encourage likes, comments, and shares, as well as visiting other social media platforms and websites.
  • Video views: Share your business story, your latest product, or a day in your life via video.

Conversion ads on LinkedIn

If you're looking to generate leads or drive a home sale, consider a conversion ad.

You can help achieve these three goals:

  • Lead generation: Gain leads on LinkedIn using forms filled with LinkedIn profile data.
  • Website conversions: Inspire more website visitors to download an e-book, sign up for a newsletter, or buy a product.
  • Applicants: Spread the latest job vacancies from your company with a job advertisement.

LinkedIn ad formats

To meet your ad goals, LinkedIn has 10 different ad formats to choose from.

This section breaks down each ad format and explains the goals that each ad can achieve. We also share LinkedIn ad samples and ad specs.

Carousel ads

LinkedIn carousel ads use a row of swipable cards to tell your brand story, showcase products, or share insights. The key here is to use strong visuals so your readers can swipe out to learn more.

Gates: Brand awareness, website visits, engagement, website conversions and lead generation.

LinkedIn carousel ad specifications:

  • Ad Name: Up to 255 characters
  • Introductory text: Up to 150 characters to avoid shortening on some devices (maximum 255 characters)
  • Cards: Between two and 10 cards.
  • Maximum file size: 10 MB
  • Maximum image size: 6012 x 6012 pixels
  • Rich Media Formats: JPG, PNG, GIF (only not animated)
  • No more than two lines in the heading text of each card
  • Character Limits: 45-character limit for ads that lead to a destination URL; Maximum of 30 characters for ads with a Lead Gen Form CTA

LinkedIn carousel ads B2B deals

Source: LinkedIn

Conversation Ads

Conversation ads give audiences a chance to choose their own path (think of those who choose their own adventure books, but for advertising).

Once you start a conversation, your audience can choose an answer that speaks to them the most. This type of ad allows you to showcase products and services while promoting sign-ups for events or webinars.

Gates: Brand awareness, website visits, engagement, website conversions and lead generation.

Ad specifications for LinkedIn conversation:

  • Ad Name: Up to 255 characters
    Banner motif (optional and only for the desktop): Up to 300 x 250 pixels. JPEG or PNG.
  • Custom Footer and Terms of Use (only): Up to 2,500 characters
  • Introductory Message: Up to 500 characters
  • Image (optional): 250 x 250 pixels with JPEG or PNG
  • CTA text: Up to 25 characters
  • CTA buttons per message: Up to five buttons
  • Message text: Up to 500 characters

Direct mail for conversation ads

Source: LinkedIn

Follower Ads

Follower ads are a type of dynamic ads that are tailored to your target audience. These ads promote your LinkedIn Page to others in the hope that they will hit the "Follow" button.

Gates: Brand awareness, website visits and engagement.

Ad specifications for LinkedIn followers:

  • Ad description: Up to 70 characters
  • Ad Headline: Choose a preset option or write up to 50 characters
  • Company name: Up to 25 characters
  • Advertisement image: Preferably 100 x 100 pixels for JPG or PNG

Follower ad explore opportunities from the golden phase

Source: LinkedIn

Spotlight ads

Spotlight ads highlight your products, services, content, and more. When members click on the ad, they'll be immediately taken to your landing page or website.

As with follower ads, these are a different type of dynamic ad that uses personalization to connect with audiences.

Gates: Brand awareness, website visits, engagement, lead generation and applicants.

LinkedIn Spotlight ad specifications:

  • Ad description: Up to 70 characters
  • Ad Headline: Up to 50 characters
  • Company name: Up to 25 characters
  • Image: The preferred size is 100 x 100 pixels for JPG or PNG
  • CTA: Up to 18 characters
  • Custom Background (Optional): Must be exactly 300 x 250 pixels and 2MB or less

Spotlight ad careers at FixDex

Source: LinkedIn

job advertisements

LinkedIn job ads, also known as Work With Us ads, have a click-through rate up to 50 times higher than your average recruiting ad. This is likely because these LinkedIn ads use employee networks and block the ability for other competitors to show their ads on your employees' profiles.

Gates: Applicants and website visits.

Technical data of the LinkedIn job advertisement:

  • Company name: Up to 25 characters
  • Company logo: 100 x 100px is recommended
  • Ad Heading: Up to 70 characters or the option to choose a preset heading
  • CTA: Up to 44 characters for custom text; preset options available

LinkedIn job advertisements Acme hiring

Source: LinkedIn

Lead forms

Lead Gen Forms, short for lead generation forms, are available for message ads and sponsored content and can help you find more qualified leads.

For example, if you're hosting a webinar, you can connect a lead gen form to your CTA that will automatically fill in the profile information of your target audience. You can then download your leads from LinkedIn's Ad Manager or integrate LinkedIn to work with your own CRM.

More information on lead gene forms can be found here:

Gates: Lead generation

LinkedIn Lead Gen Form Specifications:

  • Form name: Up to 256 characters
  • Headline: Up to 60 characters
  • Details: Up to 70 characters to avoid truncation (up to 160 characters in total)
  • Privacy policy text (optional): Up to 2,000 characters

Lead Gen Form FixDex webinar series

Sources: LinkedIn

Message displays

More than every second prospect opens a news ad, which makes this format very attractive to advertisers.

This type of ad allows you to send a direct message to your target audience's inbox using a CTA.

Gates: Website visits, website conversions, lead generation.

Ad specifications for LinkedIn messages:

  • Message subject: Up to 60 characters
  • CTA key copy: Up to 20 characters
  • Message text: Up to 1,500 characters
  • Custom Terms and Conditions: Up to 2,500 characters
  • Banner design: JPEG, PNG, GIF (not animated). Size: 300 x 250px

LinkedIn news ad program for project managers

Source: LinkedIn

Single image ads

Single-image ads appear on the LinkedIn homepage and look like regular content posts, except that they're paid and specially marked as "promoted" to differentiate themselves from other unpaid content. These ads contain only one image.

Gates: Brand awareness, website visits, engagement, website conversions, lead generation and applicants

Ad specifications for single images from LinkedIn:

  • Ad Name (Optional): Up to 225 characters
  • Introductory text: Up to 150 characters
  • Destination URL: Up to 2,000 characters for the destination link.
  • Ad Image: A JPG, GIF, or PNG file that is 5MB or less; The maximum image size is 7680 x 7680 pixels.
  • Headline: Up to 70 characters to avoid truncation (but can use up to 200 characters)
  • Description: Up to 100 characters to avoid truncation (but can use up to 300 characters)

Single image display on FixDex's LinkedIn dashboard

Source: LinkedIn

Individual advertisements

Individual job advertisements offer opportunities directly in your audience's news feed. If you're struggling to find the perfect candidate, or always seem to be in hiring mode, these ads are the way to go.

Also, it doesn't hurt that LinkedIn's internal data shows these ads increase average click-through rate by 25%.

Gates: Applications

Technical data of the LinkedIn job advertisement:

  • Ad Name: Up to 255 characters
  • Introductory text: up to 150 characters to avoid shortening the text (desktop 600 characters maximum); Every legally required language must be here

Individual advertisements golden phase promoted positions

Source: LinkedIn

Text ads

Text ads are easy to set up and work within your own budget. With 80% of B2B leads on social media coming through LinkedIn, text ads may be particularly appealing to those looking for B2B leads.

Gates: Brand awareness, website visits and website conversions.

LinkedIn ad specifications:

  • Image: 100 x 100 pixels with JPG or PNG 2 MB or less
  • Headline: Up to 25 characters
  • Description: Up to 75 characters

LinkedIn text ads that may interest you

Source: LinkedIn

Video ads

By getting creative with LinkedIn video ads, you can promote thought leadership, highlight the customer experience, introduce new products, give an inside look at company culture, and anything else you can think of. This is an opportunity to show, not tell, your brand's story.

Gates: Video views

LinkedIn video ad specifications:

  • Ad Name (Optional): Up to 225 characters
  • Introductory text (optional): Up to 600 characters
  • Video length: 3 seconds to 30 minutes (high-performing LinkedIn video ads are typically 15 seconds or less)
  • File size: 75 KB to 200 MB
  • Frame rate: Less than 30 frames per second
  • Width: 640 to 1920 pixels
  • Height: 360 to 1920 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1.778 to 0.5652

TechCore AI video displays

Source: LinkedIn

How to create a LinkedIn ad in 9 steps

Follow these steps to create your own LinkedIn ad:

Step 1: Create a LinkedIn Page if you don't already have one

This is required in order to create Sponsored Content and Sponsored Messaging Ads. If you need help getting set up, check out our guide on LinkedIn for Business.

Golden Phase LinkedIn Page

Source: LinkedIn

Step 2: Sign in to Campaign Manager or create an account.

The Campaign Manager platform, also known as LinkedIn's Ad Manager, is where all of your advertising activities are carried out, such as: B. Running campaigns and managing your budget.

Campaign Manager platform

Source: LinkedIn

Step 3: Choose your ad target

Think about what type of action you want to inspire your audience.

ad objective contemplation or transformation

Source: LinkedIn

Step 4: choose your target audience

First you need to choose a location and then you can add the job title, company name, type of industry, and personal or professional interests.

If it's your first campaign, LinkedIn recommends an audience of at least 50,000 for sponsored content and text ads. For news ads, 15,000 is best.

Target audience of Campaign Manager

Source: LinkedIn

You also have the option to connect with people you already know Matching target groups. You can do this by re-targeting people who have visited your website or uploading a list of email contacts.

Learn more about Matched Audiences here:

Step 5: Choose an ad format

Depending on the goal you choose, you can choose from sponsored content options (single-image, carousel, or video ads), text ads, or message ads.

Ad format options

Source: LinkedIn

Step 6: create your budget and schedule

Campaign Manager offers a budget range based on other competing bids for your ideal audience.

The first 2-4 weeks are usually considered a learning experience to figure out what works (or doesn't). For testing, LinkedIn recommends a daily budget of at least $ 100 or a monthly budget of $ 5,000.

Budget and schedule

Source: LinkedIn

Step 7: start creating your ad

If you choose to have sponsored content or text ads, the Campaign Manager will share previews so you can see what the final look of your ad will look like. For message ads, you can send yourself a test message.

Step 8: Provide the payment information

Before you can publish your ad worldwide, you will need to provide payment information. Once that's done, you're good to go!

Billing information for Campaign Manager

Source: LinkedIn

Step 9: measure performance

When you log into Campaign Manager, the first thing you will see is the reporting dashboard for your LinkedIn ads. From here you can review performance metrics, access charts and demographic data, or export a CSV report. You can also carry out conversion tracking here.

Campaign performance

Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn Ads Best Practices

Last but not least, here are the criteria that, according to LinkedIn itself, are of crucial importance for creating a successful advertising campaign on the platform.

Find out your target audience

On LinkedIn, you need to decide where in the world you want your ads to appear. Your desired location is actually the only field that is required when setting up your advertising campaign. You can go a long way by just specifying the country, state, or province, or you can go in-depth and target audiences by city or metropolitan area.

You can then further refine your target audience based on company details (e.g. industry or company size), demographics, education, work experience and interests.

A word of caution: LinkedIn does not recommend getting too specific about ad targeting. If you are new to LinkedIn ads, the first thing you should try is building a broader network and sticking to three target facets.

You can also run A / B test campaigns with different targeting criteria, e.g. B. Skills or job titles to find out which audiences are better connected to your brand.

Create your ad copy around a concise, clear call to action

LinkedIn ads should usually end with a unique CTA, often in the form of a text button.

Your readers are busy. They need someone who can describe exactly what to do next. Otherwise, they might miss out on signing up for this career enhancing webinar or purchasing a new product that could make their life easier. Just make sure your CTA matches the target originally selected.

Some effective CTAs are "Register Now" or "Register Today!"

Read the Hootsuite blog for more tips on creating fascinating CTAs.

Choose the right content

LinkedIn can improve your content to find the right audience, but that doesn't keep people on screen.

Try the following techniques to keep the audience clinging to every word you say.

Sponsored content:

  • Reuse content from your blog, website, and social media channels.
  • Use video, audio, or other rich media elements.
  • Develop an emotional connection by sharing stories about human interest.
  • Do more than just trending news. Add your insights into the mix to showcase your brand's thought leaders.

Sponsored messaging:

  • If you're promoting brand awareness, share blog posts, webinars, or industry trends and analysis.
  • As you're developing leads and trying to convert customers, promote product demos, tutorials, and success stories, or promote an upcoming webinar or event.

Text ads:

  • Despite the name of these ads, you don't want to skip the graphics. Images are optional, but they will produce better results.
  • Whenever possible, choose a profile picture instead of including an item or logo.

Video ads:

  • According to LinkedIn, the completion rates for videos under 30 seconds increased by 200%. So keep it short and sweet.
  • Design videos for sound-off viewing and add subtitles.
  • Don't save the best for last. The spectators fall off after the first 10 seconds.

Carousel displays:

  • Use 3-5 cards to start and test adding more cards later.
  • Create a carousel of content that speaks on a similar topic or break a large chunk of content into carousel cards.
  • Use visual storytelling to keep your audience interested.
  • Any description of the carousel card should include a CTA and clear, direct messages.

Dynamic ads:

  • Skip the brevity and describe the main ad headline and text as best you can.
  • Test image layouts before posting.
  • Add a unique message and CTA to each ad.

Promote organic posts as sponsored content

When time matters, you can access Hootsuite to promote organic posts as sponsored content. You can address target groups based on their location, interests or professional information.

Create a new sponsor post on LinkedIn

Source: Hootsuite

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