Introduction to LinkedIn Advertising + Audience Segmentation

Introduction to LinkedIn Advertising + Audience Segmentation

LinkedIn is among the most popular social networks for professionals, with over 900 million users worldwide. It’s also a great place to advertise your business or product if you want to reach specific demographics and target specific industries.

LinkedIn Advertising allows you to target people based on their job title, company size, and location–all from LinkedIn’s interface. You can also use demographic information like age range and gender when creating an ad campaign to refine who sees it (i.e., if you’re selling baby products, targeting females between 25-35 years old).

LinkedIn ads allow you to reach out to your target audience by displaying ads on their website or mobile app. The goal of LinkedIn advertising is usually lead generation or sales conversion (i.e., getting someone from your ad to click into a sales funnel).

To get started with LinkedIn Ads, you’ll need two things: an account and some money! Let’s go through LinkedIn Ads below:

Types of LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn offers four types of ads:

  • Sponsored Content Ads
  • Text Ads
  • Dynamic Ads
  • Carousel Ads

This diverse range of advertising formats cater to various marketing objectives.

Sponsored Content Ads are native ads that appear in the LinkedIn feed, allowing brands to share engaging content, such as articles, videos, or presentations, with a targeted audience.

Text Ads, on the other hand, are more traditional, displayed in the right column or at the top of LinkedIn pages. These concise ads utilize text and images to capture attention and direct users to external links.

Dynamic Ads leverage personalization, using a user’s profile data to create highly personalized ads, often seen in the sidebar, promoting connections or job opportunities.

Carousel Ads enable brands to showcase multiple images or videos within a single ad, offering an interactive and immersive way to engage the audience. Each ad format on LinkedIn provides unique advantages, allowing advertisers to tailor their approach based on their campaign goals and target audience.

Sponsored Content Ads

These are the most common types of LinkedIn ads you’ll see on the platform. They’re designed to look like organic content in your newsfeed and are typically sponsored by brands or companies who want to reach business professionals with their message. A good example might be a job posting or an article about a new product launch from a company you follow in your network. You can also create your own Sponsored Content campaign if you have something valuable enough to share with your contacts (like an exclusive discount code).

These ads include:

  • Single image ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Event ads
  • Document ads
  • Thought leader ads

Dynamic and Text Ads

LinkedIn offers a targeted advertising option known as “Search Ads” that appears at the top or bottom of search results pages when users search for specific keywords related to a product, service, or company.

These ads are highly relevant as they are displayed to individuals who have already demonstrated an interest in the subject matter. Within the Search Ads category, various ad formats cater to different marketing goals.

“Spotlight ads” are visually impactful, grabbing attention with eye-catching visuals and brief messages, while “Follower ads” aim to increase a company’s followers by promoting their LinkedIn Page directly within search results.

Additionally, “Text ads” in this category use concise text and images to convey messages and encourage users to click through to learn more. This targeted approach ensures that ads are displayed to users actively seeking information related to the advertised content, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversions.

linkedin advertising forms

Lead Gen Forms

Lead Gen Forms on LinkedIn streamline the process of capturing valuable leads by integrating directly with the ad. When users engage with the ad, they’re seamlessly directed to a pre-filled form with predetermined questions, minimizing friction and encouraging higher completion rates.

These forms are customizable, allowing businesses to ask specific questions tailored to their objectives, such as gathering contact information or qualifying leads based on industry-specific inquiries.

Once users submit the form, marketers gain access to valuable data, enabling them to follow up with personalized communication and targeted strategies, ultimately nurturing these leads into potential customers. This feature not only simplifies lead generation but also enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing campaigns on the LinkedIn platform.

Sponsored Messaging

Sponsored messaging on LinkedIn offers two powerful avenues for engaging with a target audience in a more personalized manner.

Conversation ads and Message ads. Conversation ads facilitate interactive experiences by leading users through a series of customized, conversational interactions within the LinkedIn messaging platform. These ads often include multiple-choice questions, product showcases, or content sharing, allowing for a dynamic and engaging exchange with the audience.

Message ads, on the other hand, enable brands to send direct, one-to-one messages to targeted LinkedIn members. This direct approach allows for tailored messages, offering personalized content, event invitations, or promotional offers, fostering a more intimate and direct connection with potential leads or prospects.

Both types of sponsored messaging aim to enhance engagement and build meaningful relationships with the audience, leveraging the personal nature of direct communication within the professional LinkedIn environment.

Ways You Can Target Users

Targeting users can be achieved through several strategies within an LMS, such as personalized content recommendations based on their interests, job roles, or previous learning behaviors. Utilizing user data and analytics, administrators can segment users into specific groups, allowing tailored communication and learning paths to be delivered. Targeting users effectively within an LMS involves understanding their preferences, skill levels, and learning objectives, thereby enhancing engagement and learning outcomes for each individual. 

LinkedIn Advertising Company Attributes

You can create audiences using these company attributes:

  • Company Category
  • Company connections
  • Company followers
  • Company growth rate
  • Company Industry
  • Company name
  • Company Revenue
  • Company size

Demographic and Job Function Attributes

You can use member age and gender for demographic targeting. When it comes to education, degrees, fields of study, and member schools are targeting options.

Job experience attributes you can target are:

  • Job function
  • Job seniority
  • Job title
  • Member skills
  • Years of experience

Custom Audiences Fill in the Blanks

As if those weren’t enough to craft a perfect audience, you have other options like member groups, member interest, and member traits. Plus, you can upload lists for matched audiences or retarget people who have performed a variety of actions (just like Facebook).

Advertising Best Practices

LinkedIn advertising is an effective way to reach your target audience and drive sales. However, knowing the best practices for creating quality ads that will perform well in the LinkedIn marketplace is important.

Here are some essential tips:

  • Audience Targeting: Leverage LinkedIn’s detailed targeting options to pinpoint your audience based on job titles, industries, company size, etc. The more specific and relevant your audience, the higher your ad performance. Targeting is essential to reaching the right audience. LinkedIn gives you many ways to target your audience, whether it be related to their job, skills, or interests. You can also retarget your website visitors or target your ads based on a list of contacts or companies. 
  • Compelling Visuals and Copy: Use eye-catching visuals and concise, compelling copy that resonates with your audience. Highlight benefits, solutions, or unique selling propositions to grab attention quickly.
  • Clear Call to Action (CTA): Every ad should have a clear and actionable CTA. Whether it’s signing up, downloading, or visiting a website, make it easy for users to take the next step.
  • Mobile Optimization: Ensure your ads are optimized for mobile devices since a significant portion of LinkedIn users access the platform through mobile.
  • A/B Testing: Experiment with different ad formats, visuals, copy, and CTAs to understand what resonates best with your audience. Continuously refine your ads based on the results. You can use the LinkedIn Ads Manager tool for A/B testing (testing two versions of an ad) with different images, headlines, and copywriting styles until you find one that performs better than others at driving clicks or conversions from users who see it on LinkedIn’s site or app. Testing multiple variables within each ad allows marketers like yourself to test different combinations against each other before deciding which ones work best based on performance metrics like clickthrough rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), etc.
  • Lead Gen Forms: Utilize LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms to simplify the process of capturing leads. Short forms with pre-filled information increase conversion rates.
  • Track and Analyze Performance: Regularly monitor ad performance metrics like click-through rates, conversions, and engagement. Use this data to refine your strategy.
  • Consistency with Landing Pages: Ensure your ad content aligns seamlessly with your landing page. Consistency in messaging improves user experience and conversion rates.
  • Budget Allocation: Start with a reasonable budget and adjust based on performance. Test different bidding strategies to optimize cost-efficiency.
  • Ad Placement: Choose the most suitable ad placement based on your goals—whether it’s sponsored content in the feed, sidebar text ads, or other formats.

By implementing these best practices and continually refining your approach based on data-driven insights, you can create high-performing LinkedIn ads that effectively reach your target audience and drive sales.

You should always create ads relevant to your business and its products or services so that people who see them will be interested in what you have to say.

Who Should Use LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn Ads are a great way to reach the right audience and drive results for businesses, B2B companies, and recruiters. The platform also allows job seekers to find new opportunities by targeting employers who may be hiring.

LinkedIn Ads can be used in many different ways:

  • To promote your company’s products or services
  • To attract new customers at scale
  • To build brand awareness

LinkedIn Advertising Costs

LinkedIn’s pricing model is different than other social media platforms. Instead of charging you based on impressions or clicks, LinkedIn charges you based on how many people click on your ad. 

LinkedIn’s advertising costs operate on a pay-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPI) basis, offering flexibility in how advertisers pay for their campaigns. Cost per click (CPC) refers to the amount charged each time a user clicks on the ad, making it a performance-based model where you’re billed for actual engagement. On the other hand, cost per impression (CPI) charges for every thousand times the ad is displayed, irrespective of clicks. This model allows advertisers to pay for exposure and brand visibility even if users don’t interact directly with the ad. Basically, the cost per click (CPC) is the amount you pay per click on your ad, while the cost per impression (CPI) is the amount you pay for every thousand times people see your ad but don’t click it.

However, compared to some other social media platforms, LinkedIn advertising tends to have a higher average cost per click or cost per thousand impressions due to its focus on professional audiences and niche targeting options. Factors influencing the cost include targeting criteria, ad format, industry competitiveness, and the quality and relevance of the ad content.

LinkedIn’s ad auction system also plays a role in determining costs. Advertisers bid for ad placements, and the bid amount, along with ad relevance and expected engagement, influences the ad’s visibility and eventual cost.

It’s crucial for advertisers to monitor their campaign performance regularly, adjusting bids, targeting, and ad content to optimize costs and achieve desired results within their budget. Testing different approaches and refining strategies based on data-driven insights can help in maximizing the effectiveness of ad spend on LinkedIn.

Measuring Results

LinkedIn’s array of metrics within the “Advertising Performance” section offers comprehensive insights into campaign effectiveness. Upon accessing the reports, beyond impressions, clicks, and campaign expenditures, you can delve deeper into critical performance indicators.

Conversion rates stand out among these metrics as they directly reflect the ad’s effectiveness in driving desired actions—be it leads, sign-ups, or purchases. A low conversion rate after clicks indicates potential gaps in targeting, messaging, or the landing page experience. This insight helps refine strategies to enhance the conversion journey.

Moreover, the “Performance Report” option allows a detailed examination of specific campaign performance. It presents vital data like average cost per click (CPC) and expenditure within different time frames. The ability to track conversions within these periods offers granular insights into the campaign’s impact over time, aiding in understanding the effectiveness of ongoing adjustments or optimizations.

The integration with LinkedIn Messenger for direct interactions post-ad engagement is a standout feature. This real-time communication channel allows swift responses to user inquiries, catering to the immediacy expected on social media platforms. Tracking the actions taken by converted users—whether they reached out via Messenger or engaged in other desired behaviors—provides a holistic view of the ad’s impact on lead generation or customer acquisition.

Ultimately, this comprehensive suite of metrics empowers advertisers to analyze performance, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to optimize future campaigns for better outcomes.

Tips for Success

  • Choose the right audience
  • LinkedIn is a professional network, so targeting your ads to professionals is essential. It’s also crucial that you don’t over-target your audience. For example, if you’re selling accounting services for small businesses in Boston, don’t try advertising on LinkedIn in California or New York City unless there are specific reasons why those markets would be relevant for your business (such as if one of your clients had recently relocated from Boston).
  • Craft engaging ads
  • LinkedIn ads should be engaging and informative–they should tell people who you are and what makes working with your company different from other options out there. Your ad should also include social proof (e.g., testimonials) that supports this claim – but only if they’re true!

LinkedIn Advertising Targeting Options

LinkedIn advertising has many benefits.

  • You can target specific people based on their job title, company, or industry. This makes it easier than ever before for advertisers to reach their ideal customers without wasting money on irrelevant leads.
  • LinkedIn offers high-quality targeting options like job function, seniority level at the company (e.g., executive vs manager), years of experience within a particular field, etc., which allows advertisers with specific needs like hiring managers who work in finance but don’t have any sales experience yet – something difficult or impossible using other platforms such as Facebook or Google Ads due to lack of granular targeting options available there.
linkedin login

Wrap Up

LinkedIn advertising serves as a powerful tool to connect with your specific audience and cultivate their interest in your offerings. However, recognizing that these ads are part of the larger digital marketing landscape is crucial for achieving success. It’s not solely about placing ads but rather integrating them seamlessly into a comprehensive marketing strategy. This means ensuring that your entire online presence aligns cohesively, from your website to your social media channels and beyond. Consistency in messaging, branding, and the overall customer journey is pivotal. Moreover, the success of LinkedIn ads hinges on their integration into a holistic marketing approach. This involves complementing ad campaigns with strong content strategies, engaging social media activities, robust SEO practices, and a customer-centric website experience. By synchronizing LinkedIn ads with these broader marketing initiatives, you amplify their impact and create a unified, compelling brand narrative that resonates deeply with your audience.

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