LinkedIn text ads can help your business reach B2B audiences online. Here are the best practices, costs, and steps to use LinkedIn text ads effectively.

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With over 1 billion members from more than 200 countries across the globe, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. It also drives the most B2B leads of any social media platform with 80% of B2B social leads generated through LinkedIn.

If increased brand awareness or lead generation is your goal, LinkedIn text ads can help you get in front of your target buyers.

Let’s dive into best practices and tips for creating winning LinkedIn text ads.

What are LinkedIn text ads?

LinkedIn text ads are simple, text-based ads on the right-hand side or top of the LinkedIn desktop feed. Text ads can appear on various desktop pages, including the home page, search results page, groups page, profile page, and LinkedIn inbox.

Why use LinkedIn text ads?

LinkedIn is a powerful platform for B2B brands that want to reach a professional audience of decision-makers. In fact, 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions, and 28% of members are responsible for managing budgets.

LinkedIn text ads can expand your reach on the professional network. They’re a simple ad format that makes it easy to get started with LinkedIn advertising.

Here are a few of the benefits of LinkedIn text ads.

Lower ad costs

If you want to try LinkedIn ads, but hesitated due to the cost of sponsored content ads, you may want to start with text ads. Text ads are less expensive than other ad formats, but they can help you reach a wider audience.

Build brand awareness

Text ads are especially effective for those who want to build brand awareness. If your business is new to LinkedIn, text ads can help you build more of a following on the platform.

Reach the right audience

LinkedIn helps you reach the right audience by allowing you to use a range of targeting options.

“LinkedIn text ads can be hyper-targeted to reach the right business audience,” says Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM. “Make sure text ad messaging is cohesive with brand identity and motivational triggers to get the best results.”

HawkSEM helped Wind River, a leading global SaaS company, double traffic efficiently with LinkedIn ads. See how we did it.

Average costs for LinkedIn text ads

It’s hard to pinpoint the average costs for LinkedIn text ads because the ad cost depends on several factors. For instance, in a highly competitive space, cost per click can be upwards of $30, whereas a less competitive audience can cost $1-$2 per click.

For LinkedIn text ads, advertisers can choose between two ad pricing models — cost per click (CPC) and cost per thousand impressions (CPM).

Cost per click

With the CPC model, advertisers only pay for specific clicks. What qualifies as a paid click will depend on your ad objective and ad type. CPC ads use a manual bidding strategy.

Cost per thousand impressions

The CPM model calculates ad costs based on the impressions an ad receives. CPM ads are available for maximum delivery, cost-cap, and manual bidding strategies.

Factors impacting LinkedIn text ad costs

Here are a few of the factors that can impact your LinkedIn text ad costs:

  • Target audience: With an auction format, LinkedIn charges based on competition. If your target audience has high competition, it’ll cost more to reach them.
  • Bidding strategy: LinkedIn offers three bidding strategies — manual bidding, maximum delivery bidding, and cost-cap bidding. The strategy you choose will impact your ad costs.
  • Campaign objective: Advertisers can use text ads to achieve several objectives, including brand awareness, website visits, and website conversions. The objective you choose impacts the amount you pay.
  • Ad relevance score: Like other ad platforms, LinkedIn uses ad relevance and quality to determine ad costs. Ads that are high-quality, relevant, and engaging are prioritized at auction, which means advertisers with these types of ads will pay less overall.

How to use LinkedIn text ads

To get started with LinkedIn text ads, head to your LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager dashboard. You can’t run any ad campaigns without a credit card on file, so be sure to add your card if you haven’t already.

From there, choose your ad account and campaign group, then click on “Create Campaign.”

LinkedIn Campaign Manager

You’ll be prompted to choose the campaign objective next. Since we’ll create a text ad campaign, let’s choose “website visits.”

LinkedIn campaign objective

Once you’ve chosen the objective, you’ll then choose your target audience for the campaign. Scroll down to the “who is your target audience” section to narrow down your audience based on different attributes.

Choose from the following options:

  • Company
  • Demographics
  • Education
  • Job experience
  • Interests and traits

LinkedIn ad target audience

For this example, let’s say we’re targeting marketing directors. I’d click on Job Experience > Job Titles.

LinkedIn ad target job experience

After searching for “Director of Marketing,” different job titles pop up that are similar to my query. Notice that LinkedIn also suggests additional job titles that may be relevant based on what I typed in.

LinkedIn ad target job title

LinkedIn gives you the option to narrow your audience further or exclude certain people based on audience attributes.

Let’s narrow our audience further.

LinkedIn ad narrow audience

Let’s say we work with specific industries. We could use those industries to narrow down the group of marketing directors we’re targeting.

This time, we’ll choose Company > Company Industries.

LinkedIn ad targeting company industry

LinkedIn offers different industries and subsets of those industries. For this example, we’ve chosen the following industries: utilities; transportation, logistics, supply chain and storage; oil, gas, and mining; manufacturing and construction.

LinkedIn ad targeting industries

You’ll continue narrowing your target audience until you reach an audience number you’re happy with. LinkedIn warns advertisers to avoid narrowing their target audience too much, suggesting a minimum audience of 50,000 people.

We’ve got our audience narrowed down. Now, it’s time to choose the ad format.

You’ll see options for all of the LinkedIn ad types, including:

  • Single image ads
  • Carousel image ads
  • Video ads
  • Text ads
  • Spotlight ads
  • Message ads (sponsored inmail)
  • Conversation ads
  • Event ads
  • Document ads

We’ll pick text ad and hit the big blue “next” button.

LinkedIn ad type

Now, set up your budget and schedule. You can choose from “set a daily budget,” “set a lifetime budget,” or “set a daily and lifetime budget.”

Then, select a start and end date or choose to run the campaign continuously.

You’ll then need an optimization goal. For this example, we’ll choose to optimize for “landing page clicks.”

LinkedIn ads run on a bidding system. Choose your bid for how much you’ll pay per landing page click. LinkedIn will suggest a range based on what similar advertisers are bidding on for a similar audience.

LinkedIn ad budget

Now, it’s time to create our LinkedIn text ad. Click “create a new ad” to get started.

Create LinkedIn ad

Select an ad image that’s clear and eye-catching. This will be the only image shown in your ad.

Next is the ad headline. You have 25 characters to write a compelling ad headline that’ll capture the attention of your audience.

For the ad description, you have 75 characters to add context and a call to action.

For the destination URL, you can choose a landing page URL or your Company LinkedIn page.

LinkedIn ad creative

On the right side of the screen, LinkedIn offers a preview of what your text ad will look like on the desktop. Remember, text ads only work on desktop.

LinkedIn ad preview

Once everything looks great with your ad creative, launch your campaign. Review everything to make sure it’s exactly how you want it before you click the blue “Launch Campaign” button.

From the main dashboard, you can see the status of all your ad campaigns at a glance. You can also turn the campaigns on and off with the toggle next to the campaign.

LinkedIn ad dashboard

Best practices for LinkedIn text ads

Now that you know how to get your LinkedIn text ads up and running, let’s talk about how to get the most out of your campaigns.

  1. Include an attention-grabbing visual
  2. Write compelling copy with a clear CTA
  3. Test different targeting criteria
  4. A/B test creative and rotate monthly
  5. Track results & adjust your strategy accordingly

1. Include an attention-grabbing visual

LinkedIn text ads allow you to include a visual, so take advantage of it. According to LinkedIn, images with faces perform better than objects or logos. But if you must choose between your company logo and a stock image, go for the logo.

No matter what image you choose, it should be easy to read on the ad. Text ad images are restricted to 100 x 100 pixels. So, avoid using images with many details or subjects that’d be difficult to read at that size.

2. Write compelling copy with a clear CTA

When writing your ad copy, the headline and description should work together to grab the audience’s attention and entice them to click the link. You only have 25 characters for your headline and 75 for your description, so use them wisely.

Here are a few tips for crafting text ad copy that stands out:

  • Make your headline distinct. The headline should grab your audience’s attention. If you’re stuck, try asking a question or using keywords that are likely to catch the eye of your target buyer.
  • Address the audience directly. You’re more likely to catch your audience’s attention if you address them directly. Feel free to call out the type of person they are. (Ex. “Calling all marketers!”)
  • Highlight the benefits. Focus on benefits over features. How will your offer benefit the reader? Use the answer to that question as a starting point for your description copy.
  • Get to the point. You don’t have room to be vague. Be direct and get to the point quickly.
  • Include a concise CTA. You don’t have much space, but you must still include a CTA. Focus on a short one- or two-word CTA like “Book call,” “Download,” “Free Trial,” or “Click here.”

3. Test different targeting criteria

When new to LinkedIn ads, you’ll likely try to cast a wide net initially for your target audience. And that’s okay! You’ll want to avoid over-specific targeting so that you don’t narrow your audience too much.

However, as you begin to run LinkedIn text ads, you can A/B test different targeting criteria. This testing will allow you to see what targeting criteria result in finding the audience that connects with your brand best.

For example, you may run an A/B test on targeting based on job title or skills. Duplicate the add campaign, and use job titles for targeting on one campaign and skills for targeting on the second campaign. Then, see which ad campaign performs better based on your goals.

4. A/B test creative and rotate monthly

In addition to A/B testing targeting criteria, you’ll also want to A/B test creatives. You can test images and copy to see which creative resonates best with your audience.

As with any A/B test, only change one variable at a time. For example, you may A/B test the headline in one version and the image in another to find the ultimate creative for your LinkedIn text aad.

5. Track results & adjust your strategy accordingly

Once your ad campaign is live, track your results and adjust your strategy based on what works best. Turn off the ads that aren’t performing well, and double down on the ones that are working.

Here are the metrics to track if your goal is to build brand awareness:

  • Click-through rate: The more relevant and interesting your ad is, the higher your CTR will be. And the higher your CTR is, the more your ads will be shown to your target audience.
  • Impressions: This tells you how many people saw your ad. You can bid higher to increase impressions.
  • Average engagement: Engagements include actions such as likes, comments, and shares. A high average engagement signal that the ad resonated with your audience.

And here are the metrics to track if your goal is to drive leads and conversions:

  • Conversion rate: This tells us how often a person has taken action after clicking your ad. This could be signups, downloads, or purchases.
  • Cost per conversion: Your goal is to get the cost per conversion as low as possible to maintain profitability.
  • Cost per lead: When you divide your total ad spend by total number of leads, you’ll get the cost per lead. Again the goal is to keep this as low as possible.

After identifying what works best, use that data to tweak lower-performing ads or get even better results from high-performing ads. What you learn from your LinkedIn ads can also inform your strategy for other digital marketing channels.

“It’s often overlooked, but LinkedIn ad data, results, and analytics can enhance other marketing channels, such as organic and paid search. By tracking results in a granular fashion with ConversionIQ, we can extract data from LinkedIn Ads campaigns, like the target audience and market insights, which we use to increase results from other channels.”

LinkedIn advertising specifications to know

As with any type of ad format, LinkedIn text ads have specifications you need to follow when running your ad for the platform. Here are the LinkedIn text ad specs you need to know:

Design recommendations

  • Ad file: JPG or PNG
  • Ad file size: 2MB
  • Image dimensions: 100 x 100 pixels

Text recommendations

These text character limits include spacing:

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Description: 75 characters

Destination URL requirements

  • Landing page URL is required
  • URL prefix: http:// or https://
  • URL characters: 500 characters

The takeaway

If you’re ready to try LinkedIn advertising, text ads are a great place to start. But they aren’t the only ad format you can use on LinkedIn.

If you’re ready to explore different LinkedIn ad formats or would rather discontinue your LinkedIn text ads, consider hiring a paid social agency like HawkSEM.

Our team is ready to help you get started with or scale your LinkedIn ads. Contact us today.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation