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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 12 , 2021

Learn the most effective ways to create winning ads on the social media app geared towards professionals.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why LinkedIn Ads are worth looking into
  • The different LinkedIn ad options at your disposal
  • Tips for leveraging the social media platform properly
  • What elements make up a successful LinkedIn ad

As the largest professional network in the world with more than 756 million users from all corners of the globe — 200 countries, to be precise — LinkedIn is simply too big a marketing opportunity to ignore. 

Since launching back in 2002, the platform has grown not just as a place to connect and network but, among all the popular social platforms, LinkedIn consistently stands out as the most effective tool for connecting with your audience.

How effective are LinkedIn Ads?

LinkedIn has huge potential when it comes to paid social, particularly for B2B marketers. For starters, the platform has more than 61 million senior-level influencers and 65 million decision makers across a diverse range of industries and companies. This presents an unrivaled opportunity for marketing experts to link up with potential clients.  

While research by HubSpot indicates that social media isn’t the largest generator of company leads overall, it’s still a worthwhile component of a well-rounded marketing strategy. Over 80% of social B2B leads come from LinkedIn. Even if social media isn’t the key lead generator for your company, you can see positive results if you position yourself strategically.

Let’s dive into some of the most effective approaches you can use to generate leads via LinkedIn.

woman holding "like a boss" mug

A customized ad experience delivers tailored messages to specific audiences that match their unique interests. (Image via Unsplash)

Scaling up your 2021 LinkedIn Ads strategy

To compete in today’s digital marketing climate, you’ve got to be strategic. That means investing in what works, getting rid of what doesn’t, and staying on top of the latest and greatest updates when it comes to ad platforms. 

Here’s how you can attract more leads with LinkedIn advertising.

1. Create tailored ads

One of the biggest factors in the success of your LinkedIn ads will be targeting the right audiences in the right way. Luckily, LinkedIn lets you easily tailor your content and ad format to match their interests or requirements. You can choose from a range of criteria when targeting your audience, including:

  • Industry, company name, or size
  • Job title or position
  • Institutions attended
  • Age or gender 
  • Skills
  • Level and field of study

These are the main targeting categories, but they get more granular from there.

2. Choose the right ad type for your campaign

When running LinkedIn sponsored ads, you have several types to pick from for your campaign. These include:

Sponsored content
These native ads appear directly on the feed as users scroll through. They’re seamless, appearing like any other posted content by users. The sponsored content alternative makes your ad visible to all device types. They build awareness, nurture relationships, and drive leads. This makes them an excellent tool for creating an ideal audience from professionals interested in your brand. 

Message ads
Formerly dubbed Sponsored InMail, this ad variety is especially effective at reaching people directly. Its unique format allows for the creation of personalized ads so you can deliver relevant content to qualified leads. The ad goes straight to a user’s inbox as any other text-based professional message. 

Text ads
These ad types work the same way as pay-per-click (PPC) ads and appear on the site’s sidebar. You can choose between pay-per-click or cost-per-thousand-impressions payment options (so, whether to pay when a user clicks on the ad, or whenever 1,000 people view it). Your objectives and budget will determine the best choice for your ads. 

3. Pick the appropriate ad format

Once you determine the type of ad you want to leverage, it’s time to select the format that best suits your ad campaign. The formats you can choose from are:

  • Text ads – These only include text phrases and are located on the feed sidebar.
  • Single image ads – These ads should feature an engaging, high-quality photo paired with short text. Single image ads are ideal for sponsored content and are among the most common ad formats.
  • Carousel ads – This format is used explicitly for sponsored content. You can add several images, which is ideal if you want to showcase a variety of products. 
  • Video ads – Videos are one of the most effective ad types these days. LinkedIn allows you to use video ads in sponsored content to get your message across, attract attention, and garner clicks.  
  • Follower ads – These ads help promote your LinkedIn page to attract followers. This is a good option if you’re looking to grow your audience so more users can potentially see your content. 
  • Spotlight ads – Advertisers use these to showcase their overall brand. Whenever a user clicks on the ad, they’re taken to a landing page. These ads are only available with sponsored content. 
  • Job ads – This is the appropriate ad format when you’re looking to hire new talent. They can be used in Message ads or sponsored content to help connect you with qualified candidates. 

4. Personalize your ads

Seasoned marketers know personalized ads can get your target audience interested in your brand in a way more generic ads just can’t. A customized ad experience delivers tailored messages to specific audiences that match their unique interests. 

Of course, not every user will be interested in your brand or in the market for what you offer. But by creating different campaigns that target different ideal client personas at the various stages of the buyer’s journey, you can be better positioned to attract the right leads. 

5. Create more content

LinkedIn offers you up to 1,300 characters for a personal post. When it comes to the content that sees the most success on this platform, it turns out longer is better. By using long-form updates, you can earn significantly more visibility than you would with a short post or embedding an article link. 

When you want to post a link to a blog, ensure you provide value in your post by writing context on what the content is about and why they need to read it. You can do this by offering a teaser or a quote that previews the topic. 

Creating new content for your LinkedIn advertising strategy can be time-consuming. You can cut costs and capitalize on your existing assets by repurposing content. Use content from your blogs, knowledge base, and lead magnets by changing it to fit LinkedIn format and audience.

Additionally, you can take advantage of third-party content like industry news. Simply sharing the news may not be highly effective. However, if you add your insight and provide an original opinion about the situation, you can get high-quality content without writing a long-form post.

two men outside on laptops

To err on the safe side, it’s best to keep your LinkedIn ads polished, professional, and on-brand. (Image via Unsplash)

6. Monitor key LinkedIn Ads metrics

To take full advantage of your LinkedIn Ads campaign, it’s imperative to measure it properly. These metrics can help you evaluate your effort and adjust your future tactics:

  • Click-through rate
  • Cost per click
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Engagement rate

The numbers vary depending on the ad types you run as well as your industry.

7. Emphasize your video ads

On LinkedIn, video ads earn 30% more comments per impression than images in the news feed. That’s why it’s important to pay more attention to this ad format.

Depending on your current marketing goal, you can take advantage of the top practices listed below.

Goal: Brand Awareness Ads

  • Include storytelling and branding content at the end of the video.
  • Focus on real-life human experiences to make your product and services relatable.
  • Try to keep videos under 15 seconds. Longer videos may work. However, 10 to 15-second videos are more likely to be watched in their entirety.
  • Don’t aim for conversions with a brand awareness video. Analytics should focus on different metrics.

Goal: Thought Leadership Ads

  • Make sure to introduce your brand at the beginning of the video ad.
  • Use industry buzzwords if targeting a warm audience.
  • Add captions to your video to be more inclusive to your target audience and for those who can’t or don’t want to have their sound on.
  • Take advantage of words that suggest growth, potential, and profitability: “thriving”, “successful, “growth,” “progress,” “rewarding,” etc.

Goal: Lead Generation

  • Make sure to introduce your brand at the beginning of the ad.
  • Use the combination of video ads and lead generation forms.
  • Make lead generation ads more dynamic, especially at the beginning of the video.
  • Communicate your key message in the first 5 seconds of the video.

And remember: your video ads should be rendered properly for mobile devices as well as desktop.

8. Take advantage of Matched Audiences

LinkedIn offers a variety of effective advertising tools. To widen your reach, you can take advantage of Matched Audiences. The option is available for all LinkedIn advertising products, including Message ads and sponsored content.  

Matched Audiences offers:

  • Retargeting — helps market products to people who visited your website, clicked on a LinkedIn ad, or participated in your LinkedIn Event
  • Contact targeting — allows you to market to LinkedIn members on your contact list
  • Account targeting — helps you set up an ABM (account-based marketing) campaign by matching target companies against other LinkedIn pages
  • Lookalike targeting — allows you to find audiences similar to the current audience you work with

With the third-party cookie phase-out still slated to go into effect, these targeting tools can keep your marketing strategy afloat.

For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices for ads for Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

9. Monitor LinkedIn Stories 

In 2021, LinkedIn launched a new content-sharing format called LinkedIn Stories. It works similarly to Instagram Stories where your posted videos (20 minutes max on LinkedIn) and images remain available for 24 hours.

Once created, these stories appear as a tappable bubble on top of the user’s feed. While not available yet, LinkedIn is likely to introduce an opportunity for paid advertising in-between stories, as apps like TikTok and Instagram have done.

Meanwhile, you can use this new format to share professional tips, provide real-time event updates, host corporate Q&A sessions, and share brand announcements.

10. Keep it professional

Knowing the voice and tone your audience responds to best is, of course, key to a strong marketing strategy. But it’s also important to keep the ad platform in mind. For example, a short bit of pithy copy with a GIF attached might do really well on Twitter, but it could fall flat on Instagram.

Think about what’s bringing your audience to this specific platform. For LinkedIn, the intent is usually professional, networking, or job-related. Because of this, creating an ad that could be deemed too edgy or wacky may not resonate in the same way it would on a platform like Twitter.

To err on the safe side, it’s best to keep your LinkedIn ads polished, professional, and on-brand. 

The takeaway

When developed correctly, LinkedIn ads can deliver targeted, quality traffic to you. Keep the above tips in mind when you’re looking to fine-tune your campaign to achieve optimal results. 

This post has been updated and was originally published in July 2020.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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LinkedIn
Written by Sam Yadegar on Nov 20 , 2020

Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads have key similarities and differences. Here’s how to determine which one right for your business.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Similarities between Google Ads vs. LinkedIn Ads
  • How these platforms differ from one another
  • The pros and cons of each
  • How to determine which platform may be right for you

When it comes to paid search marketing platforms, Google Ads is often at the top of the list. And between its popularity, versatility, and simplicity, it’s a highly appealing choice. But when you put all of your pay-per-click (PPC) eggs in one proverbial basket, you could be missing out on potential leads.

That’s just one reason we’ve seen many businesses explore options outside of Google Ads. One growing trend we’ve noticed lately: more B2B companies turning to LinkedIn Ads.

Both Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads are efficient paid search advertising tools. However, each one comes with specific pros and cons that provide different benefits to different businesses and audiences. Let’s take a closer look at how they compare.

b2b companies audience segmentation

When users sign up for LinkedIn, they often share an impressive variety of details, including job title, education, experience, industry, interests, and much more. (Image via Rawpixel)

Target audience

To say that Google reaches a massive audience is an understatement. Because of this, it’s fair to assume that almost everyone’s target audience uses the search engine to some degree — a big advantage for companies when it comes to targeting.

On the other hand, businesses that need to narrow down their reach may struggle to get their settings just right on the platform. And a mistake made when segmenting audiences could negatively impact your digital ad campaign spend.

Of course, LinkedIn has a much narrower audience: businesses and business professionals. But this makes it an ideal destination for B2B marketing. LinkedIn allows marketers to target decision-makers and key audience members in a variety of effective ways.

  • Google Ad reach — 4 billion Google users
  • LinkedIn Ad reach — 500 million LinkedIn users

Bottom line: For B2B companies looking to connect with decision-makers, LinkedIn is an excellent digital ad platform. For B2C companies trying to widen their reach, Google Ads usually work best.  

Segmentation opportunities

When you’re targeting an audience through Google Ads, you have limited options to work with. They include location, demographics, affinity, technology, buyer behavior, and interactions with your website or app. No matter how well you know your buyer persona, it can be difficult to completely avoid clicks from unqualified leads.

When users sign up for LinkedIn, they often share an impressive variety of details, including job title, education, experience, industry, interests, and much more.

Additionally, LinkedIn users can join groups, spark conversations and even create followings. This data becomes priceless when you start targeting highly specific audiences and implementing account-based marketing. LinkedIn also offers a Matched Audience feature that helps marketers match their email lists and website visitors with LinkedIn users.

Bottom line: For B2C and B2B companies targeting a wide audience, Google Ads has sufficient targeting features. But for B2B companies that need to target highly specific potential clients, LinkedIn Ads provide up to 100 segmentation methods.

Lead generation and intent

When it comes to lead generation, Google Ads’ wider reach becomes an advantage. Firstly, you can bring in a big number of potential clients without exhausting your budget. The audience you target on Google comes to the search engine with an intent to find a product or a service. This makes lead generation much easier.

Generating leads on LinkedIn can be somewhat trickier. Platform users often sign in to learn industry news or chat with fellow group members. No matter how well you design or place your ad, viewers simply may not be susceptible to it.  

However, unlike Google Ads, LinkedIn has an option of targeting leads through messages (sponsored InMail), which can help with the lead generation process.

Bottom line: Lead generation is often more efficient through Google Ads. However, LinkedIn offers an opportunity to find valuable prospects with a variety of specific targeting tools.

google ads vs. linkedin ads b2b companies

Digital ad budgets for these two platforms depend on a handful of factors. (Image via Rawpixel)

Expenses

When it comes to pricing, LinkedIn’s ads are generally more expensive than Google’s. Just like in Google, you can choose cost-per-click (CPC) and cost per impression (CPM) options as well.

LinkedIn also offers a cost-per-send (CPS) model for its InMail advertising. On average, you could expect to pay about $5 per click (with a minimum bid of $2), $6 per 1,000 impressions, and $0.80 per send.

With Google, the average cost per click is about $1. But to take full advantage of the low cost, you’ll likely need to put in some serious audience segmentation efforts. Otherwise, your paid search marketing ROI can be less than satisfactory.

Bottom line: Digital ad budgets for these two platforms depend on a handful of factors. But on average, Google Ads are less expensive than LinkedIn Ads. A B2B company with a tight paid search marketing budget may benefit more from a limited number of LinkedIn Ads than from a wide variety of Google Ads.

Google Ads vs. LinkedIn Ads: Pros and cons

This quick comparison can help you make the right decision when choosing between the two paid search advertising options.

Google Ads pros:

  • Wider audience
  • Lower CPC
  • Audience with the intent to buy
  • Excellent documentation and support
  • Many ad types

Google Ads cons:

  • A high learning curve for advanced options if you’re running them yourself
  • Limited number of segmentation opportunities
  • A competitive market
  • Ad design and content limitations (characters, emojis, descriptions)

LinkedIn Ads pros:

  • A wide variety of targeting opportunities (better than on any other platform)
  • Easy to get started
  • High-value prospects
  • Opportunities for account-based marketing
  • Easy budget planning

LinkedIn Ads cons:

  • Narrow and specific audience
  • Audience without intent to buy products or use services
  • Higher CPC, impression, and send
  • Lack of robust reporting and analytics tools

The takeaway

So, Google Ads vs. LinkedIn Ads: which one is better? The answer, of course, isn’t one size fits all. 

The right choice of a paid ad platform will depend on factors including your budget, specific product or service, target audience, and marketing goals.

The good news? You don’t need to choose between Google Ads and LinkedIn ads. Many companies use both of them — along with Instagram, Facebook, and other avenues. If your budget allows, diversifying your paid search marketing effort is an excellent way to achieve a better marketing ROI.

Want to learn more about Google and LinkedIn advertising? Let’s talk.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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