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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 6 , 2020

How to create winning ads on the popular social media app geared towards professionals

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why LinkedIn Ads are worth looking into
  • All 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 690 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. 

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 63 million experts who hold key decision-making positions 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.

hawksem: linkedin ads blog

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

Scaling up your 2020 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 content, you have several types of ads to pick from for your campaign. These include:

  • Sponsored content – These are native ads appearing 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. 
  • Sponsored InMail – This ad variety is especially effective when 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, attraction 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 InMail or sponsored content to help connect you with qualified candidates. 

4. Personalize your ads

Seasoned marketers know personalized ads can effectively 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. 

hawksem blog: linkedin ads

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

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. In fact, by using long-form updates, you can earn up to 10 times more visibility than you would with a short post or embedding an article link. 

Whenever 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 — offer a teaser or a quote that previews the topic. 

6. 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 may 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 Facebook.

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. 

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

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.

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