January 25, 2021

Your Guide to LinkedIn Advertising

In a world plagued by questionable news and privacy breaches, LinkedIn is a rare breed when it comes to social media platforms. 

With just over 700 million members across the globe, it’s not the biggest platform out there (for context, Facebook and Instagram have members in the billions). But, it is the most trusted. In fact, according to Insider Intelligence’s annual “US Digital Trust Survey,” LinkedIn is the most trusted digital platform, with 73% of social media users believing that LinkedIn protects their privacy and data, compared to just 53% for Facebook.

Additionally, as LinkedIn bills itself as the “world’s largest professional network,” it is no surprise that it is one of, if not the, best places to reach business professionals online. In fact, according to LinkedIn, 4 out of every 5 users on the platform are in a position to drive business decisions and, as renowned sales trainer Jeffery Gitomer will tell you, the key to sales “is to have the decision maker call you.” In other words, with LinkedIn, you have an 80% chance of a decision-maker seeing – and responding to – your marketing collateral, without even touching on their industry-leading audience targeting options.  

So, on the eve of LinkedIn’s 18th birthday on May 5, 2021, we thought it would be beneficial to provide a guide on how to use LinkedIn to improve your business. 

What Is LinkedIn Advertising?

In a nutshell, LinkedIn Advertising is the process of using the LinkedIn platform and its tools to attract, engage, and delight people at every stage of your marketing funnel. From making connections to generating leads, from improving brand awareness to developing brand loyalty, LinkedIn could and (probably) should be an important part of your digital marketing strategy. 

Who Is LinkedIn Advertising Best For?

With LinkedIn’s focus on professional networking and considering its business-minded audience, LinkedIn advertising is traditionally best for B2B marketers, but that isn’t to say that it’s no good for companies whose primary focus is B2C. Many of the benefits that businesses find on LinkedIn will have a lot of carryover on direct to consumer brands.

What Are the Benefits of LinkedIn Advertising?

You may think, “Why use LinkedIn when Facebook is bigger, Instagram is trendier, and Tiktok has, umm… more people dancing?” I hear you. In many ways, LinkedIn feels like yesterday’s news. It is definitely less exciting and, dare I say, a little stodgy compared to flashier platforms. It is full of businesspeople talking about their businesses, and in a way, it feels kind of impersonal and inclusive. And, to be honest, it kind of is. Did you know that, on average, ⅓ of all business engagement on LinkedIn is just those business’s employees? That statistic is great for employee loyalty but maybe not so much for customer outreach. The good news is that you can do better, which brings us to the #1 benefit of LinkedIn marketing–the audience and our ability to access it.

While there may be more eyeballs on Facebook or more creative options on platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn stands alone with its ability to target and access the people who matter to your business. 

As mentioned in the introduction, but it bears repeating, 4 out of every 5 people on LinkedIn are in a position to drive business decisions. That means that most people on LinkedIn are either in a key decision-making position themselves or, and more likely, they can influence those people. I guess you could say that LinkedIn is the “OG” of influencer marketing. 

Additionally, because LinkedIn is a smaller, more defined network, it’s not as crowded as its competitors. So, when you spend hours creating that perfect piece of content, it’s more likely that it will actually show up in front of your followers and not get pushed down the news feed as quickly. Unusual thought, right?

For the B2C company employees reading this, LinkedIn users also boast one of the highest average incomes of any social network. This means that the product or service you sell not only has a higher likelihood of being seen, but it also has a higher chance of being purchased by a LinkedIn member.

Beyond that, LinkedIn advertising offers the ability to target your audience in a way in which no other social media platform can compete. The platform allows you to target demographics, job titles, education, interests, and even specific skills that its members have, a level of targeting heretofore unmatched across other platforms.

How to Market Your Business on LinkedIn

To get started marketing on LinkedIn, you’ll need a LinkedIn account. I assume this isn’t a surprise, but you know what they say about assuming. You’ll also want to set up a specific, findable LinkedIn Company Page for your business. From there, it’s crucial to post useful, quality content just as you would on any other social media platform. A useful LinkedIn feature is the ability to connect with groups relevant to your industry or target audience, as well as take advantage of LinkedIn’s narrowly targeted paid features. We’ve outlined all these marketing tactics and more useful tips in our previous blog article on LinkedIn B2B marketing strategy, which you can check out here

How to Get Started With LinkedIn Advertising

As mentioned, if LinkedIn ads have one major competitive advantage, it’s easily the targeting options offered. LinkedIn ads allow you to target their audience by job title, function, industry, and skill set, to name a few. In practice, it’s the only platform that offers this level of targeting, and as the old wisdom goes, “The odds of hitting a bullseye go up dramatically when you aim at it.”

So how do you get started advertising on LinkedIn and take advantage of these helpful aiming features? We’ve broken it down into a few simple steps.

Step 1: Create a Campaign Manager Account

To advertise on LinkedIn, you’ll first need to set up a campaign manager account. LinkedIn has made this process relatively painless and simple to do in just a few clicks. To get started, sign in to your personal LinkedIn account. Click “Work” at the upper righthand corner of your homepage and select “Advertise.” From there, follow the prompts to add an account name, set up billing, and associate a LinkedIn page. If you need more assistance setting up your campaign manager account, follow this step-by-step tutorial from LinkedIn.

Step 2: Select Your Primary Objective and Goal

Now that you’ve set up an account, your next step is to set up your first advertising campaign. On LinkedIn, that begins with choosing an objective and goal for your campaign. LinkedIn provides three main objectives – (awareness, consideration, and conversions – with eight “sub” objectives, including options like brand awareness and lead generation. Your chosen goal will ultimately determine the rest of your campaign creation options and experience, so choose wisely.

Step 3: Identify Your Target Audience

Once you’ve chosen your campaign goal, you’ll be asked to select your specific targeting criteria. Prepare yourself, as this is where LinkedIn’s platform truly shines. Choose from over 20 targeting attributes and be specific. The more targeted your ads are, the higher your engagement will be, and the more likely those users will convert to paying customers, giving you a better return on your ad spend.

Step 4: Choose the Best Ad Format(s) for Your Goals

Next comes the fun part – setting up the ads. LinkedIn offers four different ad formats – Sponsored Content, Message Ads, Dynamic Ads, and Text Ads. Feel free to use just one format or experiment with a mix of all four. Here is a brief breakdown of the four different types of ad formats to help in your decision. 

Step 5: Schedule Your Ads and Choose a Budget

Once you’ve chosen your objective, picked your audience, and created your ads, only one thing stands in the way of launching your campaign – your credit card. In this step, you are allowed to determine how much you’d like to spend on your ad campaign and when you’d like your ads to run. Once these factors have been selected, you’re cleared to launch. 

Ongoing: Monitor Your Campaigns

This isn’t a step per se as it should be something you do on a regular basis. Keep an eye on your campaign’s performance by logging into your campaign manager and accessing the applicable campaign dashboard. Not sure what to track? Check out this great article from LinkedIn on the subject. 

6 Powerful Best Practices for LinkedIn Advertising

Here are just a few tips to ensure you get the most out of your LinkedIn marketing.

Optimize Your Company Page – Treat your company page as a digital storefront. For some people, accessing your company page may be the only interaction they have with your business. Use professional images and logos, fill in all the necessary information, and don’t forget to include things that might make it easier for users to find you via LinkedIn’s search. 

Share Organic Content – Many people make the mistake of treating LinkedIn solely as an ad platform. While it is an effective ad platform, it is first and foremost a social media platform, and nothing is worse than clicking an ad only to be sent to a blank company page. Do yourself a favor and share blog posts, news, ebooks, and other quality content that will interest your audience.

Join Groups – LinkedIn is great for networking, but networking only works if you network. One of the best ways to do this in LinkedIn is to join groups relevant to your industry or audience’s interests. Be sure to be an active group member by paying attention to and following the group’s rules and engaging in discussions. Many people have used LinkedIn to position themselves and their companies as thought leaders through thoughtful group participation. 

Enhance Your Ads – It’s said, “You never get a second chance at a first impression,” and this couldn’t be more true regarding ads. Ads are often the first and only impression a prospective customer will have of your company. For that reason, take a little time and design a few professional-looking ads. Follow these best practices when creating your ads: 

  1. Have an enticing CTA, or call to action, that creates a sense of urgency.
  2. Make a clear value proposition (“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” – David Ogilvy).
  3. Keep it simple and uncluttered (“A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.” – David Ogilvy).
  4. Use strong, high-quality imagery, fonts, and framing to better catch the eye.  Match your website and company page’s branding.
  5. Tailor your message to your audience target.
  6. Run multiple, diverse ads in each campaign.
  7. Continually test and optimize your ads, and perform A/B tests to try out different formats, ad copy, CTA’s, and creatives to see what works best for your audience. 

Heed LinkedIn’s Bid Recommendations – When placing a bid on paid ads, LinkedIn will show you what other advertisers bid for a similar audience. Use this information to scale your bid and make your campaign more successful.

Be Smart About Your Headlines – A study of LinkedIn headlines found that posts focused on practicality and industry insights far outperformed those with emotional content. It makes sense, based on who tends to engage with LinkedIn, but it’s worth considering. It is also worth noting that long headlines, the kind that typically crush it on other platforms, don’t do as well on LinkedIn. The study suggests that headlines should be kept to 7-12 words in length.   

Use LinkedIn’s Tools – LinkedIn offers valuable tools to empower your advertising. From lead generation forms that allow users to submit a wealth of information in just a few clicks to Audience Expansion, don’t be afraid to experiment with LinkedIn’s wide array of tools. 

Let PHOS Be Your Guide

There you have it –a condensed 2000+ word guide to all things LinkedIn advertising. This guide should be more than enough to get you started with LinkedIn ads, but if you still feel that you need help, we’d love to hear from you. At PHOS, we offer everything from one-on-one consultation to full-service inbound marketing and everything in between.

Chad Wolcott

Chad Wolcott

Chad utilizes his diverse background in sales and marketing to help our customers win. As an Inbound Marketing Executive, Chad marries his love for telling incredible digital stories and his strong focus on results to help clients increase the metrics that matter. As the son of a successful small business owner, one of his greatest passions is serving the local business community.

When not in the office you’ll find Chad spending time with his family, volunteering at church, or in the “woods and water” around Gainesville with a fishing pole, kayak paddle, shovel, or maybe even chainsaw in hand. Chad has a love for the outdoors and would love to talk your ear off about subjects like horticulture and agroforestry, if prompted.