16 July 2014

LinkedIn Paid Ads : How to Get Started?

LinkedIn-Paid-Ads-How-to-Get-Started If you are looking for highly-targeted advertisement platform that provides marketers great opportunity to promote their business, then LinkedIn is the best choice for you. With more than 300 million users and counting, LinkedIn is a flourishing and popular social media platform for business professionals worldwide. LinkedIn’s self-service ad platform often gets overlooked by today’s media planners and marketers, but following amazing statistics and facts is evidence of popularity of LinkedIn:

  • Number of new LinkedIn members per second: 2. Source
  • Number of LinkedIn users in the U.S.: 100 million. Source
  • Geographical reach of LinkedIn: 200 countries and territories. Source
  • Percentage of users that check LinkedIn daily: 40%. Source
  • Total number of LinkedIn business pages: 3 million. Source
  • Total number of LinkedIn groups: 2.1 million. Source
  • Number of new groups created weekly: 8,000. Source
  • Percentage of LinkedIn visits via mobile: 41%. Source
  • LinkedIn’s growth in web traffic referrals from 9/12-9/13: 34.51%. Source
  • LinkedIn’s percentage of B2B social logins on websites: 26%. Source

These amazing statistics shows that advertising on this social media platform can be an extremely important and effective way to create brand awareness and attract potential customers to website. In addition to this LinkedIn helps you to achieve a very precise reach due to following two factors:

  • It provides great targeting options, which includes the ability to target by employer, job title, role, skills, and interests
  • Its profiles contain up-to-date and detailed “professional” information compared to what people list on their Facebook and Twitters’ profiles.

Now, one question might be popping in your mind that is LinkedIn right for me, how can I create and measure effectiveness of LinkedIn ad campaign and what are the tips of perfect ad campaign? This article will give elaborative answer of these questions and it is a complete guide for those who want to make their LinkedIn ad campaign a great success. Let’s begin.

Is LinkedIn right choice for you?

Before advertising on LinkedIn, you should figure out if this platform would be a good fit for your needs. LinkedIn allows marketers to target ads to users by B2B demographics, therefore, for effective advertising you should have answer of at-least one of the following questions:

  • Do I know Job titles of my target audience?
  • Where my target audience works?
  • Does my target audience have any unique skills/interests?
  • What type of role my target audience holds at a company, or their level of seniority?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, LinkedIn ads are the right choice for you.

Anatomy of LinkedIn Ad

LinkedIn ads are different from standard AdWords ads, as they have a photo. Following image shows an example of LinkedIn ad: linkedin-ads-anatomy 1) Ad Headline- Your ad headline should be punchy and less than 25 characters. Using the ad title of the people you are targeting can be effective. 2) Ad description- Ad description should not be more than 75 characters and should clearly describe the purpose of your ad. 3) Destination URL- It is a landing page which should be tailored for LinkedIn members. 4) Photo- Choose a photo that draws the eyes of your target audience. Photos of people are better and using the title of people you are targeting can be quite effective.

All about LinkedIn Ad Campaign

While advertising on LinkedIn, you should remember that creatively designed ads for the right products and services can sell very well, whereas poorly designed ads may generate lots of the wrong clicks for you. In order to create an ad campaign on LinkedIn, you will need the following:

  • LinkedIn account
  • Understanding of your target audience
  • Ad copy (Ad headline + Ad description)
  • Video (optional)

Go to the LinkedIn Ads login page and click “Get started”, which presents two types of campaign options:

  1. Create an ad

Sponsor Content linkedin-campaigns-manager Here, you can choose “Create an ad” or “Sponsor content”. Let’s look at what makes them different. Create an Ad- If you have a LinkedIn account, you can start or manage an ad campaign with “Create an ad”. Sponsor Content- Sponsored updates allow marketers to raise awareness, as well as build relationships and drive quality leads. With the help of “Sponsor Content”, you can sponsor existing or new content to reach a wider audience. These updates appear in the homepage newsfeed of LinkedIn members who fit the targeting criteria set up by you.

How to choose an Ad Type?

“Create an ad” and “Sponsor content” can both be effective ways to reach your target audience. Before choosing one, you should think about the goals of your LinkedIn Ads campaign. LinkedIn’s “Create an ad” can work in following scenarios:

  • If you are trying to increase followers of your LinkedIn business page
  • If you are trying to drive leads or sales
  • If you are looking to promote branding and awareness

On the other hand, LinkedIn’s “Sponsor Content” works well if your post regularly updates to your company page, which you can use for Sponsor content. Keep in mind that fresh, informative and up-to-date content is the key for successful Sponsor content. If you want to “Create an ad”, follow following steps: Step 1: Create Your Ad After clicking on “Create an ad” following screen will appear: name-campaign Here, you need to fill following information:

  • Campaign Name: Create a unique name for your ad campaign.
  • Ad Language: Select the language for ad campaign.
  • Media Type:  You can select either a basic advertisement that follows the traditional format as well as a video ad which includes a play button on image.
  • Ad Destination: With the help of this, you can link your ad to either a LinkedIn profile page or an external URL. I recommend that you tag URLs if you want to drive traffic to your website, so that you can measure the quality of traffic in your analytics platform. You can also take help from various URL tagging tools like Google URL builder.
  • Ad Design:  Here, you can create headline and description of ad campaign. You should keep in mind that headline has a 25-character limit, and ad description cannot exceed 75 characters. As you edit your ads, a thumbnail preview also appears on the right side, which allows you to toggle the ad size by square, tall and long. Carefully inspect the ad preview in order to ensure that the image you use is alluring.
  • Ad Variations:  In LinkedIn, you can create multiple variations of your ads. For your each ad, you can choose an external URL as well as a page on LinkedIn. Choice of location does not affect the price. LinkedIn advertising is push advertising, not pull that means your audience is not actively looking for your offered goods or service; therefore, you have to strive to make sure your ad stands out and captures attention of users.

Step 2: Targeting After completing ad, now it’s time to focus on targeting. Some targeting options on this platform are quite similar to Facebook and Twitter, but in LinkedIn you can also target people by their job title, industry, employer, and even skills/ interests. ad-targeting Let’s take a closer look at targeting options.

  • Location- This targeting option is quite easy. If you are running a local business trying to reach people in your state or city, then this is what you’ll select. If you are large national company trying to reach audience across the country, then choose that specific country.
  • Companies- In this section, you can enter specific company names as well as you can select an entire company or industry size. Keep in mind that each campaign can target not more than 100 companies. If you have list of more than 100 companies, you can divide the list in less than 100 and create different campaign for each.
  • Job Title- Job title targeting is another unique feature of LinkedIn. Whether your target audience is high-level executives or entry-level employees, you can reach them on LinkedIn. You can select job title by seniority (like CXO, director, entry, manager, etc.) or by function (like art and design, business development, finance, etc.).

In addition to this, you can choose more targeting options like school, skill, group, gender, and age that will help you to target your audience more precisely. Step 3: Budgeting linkedin-campaigns-budget After targeting, you can set up the payment method that works best for you. In LinkedIn, there are two options for pay-per-click advertising

  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM).

If your goal is to get conversions, then you’ll most likely choose the Cost per click (CPC) option. If your goal is to increase visibility for your business, then you’ll most likely choose Pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM) option. You should know following concepts to understand LinkedIn ad budgeting:

  • Budgets- Daily budget is the maximum amount that you are willing to spend each day. Further, LinkedIn displays ads at different rates during the day depending on users’ activeness on the site. 50% of your budget might be spent in the morning, 25% in the afternoon and remaining 25% at night. After reaching daily budget limit, your ads stop showing for that day. If you are not receiving as many impressions and clicks as you’d like, your daily budget may be too low.
  • Bidding- When a prospect visits a page on LinkedIn, an “auction” happens each time between your ad and other advertisers. Further, LinkedIn offers a suggested bid range or an estimate of current competing bids from the other advertisers. If you bid is high, your probability to “win the auction” become higher. In addition to this, if you do not enter a bid within suggested range, your ad will be less likely to beat other advertisers’ bids, which results in fewer clicks.

Where LinkedIn ads are placed?

LinkedIn ads appear on prominent LinkedIn.com pages to the people within your target audience. Up to two other ads may be shown on LinkedIn page alongside yours in each ad placement. Your ads are placed mainly on:

  • Profile page – When members view the profile of other LinkedIn members
  • Inbox- The page where members see messages and invitations to connect
  • Homepage- It is the page that members see when they sign in to LinkedIn
  • Search results page- The page that results when you search for a member by name
  • Groups- When members view pages in their group

Who sees your LinkedIn Ads?

Your ads are seen by nearly everyone surfing LinkedIn and some of their partner websites. Partner websites, also called the LinkedIn Audience Network, are mostly high-end media websites, some of which are also part of Double-click exchange and ad network Collective Media. Some of their partners are:

  • New York Times
  • BusinessWeek
  • CNBC

How to measure performance of your ads?

It is quite important to define your overall advertising goals before launching your LinkedIn ad campaign. A clear goal will guide you in creating effective ads, targeting the right audience, and choosing the best destination landing page. For example: a) If your aim with LinkedIn ad is to generate clicks to your site at a certain cost per click, then use the Reporting tab and My Ad Campaigns tab in LinkedIn Ads to track your progress. Here, you can track the number of clicks you have received against your total budget you’ve spent on ad. b) If your aim is to generate leads, inquiries or sales that result from clicks you receive, then you need to track users’ actions on your site and attribute these actions to your ads on LinkedIn. You can do this by using reports from a website analytics tool. Free website analytics solutions such as Google Analytics can provide key insights such as total number of conversions (actions of visitors on your site) as well as conversion rate (the percent of visitors). With these measures you can estimate the number of clicks that you will need to achieve your business target. According to LinkedIn, good ads have click through rate greater than 0.025%. You should monitor the CTR frequently, and if you notice a drop, refresh the ads with new images or copy. In addition to this, you can narrow your target audience so that your ad is more relevant, which results in driving higher CTR. Effective tips for successful LinkedIn ad campaign

  • You can resurrect your LinkedIn ad by using an eye-catchy and more relevant image or changing existing image. High contrast, bright colors and easily identifiable images work well. Each element of your ad must attract your target audience and inspire people to click on the ad.
  • One of the best ways to capture your target audience is to call them out in your ad. For example, if you’re targeting by job category, mention that category in the ad and if you are targeting by job title, use that job title in your ad. With this technique wrong people won’t click on your ad as well as you will get attention of your target audience.
  • Write bold headlines with the elaborative ad description so that it can capture the interest of your viewers.
  • You can also follow effective social media marketing strategies to increase your sales and profit.
  • If you are having trouble in earning a good number of impressions, then bid above the system’s suggested CPC bid.
  • Landing pages are quite important and you should create a special landing page just for LinkedIn users, which makes the experience of landing on your page more rewarding. It will also likely increase the conversion rate.
  • Creating multiple ads can increase your chances of getting responses. LinkedIn lets you to create up to 15 ads per campaign.
By Amit Kothiyal

Google Analytics & E-Commerce Analytics certified, Amit Kothiyal has 9+ years of experience in digital marketing. Currently, he is working in a stellar digital marketing company TIS India Business Consultants Pvt Ltd. He has helped numerous brands establish their online niche with his out of the box internet marketing strategies and lead generation capabilities. He is proactive on LinkedIn and Twitter to share his experiences with similar kind of professionals across the globe.

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