LinkedIn Advertising: The Basics

Perhaps you want to attract investors to your startup or plan on marketing your brand to another channel to reach a new audience. If these are your goals, then LinkedIn advertising may be the answer you’re looking for.

LinkedIn has emerged as an ideal choice for expanding your network and building your brand’s digital footprint. Why? Because it has the largest professional database out of all the social media platforms. You’ll find businesses, recruiters, and even consumers browsing the site to connect with like-minded individuals and focus on their entrepreneurial growth.

Roughly 82% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to connect with other businesses, making it the preferred platform for commercial transactions. If you’re curious about LinkedIn advertising and want to try it yourself, you have come to the right place!

Let’s discuss the basics of LinkedIn advertising and how it can help strengthen your brand’s online presence.

How does LinkedIn advertising work?

Like most social media sites, LinkedIn offers various marketing tools to help brands reach their goals. Let’s take a look at the different ad formats available to marketers and discuss how each one works:

1. Sponsored Content Ads

Sponsored Content ads are the most popular ad format on LinkedIn. These ads appear in a user’s feed as native ads and blend seamlessly with other organic content. Sponsored Content ads allow you to share your brand’s message with a targeted audience and generate leads.

2. Single Image Ads

Single Image Ads are the simplest ad format available on LinkedIn. These ads comprise a single image with a headline, description, and a call-to-action button. You can use Single Image Ads to promote your brand, product, or service to a specific audience.

3. Video Ads

Video Ads are an engaging way to reach your audience and promote your brand. These ads allow you to showcase your product or service through a short video clip. Video Ads on LinkedIn can be up to 30 seconds long and play automatically in a user’s feed.

4. Carousel Ads

Carousel Ads allow you to showcase multiple images or videos in a single ad unit. These ads are perfect for telling a story, demonstrating a product, or highlighting different features of your service. Carousel Ads on LinkedIn can include up to ten images or videos.

5. Message Ads

Message Ads are a unique ad format available on LinkedIn. These ads allow you to send personalized messages directly to a user’s LinkedIn inbox. You can use Message Ads to promote your brand, offer a discount, or invite users to an event.

6. Sponsored InMail Ads

Sponsored InMail ads allow you to send personalized messages directly to a user’s LinkedIn inbox. These ads are perfect for lead generation, event promotion, and nurturing relationships with potential customers. Sponsored InMail ads have a higher open and click-through rate than traditional email marketing.

7. Text Ads

Text Ads are a simple and effective way to promote your brand on LinkedIn. These ads appear on the right-hand side of a user’s feed and include a small image, headline, description, and a call-to-action button. Text Ads are perfect for targeting a specific audience and generating leads.

8. Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Ads allow you to personalize your ad content based on a user’s LinkedIn profile data. These ads can be customized to include a user’s name, profile image, and job title. Dynamic Ads on LinkedIn are available in two formats: Follower Ads and Spotlight Ads.

9. Follower Ads

Follower Ads are designed to increase your brand’s followers on LinkedIn. These ads include a user’s name and profile image, along with a call-to-action button to follow your brand’s LinkedIn page.

10. Spotlight Ads

Spotlight Ads are designed to drive traffic to your website or landing page. These ads include a user’s name and profile image, along with a call-to-action button to visit your website or learn more about your product or service.

How do you start advertising on LinkedIn?

Advertising on LinkedIn is a fairly straightforward process. Follow these steps to help you get started:

1. Create a LinkedIn advertising account

To advertise on LinkedIn, businesses need to create a LinkedIn advertising account. To create an account, go to LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions page and click on the “Create an Ad” button. Businesses need to have a LinkedIn account to create a LinkedIn advertising account.

2. Set up a campaign manager

After creating a LinkedIn advertising account, businesses need to set up Campaign Manager. Campaign Manager is LinkedIn’s advertising platform that allows businesses to create and manage their ad campaigns. To set up Campaign Manager, go to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions page and click on the “Create an Ad” button.

3. Create a LinkedIn ad campaign

After setting up Campaign Manager, businesses can create their first LinkedIn ad campaign. To create a campaign, go to Campaign Manager and click on the “Create Campaign” button. Businesses need to select their ad objective, target audience, ad format, and budget to create a campaign.

4. Explore targeting options

LinkedIn offers various targeting options that businesses can use to reach their target audience effectively. Targeting options include job title, industry, location, company size, and more. Businesses can also retarget users who have interacted with their website or content.

5. Set a budget and schedule

Once you’ve selected your target audience, the next step is to set a budget and schedule. LinkedIn offers three options that best fit your needs and budget, and these are:

  • Cost per send (CPS) – useful for when you run Message Ads campaigns. You pay for each message that is successfully delivered.
  • Cost per click (CPC) – great for action-oriented campaigns like lead generation or email list subscriptions.
  • Cost per impression (CPM) – suitable for increasing brand awareness and strengthening online presence.

When you create a campaign on LinkedIn, you will be asked to select the most suitable option and input a suggested bid, daily budget, start date, end date, and total budget. It’s worth mentioning that you have the flexibility to halt your campaign at any point in time, regardless of the end date you originally set.

It’s worth noting that LinkedIn operates an auction system for bidding. While having the highest bid can increase your chances of winning, the platform also considers user engagement as a factor. This means that even if your bid isn’t the highest, you can still win the auction by creating content that resonates well with the audience.

6. Optimize your ad creatives

Ad creatives let you rotate your ad variations and test out different elements to see which ones deliver the best results. When building creative for your LinkedIn ad campaign, it’s worth considering these four key components: imagery, ad copy, format, and testing.

  • Imagery – Imagery is the most crucial factor in driving engagement within the newsfeed. To ensure that your imagery is distinctive and consistent, it’s recommended to use a specific color scheme, font, and layout across all ads. Doing so will create a cohesive look and feel for your brand, making it easier for your audience to recognize and remember you.
  • Ad copy – Word selection and word count have a huge impact on your LinkedIn ads. Be discerning with your copy and keep it short and sweet. Use active voice, and ensure that your message is clear and concise.
  • Format – Using a variety of formats can help keep your audience interested and engaged. Consider using video, carousel, and single-image ads to showcase your products or services. Different formats can also help you highlight different features or benefits of your brand.
  • Testing – Testing, learning, and iterating are crucial to finding the best-performing creative combinations. Consider testing different headlines, ad copy, and imagery to see what resonates best with your audience. Doing so can help you optimize your campaign for better results.


LinkedIn advertising offers businesses a powerful platform to reach a highly targeted audience of professionals. By following best practices and utilizing advanced strategies, you can create effective ad campaigns that drive engagement, leads, and conversions.

Remember to define your campaign objectives, choose the right ad format, craft compelling ad copy and visuals, measure success with KPIs, and optimize your campaigns for the best results.

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