linkedin lead ads

How to Create LinkedIn Lead Ads in 5 Simple Steps

LinkedIn Lead Ads are a great way to generate high-quality leads for your business without ruining user experience.

Implementing a Lead Gen form into your ads can reduce the Cost per Lead by up to 3 times compared to an ad with regular landing! On top of that, it is not only beneficial for companies, but also works in favour for users as well.

On today´s agenda, we will see what exactly are LinkedIn Lead ads, how do they work, and most importantly, how to create them step by step. 

linkedin lead ads

So, let´s go!

What are LinkedIn Lead Ads?

Lead ads are LinkedIn ad formats that support the implementation of a Lead Gen form to speed up the process of data submission. Don´t worry, it is more simple than it sounds!

Usually, when companies make an ad on LinkedIn, they associate their banner with a landing page. In other words, if the user clicks on the ad, he will be taken to the website of the advertiser.

There, he will find more information about the product, and he will probably also be asked to submit a form:

linkedin lead ads

Usually, the user will have to fill out multiple manual fields to submit the form with his personal data.

And let’s be honest, no matter how good your landing page is, filling out a form is not necessarily very fun your audience. We all wish we could just grab the brochure or the ebook right there on the spot!

Also, why should we leave our personal data to a random website? (Just kidding, of course, but that’s how many people think :))

Users don’t want to spend too much time writing down personal data field by field. Ideally, they also don’t want to leave their LinkedIn feed to go to an external, third-party website.

And this is where LinkedIn Lead Ads come into play! 

With these ads, companies can actually user LinkedIn’s native Lead Gen forms to speed up the conversion process.

With Lead Gen, instead of using your own landing page, you incorporate a native form to your ad that extracts information from your audience’s LinkedIn profiles automatically:

linkedin lead ad

This form not only improves user experience by significantly reducing the number of manual fields, but it also doesn’t force people to leave LinkedIn.

This is important because your audience is on LinkedIn to network, exchange knowledge, and share interesting insights. They are not there to look at Display ads.

Which means that a lot of people won’t convert just because they don’t want to be taken to an external website that will ask them for their personal data! But of course, we will see all the benefits of Lead Gen later.

Let’s move on to creating your first LinkedIn Lead Ad campaign:

Part 1. Creating Your First Lead Gen Form

Conversion Tracking

Before anything else, there is one important thing that I need to mention.

If you haven’t done it yet, you will need to enable conversion tracking to measure the performance of your campaigns. In LinkedIn, the tracking pixel is also called the Insight Tag.

Even though you don’t use a landing page when making Lead Ads (although you can still place your landing in the post itself), this will ensure that you don’t miss on any important data. So, it is still strongly recommended to enable it before you move on to the advertising part.

You can learn more about setting up LinkedIn Conversion Tracking here.

Creating a Lead Gen form


linkedin lead gen forms for sponsored inmail

There are two ways to create a Lead ad form:

  • During the configuration of your campaign;
  • Before actually doing any campaign;

There is one very important reason why I strongly recommend creating your forms before you start launching any campaigns.

When you are creating an ad, your focus is completely on it. You might even be in a hurry because you have a million other tasks to do at your job.

how to reduce bounce rate in google analytics

This increases your probability for making a mistake, and what you need to know about Lead Gen is that you can’t edit nor eliminate it once it has been approved by LinkedIn. You can’t even edit the name so that your coworkers know not to use the incorrect one! Yes, I don’t understand it either.

Of course, if you realize that you’ve made a mistake right away, you can still correct it. But a lot of times I don’t see an error until the Lead Gen is up and running! Or until I get a message on LinkedIn that my form has been rejected.

Now that I got this off my chest, let’s see how you can create your first Lead Gen form.

Step 1: Getting Started

Go to your Campaign Manager, and then to Account Assets: Lead Gen Forms:

Then, click on Create Form in the upper right corner:

Once you’ve clicked on Create Form, you will be taken to another window, where you can start building your first Lead Gen form.

Form Name & Language

First, you will have to give your form a name. This is important because, as we mentioned earlier, you can’t edit it later once your LinkedIn Lead Ad is up and running.

So, make your form easily recognizable from any other forms out there. It can include the product or service that you want to associate it with, and maybe even the language if your products are in multiple languages.

It is up to you! To give you an example, I will also make a Lead Gen form for, let’s say, a software product such as Google Analytics. However, because I know that Analytics is free for users, will do the example with the paid version (Analytics 360):

linkedin lead gen

Now that you have given your Lead Gen form a name, you will have to select a language.

Important: if you are a company working with products in multiple languages, keep in mind that the language of your form should match the profile language that you have selected for your campaign:

profile language lead gen

If it doesn’t, LinkedIn will reject your form and you will have to create it again.

It might seem obvious, but sometimes it isn’t. For example, let’s say that your target audience is people in Germany, and your banner is in German.

However, you have selected English as a profile language because you want to ensure that your audience speaks English. Or maybe because this way, you can reach a more specific and well-targeted audience.

If the form for your LinkedIn Lead Ad is in German, it will get rejected. And vice versa, if you are targeting people with a German-language profile but with an English Lead form, it will probably get rejected as well.

Headline & Offer Details

The next step is to write down a compelling headline in less than 60 characters. Your space on a Lead form is quite limited, so use it wisely and be concise with your message. It will probably the first thing that a user will see when clicking on your ad.

It is always a good idea to include a CTA in your headline to encourage your audience into taking an action. In this example, my Call to Action is “Get a Free Trial“:

linkedin lead ad headline and offer details

Next, you will need to write your Offer Details. Tell the user a little bit more about your service, and how it might benefit him. You only have 160 characters for that, so again, use them wisely!

Privacy Policy

Now that we’ve finished the creative part (yes, already), we are coming to a more delicate one: the privacy policy. 

Disclaimer: I am by no means a lawyer, and I have absolutely no experience when it comes to legal topics. Please, make sure to consult this with a professional that you form complies with all the necessary regulations in your country.

Okay, now that I took this part off my chest as well, let’s see how the Privacy segment looks like in our example:

lead gen privacy policy

In this section, you will need to include the URL that takes to the privacy policy in your website. Additionally, it will have to be accompanied by a privacy policy text.

If you need more information about this section and how the form should comply with LinkedIn’s terms and conditions, click here.

Lead Details and Custom Questions

You can create your customized Lead form by selecting the data that will be required for your customer upon signing up. There are multiple possibilities that you can select from:

Profile information

lead details

  • Contact information – such as First name, Last name, Email Address, etc.
  • Work – job-related data such as Job Title, Function, and Seniority;
  • Company – data related to the current company of the user such like Company name, size, and Industry;
  • Education – this includes education details such as the member´s Degree, field of study, and graduation date;
  • Demographic – the gender of the user.

This section is, at the most part, automated. It means that LinkedIn will extract users´ data automatically, pre-filling the Lead form so that the user doesn´t have to.

negative keyword list checklist

Some fields such as gender, email address, and phone number, are not automated because they are not publicly visible on a LinkedIn member’s profile. For this reason, LinkedIn can’t (or it can, but isn’t allow to) extract them by itself.

By writing these details down, the customer gives his consent to LinkedIn and the advertiser to use his data.

Custom questions and checkboxes

While the Profile information section allows you to extract pre-selected data, LinkedIn also gives you some space for personalized fields.

linkedin lead ad forms

You can add up to 3 custom questions in case you require data that can’t be found on a user’s profile. Use them wisely! As the number of fields that a person will have to fill in manually increases, your conversion rate will probably decrease as well.

After all, the reason why Lead Gen forms exist in the first place is to reduce the manual part of the conversion process. So, use custom questions only if you really need them for better lead qualification.

You can also add up to five custom checkboxes to ensure the complete consent of the user:

lead gen custom checkboxes


The next step of creating your form is the Confirmation set-up. In a regular landing page, it will be equivalent to the Thank You page to which your lead arrives after converting.

You can personalize your message depending on the next steps of your post-conversion process. Are you going to send an email to the user with the brochure / whitepaper / ebook that he requested?

Or maybe he left his data so he can receive a call from you?

In the meantime, leave a link with useful information for the user while he is waiting to get contacted by you. You can select a Call to Action button from LinkedIn’s drop down options:

Hidden fields

The last section of your form is optional, and it usually requires an integration with a third-party Marketing Automation platform such as Hubspot. Of course, you can still add them even if you aren’t using a third-party integration.

These fields will be hidden from the user, and they don’t capture any of his data. They are only for reporting and testing purposes.

For example, let’s say that you are one of the various agencies that makes LinkedIn ads for a specific company.

You can add a hidden Agency ID so that any lead coming from your forms are associated with your Agency ID. This way, when the company is looking at their lead report, they will see that those leads are coming from your agency as they have your ID in the report.

You can also use hidden forms to add a product ID, a specific advertising period, or another constant variable. For example, if you are selling Digital Marketing courses, you can add the exact intake of the one that you are generating leads for.

For more information on Hidden fields, click here or here.

Part 2. Creating your LinkedIn Lead Ad

Now that we have created our form, it is time to see it in action by getting started with LinkedIn Lead Ads.

Go to your Campaign Manager and select the account in which you want to create your ad.

Now, click on Create Campaign in the upper left corner, and you are ready to go!

Step 2: Objective

The first step of your campaign creation will be to select your objective. I have already explained the different types of objectives in my LinkedIn Ad Targeting article, so we are not going to enter into detail here.

In fact, we don’t have to. The only objective that you can select if you want to make LinkedIn Lead ads is Lead Generation:

lead gen objective

If you choose any other objective, you won’t be able to implement the form that you just created.

Step 3: Audience

The next step is to define your target audience.

Where is your ideal audience located? What is the language of their LinkedIn profile?

linkedin lead ads language

As we previously mentioned, it is extremely important that the Profile language of your audience matches the language of your Lead Gen form. If these don’t match, your form will most probably be rejected!

On top of that, rejection notifications can sometimes take a few days to arrive to your inbox. LinkedIn can even reject your form after your campaign has been running for a week! So, make sure to do this step correctly to avoid negative impact on your LinkedIn Lead ads.

Then, continue refining your audience. 

Who are the people that you want to reach with your message? What is their professional background? How many years of experience do they have?

There is a good variety of segmentation criteria to choose from to ensure that you are reaching the right audience with your message.

Again, I have explained this in more detail in other articles, so you can check them out if you need more help with this section:

Step 4: Ad Format, Budget, and Tracking

The next step of your campaign creation process will be to select the ad format and your budget.

There are more formats available if you choose a different objective. However, with Lead Generation, you can only choose from the following ones:

linkedin ad format

Select the one that fits your goals the best. The most common and the easiest to put up is Sponsored Content, but it will be up to you to decide which one you want to try with Lead Gen.

After you’ve chosen your ad format, select a daily budget. I also highly recommend you to configure a total budget as well, unless your campaign is not always on.

linkedin campaign budget

Additionally, you can configure your campaign now, but schedule it to start at another moment. If you don’t select an end date, it is not a problem because the campaign will stop when you have consumed your total budget.

If you haven’t chosen neither an end date nor a total budget, LinkedIn will run your campaign without stopping. So, be careful with that if your budget is limited!

Bid type

To finish with your campaign configuration, select a bid type from the drop down options:

linkedin bid type campaign

  • Automated Bid – this option lets the system bids for you automatically, which can significantly increase your Cost per Click. I avoid using this one if I am on a limited budget.
  • Enhanced CPC bid – enhanced CPC bid lets you select the maximum bid that you are willing to pay for a single click. I usually recommend this option.
  • Maximum CPM bid – this option lets you bid for a price per thousand impressions of your ad. However, it doesn´t really optimize for conversion, which is our goal with LinkedIn Lead ads. For this reason, I am not a huge fan of it either.

Conversion Tracking

Remember the conversion tracking that we talked about earlier? This will be the place to insert it within your ad.

It is not obligatory to get your campaign running, especially if you are using Lead Gen. However, I strongly recommend that you use it anyways.

This way, you will ensure the correct exchange of data between LinkedIn and your website.

conversion tracking linkedin

Step 5: Creatives

And last but not least, it is time for the fun part: your creatives. Along with segmentation, your banners will be key for effective lead generation using LinkedIn Lead ads.

After all, the user will have to see your ad before he decides to click on it. This means that you will have to make it enticing and convincing.

For this example, we have chosen to work with Sponsored Content, but maybe you want to try Lead Gen with a video or a Carousel.

linkedin creatives

However, no matter what format, make sure that your ads:

  • Are aesthetically pleasing and in harmony with the look and feel of your brand, with its corporate colors;
  • Include some very brief information about your product or service (although, this is sometimes not necessary depending on the niche);
  • Incorporate a powerful Call to Action that encourages the user to take action;
  • Are accompanied by a text copy of no more than 3-4 lines (longer copies usually don´t work as well, although I highly encourage you to test them).

Once you´ve included all the details and visuals of your ad, simply click on Form details to incorporate your Lead form. Then, choose the CTA that best fits your objectives:

call to action


That was all from me for today! I hope that after reading this article, you will have a better understanding of LinkedIn Lead ads, and how they can help you speed up the process of lead generation. Personally, I saw a great reduction in Cost per Lead after implemeting Lead Gen into my ads, so I definitely think that they can be highly effective with the right segmentation.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post! It makes me very happy to see you here.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below! If you have any previous experience with Lead Gen ads and forms, I would love to hear about it as well.

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