LinkedIn Sponsored Ads are a great way to reach your audience at the right time with the right message. All without interrupting user experience on the platform! Compared to Display advertising, these native ads integrate seamlessly as a part of your LinkedIn feed.
In fact, according to recent studies, users are 52% more likely to look at a native ad than a display ad.
Image credit: sharethrough.com
LinkedIn Sponsored Ads can also be very efficient if you know how to use them well.
If you don’t have much experience with LinkedIn advertising, don’t worry! That’s why I am making this article. I’ve compiled these top 11 tips to make great Sponsored content even if you are new to the platform:
1. Objective & Segmentation
As with any sort of digital advertising, it all starts with the right segmentation.
No matter how good your ads are, they are not going to do much if you aren’t reaching the right audience.
With LinkedIn advertising, the key is to start with your goal and work your way up to the content. You need to make your content fit your goal – instead of vice versa.
Once chosen, objective selection will drive every aspect of your sponsored ad creation. If your end goal is to generate more eBook downloads, you will have to select a suitable objective. For example, Website conversions or Lead generation.
If, on the contrary, your goal is to take users to your website, Website visits might be a better choice.
The exact specifics of your LinkedIn ad targeting will depend on the goal that you select. Additionally, once the campaign has been saved, it can’t be changed to a different objective.
After you’ve selected your objective, defining your segmentation will be key for making your LinkedIn sponsored ads work. However, I am not going to get into details here because I’ve written enough content on target audience itself.
If you are interested in deep diving into LinkedIn segmentation, I highly recommend you the following articles:
- LinkedIn Sponsored Content: The Beginner’s Guide
- LinkedIn Ad Targeting: Your Comprehensive Guide (2019)
- The 6 LinkedIn Ad Formats & When to Use Them
2. Check on your competition
Before you actually start creating your sponsored ads, checking into your competitors’ basket for a reference can be a great starting point. Especially if you’ve never done LinkedIn advertising before.
The way I was doing this was to scroll endlessly through my feed with the hope of seeing a competitor’s ad. Needless to say, a very time-consuming and sometimes frustrating activity.
Luckily, in May this year LinkedIn rolled out a new (and quite awesome) feature: the Ads tab. It was created with the aim to provide more transparency to advertisers, and provide a safe and trusted environment for users.
The Ads tab allows you to see all LinkedIn sponsored ads that a company has run in the past 6 months. You can even interact with them, and click on them with no additional cost for the advertiser:
To see your competitors’ ads, all you need to do is:
- Log into your LinkedIn profile;
- Go to your competitor’s Company page;
- Click on the Ads tab on the left column;
Voila! Now, you can make a proper research before actually start creating your own ads. If you notice a common pattern among all your competitors, it might be that something is working for all of them. And you can now incorporate it into your own ads as well!
Let me give you an example.
So, I work at a company in the education industry. After doing a competition research, we realized that we were the only ones doing abstract or animated banners. Everyone else was using images of actual people into their Sponsored ads!
Obviously, when you are selling education, people want to feel related to your programs. They want to see themselves portrayed into your banners. Obviously, not in a literal way – but when they see your ad, they subconsciously imagine themselves as the person on it. The next successful entrepreneur or manager.
For this reason, it is very important to take some references from your competitors. This can give you further inspiration and a starting point if you don´t know where to begin with.
3. Use Call to Action in your LinkedIn Sponsored Ads
Having a clear Call to Action is an absolute must for any type of advertising.
LinkedIn Sponsored Ads is not an exception. In fact, with Sponsored Content, you have 3 strategic places where you can place your CTA:
- Your copy;
- The banner;
- And of course, the headline.
In the above example, I have highlighted the 3 CTAs that the company has used in their ad.
Of course, you don´t have to have all 3 Call to Actions within every ad. Especially if it´s not necessary.
However, I do think that it´s an absolute must to have a clear and straightforward CTA within your banner. It is the most visual part of your creative and it needs to indicate the action that you expect from the user once he clicks on the ad.
Is your campaign´s goal to make users download a whitepaper? Then, your CTA should probably include the word “Download” (or something similar).
The second most visual part of your creative is your headline. I would definitely recommend putting a supportive Call to Action there as well. You can also include it in the copy, but I think it is the element that calls users´ attention the least. Especially if the text is longer than 155 characters and the CTA hides after the Read more button.
If you use Lead Gen forms, you will have to choose an additional CTA as a part of your campaign. It is obligatory, and even if it wasn´t, I would highly recommend it. It works wonders!
4. Brand identity
When it comes to LinkedIn sponsored ads, brand identity is key to establishing credibility and trustworthiness with your audience.
Brand identity includes:
- Your corporate colours;
- The brand name and/or logo;
- The look and feel of your creative.
Your creatives should breathe the whole essence of your brand identity. It makes your ads easily recognizable and more trustworthy. Although the goal of your campaign might be lead generation, you are always building brand awareness simultaneously!
5. A/B Testing
There is no recipe or a secret formula for success when it comes to advertising.
Sometimes, what you think will work 100% doesn’t end up working. And sometimes, what you think that might be doing wrong is actually what your audience prefers.
For this reason, you should always be running A/B tests with different creatives to see what works best for your business.
You don’t have to change the whole graphic design to tests creatives on LinkedIn. There are a lot of simple tweeks that you can do to improve your performance.
Even if you are working with only one banner, you can take it and launch multiple creatives with it:
- Changes to the copy – you can test short texts vs longer ones, changing the CTA, or simply turning the statement into a question. You can even try with more formal vs less formal language. Sometimes, you will be surprised to what communication language your audience responds the best.
- The headline – should your headline be active (Download now…) or more passive (The Definitive Guide…)? Try both versions to see which one works the best!
- Call to Action – even if you don’t change the design of the creative, if you have the editable version you can just change the CTA within the banner. And see what happens!
Of course, I would highly recommend that you do A/B Testing with different graphic designs as well. There are no limits to what could work for you!
Don’t do too many creatives at once, especially if you have a limited budget. If you do that, your budget might get diluted without giving you enough data to make reasonable conclusions.
My recommendation is to not do more than 3-4 creatives at once. After a couple of weeks, check which one performed the best, and pause the others. Then, make more versions to substitute the paused ones.
6. Mobile experience
Considering that mobile traffic accounts for over 50% of the global web traffic, ensuring good mobile experience from start to finish will be key for converting your web visitors.
Take a look at how your sponsored ad is going to look like on mobile. Does the text look way too small? Is your CTA easy to see?
Sometimes, it is hard to take these details into consideration from desktop.
Your mobile optimization doesn’t end with your LinkedIn sponsored ads.
What happens after your user clicks on the ad? Does he arrive at a mobile-friendly, fast-loading, responsive landing page? Or is your page a hot mess? Mobile is definitely something that you shouldn’t ignore.
An ad click doesn’t necessarily end in a conversion. Once the user lands on your page, it is up to you to ensure that he converts!
7. Implement conversion tracking
Tracking the right key metrics for your goals is a must for efficient optimization.
If your goal is Website visits, you can track your audience’s engagement with CTR, bounce rate, and session duration. You can do that by combining data from LinkedIn Analytics and Google Analytics.
To correctly measure your key performance metrics and your lead generation, you should enable LinkedIn conversion tracking.
You can learn how to do that step by step following the link I’ve provided above. 🙂
8. Use LinkedIn Sponsored ads and Sponsored InMail together
Many users don’t convert with the first impact. In fact, even less users make a purchase after seeing your ad only once.
Combining different ad formats within the same advertising channel can give an additional boost to your lead generation.
Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail make an especially good couple.
According to LinkedIn itself, combining these two ad formats can increase your InMail open rate by up to 25%! Additionally, it can boost your CTR by another 95%.
If you use the exact same audience for both campaigns, you increase the chance of impacting the same users multiple times. This can significantly improve your performance and drive more leads!
9. Lead Gen forms
Are you looking for some serious lead generation with your LinkedIn sponsored ads?
Lead Gen forms are an excellent way to do that! In fact, my very own experience confirmed that actual Costs per Lead can drop by 2-3 times when using them!
Lead Gen forms are LinkedIn’s native forms that auto-fill user’s data by extracting it from his public profile. This reduces the frustrating hassle of having to fill out multiple fields manually.
By implementing Lead Gen into your ads, users are more encouraged to submit their data. Usually, they only have to fill out only one or two fields manually.
Another benefit of using Lead Gen forms is that it doesn’t force the user to leave LinkedIn. This improves user experience on LinkedIn without affecting advertisers negatively. It’s a win-win!
LinkedIn Sponsored Ads
To wrap it up, advertising on LinkedIn can be extremely efficient for generating high-quality leads.
Combined with the powerful targeting of the LinkedIn platform, Sponsored content allows you to reach your audience at the right moment with native, non-intrusive and highly visual ads.
These tips will help you optimize the visual part of your LinkedIn sponsored ads to make content that converts better.
And of course, you should never stop A/B testing your creatives! Impacting your audience with the same creatives over and over again might cause fatigue and worsen your results over time. Make sure to deliver content fresh out the oven, making some tweeks to it every once in a while.
That was all from me for today. I hope you liked my article! Are you new to advertising on LinkedIn, or are you already using some of these tips? I am curious to know your answers!
And of course, if you have any particular question, let me know in the comments below as well! And, as always, thank you for passing by, it was a pleasure to have you here 🙂 see you in the next article!