Skip to content

The Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn Advertising

Utah University enjoyed a remarkable conversion rate of 1 in every 20 individuals via LinkedIn ads. HubSpot experienced a 60% increase in click-through rates. Aspect Software witnessed a meteoric 290% referral traffic surge and a 17% boost in their page following.

These LinkedIn statistics make it clear: 

Advertising on the platform has the power to transform your marketing efforts. In a world where every marketing dollar must count, approximately 58% of savvy marketers confirm that LinkedIn offers some of the best returns on investment. Its precise audience targeting lets you laser-focus your marketing efforts and connect with ideal customers.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to start using this strategic marketing tool to grow your business. From the basics of LinkedIn advertising to a step-by-step guide on how to set up an ads account, we’ll cover it all. 

Let’s get started! 👇

What is LinkedIn advertising?

LinkedIn advertising is a paid marketing tool on LinkedIn that helps you promote your products or services on the platform. It allows you to create and run paid ad campaigns that target specific demographics, industries, or job titles to reach your ideal audience.

Although only a fraction of people use LinkedIn compared to Facebook or other social networks, the effectiveness of LinkedIn ads still triumphs over other platforms. That’s because most LinkedIn users are influential decision-makers, making the platform a goldmine of selling opportunities. And LinkedIn advertising is an excellent tool for excavating this mine. 

How much does LinkedIn advertising cost in 2023?

The average costs of LinkedIn advertising in 2023 are as follows:

  • $2-$3 per click.
  • $5.01-$8 per 1000 impressions.
  • $0.26-$0.50 per send in InMail campaigns.

LinkedIn also requires you to have a minimum of $10 daily spend to keep your ad campaigns active. New and inactive campaigns may require a daily ad spend of $100.

Also, these are estimates that you can expect to pay. The exact cost of your LinkedIn ads depends on:

Bidding strategy

Your bidding strategy communicates to LinkedIn how much you’re willing to pay to reach your desired audience. This directly impacts your advertising costs. Winning an auction means paying just one cent more than the next highest bidder, following a “second-price” auction model.

Target audience competition

If your industry is saturated with established names, your ad cost will be higher. This is because your competitors will also be advertising on LinkedIn with big budgets and competing for the same ad space as you.

LinkedIn ad relevance

LinkedIn evaluates the quality of each campaign with a relevance score. High-performing ads receive better scores, which means lower ad costs. Metrics like click-through rate, engagement rate, clicks, likes, shares, and comments all influence this score. The ad format also impacts the pricing.

Advertising objective

LinkedIn follows objective-based pricing. This means your chosen advertising objective influences how you’re charged. Different objectives have distinct click behaviours that affect your cost structure.

Notice that LinkedIn advertising is more expensive than Meta and works differently, too. Experts recommend setting up a monthly budget (ideally $2,000 - $5,000) before you begin an ad campaign on LinkedIn. This monthly budget ensures higher ROI by lowering CPL (cost per lead). 

If you don’t have a big budget, you can begin with somewhere around $300. However, the results may not be satisfactory.

What are the types of LinkedIn ads?

In its own guide, LinkedIn mentions seven different types of ads. These are:

  1. Single image ad.
  2. Document ad.
  3. Carousel image ad.
  4. Video ad.
  5. Text ad.
  6. Dynamic ad.
  7. Sponsored messaging.

Each of these ad formats has a unique layout and functionality. And LinkedIn ad experts have reorganised them into three distinct categories. These are:

1. Sponsored content 

These ads appear directly in the LinkedIn feed of users and blend in smoothly with organic content. The entire layout of the ad is the same as a post, except that there’s a CTA button or a ‘promote’ label.

This LinkedIn ad type allows you to reach both a broad audience and a highly targeted audience. So, it’s a versatile choice for brand awareness, content promotion, or lead generation campaigns.

You can choose from the following ad formats to craft this ad type:

2. Single image ads

Single image LinkedIn ad


Single-image ads are made of a single horizontal, vertical, or square image (no larger than 5 MB).

Most advertisers use single-image ads to spotlight their products, team talent, or latest events. They support all levels of funnel marketing. They’re also a quick and easy way to drive more traffic to your website with striking visuals and clear, concise messages.

3. Video ads

LinkedIn video ad


80% of people prefer watching videos over reading text. This is why video ads are one of LinkedIn’s most successful and high-yielding ad formats.

You can use them to offer live demos of your products or services or share your brand’s story. It’s an effective ad format that conveys complex ideas, boosts interaction, and develops stronger connections with your audience.

4. Carousel ads

Carousel LinkedIn ad


This format allows users to swipe through a series of images or videos. 

Carousel ads are perfect for showcasing a range of offerings, telling compelling narratives, or guiding your audience through step-by-step journeys or how-to guides.

5. Event ads

These ads allow you to promote webinars, conferences, and meetups by linking the ad with the event landing page. You can showcase vital details (like dates, times, and locations) along with a compelling call-to-action that encourages users to sign up for your event. 

You can use QR codes on the registration or informational page you link to, allowing attendees to quickly register or gain more information.

6. Document ads

Document LinkedIn ad


These ads are designed for the first stage of the marketing funnel (i.e., awareness). You can add your article, eBook, whitepaper, or case study to these ads, which users can download after giving you their email address.

You can also integrate a social media management tool to track whether users share the resource with their network, friends, or other platforms to gauge their interest. Hootsuite probably comes to your mind when you hear “social media management”, but there are many great Hootsuite alternatives on the market. 

Just make sure the tool you choose supports LinkedIn!

7. Sponsored messaging

Sponsored messaging LinkedIn ad


Sponsored messaging (also known as sponsored InMail) enables you to send personalised messages to your target audience’s LinkedIn inbox. This type of ad is particularly effective for B2B lead generation and event promotion.

You can modify messaging templates to craft tailored messages that resonate with your audience and encourage them to take specific actions, such as signing up for webinars, downloading resources, or booking a call with you.

Expandi demonstrated it’s possible to book 14 calls per week (out of 170 people reached) — given that you have the right toolkit.

So, if you opt for sponsored messaging, don’t forget to equip yourself with a reliable AI tool to write hyper-personalised messages. You’ll also need a robust cloud phone system to smoothly direct hot leads to your team.

With that said, the ad formats you can use for this ad type are:

Message ads

Message ads enable you to send personalised and targeted messages to users, each with a single call-to-action (CTA), such as:

  • Visiting a website.
  • Joining an event.
  • Booking a call.
  • Filling out a form.

Conversation ads

With conversation ads, you can maximise conversions by adding multiple CTAs to your messages. This gives prospects multiple opportunities to convert.

Text and dynamic ads 

These ads have a different layout and positioning than sponsored content, so your audience can clearly identify them as ‘ads’. They’re excellent choices for companies with a tight budget or those looking to target a niche audience.

Here are more details for each ad type:

Text ads 

These small, text-based ads appear on the right-hand side of the LinkedIn homepage. They’re cost-effective and valuable for driving website traffic or increasing brand awareness. 

Dynamic ads

Also known as spotlight ads, these are personalised ads that appear in the LinkedIn feed. They leverage LinkedIn profile data to create highly relevant and clickable ads. 

Lead generation forms

LinkedIn lead generation form


Lead generation forms are designed to simplify the process of collecting valuable leads from LinkedIn.

When someone clicks on your ad, a form pre-filled with their LinkedIn profile information pops up. This reduces friction, making it easier for users to share their contact details with you.

Lead generation forms are ideal for businesses that want to build email lists, nurture leads, or facilitate quick lead generation.

How to create a LinkedIn Ads account

Now you know the basics of LinkedIn advertising, let’s learn how to get things moving.

First, log into your LinkedIn account and click on the ‘For Business’ dropdown on the top right corner of the screen. 

This is what you’ll see:

LinkedIn advertising account

Click on the Advertise icon and LinkedIn will direct you to the LinkedIn campaign manager, where you can set up your campaign manager account.

Note that you can only create a campaign manager account if you have admin access to an active LinkedIn business page.

How to create your first LinkedIn Ad campaign

Once you’ve created your LinkedIn ads account, follow these steps to set up your first campaign:

1. Choose your objective

LinkedIn will prompt you to choose your advertising objective. This is the action you want your audience to take.

Your objective should align with your campaign goals, whether it’s increasing website visits, generating leads, or promoting brand awareness.

2. Create a campaign

Click on the ‘Create campaign’ button and you’ll be guided through the process of setting up your campaign. 

You’ll need to provide details like the campaign name, language, and the location you’re targeting.

3. Define your audience

Use LinkedIn’s targeting options to define your audience based on criteria like location, company size, job title, industry, and more. 

Since this is your first campaign, LinkedIn suggests targeting at least 50,000 people (for sponsored content) and 15,000 people (in case of sponsored messaging).

You can even opt for a ‘matched audience’ by uploading a list of collected email addresses or people who have already visited your website.

4. Select ad format

Choose the type of ad you want to run. Make sure you align it with your campaign goals and audience preferences.

5. Set your budget and schedule

Next, specify your daily or total budget and the campaign schedule. You can run ads continuously or set specific start and end dates.

The first 5-7 days are generally considered the learning period, so closely monitor your campaigns and make changes in the lowest-performing ads. Gather data about your audience and study it deeply to develop better LinkedIn marketing material.

6. Create your ad content

Craft engaging ad content, including headlines, images, ad copy, and a compelling call-to-action. Make sure you follow the predefined layout as given in LinkedIn’s guide to ad types

If you’re unsure of your content’s impact, consider creating 2-3 variations of the same ad and running a split test. Observe performance for five days and then settle for the highest-performing variant.

7. Review and launch

Carefully review your campaign settings, budget, and ad content to ensure everything is accurate. 

Once you’re satisfied, click the ‘Launch Campaign’ button.

8. Make payment

LinkedIn will require you to enter your billing information and select a payment method to activate the campaign. 

Once you’ve made the payment, your campaign will be activated and you’ll receive a confirmation notification.

9. Monitor and optimise

To extract maximum value from LinkedIn ads, you must constantly monitor and optimise them for better performance. 

Here are four considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Analyse when your target audience is most active on LinkedIn. Adjust your ad scheduling to display your ads during peak engagement times.
  2. Use LinkedIn’s audience segmentation options to break your target audience down into smaller, more specific groups. Create tailored ads and adjust bids for each segment based on their performance. In this way, you get the most value for each dollar.
  3. Optimise landing pages for maximum conversions. Test different landing page designs and content to improve the post-click experience and boost conversion rates.
  4. Use negative targeting to exclude certain demographics or job titles that are irrelevant to your campaign. This helps reduce ad spend on less valuable clicks.

How to track ad conversions

Before we sign off, let’s quickly run through how you can make your LinkedIn advertising efforts measurable. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Use a tracking tool like LinkedIn’s conversion tracking or Google Analytics.
  2. Set up conversion goals (like form submissions or product purchases) in these tools. 
  3. Add a tracking code to your website or landing page. This code will record when visitors complete the desired action. 
  4. Regularly check the tracking data to see which ads and campaigns drive the most conversions. 

If you’re running call-based campaigns, consider integrating a VoIP phone service to track and record phone call conversions. All this information will help you adjust your ad strategy and budget, allowing you to focus on what works best.

LinkedIn advertising simplified

As we saw, LinkedIn advertising stands out as a powerful tool for businesses aiming to connect with decision-makers and professionals. 

From understanding the nuances of ad types to setting up and optimising campaigns, we hope you found this post helpful. 

Remember, success on LinkedIn lies in understanding your audience, crafting compelling content, and staying agile in your strategies. So dive in, experiment, and grow your business on LinkedIn!


Read similar stories

Demand Generation

How to Pivot From Lead Gen to Demand Gen: a CMO's Guide
How to Pivot From Lead Gen to Demand Gen: a CMO's Guide
Find out how Cognism pivoted from lead generation to demand generation with amazing results! Click to read insights from our CMO, Alice de Courcy.
The Top B2B Marketing Podcasts
The Top B2B Marketing Podcasts for 2024
Listen to the best marketing minds share hints, tips, & hacks. See the list of top B2B marketing podcasts, including Revenue Champions, Exit Five, & more.
What is Brand Marketing? Definition, Examples, Strategy
What is Brand Marketing? Definition, Examples, Strategy
In this comprehensive guide, we dive into B2B brand marketing, explore why it’s so important, and provide actionable strategies that drive results.

Experience the Diamond difference.

See how our phone verified contact data can increase your connect rate by 3x. Book a demo today.

Skyrocket your sales

Cognism gives you access to a global database and a wealth of data points with numbers that result in a live conversation.

Find customers ready to buy

Cognism intent data helps you identify accounts actively searching for your product or service – and target key decision makers when they’re ready to buy.