Is advertising on LinkedIn the right move for you?

Ciara Macpherson - 24/06/2016 - 5 mins read - Community Management

Could LinkedIn advertising be the missing cog in your machine? Perfect for B2B with a wide variety of professional targeting options, let’s see if it could work for you...


As you’ll no doubt know, LinkedIn is a social network designed for professionals, allowing them to ‘network’ in a digital sense, share content, browse jobs and contact others. Companies can control a presences on the channel, in the form of a Company Page, allowing them to share content to potential viewers, much like a business Facebook page.

Currently, there are 347 million user profiles, each containing the most up-to-date professional information you available on those people. LinkedIn ad campaigns allow you to push your message directly to the right people using its targeting options. For example, promoted posts can be targeted to people by industry, job title or seniority, allowing you to deliver ads to C-suite decision makers in companies in a particular sector, for example. This exponentially increases the chances of these decision makers taking action.

There are several different types of adverts that can be used on LinkedIn, however the most common are Sponsored Updates and Text Ads, each with their own advantages. There are other “premium” options such as Sponsored InMail, but these require significant investment over a period of time to unlock.

Text Ads

Text Ads are, despite the name, can include images too! They take the format of small image, headline and description, much like Google Ads, and appear on the right-hand side of the LinkedIn interface.

  • Choose the professional audience you want to reach and drive them to a website or LinkedIn Company Page. 
  • Set your own budget and decide whether you wish to pay by pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM).
  • Pay only for the ads that work - per click or per impression.

Sponsored Updates

What are they?

Sponsored Updates allow you to extend your reach by delivering updates into the feeds of members beyond those already following your company. They are native to the browsing experience, incorporated directly into members’ feeds so as not to interrupt the stream of content.

Each time there is an opportunity for a Sponsored Update to be shown, LinkedIn runs an auction to determine which update to show and there can be many bids from competing advertisers looking to reach that member. Sponsored Update inventory is non-guaranteed, but you may adjust your bid and content to perform better in the auction.


  • Raise awareness of your brand with native ads and comprehensive targeting options that reach your target audience.
  • Build relationships and share your company’s content with the right people. By pushing your company’s updates to more people you will attract new followers.

Sponsored Inmail

What is it?

Sponsored InMail gives advertisers the ability to market to targeted users via the LinkedIn Messaging system. Sponsored InMail features real-time dynamic delivery where prospects are only messaged when they are active on LinkedIn, ensuring that all messages are in-fact delivered.


  • Send highly targeted messages to the people that matter most to your business – right to their LinkedIn Inboxes.
  • Your message gets seen. A Sponsored InMail gets delivered to the top of a member’s inbox.
  • InMail templates will are mobile-optimised to help drive more conversions for those on mobile devices.

Benefits of LinkedIn Ads over Facebook Ads

As mentioned, LinkedIn ads are a great way of reaching a B2B audience of professionals. You are able to target your adverts by job function, seniority, industry, skills and geographic location. LinkedIn ads are best used for creating awareness of your company and services, as well as generating leads. By allowing you to deliver advertising only to people with certain qualifications or titles, LinkedIn advertising spending is very efficient.

Facebook advertising can also used for reaching a business audience, and offers several ways to target, such as likes and interests. However, because much of the data Facebook has is of a demographic and interest level, Facebook advertising is much more suited to B2C targeting. The personal information Facebook bases its targeting on it makes it relatively ineffective for B2B advertising, but perfect for engaging consumers.

Top Tips

Use skills targeting over traditional role targeting

Skills targeting provides far more concentrated results than traditional role or functional targeting. With traditional role targeting, you may target a job role but find you get results which are not as specialised as you expected. With skills targeting, you can target people involved in specific areas within that role. Skill and group targeting are consistently the top performing approaches, however skill targeting is almost always able to provide more volume with similar cost efficiency. Straight role-based targeting costs more (because of the likelihood of competition) and doesn’t perform as well as specifically targeting criteria like skills or group membership.

Create messaging that resonates with your target audience

Your target market will have business problems that you can solve, and your advertising message needs to reflect this. They may not initially care about a new product or service, unless it can solve an issue they are having within the company. Keep your target audience in mind when developing your messaging - wording for a CEO will be different than an Executive.

Marketer Seth Godin laid out a hierarchy of the needs or motivators of B2B buyers, which is helpful to consider:

  • Avoiding risk
  • Avoiding hassle
  • Gaining praise
  • Gaining power
  • Having fun
  • Making a profit


Like anything in social, reporting back on what worked and what didn’t during a specific campaign is essential. LinkedIn offer a Campaign Manager tool which offers statistical reporting to help you track activity and identify metrics on campaigns. Metrics are split into two categories, Performance and Social Actions. Performance provides information on how your campaigns are performing and the amount of budget spent. The average engagement rate shown is calculated by paid and unpaid clicks divided by total impressions.Social Actions allows you to view the amount of social interactions received on your ads, however is only available for sponsored content.

Let’s Get Started!

So...does this sound like a must to you?

Here at PSONA Social we have executed successful LinkedIn campaigns for SiS Gaming & Amazon App Store as well as our very own parent group, Communisis.

Drop us a line today to start the conversation around LinkedIn advertising!

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