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How To Create LinkedIn Ads

August 15, 2020

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Creating your ad can be an enjoyable process as LinkedIn allows you to get somewhat creative.

Although what you want is to make a professional ad, it's important you use the tools LinkedIn has available for you and be unique.

After you've clicked 'Create Account', you should already be on this page ready to adjust the settings to your liking based on your business goals.

Step 1: Choose Campaign Objective

The first thing you have to do is select your campaign objective. You need to think good on what your goals are for your business.

Here are the options that you’ll see:

Your campaign objective is the action that you want your audience to take when they view your ad. By choosing wisely which objective you choose, LinkedIn will be able to best customize your campaign, show you the results that are relevant to you and deliver the best ROI (Return On Investment).

Step 2: Website Conversions

For this guide, we'll choose Website Conversions as the objective.

As you hover over the objective, you'll see what you'll accomplish.
Once you choose the objective, you'll see this at the top of your page:

Step 3: Choose Audience

Next, you get to choose the audience you want to show your ad to.

This is an interesting section. Remember that the audience is different here than on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Google.

There are business professionals on this platform and you’ll be able to tell when you start choosing your audience.

Step 4: Add Audience

To add an audience, click on ‘Audiences’.

Step 5: Audience Types

You’re going to then see a list of many types of business titles that you can target. To see all of the audiences available for you to target, click on ‘See all audiences' at the bottom of the list.
If you wanted to target corporate HR professionals, you’d simply click on that audience and then click ‘Select Audience’ when you’re ready to move on. To see more audiences, you can simply scroll down and go to the next page.

Step 6: Location

Next, you have to choose where you want to show your ad.

Location is the only required field when it comes to audience set up. LinkedIn needs to at least know where to show your ad.

You have the option to choose those who recently visited, live or work in a specific location, or you can only go with people who only live and work in the location you choose.

In this guide, we’ll go ahead and select the ‘Recent or permanent location’ option.

Location Step 1: Enter Location

Enter the location you want your ad to be seen.

Location Step 2: Exclude Location

Under this section, just as you can do when running ads on Google, you may enter a location you wish to exclude from seeing your ads.

By excluding a location, your ad will not show up unnecessarily in a location that you're not looking to serve and as a result, you won't have to waste you daily budget.

Step 7: Language

Up next is the selection of the language you’re looking to advertise in.

The language you choose may not be changed after you’ve already selected it and chosen your ad creative, so be sure of your selections.

Step 8: Target Audience

Moving on, it’s time to now let LinkedIn know who exactly is your target audience based on their Demographics.
You can even narrow down or exclude audiences further after you start selecting attributes.
These are the attributes available to you under ‘Company’:
For 'Education' they are:
Attributes under 'Job Experience' are:
You can even reach members based on their interest or groups they belong to.

Although LinkedIn really does store a lot of data so that you can target people more than you can on Google, it’s not more than Facebook. At the end of the day, it’s a different audience.

If you want to add extra attributes, you can do so as well as narrow your audience further and even exclude an audience of your choice.

Similar to Facebook, what you don’t want to do here is add so many attributes. When you do that, that’s called hyper-targeting. LinkedIn recommends you do no more than 2-3. If you add more, it could hurt your campaign.

You should only go after 2-3 of these and be specific. If you use more, it could be a waste of time and get redundant.

For example, if you want to target every filter and go after the job title of Director of Finance, job function of Finance and job seniority of Director, DON’T!

By selecting the Director of Finance, you’re already covering the bases. There’s no need to add on all of the other filters.

The most commonly targeted attributes on LinkedIn are:

  • company industry
  • company size
  • job title
  • member groups

Let’s say you already had data on your website visitors and wanted to retarget them as well as people that you already know. What would you do? 

Step 9: Matched Audience

You'd select ‘Matched Audiences’.

Step 10: Add Matched Audience

Then you click on ‘Add matched audience’.

Step 11: Matched Audience Addition Method

You’ll then choose how to add a matched audience with the options below:

You could upload an email list of people and create a matched audience, monitor website traffic and see who you want or don’t want to show ads to.

If you do upload a list, it can take up to 48 hours to process, so don’t think that it works immediately. You need to give LinkedIn time to work for you.

More on matched audiences later in the ‘Retargeting on LinkedIn’ lesson of this guide.

Step 12: Enable Audience Expansion

Just before you reach the Ad format section, there will be a check box that gives you the option to ‘Enable Audience Expansion’.

What this allows you to do is reach business professionals that are similar to the audience that you’re already targeting. This is all based on their job titles, skills and even the company where they work.

Take your time with this section so that you can get your targeting right. The worst thing that can happen is that you target incorrectly and lose money because you’re not getting any conversions.

Step 13: Audience Summary

When you’re finished in the Audience section, you can review how you’ve set it up by clicking on ‘View Audience Summary'.

Step 14: Ad Format

The next part of the ad creation process on LinkedIn is to choose your ad format.

These are the types of ads you’re able to create if your objective is Website Conversions.

We’ll go with Single image ad for this guide. Once you get familiar with how to setup a simple single image ad, it’ll be easier setup the other ad formats.

Step 15: Placement

When it comes to placement, depending on your objective and ad format, you could select this check box so that you can reach 25% more of your target audience by having your ads run on third-party apps and other sites across the internet. As a result, you would have more eyes on your ads which will mean more conversions.

Step 16: Budget

Now you get to let LinkedIn know what your budget will be so that you can control campaign costs. Also, you get to decide when you want your ad to be shown.
You have the option to set not only your daily budget, but you can also choose to set a total budget.

Once you hit this number of dollars spent, LinkedIn won’t run the ad anymore. This is good for you to do just in case you forget to stop running your ad and you only wanted to spend a certain amount.

Step 17: Scheduling

As far as scheduling goes, you have two options. You can choose to run your ad continuously once its live, or you can just pick when exactly to start and end the campaign.

Step 18: Choose Bid Type

Choosing your bid type is next and you have 3 options:

Automated Bid: The LinkedIn system automatically sets your bid and tries to get the most amount of leads for your budget. If initially you’re not sure how to bid, this is the option you want to use. Something to keep in mind is that this is charged by impression and you cannot set a bid cap.

Enhanced CPC Bid: When you go with this option, you’re allowing LinkedIn to adjust your bid so as to generate more leads for you by means of the LinkedIn Lead Generation form. This bid, in turn, is charged by click instead of by impression.

Maximum CPC Bid: If you want to be in control, this is the option for you. LinkedIn won’t charge more than what you bid. Do remember that if your bid isn’t competitive enough, the campaign may not completely deliver its budget.

To begin, I recommend going with the automatic bid until you’re comfortable enough and have enough of an understanding of how bidding works on LinkedIn.

Step 19: Conversion Tracking

Last but not least when setting up your campaign is conversion tracking.

Although this section is optional right now, DO NOT FORGET ABOUT IT. By tracking conversions, you’ll be able to see what actions were taken by people as they visited your site such as filling out the form on your site or registering for an event.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because you’ve probably already advertised on Facebook and Google. Facebook uses the “pixel” to monitor movement to and through websites.
Google on the other hand, calls it the Google Site Tag.
On this platform though, it’s called the Insight Tag.

In the lesson, ‘LinkedIn Insight Tag’, we’ll go over how to exactly install the Insights tag and set up conversion tracking so that you can retarget well.

For now, we’ll move on to the actual creation of the ad.

When you’re done, click ‘Next’ so that you can go on to set up your ad.

Surprisingly, setting up your ad is the second step in this whole process. You can also create an ad using your existing content from your posts on LinkedIn. For now, create your ad.

Step 20: Create Ad

Go ahead and click on ‘Create new ad’.
You’ll be taken to this page where it’s time to start adding your content and other details.

If you’re planning on running multiple ads on LinkedIn, you should give your ad a name so that you can differentiate it from others. This is the page where you add your ad copy or introductory text, add your image, present your offer, call to action and choose how you want your confirmation or thank you page.

This is where you tap into your creative side. As with anything, else, don’t rush this part or be lazy and definitely don’t overthink the process too much.

Once you’ve finished adding all of the content and you’re pleased with how everything looks, click ‘Save’.

If you’ve run ads on Facebook, you can see some differences already, right?

At this point, you’ve finished putting your ad together. Click ‘Next’.

Step 21: Review & Launch

Now, LinkedIn will now allow you to review your campaign before you launch it.

Take your time to make sure that your objective, audience, location, ad format, budget and schedule are how you want them.

When you’re done reviewing everything, click ‘Launch Campaign’.
You’ll then see:

If you haven’t noticed yet, you haven’t added your payment method. By now, Facebook would have already prompted you to enter your payment details. Make sure to add your payment method or you obviously won't be able to run ads here.

Click on ‘Go To Account Overview’ as you can see in the image above. When you do, this is what you’ll see:

Step 22: Enter Payment Information

To add your payment info, click on your ad account name on the top right of the page next to your profile picture:
You'll then see these options.
Click on 'Billing Center'. When you see:

Click on 'Add Credit Card' and do so. 

Congratulations! You’ve set up your first LinkedIn campaign and added your payment information.

Now what you need to do is install your Insight Tag so that you can learn about your website visitors.

This is valuable data that you're going to want and need, so get it done.

Message Ads

Another type of ad you can run are Message ads.

To set up a message ad, follow the steps you just went through for the Single Image ad format except choose 'Message ad' as your format. 

I like the idea of these ads because your prospects will be able to see this ad in every section they visit in their LinkedIn profile.

They’ll see you once they login on their desktop, on their phone as well as in their email.

They won’t be able to miss your message ad.

The best part is that your message ad will remain in their inbox as long as they keep their LinkedIn profile active.

No other ad platform or format can do that. 

After you do click on the 'Message Ad' format, continue to set up your campaign settings.

Message Ads Step 1: Create New Ad

Once you’re finished and reviewed that all of your settings are how you want them, it’s time to create your ad.

Click on 'Create new ad'.
Create new ad

Message Ads Step 2: Name Ad

Before you begin, give your ad a name so that you can easily identify it in case you make more of these ads.

Message Ads Step 3: Add Sender

Choose who the sender is. This would be you or whoever you choose want the sender to be.

Message Ads Step 4: Enter Ad Details

Then, you can begin to fill in your ad with the subject line, message text, call to action, landing page URL and if you want, a banner creative.

Once you finish, click Create and continue just as you did with the ‘Single Image’ ad.

It’s up to you if you decide to track conversions when running these message ads.

I personally don’t track conversions for this type of campaign because the ads stay in their inbox. In effect, the possibility of them seeing this message ad multiple times is high, which is great.

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