Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

Getting Started With LinkedIn Advertising

Aiden Dalley

Sr. Manager, Product Marketing

It may have started as a professional networking platform, but LinkedIn looks a lot different today.

Marketers and brands flock to the site to share insights, find content, and build professional connections. It’s also still one of the best places to post and find job listings on the web. With more than 850 million members, LinkedIn has a rich audience for the right kind of promoted messaging.

If you’re a business that needs to advertise B2B solutions, LinkedIn might make more sense for you than other social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. If you have questions about how to advertise on LinkedIn, we can help. Let’s walk through the basics of how to set up and buy your first ad on the platform.

Set Up a LinkedIn Ads Account

The first step in building your LinkedIn ads campaign is creating a LinkedIn page. Individual users cannot purchase ads. To create your LinkedIn page, take the following steps:

  1. Click the Work icon in the LinkedIn homepage’s upper-right corner.

  2. Scroll to the Create a Company Page option and click it.

  3. Choose your Page type: company, showcase page, or educational institution.

  4. Enter the relevant details, such as Page identity, Company or Institution details, and Profile details.

  5. Verify that you have the right to act on the company’s behalf.

  6. Click Create page. If you see an error, correct it.

  7. Start building your page! And complete the process.

After building your Page, you’ll need to create a Campaign Manager account. Campaign Manager is LinkedIn’s advertising platform and the tool you’ll use to build out your ads. Once you link your Page and currency to your company’s Page, it can’t be changed.

Choose an Advertising Objective

LinkedIn uses many of the same basic processes for buying and developing ad content as other social media platforms, from setting budgets and bids to developing ad creative. But the fundamental cornerstone of LinkedIn ads is the advertising objective.

Advertising objectives help determine what exactly you want to do with your campaign. Do you want more eyes on your page? Are you trying to get more engagement on your posts? Do you need to source leads for your sales team?

LinkedIn offers three primary objectives for advertisers:

  • Awareness

  • Consideration

  • Conversion 


Brand awareness campaigns focus on impressions and the top of the sales funnel. They’re ideal for building your brand and expanding your reach. They can also help gain followers. 


Consideration campaigns focus on the middle-of-the-funnel audience. You can use them to increase engagement—like clicks, social actions, and page follows—on your posts, but they’re also fantastic for driving video views and website traffic. 


If your audience is at the bottom of the sales funnel and ready to take action, you can use a conversion campaign to help generate leads with pre-filled forms. Conversion campaigns are also great for driving users to visit your website and complete an action, including downloading an eBook or signing up for your email list.

Some companies use conversion ads to promote job opportunities at their company. If you’re having trouble filling a vital role, consider using a paid promotion to put that position listing in front of more qualified applicants.

Define Your Target Audience

Target audiences can make or break an ad campaign. If you target the wrong group, you may not see any growth. If you target the correct audience, you can maximize the number of people who see your ad and see a positive return on ad spend (ROAS).

Because most advertisers use LinkedIn as a B2B marketing platform, the audience targeting options differ slightly from other social media platforms. Instead of focusing on interests and demographic information like language, location, age, or gender, you can look at professional characteristics such as job title, company size, and even industry. Let’s look at the different types of ad targeting options on LinkedIn:  


Target audiences for your ads based on characteristics that relate to their job experience. You can create campaigns and reach people based on the following qualities:

  • Job Function: Standardized groupings of job titles. Examples include Medical workers like doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, and other similar professions

  • Job Title: Job titles are grouped by the LinkedIn algorithm and organized into standardized Titles. Consider that you’re hiring a new software engineer and want to promote the role. While most engineers have the same job category, software and chemical engineers' skill sets differ significantly.

  • Job Seniority: How much influence does a member have in their current role at their organization? Targeting an audience by job seniority means the right person on the organization chart can see your ad. Instead of delivering your ad to entry-level employees, targeting VPs or Directors can put it in front of people with the right authorization to act on it.

  • Years of Experience: Reach a target audience based on their accumulated years of professional experience. LinkedIn calculates this by adding together the duration of each job experience members list on their profiles. They exclude gaps in experience and don’t double-count overlap experiences.

  • Skills: Targeting an audience based on skills means using highly relevant keywords within members’ profiles and skills sections. These indicate expertise. LinkedIn infers skills from job titles and descriptions. Because job titles vary among organizations, skills targeting can help reach users with specialized expertise.


Sometimes you want to target ads at specific companies, especially if you’re a SaaS company looking to increase adoption rates for productivity software, HRIS systems, and more. LinkedIn offers ad targeting for specific organizations or companies in a particular field. These targeting options include:

  • Company Name: Target an organization member lists as their employer. These records rely on LinkedIn Pages maintained by company employees. Use this to focus on high-value companies and reach decision-makers in specific organizations.

  • Company Industry: A company’s primary industry. Sometimes an organization may work in different sectors, but the primary one is the only one that will be recognized. Use this to target audiences in specific sectors.

  • Company Growth Rate: Target companies based on their growth rate YOY, determined by factors like employee growth or inferred data.

  • Company Category: Target curated lists from publications like Forbes or Fortune. You can identify the most prominent, fastest growing, or most innovative companies.

  • Company Size: Reach members based on their organization’s size. Use this to target audiences based on an organization’s headcount. This data is inferred, not just the number of LinkedIn members who identify as employees of particular companies.


If you want to target someone based on specific educational attainment or experiences, targeting by education is the best method. The following education targeting methods can help reach your intended audience.

  • Schools: Target users based on the school, college, or university they attended or completed courses. Alumni associations can target alumni for donations or membership campaigns. Companies can seek out graduates from particular institutions. 

  • Degrees: Target users by degrees attained. LinkedIn standardizes the Degrees and groups them by an algorithm. This option may limit your audience, as members do not always populate it.

  • Field of Study: If you’re looking for particular majors, the field of study is the way to go. Fields of study include subjects like accounting, creative writing, or biology.

  • Interests: Interest categories reach people based on content that members engage with on LinkedIn. This can include professional topics or inferred interests.

  • Member Traits: Target users based on distinguishing characteristics like whether they are frequent contributors, open to education, job seekers, or even what device they use.

  • Groups: Target audiences based on LinkedIn group membership.

Company Targeting

LinkedIn’s Company Targeting option allows you to run account-based campaigns to match target companies against the more than 13 million LinkedIn Pages on the platform. Drive more conversions by guiding decision-makers through the buying journey and ensuring more qualified leads. You can even connect with audience partners to maximize your ABM efforts.

Contact Targeting

With contact targeting, you can customize your audience to market to prospects, existing followers, and people who already exist in your CRM. Upload your customer list to develop your audience and even create lookalike audiences who share characteristics with those you already have connections with.


Retargeting campaigns allow you to personalize content for users based on how they’ve interacted with your brand. Use your existing customer list to create an audience and retarget by website, video ads, lead generation forms, or LinkedIn events.

Create Your LinkedIn Ad

What kind of ads can you create with LinkedIn?

Like other platforms, there’s no shortage of content for talented marketers to attract audiences and drive results.

Sponsored content ads help you reach highly engaged audiences within the LinkedIn news feed. They appear to users as they scroll through the site’s main section.

  • Single Image Ads: Native ads that offer engaging visuals on both desktop and mobile. Single image ads work best with jpg, png, or gif files that are 5 MB or smaller. They provide several CTA options and can be both horizontal and vertical.

  • Video Ads: Video ads help you captivate professional audiences with native videos inside the LinkedIn news feed.

  • Carousel Ads: Carousel ads use a series of photos and captions to tell interactive stories to inspire professionals to take action. Carousel ads do not support video. The best ads feature 1:1 (square) images and require using jpg or png files.

  • Event Ads: Using event ads to maximize your upcoming event’s attendance is an excellent way to drive enthusiasm. Event ads feature critical details like time, location, and a brief description.

  • Document Ads: Share documents with LinkedIn members in exchange for vital lead contact information.

LinkedIn also allows you to sponsor communication with potential job applicants and leads. Open new lines of communication by paying to talk to new partners and audiences.

  • Conversation Ads: Invite your audience to learn more about your services, visit your website, and register for events. Conversation ads can include eye-catching design elements in the form of banner images.

  • Message Ads: Send direct messages to prospects and spark valuable action by inviting them to discuss new opportunities.

Lead gen forms

  • Lead Gen Forms: With pre-filled lead generation forms, you can collect quality leads from ads and invite them to sign up for events, download brochures and eBooks, and register for email lists. Collect up to 12 fields of information from prospects and use that information to develop relationships for sales or recruiting.

Text and dynamic ads

The LinkedIn right rail offers even more opportunities to get your message in front of members. 

  • Text Ads: With text ads, you can drive new customers to your business with budget-friendly short copy. Drive users to perform actions with effective CTAs.

  • Spotlight Ads: Spotlight ads help showcase products, services, events, and more. Increase traffic to your site or landing page with a simple image, headline, description, and CTA.

  • Follower Ads: Need more followers? The follower ad promotes your LinkedIn page in the side rail to help you seamlessly acquire them. Choose from various description and headline options to invite users to view your profile, follow your page, and apply for open roles at your organization.

Set Your Ad Budget

LinkedIn determines ad costs like other social media and online ad providers: with the ad auction. You place competitive bids to show your ads, and (hopefully) LinkedIn displays them to engaged users. You can start, stop, and change your ads when you’d like, and you’re always in charge of your advertising costs.

The ad auction lets businesses of all sizes advertise on the platform. 

To advertise, you must first set your budget (either daily or lifetime budget) and schedule when you want your ads to start. You must also decide on a bidding strategy. 


LinkedIn allows you to choose lifetime and daily budgets for your ad campaigns. For example, you can set a daily budget of $100 and a lifetime budget of $7,500. LinkedIn will only spend that much. 


Campaigns can run continuously, or they can run on specific dates. Select your campaign schedule by entering the dates in the field.

Bid types

LinkedIn allows you to choose a bid type to help maximize the effectiveness of your campaign. The options available to advertisers include:

  • Maximum delivery: The maximum delivery bidding system uses machine learning and automatically bids for you. This method uses your entire budget to generate the most key results for your campaign.

  • Cost cap: Cost cap bidding lets you set a cost per result. Campaign Manager uses this as a benchmark to adjust bids within the ad auction. It charges by CPM, and how much of your budget is used ultimately depends on the cost cap.

  • Manual bidding: You can specify the amount you're willing to bid for a key result. Depending on the campaign objective, ad format, and optimization goal selected, manual bidding might charge by impressions, landing page clicks, engagement clicks, sends, or video views. While it gives you the most control over your bid amount, it may not deliver the same campaign results as other optimized bidding strategies.

Launch and Monitor Your Ad Campaign

When you launch your campaign, the best thing to do is to plan carefully and be cognizant of your goals. Once you’ve chosen your ad formats, budget, and bid strategy, remember that LinkedIn might cost more to advertise than others, especially where CPC is concerned. 

To monitor your performance, track CTRs and conversion rates to ensure your ads reach the right people and drive desired actions. LinkedIn offers robust analytics tools to make data-driven decisions and optimize those campaigns. Don’t be afraid to make changes to underperforming ads!

LinkedIn ads can be highly effective when you implement them correctly, so take the time to refine and test your strategy until you see desired results.

LinkedIn Ads Best Practices

When it’s time to sit down and create your LinkedIn ads, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Define your target audience and campaign objectives before creating your ad.

  • Choose the right ad format (sponsored content, sponsored InMail, or display ads) for your goals.

  • Set a reasonable budget and bid strategy.

  • Use eye-catching imagery and concise, compelling copy in your ads.

  • Monitor click-through and conversion rates regularly, using LinkedIn's analytics tools.

  • Optimize your campaigns as needed to achieve your desired results.

Creating ads for LinkedIn or any other social platform involves careful planning. In some cases, social advertising on LinkedIn may not make sense for your brand due to price, ad type, or even because other social media platforms are a better fit.

If you have questions about advertising on social media—including managing multiple social ad channels—consider AdRoll’s social media advertising platform. We help you reduce the time and energy managing your social ad campaigns. Learn more today.

LinkedIn Ads FAQ

What types of ads can I run on LinkedIn?

There are several types of ads you can run on LinkedIn, including:

  1. Sponsored Content: Native ads that appear in the LinkedIn feed, which can be used to promote company updates, blog posts, and other forms of content.

  2. Sponsored InMail: Personalized messages that appear in a LinkedIn user's inbox can be used to deliver targeted messages to specific audience segments.

  3. Display Ads: Ads that appear on the right-hand side of LinkedIn's desktop interface, can be used to promote brand awareness and drive website traffic.

  4. Dynamic Ads: Personalized ads that use data from LinkedIn profiles to target individuals and organizations, which can be used to promote job openings, events, and more.

  5. Text Ads: Small, simple ads that target specific audiences, which can be used to drive website traffic and promote lead generation efforts.

Each type of ad has unique strengths and use cases, so selecting the option(s) that align with your campaign goals and target audience is essential.

How do I create a successful LinkedIn campaign?

Creating a successful LinkedIn campaign requires careful planning and execution. Here are a few steps to consider:

  1. Define your campaign goals: Identify your target audience and specific objectives (such as increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, generating leads, etc.)

  2. Choose your ad format: Select from sponsored content, sponsored InMail, display ads, dynamic ads, or text ads based on your goals.

  3. Create your ads: Use eye-catching imagery and concise copy that speaks to your target audience and aligns with your campaign goals.

  4. Set your budget and bid strategy: Allocate your advertising spend based on the size of your target audience and your desired results.

  5. Target your audience: Use LinkedIn's targeting options to reach the most relevant individuals and organizations based on factors such as job title, company size, industry, location, and more.

  6. Monitor and optimize: Use analytics tools to track your ad performance and make data-driven decisions to optimize your campaign.

  7. Test and refine: Continuously test and refine your campaign elements (such as ad copy, targeting, and creative) to achieve optimal results.

By following these steps, you can create a successful LinkedIn campaign that reaches and engages your intended audience, achieves your campaign goals, and provides a positive return on investment.

How can I target my ads to specific LinkedIn users?

LinkedIn offers plenty of methods to target your ads to specific users. You can target audiences who work for a particular company, attend certain schools, work in one industry, or belong to groups. Other targeting methods include skills, location, and even job seniority.

What are the best practices for LinkedIn ad copy and visuals?

Even as language norms become more casual, LinkedIn is still the primary social media platform for professional growth. Ensure ad copy is relevant, concise, and informative. Lifestyle imagery can help create emotional connections with viewers but keep it professional. If you have the ability and time, consider A/B testing different ad copy versions to determine which resonates best with the target audience.

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