What you need to know about LinkedIn Advertising


LinkedIn is one of the most important marketing platforms for any B2B firm. Read on to find out everything you need to know about advertising on this social media service.


Incorporating social media advertising into your marketing campaigns is an effective way to boost awareness of your brand, generate leads and win more conversions.

To get the best results from your social media ads, one of the key decisions you need to make is where to focus your efforts. While the likes of Facebook, Twitter/X and Instagram often seem to dominate conversations in this space, one network you certainly shouldn’t overlook if you’re targeting business buyers is LinkedIn.


LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented network, which had more than one billion users from 200 countries and territories as of 2024.

The clear focus of this particular network means it’s best-suited to B2B brands that are targeting commercial buyers or individuals looking for professional services.

Once you’re equipped with this information, you can make a decision about whether LinkedIn advertising is the right strategy for your business.

There are many types of businesses that could have a lot to gain from advertising on LinkedIn, such as:

  • Corporate software providers
  • Office furniture and equipment suppliers
  • Marketing solutions agencies
  • Recruitment firms
  • Workforce training and development companies
  • Management consultancies

When you’re considering whether LinkedIn advertising is the right ad type for you, one factor you should take into account is exactly how this social media platform works and whether it will give you a good chance of connecting with your target audience.

It’s worth doing some research into the various stages involved in creating and posting a B2B LinkedIn ad, the different types of ads available on the platform, and your options for measuring the performance of your advertising.

Once you’re equipped with this social media marketing information, you can make a decision about whether LinkedIn advertising is the right strategy for your business, then set up your LinkedIn company page.


Just like Facebook advertising, there is a clear, step-by-step approach you can follow to make sure you’re doing the right things at various stages of your LinkedIn campaign. Before you get started with your first LinkedIn advertisement, it’s a good idea to study this workflow and think about how your organisation would navigate it.

It’s also important to educate yourself on essentials like the different LinkedIn ad types available – from a video ad to display ads – and their various characteristics and benefits.

Different types of LinkedIn ads

LinkedIn ads can be grouped into four distinct categories:

Sponsored content

Sponsored content ads appear directly in the LinkedIn feeds or sponsored InMail of people belonging to professions you’re interested in targeting. Sponsored content can be effective when you want to connect with audiences using profile-based data and make an impression on people who are already highly engaged. It comes in three different formats: single-image ads, video ads and carousel ads.

Message ad

This is ideal if you’re aiming to have direct, meaningful conversations with potential customers. These ads let you make contact with prospects via LinkedIn Messaging, where a lot of professional discussions take place. Message ads can encourage immediate action and achieve higher levels of engagement and response than email marketing.

Dynamic ad

Dynamic ads use member profile data such as photos, company names and job titles to tailor content to specific sub-groups of your target audience at scale. Different types of dynamic content ad include spotlight ads, which focus on specific desired actions, and job ads, which help attract the most relevant LinkedIn member applicants with personalised messaging.

Text ad

A text ad is a simple way to get your LinkedIn advertising up and running as quickly as possible. It’s designed to help get concise, impactful messages across to the sort of people you want to reach. This format operates on a pay-per-click or cost-per-impression basis, so you only pay for the ads that work.

Getting started with Campaign Manager

Doing some research on the different ad formats available is one of the most important early steps in this phase of your LinkedIn marketing journey. It’s good to have as much information and knowledge as possible, to give yourself the best chance of making decisions that will yield positive results for your business.

Once you feel properly informed and ready to get started, you can concentrate on the practicalities of running a LinkedIn ad campaign, such as getting to grips with Campaign Manager. This is LinkedIn’s ad management tool, which lets you carry out tasks like setting a budget, identifying your goals and controlling your campaign’s timeline. It can be used alongside the LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool.

Specific functions and benefits of LinkedIn Campaign Manager include:

  • Visual reporting tools that display data matching your search and filter settings
  • Detailed representations of the actions your ads have generated, including clicks, likes, shares, comments and follows
  • Insights into the demographics of LinkedIn members who engage with your ads

If you don’t have a Campaign Manager account, you’ll need to open one before creating and launching your first LinkedIn ad. It’s the second job to complete after setting up a LinkedIn page for your business.

Select your audience targeting criteria

Whatever ad types and formats you choose to use, the process of pinpointing your audience with targeting criteria always works in the same way.

LinkedIn uses more than 20 different audience attribute categories to help you refine your targeting and focus on those segments that are most likely to convert and take the actions you’re hoping for.

These categories include:

  • Company size
  • Company name
  • Skills
  • Job title
  • Job seniority
  • Membership of professional groups

This is a crucial phase in any LinkedIn ad campaign and will influence your ad specs, because getting your targeting right gives you a stronger chance of engagement and conversion.

Pick your LinkedIn ad format

Using the information and knowledge you gathered during your initial research into different LinkedIn ad types, you can now make a carefully considered decision about what format you want to use.

Message ads could be the way to go if you want to make direct contact with your prospects and encourage immediate action, while text ads might appeal if you want to make a quick, simple start and get some early results.

It’s also important to remember that you have the option to combine all four of LinkedIn’s different advertising formats and LinkedIn video ads will provide more interest.

Decide on your budget and schedule

With key campaign components like your audience and ad formats in place, you can think about the budget you’re willing to dedicate to your LinkedIn advertising and your schedule. Just like when you post a Google ad, you’ve got a number of options.


The three main ways to allocate your budget are:

  • Cost per click (CPC): You pay every time someone clicks on your ad. LinkedIn will provide a suggestion of the ideal CPC bid to reach as much of your audience as possible, based on factors like your budget and levels of competition. When there are lots of advertisers bidding on a similar campaign, you’ll need to submit higher bids to increase your chances of success. CPC is often used when you want to achieve specific outcomes, such as generating leads or collecting event registrations.
  • Cost per impression: You pay every time your ad achieves the desired number of impressions, such as 1,000 views on LinkedIn. This is often the preferred model for companies looking to build brand awareness.
  • Cost per send: You pay for every message that is successfully delivered when running message ad campaigns.
The budgeting and scheduling phase of setting up your LinkedIn ad campaigns also allows you to set parameters such as:
  • Daily budget
  • Start date
  • End date
  • Total budget

Measure and optimise

Once all the plans have been made, targets and budgetary parameters have been set and your LinkedIn campaign is live, the next important step is to keep track of how your advertising is performing.

Campaign Manager provides a dashboard where you can track your metrics and key performance indicators, including impressions, clicks and social actions, which are initiated by LinkedIn members who interact with your content. You can also monitor how much you’ve spent.

Selecting particular campaigns and individual ads within them will show you how each one is performing. This data will help you make informed judgements about whether you need to take actions such as editing your ads, refining your targeting or adjusting your budget.

That means your LinkedIn ads agency can show you how to do everything within the platform and not need to worry about the likes of Google Analytics.


As well as managing the practicalities and essentials of running a LinkedIn advertising campaign, it’s important to think about actions you can take to optimise your ads and get the results you’re looking for.

You can position yourself for success by researching and adopting the following best practices.

If you’re new to LinkedIn advertising, you might want to start by keeping your ad targeting relatively broad and not too specific, to reduce the risk of missing out on valuable leads and opportunities. As you learn more about your audience on LinkedIn and the platform as a whole, you can start to narrow your focus and take a more carefully targeted approach.

Analyze constantly

LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager gives you the tools and data you need to track how every ad you create is performing, so make sure you take full advantage of this potential.

On your dashboard, you’ll find different charts and data sources you can use to keep up with everything from your ad spend and bids to clicks, impressions and average click-through rates. This becomes particularly important when you’re engaged in conversion tracking and measuring your return on investment.

Constantly analysing the data available to you puts you in a stronger position to gauge performance and plan beneficial changes.

Never forget the importance of targeting

Effective audience targeting is one of the most important factors in the success of any LinkedIn ad campaign. Selecting your desired location is a mandatory step when setting up your campaign, which underlines how important it is to get this particular aspect of your targeting right.

You should also dedicate plenty of time to refining and segmenting your target audience based on factors like company details and demographics.

If you’re new to LinkedIn advertising, you might want to start by keeping your ad targeting relatively broad and not too specific, to reduce the risk of missing out on valuable leads and opportunities. As you learn more about your audience on LinkedIn and the platform as a whole, you can start to narrow your focus and take a more carefully targeted approach with direct sponsored content.

Compare campaigns

One of the best ways to improve your understanding of what works in LinkedIn advertising and what doesn’t is by comparing different campaigns.

If you find that one campaign is proving much more successful than others, look into the factors that make this particular ad programme unique and run tests to see if using the same tactics with other ads generates similar results.

Test different versions of ads

If you’re struggling to work out what is causing certain ads to succeed while others fail, it could be useful to test a number of different variations of the same ad, so you can pinpoint which elements are having the biggest impact on performance.

Variables that you can experiment with include:

  • Headline and ad copy
  • Featured image
  • Target audience attributes
  • Your bid amounts

Take a methodical approach and change one variable at a time, so you know which ones are influencing your results and in what way.

Use clear, relevant CTA’s

Like many other types of marketing including Facebook ads, LinkedIn advertising relies heavily on strong calls to action (CTAs) to deliver results. The chances are the people you’re targeting are busy and have many other things competing for their attention, so you need to be clear and direct about what you want them to do next.

The most effective CTAs are usually very simple and use motivational language to encourage immediate action, often starting with a verb. For example: “Register here”, or “Sign up now”.

If you’re using a button as your CTA, make sure it has a bold, impactful design that stands out against the surrounding content.


Axonn provides a range of social media advertising services that can help you get positive results from your LinkedIn ad campaigns.

We have the experience and expertise to support you in vital areas such as:

Researching and segmenting your audience

Producing powerful images and high-quality copy

Measuring your performance and results

Managing your LinkedIn activity to nurture relationships

If you want to take advantage of the endless potential of social media advertising but you’re not sure where to start, or you simply don’t have the time to do it justice, outsourcing key tasks to a reliable partner could be the answer.

10 Minute Read

By Iain Pemberton | Updated

Iain is a senior member of Axonn’s editorial team and is an expert in tech. He should be; he’s been writing about the topic for more than 14 years.

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