If you’re just branching out into the world of paid advertising and B2B marketing, LinkedIn ads is the way to go. With a variety of ad options, targeting methods, and tracking functions, LinkedIn ads are an effective and efficient way to market your business. However in order to see an optimal ROI, it’s important to make sure you are navigating through their system effectively. Here are few things you should know before advertising on LinkedIn.

Ad Structure

LinkedIn offers 5 different ad options to choose from. Each ad differs in price and deliver.

  • Sponsored Content

  • Sponsored InMail

  • Text Ad

  • Display Ad

  • Dynamic Ad

Sponsored Content

This option allows you to advertise your LinkedIn page updates.You can pick an article, video, news, or event and have it delivered onto your desired audiences feed. Since Sponsored Content ads are placed directly into users news feed, these ads blend more naturally into the users experience often leading to higher engagements. Here at SMSS we generally used Sponsored Content ads to promote our blog posts!

Sponsored InMail (SMSS Recommended)

This type of ad allows you to send a personalized message directly to members of your desired audience. LinkedIn delivers the message directly into their LinkedIn mail boxes. This is an ad option that we are very fond of here at SMSS. Although this ad is targeted towards brand awareness, we’ve seen a high conversion rate. Our InMail campaigns have open rates as high as 80% and click through rates as high as 50%.  When running Sponsored InMail we focus on messages that offer a quick comprehensive view of our brand with the end goal of generating leads. To learn more about the pros and cons of Sponsored InMail check out this article by our CRM provider Pardot.

Text Ad

These ads are placed on the right side of LinkedIn’s feed and focus on delivering short concise messages to your desired audience. Our favorite part of Text Ads along with all of LinkedIn’s other ad options is that they are designed to blend with the news feed and integrate organically with the users experience.

Display Ad

This ad option is presented as a traditional web banner throughout LinkedIn’s site. This feature offers five different banners to chose from.

  • Medium Rectangle - A 300 x 250 pixels image place on the sites sidebar
  • Wide Skyscraper – A160 x 600 pixels image placed on the sites sidebar
  • Leaderboard – A  728 x 90 pixel image placed at the bottom of the site
  • Textlink - A line of text placed at the top of the site

Dynamic Ad

This is one of LinkedIn’s most interesting ad. A dynamic ad allows you to customize your message to individual members of your audience. The ad appears on the users profile and can  be customized to include the users profile image as well as your specified call-to-action. The personalized aspect of this ad is enticing to users and can be used to encourage page follows and engagement with your content. We have yet to try this ad option, but are excited to get started.

If you want to learn more about LinkedIn ad success stories, check out these 10 Examples of LinkedIn Ads That Totally Crushed It!


Budget & Pricing

LinkedAds have three pricing options depending on the selected ad: Pay-Per-Click (CPC), Pay-Per-Impression (CPM), and Pay-Per-Send (CPS).

CPC is used whenever your ad is clicked. When choosing this pricing option you select the maximum you’re willing to spend per individual click; e.g. your bid. LinkedIn sets a minimum bid as well as a suggested bid. The suggested bid is based on the ads your competing with, so if you bid below the suggested rate your ad is likely to loose the bidding war and have a lower performance.

CPM is the cost you pay to have your ad delivered to a screen. This cost is typically lower than CPC because it is not based on the amount of engagements with your ad. LinkedIn charges your for every 1000 views your ad has (impressions), even if your ad is not clicked.

CPS is used for Sponsored InMail. With CPS you pay for every message that is successfully delivered in your InMail campaign. Like CPC and CPM LinkedIn offers a suggested bid which you should aim to match or exceed.

You should set up your advertising budget based on your goal. The CPM and the CPS price model are more optimal if your goal is brand awareness. However if your goal is conversions you should allocate more of your marketing budget to CPC campaigns.


Similar to other network ads, LinkedIn let’s you customize the audience your ad is delivered to. LinkedIn offers a variety of targeting options, but it’s important to be selective when targeting as you want your ad to fall somewhere in the middle of specific and broad for optimal results.

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Company
  • Job Title
  • Job Function
  • Skills
  • Groups

LinkedIn’s targeting features are well suited for B2B marketing as they allow you to specifically target people within your industry unlike many other network ads.


LinkedIn tracks standard performance metrics like number of impressions, click through rates (CTR), average engagement etc. Monitoring your CTR is very important as a higher CTR leads to a higher relevance score for your ad. Having a high relevance score tells LinkedIn’s algorithm that your ad is performing well and makes your ad a better contender in the bidding process.


One of the more exciting tracking metrics LinkedIn offers is conversion tracking. If you’re running a sponsored content or text ad, LinkedIn allows you to track customizable conversions such as e-commerce purchase, downloads, registrations, form submissions etc.  In order to use this function, you must have LinkedIn’s Insight Tag installed on your website.

Once your tag is installed and your conversions are set up, LinkedIn Campaign Manger reports the following metrics:

  • Post-click conversions - the percentage of clicks the lead to a conversion
  • View through conversions - the percentage of impressions that lead to a conversion
  • Conversions - the total number of clicks and impressions that lead to a conversion
  • Conversion Rate- the percentage of clicks and impressions that lead to a conversion
  • Cost per conversion - the average amount you spent on each conversion
  • Conversion Value – the total dollar value of all conversions (this value can be customized when your create your conversion)
  • Return on Ad Spend - the conversion value divided by spend

I hope you enjoyed this quick little intro into the world of LinkedIn ads. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter as we will continue exploring the latest trends in LinkedIn ads and paid advertising.

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!