Your quick start guide to LinkedIn advertising

It is no secret that LinkedIn is the top social network for business-to-business lead generation. The platform has over 250 million users, in 200 countries and territories and 19 languages around the world. People use LinkedIn to network with other professionals and connect with business contacts and progress their careers. LinkedIn is becoming increasingly popular as a business news and content publishing platform too.

Why advertise on LinkedIn?

Any business or product that benefits business owners or working professionals can benefit from LinkedIn advertising.

  • It’s highly targeted – meaning you can reach your exact target group easily.
  • It’s quick – LinkedIn’s campaign manager allows you to set up your first campaign and start advertising to a targeted, relevant group of your choice in minutes.
  • When you advertise on LinkedIn, your ads can also be seen on the LinkedIn Audience Network which consists of many high-end media sites including the New York Times and CNBC. You can choose to run ads on the LinkedIn Audience Network at no additional cost.

Advertising formats available

There are two main ways to advertise your company on LinkedIn; using sponsored updates (also known as native ads) and/or sidebar ads.

Sponsored Updates

Raise brand awareness, build relationships, and drive quality leads with Sponsored Updates.

This option allows you to promote a company update that has already been published on your company page in order to increase visibility and drive interaction. Sponsored updates appear in your target audience’s feed so this is a good choice if your objective is to boost engagement with your content marketing efforts.

Screenshot of Sponsored Update ad format on LinkedIn

Sidebar ads

This is more traditional advertising in that you create a headline, text, link and image of your choice. These ads appear in the lower right hand side of the sidebar. Here is an example:

Screenshot of Sidebar ad on Linkedin

You have the option to promote a text only ad, an image with text or a video in the sidebar.

Targeting options

LinkedIn has powerful targeting options. As you narrow down your audience, you will be shown an estimate of your audience size. Keep your advertising costs low and conversions high by targeting a carefully selected audience rather than advertising to a range of irrelevant groups.

Target by:

  • Job title / function
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Seniority
  • School
  • Skills
  • Group membership
  • Gender
  • Age


You can set your budget according to the number of clicks (CPC) or impressions (cost per 1000 impressions – CPM) it receives.

If your main goal is conversions, CPC is a good option, as you can relate the cost of the click directly back to the revenue generated. If your goal is increased visibility for your business or brand awareness, then CPM can work well, as you can then justify the spend according to the number of people that were exposed to your ad.

Budget depends on the client but you can run targeted campaigns on LinkedIn from as little as £10 a week.


As with any marketing spend, it’s important to understand whether you are getting a good return for your advertising spend on LinkedIn. Use UTM parameters to identify traffic from LinkedIn advertising in your Google Analytics account. Google offer a free, handy URL builder to help you create the right URL. If you don’t use UTM parameters, you can still look under Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals to see traffic from the entire LinkedIn network.

You can view impressions and click through rates for each ad variations in LinkedIn Ad Analytics. Review your ad variations and performance regularly and optimise your campaigns by only using the ads with the best conversion rates.
See below for an example of the Campaign Manager dashboard in LinkedIn:

Screenshot of LinkedIn advertising dashboard

Best practice checklist

While you don’t need a completed profile or company page if you are linking to your website in your ad, having both is a good idea for your overall online presence.

Choose strong headlines, descriptions and images for your LinkedIn Ad variations.

Top tip: Mention the job title of the group you are targeting to grab attention and maximise relevance.

Don’t just take visitors to your homepage. Create a specific landing page tailored for LinkedIn members, if possible. Think about why people spend time on LinkedIn and tailor something relevant to the LinkedIn audience. Research similar companies or brands and click through to their landing pages for ideas.

Continually review and optimise your campaigns and publish new ads and at least once a month. New ads get a boost in terms of impressions and have a chance of scoring a higher click through rate than your previous ads. Don’t run more than 2 ads at a time.

Choose an eye-catching image. Photos of people tend to work best. According to LinkedIn’s own optimization team, choosing a photo of a woman typically drives the best clickthrough rates. Only use your business logo if you’re main objective is to build brand awareness.

Visit the LinkedIn website for even more best practice tips on LinkedIn advertising >

Need help setting up or optimising your LinkedIn advertising campaigns? Get in touch with us!