Which LinkedIn Ads Types Are Right for Your B2B Campaign?

LinkedIn Ads are a highly effective digital marketing tool for B2B businesses. The ability to tap into LinkedIn’s vast trove of business demographic data means that you can directly target its 774 million users, many of whom are decision-makers. Targeting options include industry, experience, job title, job function, company size, university degree, and more. There are several ways you can advertise on the platform using this data. Choosing the right LinkedIn Ads types for your needs will depend on several factors including your budget, conversion goal, and acquisition funnel.

Ways to use LinkedIn Ads in B2B campaigns

LinkedIn Ads are suitable for:

  • Building brand awareness 
  • Increasing website traffic
  • Boosting post engagement and video views
  • ​Encouraging users to follow a LinkedIn company page
  • Generating quality leads
  • Selling B2B services or software products 
  • Headhunting and recruitment 

LinkedIn advertising is pay-per-click (PPC) and fairly expensive with a minimum daily budget of at least £8 per day. However, some ad types are more cost-efficient than others & some ad types are better at achieving certain objectives which is why choosing the right LinkedIn Ads type can help you maximise the impact of your B2B ads budget

LinkedIn Ad Formats for B2B Marketing

You may opt to use one or more of the available LinkedIn Ad types as part of your campaigns. 

If you’re trying to get more LinkedIn company page followers or event registrants, one ad format may be enough. B2B marketers trying to sell products and services or generate leads may find multiple ad types beneficial — you can target LinkedIn members across different phases of their purchasing journey. 

Sponsored Content

LinkedIn Sponsored Content ads feel the most organic out of all available ad formats. These ads appear directly in your target audience’s LinkedIn news feed and will look very similar to the content posted by the people they follow. These ad types are great for use when you would like to reach a wide array of users with a consistent message. 

However, due to the large amount of screen real-estate this takes up they are quite expensive and so might not be suitable to advertisers who have a limited budget.

Sponsored Content Ads may appear as Single Image, Photo Carousel, Video, or Event Ads.

Single Image Ads

Single Image ads are suitable for:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Generating leads
  • Encouraging job applications
  • Boosting website clicks
  • Growing company page followers
  • Generating newsletter subscribers
  • Encouraging event registrations

Every ad includes a headline, a link, one photo, and up to 150 characters of introductory text. You may also opt to include a call-to-action button (CTA) that reads:

  • Apply
  • Download
  • View Quote
  • Learn More
  • Sign Up
  • Subscribe
  • Register 
  • Join
  • Attend
  • Request Demo

Photo Carousel Ads

Photo Carousel Ads are a good choice when you’d like to drive traffic to one or more web pages or if you have multiple features of your product you would like to get across. Carousels only support still photos, so if you’d like to use a video you’ll need to choose a different ad type.

Every Photo Carousel Ad includes a headline, up to 255 characters of introductory text, and between two and 10 carousel cards. The clickable carousel card includes a photo, a short caption, and a link. There is no single CTA button for the entire carousel.

Video Ads

Video Ads are identical to Single Image Ads in form and function, including CTAs. Choose this format when you’d like to generate leads, website clicks, or event signups with a video. 

Event Ads

While you can use any Sponsored Content Ad to share a link to an event landing page on your website, Event Ads allow you to share more event details directly in users’ feeds. These ads link to LinkedIn Event pages, not your company’s website, and display the event’s date, time, name, host, and format. Users can also see how many of their connections are already interested in attending the event. 

This ad type utilises one CTA — “View Event” — that drives users to the LinkedIn Event page. 

Whilst expensive, these ad types are effective at driving engagement and action. Due to being native to a user’s feed alongside other posts, we find good performance of these ad types in terms of lead gen, demo requests, event signups and other engagement. If an advertiser has enough budget we would recommend to use these ad types as the spearhead of your marketing campaign.

Text Ads and Dynamic Ads

Of all the LinkedIn Ads types, Text Ads are most similar to Google Ads. These ads appear in the right rail that runs next to a user’s LinkedIn feed as well as at the top of the user’s page above the feed.

You can choose to run standard Text Ads, Spotlight Ads, and Follower Ads. 

Text Ads

Basic Text Ads are great for use for advertiser’s with a limited budget due to having very low CPCs or advertisers who don’t have access to creative resources.

Each ad includes:

  • A short, 25-character headline
  • Up to 75 characters of ad copy
  • A 100-pixel square image
  • One link

There are no CTA buttons included on a LinkedIn Text Ad. However, you can utilise the short description to include your own CTA such as “learn more” or “register for a free trial.” 

We find these ads work well for brand awareness. Due to their position around the feed, text ads have low CTR compared to other ad types. Even when text ads are clicked they have very low CPCs, meaning that text ads have great usability in terms of reach on a low budget, and they work well in tandem with other ads to provide additional brand exposure to the same users. However, due to their general low interaction rate they are not so suited to driving specific objectives such as leads etc.

Spotlight Ads

Spotlight Ads are a more versatile form of Text Ads. Because each Spotlight Ad is dynamic — it adapts to show the user’s name and profile photo — they are a personalised way to generate leads, job applicants, website clicks, event registrations, or product downloads.

Spotlight Ads include:

  • A short, 50-character headline
  • Up to 70 characters of ad copy
  • Company name
  • A 100-pixel square image
  • One link
  • Any of the CTA options available for Sponsored Content Ads

Similar to text ads, these are great additional ad types to use alongside message ads or other sponsored content. They’re useful for advertisers with a low budget (due to this ad type having low CPCs) or no creative assets. However, whilst the CTR is generally higher than text ads due to the personalised element, these ads also have relatively low engagement compared to sponsored content. 

Follower Ads

Follower Ads send users to LinkedIn company pages. You can use this ad type to increase page follower counts, direct users to open job posts, and share information about your company. Like Spotlight Ads, Follower Ads are dynamic and adapt to show the user’s name and profile picture. 

Follower Ads include:

  • A short, 50-character headline
  • Up to 70 characters of ad copy
  • Company name 
  • A 100-pixel square image 

Unlike Spotlight Ads and Text Ads, which allow you to write your own headline and description, Follower Ads use pre-defined sentences including: 

  • (NAME), (COMPANY) is hiring! 
  • (NAME), ready for your dream job? 
  • (NAME), you might like to follow (COMPANY)
  • (NAME), stay informed of industry news and trends
  • Grow your business with insights from (COMPANY) 
  • Visit the careers page for (COMPANY) 
  • Ready for your next opportunity? 
  • Receive daily or weekly company updates
  • You’ve got the skills, (COMPANY) has the opportunities! 

Advertisers can pair any of the available headline and description options with four CTAs:

  • Visit careers
  • Visit company
  • Visit jobs
  • Visit life

Sponsored Messaging 

Sponsored Messaging is the most personal LinkedIn Ads option. Rather than appearing as a traditional ad in or alongside a user’s LinkedIn feed, Sponsored Messages land directly in their inboxes. 

Because Sponsored Messages look and feel very much like normal LinkedIn InMail, they do not include a set of predefined CTAs like Sponsored Content or Spotlight Ads. Instead, you can set your own CTA based on the message contents. 

Sponsored Message Ad types include Conversation Ads and Message Ads.

Message Ads

Message Ads are a very targeted way to generate more website clicks, event registrations, or leads. Because they land directly in a user’s LinkedIn inbox, these 1500-character sponsored InMails feel more personal than a content or text ad.

Visually, Message Ads differ from regular InMails in two ways:

  • The recipient sees a prompt to click a CTA button, not send a response
  • Each message has a small “sponsored” label

When sending a Message Ad, you must include a link to a landing page and designate a sender. This person’s name and profile photo will appear with the message. 

This ad type is good for goals that might require more information to be transmitted to users, such as explaining the details of a webinar, course sign ups or job roles.

Conversation Ads

B2B marketers can use Conversation Ads to grow brand awareness, increase website visits, generate leads, and boost website conversions. As with Message Ads, your ad appears in LinkedIn users’ InMail inboxes. 

Conversation Ads support messages that are up to 500 characters in length, and may include more than one CTA, such as:

  • Visit website
  • Register for webinar
  • Subscribe to newsletter

You must designate at least one link and a sender. The designated sender’s name and profile photo will appear in recipients’ inboxes.

Within Conversation ads, advertisers can construct conversation workflows with predefined replies based on which CTA a user picks. This allows for advertisers to target users with multiple CTAs based on where they are in the funnel e.g. a demo, ebook or simply to visit the website.

We find these work well due to being low in cost and receiving relatively high engagement compared to message ads. In fact, LinkedIn reports the CTR of conversation ads to be 3x that of message ads.

We also find that conversation ads work well for webinars or signups where there is a lot info to get across to users. Conversation ads allow you to prioritise the most important info first and gives options for users to move down the workflow to receive more info or go straight to complete the action.

Lead Gen forms

While you may utilise a variety of LinkedIn Ads types to generate clicks to lead gen forms on your website, it requires the user go through a series of steps. You can reduce friction and streamline lead generation with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. These ads allow users to submit their contact and LinkedIn profile information in pre-populated fields, without ever leaving the platform.

LinkedIn Lead Gen forms are customisable. You may select from a variety of form fields including contact, employment, company, industry, and demographic data. 

The forms support up to three short, 100-character custom questions. Every Lead Gen ad uses “Sign Up” as its CTA.

Choosing the best types of LinkedIn ads for your campaigns

For more information on how to choose the right LinkedIn Ads for your campaigns, have a look at the table below as well as our complete guide to LinkedIn Ads. It’s full of valuable information that can help you craft an ads strategy, track ROI attribution, and select the right type of PPC advertising for your business.

If your goal is to…

Run these ad types:

Build brand awareness

  • Image
  • Carousel
  • Video
  • Text
  • Spotlight
  • Follower
  • Messaging

Increase website traffic

  • Image
  • Carousel
  • Video
  • Text
  • Spotlight
  • Messaging
  • Conversation

Increase conversions

  • Image
  • Carousel
  • Video
  • Messaging 
  • Conversation
  • Lead Gen Forms

Encourage applications with job ads

  • Spotlight
  • Follower
  • Messaging

Increase LinkedIn page followers

  • Image
  • Carousel
  • Video
  • Follower

Generate quality leads

  • Image
  • Carousel
  • Video
  • Event
  • Text
  • Spotlight
  • Lead Gen Forms
  • Conversation
  • Messaging

Promote a webinar

  • Image
  • Video
  • Text
  • Event
  • Messaging
  • Conversation

Benefits of Running Multiple LinkedIn Ad Types On The Same Audience

Whilst different ad types have different purposes, advertisers should consider using multiple ad types to target users together for their marketing campaigns. As mentioned previously, different ad types target different areas of a user’s LinkedIn experience, whether it be their inbox, feed or around the feed. Data from LinkedIn shows that 60% of demo conversions happen after 6 or more impressions, which reveals the importance of maximising frequency.

To maximise frequency per user and give space to optimisation, LinkedIn recommends using 3-5 sponsored content ads and 8+ text ads in a campaign. We also recommend adding some conversation ads to the mix too. Given that, text ads and message ads are a lot cheaper than sponsored ads, so advertisers can see large improvements in performance by investing a small amount of budget.

Whether you’re new to LinkedIn Advertising or want to improve your existing campaigns, a B2B LinkedIn advertising agency can help. Learn more about what it’s like to work with a LinkedIn Ads expert at 93x, or get in touch today to chat about how our team can help improve your LinkedIn Ads success.

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