LinkedIn Advertising Guide: Step by Step Tutorial

Linkedin on laptop
LinkedIn logo on laptop. Sam Aselmo/Getty Images

LinkedIn advertising is a powerful tool for marketing any product, service or brand to small businesses and business professionals. LinkedIn Ads is the official name of the business network's advertising product, which is a self-service tool allowing anyone to create and place an ad on the network's website at linkedin.com.

One reason this form of marketing is fairly powerful is because LinkedIn advertising allows marketers to target their messages to particular business audiences on the network, such as people with a specific job title or job function, or those who live in a certain geographic region. Ads can also be targeted based on company name or size and demographic factors such as age and gender.

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LinkedIn Advertising Account Types: Personal or Business?

How to create a LinkedIn business advertising account
How to create a LinkedIn business advertising account. ©LinkedIn

If you use your standard personal account to create your ads, you won't be able to easily share the click-through data, billing or management tools with any of your colleagues. So if you're planning to do advertising related to a company, you might consider creating a business account.

A business account for advertising purposes is free and is different from the premium "business account" options that cost money. A "LinkedIn Ad Business Account" merely ties the advertising campaigns you create to a specific company and gives you a special access tool allowing you to share the account with other people by separating the ad management information from your personal account.

Once you create a business ad account, you'll be able to add other people to the "business" side of your LinkedIn account and assign them appropriate roles, including full "admin" rights, or a "standard" role that allows the person to create and edit ad campaigns. There's also a "viewer" role allowing people to view your ad metrics but not create or edit ads. Other roles include "billing contact" who can change billing info for the account and a "campaign contact" who receives emails about the ads.

The company offers a frequently asked questions help file about business accounts for ads.

It's easy to create a business ad account, though. Just sign in and go to the LinkedIn Ad dashboard and look for your name at the upper right. It should say " indiv" next to your name, meaning you're signed into your personal account. Click the down arrow and select "Create business account."

A pop-up form will appear asking you for two pieces of information. First, it wants the name of the company that will be tied to this business account. Enter the company name. You'll need to create a new company page on LinkedIn if your company isn't already listed. If the company already exists in the database, its name should appear as you type the name. Selecting the company name and clicking "create" means you are confirming that you're authorized to conduct business on behalf of that company.

Secondly, in the popup form, you must tell it what name you want to use for this business on your ad account management tools. Here you can enter a shortened version if it's easier.

Note that you are allowed to create more than one ad business account, which can be very helpful if you plan to manage LinkedIn advertising campaigns on behalf of a variety of companies.

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LinkedIn Advertising Guide: How to Create and Place Ads

It's fairly easy to create and manage an ad campaign on LinkedIn. You simply need to do the following:

  • Name your Ad Campaign: This name is internal and not seen by the public, so it can be whatever you like. Its purpose is to let you group a bunch of ads into one setting, up to 15 per campaign. So try to describe the purpose of each ad cluster when you create your ad campaign name.
  • Ad Text, Title and Photo: Similar to Google AdWords, you write two lines of text (up to 75 characters) and a title (up to 25 characters.) Unlike AdWords, you can add an image, a square measuring 50 pixels by 50 pixels.
  • Destination URL This is where people will go when they click on your ad. It can be a special landing page on your company's website or to one of your social media pages if you're trying to build followers or likes.
  • Choose Your Ad Audience Finally, you'll choose whom you want to see your ads. Your choices include targeting specific job titles, companies, geography and demographics of users on the LinkedIn network. Another option is outside of the network, through the "LinkedIn Audience Network," a collection of media websites that includes big-name news websites.

There's also an option to create LinkedIn video ads, which allows you to incorporate a YouTube video into your ad.

The next page explains what LinkedIn ads cost and how they are priced.

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LinkedIn Advertising Guide: Ad Prices

As with many other online advertising products, LinkedIn gives you a choice of whether you want your pricing to be based on the number of clicks your ad receives or how many times it is shown. The two types typically are called "cost per click" or "click-throughs", and "impressions.

Some businesses use click-throughs initially to test the effectiveness of particular ads, and then switch to impression-based pricing once they've found that an ad is working and getting a decent amount of clicks.

You'll set a different pricing level based on whether you're using click-throughs or impressions. If its clicks, you'll "bid" or set a maximum amount you're willing to pay for each click, along with a daily total budget, the maximum you're willing to spend (must be at least $10 a day.)

If you choose impression-based pricing, the cost will be a fixed amount per 1,000 showings of your ads.

In both cases, actual pricing will vary based on how many other companies are competing at the same time. LinkedIn will show you estimates based on current market conditions, and also show you detailed actual pricing once your ad goes live.

Minimum Costs - There's a $5 startup fee incurred only once. After that, the minimums are $10 a day for cost-per-click ads, and $2 per click on each ad, or $2-per-thousand impressions.