How to Use LinkedIn Ads to Find B2B Leads

Posted on May 13, 2016 by

linkedin ads b2b

 

Finding B2B leads can’t get much easier than using LinkedIn Ads. LinkedIn boasts having the world’s largest professional network which is the ideal pool to find your target audience when dealing with the business to business market. LinkedIn B2B leads can be found using LinkedIn’s targeted self-service ad center.

You have two options when creating LinkedIn Ads – Sponsored Updates and Text Ads.

What is a LinkedIn Sponsored Update?

This type of ad helps you get your content in front of your target audience. These are also called “native ads” as it pushes your company’s updates to a new network to attract new followers which will allow you to build relationships and drive leads.

Let’s walk through creating a Sponsored Update together.

1. Open LinkedIn Campaign Manager

First you’ll need to open your LinkedIn Campaign Manager. From this screen you’ll select the type of ad you want to create – either Sponsored Updates or Text Ads. Right now, we’re creating Sponsored Updates so next to this option, hit select.

LinkedIn B2B Leads Campaign Manager

 

2. Set Up Your LinkedIn Ad Account

If you’ve not run any ads before, you’ll need to set up a LinkedIn Ad Account. Select whether you have a company or showcase page already created, name your account, and select your preferred currency.

LinkedIn B2B Leads Set Up Ad Account

3. Create Your LinkedIn Sponsored Update Campaign

Now, we need to name your campaign and choose your language.

LinkedIn B2B Leads Name Sponsored Update Campaign

4. Choose Your Sponsored Content

Now, you’ll need to select what content you’d like to sponsor from your company page. You can either sponsor existing content from your page or LinkedIn will prompt you to create something new to feature.

LinkedIn B2B Leads Sponsored Updates

If you choose from content you already have created on your company page, you’ll see a list of available updates. Select the piece you want to promote and hit “next” at the bottom of your screen. If you need to create content, click on “Create New Sponsored Content” in the top right of the box that displays.

When creating content for a Sponsored content LinkedIn ad, you’ll be able to name the content with a label only you will see. Then you’ll choose your content.

Below you’ll see where I added a link to a blog post I want to drive traffic to, added some text in the update itself, and labeled it as “LinkedIn Profile Blog” so I know exactly what I’m pushing traffic to with this update when I review my campaign manager later. You can also choose to upload images to this content creator. LinkedIn suggests that images uploaded with 1200×627 pixels look best.

LinkedIn B2B Leads Create Sponsored Update Content

Once I’m happy with my ad, I’ll hit save in the bottom right corner. Once hit, LinkedIn will bring me back to the “Which Updates Would You Like to Sponsor?” screen so I can move forward with my sponsored update.

5. Select Your Desired B2B Audience

Now the fun part begins with choose your target audience. You can choose based on specific criteria such as:

  • Location
  • Company Name, Industry or Size
  • Job Tile, Function, or Seniority
  • School
  • Fields of Study
  • Degrees
  • Skills
  • Groups
  • Gender
  • Age

As you narrow down your target audience, LinkedIn will tell you on the right hand side of the screen what your estimated target audience is. I also have the option to allow LinkedIn to show my campaign to “similar audiences” using their Audience Expansion feature or to deliver my campaign beyond LinkedIn which is currently in beta.

When creating a campaign, LinkedIn gives these tips to target the right audience:

  • Keep your target audience between 60,000 and 600,000 members
  • For Sponsored Updates, have an audience above 300,000+ members
  • Select no more than 20 targeting criteria to zero in on your audience members

6. Set Your Budget and Bid

Now that you’ve selected your audience, you need to decide how much money you want to spend on acquiring your B2B leads. You can choose either to pay per click your ad (CPC) or pay per impressions (CPM). Select your bid and daily budget keeping in mind the minimums for each as well as taking in LinkedIn’s suggestion amounts for each. LinkedIn will tell you what you should look to bid if you want to reach as much of your audience as possible.

LinkedIn B2B Lead Set Budget

After you set your bid type, bid, and daily budget, choose your start date and end date along with the total budget for your campaign. Once you’re ready, hit “next.” The last page will ask you to review all the details of your campaign and add your payment information. Remember that you can edit your ad at any time so nothing is set in stone.

What is a LinkedIn Text Ad?

The alternative to running a sponsored update with content is to set up a text ad. Text ads are used to drive traffic to your website or landing page to bring in leads. While a sponsored update sends your content into the newsfeed of your potential lead, text ads are shown in various areas of LinkedIn including the side bar and the top of many pages of LinkedIn. Text ads are also a good option if you have a smaller budget to work with and another bonus is that LinkedIn text ads are very easy to create! Let’s create one together:

1. Set Up Your Campaign

We start off identical to creating a Sponsored Update in that we have to open up the Campaign Manager, select the type of ad we want to create (this time it’s text ads), name our campaign, and select our language. If you need more help with these steps, scroll up and check out the walk-thru.

2. Build your Text Ad

Now we choose the ad pieces by selecting the following:

  • Where Should Members Go When They Click Your Ad?
  • What’s your Headline?
  • What Image Are You Going to Use?
  • What Should Your Ad Say?

LinkedIn will also show you a preview of what your ad will look like in the various ways it displays them. Be sure to check the square, tall, horizontal, and long views to make sure your ad looks great in each variation.

LinkedIn B2B Lead Create Text Ad

3. Create Ad Variations

It’s a good idea to create a few variations of your ad much like you would if you were running Facebook ads. LinkedIn allows you to add up to 100 different variations of your ad, but don’t worry that’s not entirely necessary. Create at least 2-3 variations so you can see a clear winner when you review the performance later. As you run your campaign, keep coming back to edit and optimize to pull in the best possible B2B leads.

Change up the headline, text, and image you use on your ads. You must have a headline and copy text for each ad though images are not required.

LinkedIn B2B Ads Text Ad Variations

4. Target Your B2B Audience

As with your Sponsored Update, you now get to pick and choose your desired audience for your text ads. I find that this is where the success or failure of pulling in your B2B leads is determined. Pick your audience well to pull in high-quality leads for your company.

LinkedIn says to keep your text ads in an audience of between 60,000 and 600,000 members and to not select more than 20 targeting criteria.

5. Set Your Budget and Timeframe

Again, keeping it similar to the Sponsored Update we ran above, you now need to select your bid type, bid, daily budget, start and end date, and total budget for this campaign. The minimum bid for text ads is $2.00 which is less than half of a Sponsored Update minimum. This is where those on a stricter budget will do well to try out text ads to bring in B2B leads.

Once you’ve set these pieces, you’ll review your ad and parameters, set up payment, and launch!

teams and agencies

Your Turn

LinkedIn ads are a great way to find B2B leads for your company. This network is large, professional, and brings in high quality leads to thousands around the world. LinkedIn has an extensive help center to walk you through each piece of setting up ads as well as giving tips to improve performance.

Are you going to try LinkedIn ads for your business or client? I’d love to hear how it turned out for you — let me know in the comments!

Stephanie is a social media enthusiast! As the owner of Nissen Media in Missouri, she works to educate small business owners on social media best practices as well as developing winning strategies to grow through social selling. Stephanie is a social media coach, manager, strategist, trainer, and speaker. She's a huge advocate for authenticity online and a proud Mompreneur! Connect with her on social media and be sure to introduce yourself.