May 23, 2023

LinkedIn Ads Best Practices for Beginners: How to run successful ad campaigns [free template included]

15-MINUTE READ | By Isha Shinde

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[ Updated Oct 31, 2023 ]

Do business where business is done – that’s LinkedIn’s motto. For B2B companies, this is not only good advice, but an essential practice.

In this article, we’ll dive into a series of LinkedIn Ads best practices so you can run more successful ad campaigns, including how you can use LinkedIn Ads to change your marketing strategy, target your ideal clients, and experiment with some of the biggest LinkedIn Ads trends.

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Why B2B Companies should try LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn was created by business people for business people. As a platform, LinkedIn offers you direct access to a qualified, business-ready audience. With highly LinkedIn analytics, powerful ad placement capabilities, and first-party data collection, LinkedIn is the ideal platform for B2B companies. It is perfectly tailored to address the biggest issues faced by marketing teams today.

The challenges that marketers face today

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s only getting harder to capture the attention of your target audience, much less foster a connection. This means marketers face a series of challenges they need to overcome.

A complex buying journey

While there has been a shift in business practices over the last few years, the sales cycle typically remains long, and the buying journey is complex. The process of B2B transactions can quickly become a circuitous journey that includes multiple stakeholders, research, evaluation, and more stakeholders. With so many hands in the pot, the sales cycle can become substantially slowed, taking up to 18 months to actually deliver results in some cases.

Distracted Buyers

Every day, your ideal client is inundated with options. The average customer conducts 12 searches before engaging with a brand. On top of this, buyers are only looking into solutions 17% of the time. This creates a small window in time in which your consumer is actually open to any impactful marketing tactics.

The challenges that marketers faces today

Internal pressure to prove the ROI of your campaigns

For marketers, understanding and attributing revenue to marketing efforts can be a huge challenge. Consider that 63% of marketers don’t feel confident in their ROI measurements.

Internal pressure can lead to inaccurate ROI metrics and lower potency campaigns. It’s important to understand the complexity of how marketing impacts your sales cycle beyond the customer.

How LinkedIn helps you solve those challenges

LinkedIn is unique in that it’s designed to be used by people who are making business decisions. When you log on to LinkedIn, you’re building a network, researching, or curating your profile.

LinkedIn’s audience has two times the buying power of the average web user. Of LinkedIn’s 850 million users, 680 million of them are in positions to drive business decisions. On top of that, LinkedIn offers tons of data points to measure the true impacts of your marketing efforts.

The purposeful nature of LinkedIn creates a focused, business-minded audience inherently combating many of the challenges previously discussed.

LinkedIn Ads - user mindset to do buisiness

One of the significant advantages of LinkedIn’s advertising platform is its ability to reach people at different stages of the buying journey. By creating tailored campaigns that align with users’ interests and needs, businesses can connect with their audience on a deeper level and increase the likelihood of conversions.

LinkedIn offers businesses the opportunity to engage with a specific marketing approach known as “branded demand.” This marketing approach focuses on nurturing and engaging with potential customers who may not be in the market to buy at the moment. By cultivating brand awareness and consideration among these individuals, businesses can capitalize on future opportunities and build long-term relationships with their audience.

Compared to traditional demand marketing, which typically targets people who are ready to buy immediately, branded demand marketing focuses on developing long-term relationships with potential customers. This approach helps businesses establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry and build credibility and trust with their audience over time.

How to create and execute a paid campaign on LinkedIn

When it comes to creating and executing a campaign, LinkedIn offers simple modalities that deliver powerful results. With its intuitive interface and tools, businesses can effectively engage with their target audience and promote their brand or services.

Executing a successful marketing strategy on LinkedIn involves a series of four steps: planning for objectives, finding the right audience, launching campaigns, and measuring results. These steps are essential for creating a targeted approach that aligns with the overall business goals.

Let’s look at them in a little more detail.

Define your objectives

While this one may seem obvious, it is critical to define your objective. When doing so, consider whether your goal is awareness, consideration, or conversions.

When you choose an objective on LinkedIn, you are able to optimize your campaign to align with your actual objective and what you’re paying for.

For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, your focus should be on reaching as many people as possible. You pay based on CPM (cost per thousand impressions). On the other hand, if you want to drive traffic to your website, you should choose the website visits objective and pay on a CPC (cost per click) basis.

This allows the platform to show your ad to people who are more likely to click and visit your website, aligning with your goals and maximizing your advertising spend.

Find the right audience

Running a B2B LinkedIn advertising campaign gives you access to powerful first-party data metrics. This allows you more targeting options to reach a more qualified audience based on user-provided information like job title, company size, and Interests and identity.

LinkedIn Ads - Audience targeting options

💡 Pro tip: When targeting an audience based on specific parameters such as Job Titles, it is important to understand that sometimes the person can have multiple job titles, or the meaning of the title might differ slightly.

Let’s look at some audience targeting options that LinkedIn provides:

Matched audience

Matched audiences are generated based on the information you provide from contact lists or integrating the data from your CRM. This account-based marketing approach helps you to develop a more meaningful reach and even gives you the capacity to retarget customers who may have become disengaged.

“LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences feature allows you to create custom audiences in Campaign Manager, such as: members who visited your website, viewed a video ad, engaged with a single image ad, or even upload a list of contacts or companies that are a priority for your business. On top of this, the Company Engagement Report function can highlight the overall engagement level in a list per account and provide powerful insights for your sales team”

-Greg Mcloughlin, Client Solution Manager UKI, LinkedIn

Look-alike audience

Look-alike audiences is a feature that will match individuals who are similar to your existing audience on LinkedIn based on job titles, actions taken, and other criteria. This allows you to target individuals who are more likely to be interested in your content or product because they share similarities with your current audience.

LinkedIn ads - Audience types - LookaLike, Matched, Expansion and Retargeting


Re-engaging people who have made a specific action on your ad, visited your website, or even a physical event. The purpose is that you’re building on an already established connection with the intention of re capturing their attention with long-term intentions.

Audience expansion

Audience Expansion is a feature that will analyze your specified audience and find individuals who are similar to them based on their job function, actions taken on LinkedIn, and other criteria. This allows you to expand your reach to new audiences that are likely to be interested in your content or product.

“We only recommend that you use Audience Expansion to very qualified audiences. For example, it could be a list of people who’ve maybe converted before, that kind of audience, maybe someone who’s watched a good percentage of the video. I’d base Audience Expansion off that.”

Greg Mcloughlin, Client Solution Manager UKI, LinkedIn

It is important to check if the audience expansion feature is activated. It is an option in Campaign Manager and it will expand your reach to people who LinkedIn thinks is applicable to the audience you’re trying to target.

Launch your campaigns

You’ve chosen your objective, curated your audience, and now it’s time to launch your campaign. LinkedIn has several ad formats to choose from depending on the needs and objectives of your campaign.

Sponsored content

Sponsored ad types can be single image ad, carousel, video ad, or event ads. This kind of content delivers directly to the LinkedIn feed of members in your ad targeting audience. Sponsored content is effective at supporting all levels of the marketing funnel and are highly impactful.

Sponsored messaging

Sponsored messaging allows you to send message ads directly to the inbox of your target audience. Members can only receive one sponsored message every 30 days, so you can be assured that your message isn’t going to get missed in a flurry of other sponsored messages.

Conversation ads

Conversation ads can be a great way to meet potential clients at whatever stage of the buying process they’re at. The ad model acts somewhat like a choose-your-own-adventure experience that functions to create a dialogue between you and the customer, prompting action and nurturing longer-term connections.

For example, a conversation ad may appear in your inbox and ask that you sign-up for an event. Depending on if you choose to sign-up or not, that ad will prompt you to another piece of content that’s more appropriate for whatever stage in your buying journey you’re at.

Dynamic ads and text ads

For campaigns that are focused on building awareness, dynamic and text ads are a powerful format to employ. This format generally has a lower floor price than other types of content yet increases the frequency and variety of placement. This increases exposure and, therefore, the likelihood of people to take action and turn into leads.

Lead Gen forms

Lead gen forms are useful for moving people to action by streamlining the process of signing up for a service. When a member clicks on your white paper, they’ll encounter a pop-up that will repopulate the information they’ve already provided Linkedin into the form. All they have to do is click submit and they are now subscribed to your services.

LinkedIn Ads - Lead Generation Forms

💡 Pro tip: Ad fatigue is when the same ad is shown to the target audience repeatedly, causing them to lose interest. To avoid ad fatigue, monitor your metrics closely for declining engagement rates or increasing costs per lead. Balance frequency and effectiveness, and consider switching up your content if you see negative changes in your metrics. By focusing on engagement and frequency metrics, you can keep your campaigns fresh and effective.

How to monitor and measure your LinkedIn Ads campaign

The final and possibly most important part of your campaign is measuring your results. LinkedIn’s Campaign manager helps to optimize performance and collect data points to hold against your objective.

In LinkedIn campaign manager, you can track the demographic metrics like conversion, impressions, CTR and more by the particular parameters like Job function, title, company, seniority, company location & size and country.

💡Pro tip: Campaign demographics is one of the most powerful tools, because you can get a clear breakdown of who exactly is converting and where you can actually focus your budget, and also just understand where your impressions are serving. It could be for a particular country, a particular seniority.

“Campaign demographics is by far one of my most favorite things to do is just go and see what companies and what titles we’ve reached when we’re campaigning, and that’s also when we’ve been testing out ABMs. That’s been really powerful to show our sales teams that, “Hey, this is actually the companies we’re reaching and these are their engagement rates because that really gets them fired up as well.”

Sofie Segercrantz, Performance Marketing Lead, Supermetrics
LinkedIn Ads - User journey metrics

LinkedIn will collect metrics like:

  • Impressions
  • Brand Lift
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate by audience segments
  • Website visitors
  • Lead generation rates
  • Cost per SQL
  • Win rate
  • Average deal size

LinkedIn collects a range of metrics from campaigns. These metrics are crucial for evaluating the success of your advertising campaigns on LinkedIn. However, it can be challenging to interpret these metrics and determine whether they align with your advertising objectives.

This is where Supermetrics for LinkedIn Ads comes in. Supermetrics integrates seamlessly with LinkedIn, allowing you to pull data automatically into a report. This saves you time and eliminates the need for manual data entry. By using Supermetrics to analyze your LinkedIn Ads data, you can feel confident about where your marketing budget is going and how to optimize your advertising campaigns on the platform.

“At Supermetrics, we advertise on multiple platforms simultaneously, ranging from five to nine platforms at any given time. Instead of individually logging into each platform to check the performance and spending, we simplify the process by creating a centralized master dashboard or spreadsheet. This allows us to easily track and analyze the performance of our campaigns across all platforms and make informed decisions on how to proceed with each campaign.”

Sofie Segercrantz, Performance Marketing Lead, Supermetrics

Supermetrics enables you to combine the data from all of your social media platforms, including organic and paid data, in one place. This comprehensive view of your performance helps you make better decisions and optimize your marketing efforts.

Supermetrics provides ready-made marketing dashboard templates that can help you analyze and interpret the data collected from your LinkedIn campaigns. These templates allow you to quickly see the performance of your ads, monitor key metrics, and identify areas for improvement.

LinkedIn Templates

Now that we have covered the steps to execute a successful LinkedIn ad campaign, let’s explore some templates that can help you in starting your journey towards measuring the performance of your LinkedIn ads.

LinkedIn Ads dashboard

This template provides an overview of your LinkedIn Ads key metrics, including click-through rate, conversion rate, and CPC. By monitoring these metrics, you can identify which ads are performing well and optimize your campaign accordingly.

Get the LinkedIn Ads dashboard!

LinkedIn company page overview dashboard

This template provides an overview of your LinkedIn Page’s content performance and audience demographics. By tracking these metrics, you can gain insights into which types of content resonate with your audience and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

Get the LinkedIn Company Page overview dashboard!

Organic social media mix dashboard

This template allows you to monitor your organic social media performance across all of your social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, and Twitter. By comparing your performance across channels, you can identify which channels are driving the most engagement and adjust your social media strategy accordingly.

Get the Supermetrics Organic social media mix dashboard for free!

Paid channel mix reporting template

This template allows you to compare your paid campaigns’ performance across Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Pinterest Ads, and LinkedIn Ads. By monitoring your performance across channels, you can identify which channels are delivering the best ROI and adjust your advertising budget accordingly.

Get the paid channel mix reporting template!

Standard LinkedIn Ads metrics template

This template provides an overview of your campaign performance and tracks your spending without ever leaving your spreadsheet. This Google Sheet LinkedIn Ads template is built in collaboration with LinkedIn and can help you quickly and easily monitor your campaign’s performance.

Get the standard LinkedIn Ads metrics template!

Account-based marketing dashboard

Use our ABM dashboard to visualize your Account-based marketing with our LinkedIn Ads template for Google Sheets. This dashboard will help you track your ABM campaigns’ performance and identify opportunities for growth. This Google Sheet LinkedIn Ads template is built in collaboration with LinkedIn.

Get the ABM dashboard!

Running a successful LinkedIn ad campaign means being a master of adaptation. Marketers who are able to stay on top of rapidly evolving digital trends will see higher impact and better results. Here are a few LinkedIn ads trends you should be aware of.

Brand and demand

Odds are, you’ve heard this term thrown around from time to time. Brand and demand focuses on the importance of targeting not only those who are currently in the market to buy, but also those who may need a solution down the line. As per the “95-5 rule,” the lead generation campaigns only target about 5% of the market in the market to buy right now, leaving 95% of potential customers untapped.

A balanced approach of allocating 60% of the budget towards brand and 40% towards demand is recommended for optimal results. By nurturing the 95% and building an audience for retargeting, marketers can leverage brand to create a high-intent audience, increasing the likelihood of conversions in the long term.

In this way, you are able to build a higher-intent audience. When it comes time to reengaging those individuals you’ll already have a pre-established relationship to fall back on.

Account-based marketing

An account-based marketing approach is when you target your LinkedIn ad campaign based on a list of companies that are a good fit for the business.

The goal of this method is to identify more meaningful companies, but also to nurture them further in their journey. It is important to not stop at just good fit companies and instead dig into the customer relationship management (CRM) system to identify individuals at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This way, marketers can serve up content to nurture potential customers along the journey and increase the chances of winning revenue.

LinkedIn Ads - Account Based Marketing (ABM)

Jumpstart your Account-Based Marketing efforts by leveraging our ABM dashboard. With our LinkedIn Ads template for Google Sheets, you can easily visualize your marketing efforts and track their progress. This dashboard is designed to streamline your ABM process and provide you with valuable insights to optimize your LinkedIn Ads campaigns.

Retargeting through engagement data

Using engagement data to re-establish connections with people who have interacted with your content is a powerful way to increase conversion.

LinkedIn’s engagement data allows you to build a bigger qualified audience, increasing the results you can actually make from that audience. By serving up richer content to engage with people and not asking for anything in return, marketers can build a high-intent audience and increase the likelihood of conversions.

💡 Pro tip: It’s important to align sales and marketing efforts to drive results at a revenue level beyond click-through rates and impressions.

This LinkedIn ad trend actually supports a brand and demand marketing strategy to deliver impactful results.

LinkedIn ads - Retargeting

Now that we’ve gone through these LinkedIn Ads best practices, it’s time to put them into action and create successful campaigns with data-driven insights!

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Isha Shinde

About the author:

Meet Isha, a Junior Demand Gen Manager at Supermetrics, who loves decoding data mysteries and empowering customers with data-driven marketing insights.

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