Linkedin ads are widely used in B2B marketing as it is the only advertising platform which knows the professional profiles across the globe in its most accurate form. It is unique because of the targeting features it offers. One can target end users by Job titles, profiles, seniority, job function and so on basis their individual public profiles on Linkedin professional network. In this blog, I will try to cover all the steps one needs to take for launching a campaign using Linkedin Ads in Campaign Manager tool.

Step 1: Access to Linkedin Campaign Manager

Before you start advertising on Linkedin, the first step is to have the access to Linkedin Campaign Manager. The Simplest way to do so is to click on “Work” followed by “Advertise” located on the right-hand top side as below.

Access to Linkedin Ads

Advertising on Linkedin is possible if you have a company page, showcase page or account on Linkedin to do so. Linkedin covers this in detail as here Creating an Account for Campaigns

Step 2: Create Campaigns using Linkedin Campaign Manager

The second step is to choose an ad product in the Campaign Manager. Once prompted you will see 4 options as below.

  • Sponsored content – Mostly used ad product with native advertising, I have used this as an example to explain steps to launch a campaign further in this blog.
  • Dynamic Ads – a new development with Linkedin launched about 2 months ago.
  • Text Ads – Traditional desktop only ads
  • Sponsored InMail – Direct messages or In mails going from company or person to person, very hot in job markets today!

Linkedin Ad Products

Step 3: Create Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is the most used option and native form of advertising with Linkedin Ads. The ads you create here are published in the Linkedin feeds which an end user can see on various devices they may be using. It appears a bit differently on the desktop, laptop and mobile devices basis difference in screens and resolutions for instance. click on Select here.

Bloom Email Optin Plugin

Sponsored content linkedin

Step 4: Enter Campaign Information

Enter the name of the campaign in the first field, you may want to add a new ad group or select existing ad groups from drop down here under “Campaign Groups” an Ad group is a convenient way to keep your budgets, metrics and performance summary under one view. Consider using this if you have more than one business unit/product or solutions in your company. Once all details are entered here, click on next.

Campaign Information Linkedin Ads

Step 5: Define Business Objectives

You will notice 3 options here as given in the screenshot below.

a) Send People to website/content: Select first option if you prefer using the landing page for promotion on your website, people would click on your ads and then visit your landing page or a specific web page you specify here. you can decide different ad types to direct traffic to your landing or promotion page later. It is also possible to add conversion tracking to measure the conversions from your ads in this option.

objectives linkedin ads

b) Leads using Linkedin Lead Gen Forms: Lead gen forms are quite popular with a lot of B2B advertisers. They are responsive and are very user-friendly. With the exchange of user’s information such as first name, last name, email ID etc. you could promote multiple types of ad formats to end users without a need to drive traffic to your landing page or website as such. Yes, you heard it right, users will remain on Linkedin and still get your asset in promotion. You have a choice from 1 to a maximum of 7 form fields to be filled in by the end users clicking on your ads. There are loads of options to connect your CRM or marketing automation software to Linkedin lead gen forms as well. Lead gen forms need to be set up before you launch a campaign though!

Please note that lead gen forms could easily be coupled with Image Ads, Video ads as desired.

c) Get Video Views: this option is meant for advertisers looking to sponsor videos on Linkedin feeds.

Step 6: Choose Ad formats

Basis the business objectives you selected above for Linkedin Ads (a, b or c) the choice of ad formats would vary.

For a) sending people to your website or content and b) Leads using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms you could promote an article, image or link; carousel ads- meant to promote a story through a series of ads or create a video ad to engage your target audience.

send people to your website or content on Linkedin Ads

For c) Video views – its straightforward as you could only create videos for the same.

create video ads

Step 7: Build Ads

Before you could create ads, it’s important that you have the full administration right over your company/Showcase page or your company page admin on Linkedin has grated you the access as “Campaign Manager” for publishing ads on your company’s behalf.

build linkedin ads

In this step, you could “select existing content” – all ads from your past campaigns would be listed here, or you could “create new sponsored content”. Click on “Create sponsored content” on right-hand side to get started.

Name your sponsored content. Select image and type in your ad copy. For image ads, best is to have an image size of 1200 x 627. Save the ad you just created. You will be routed back to the previous screen.

create sponsored content

Click the checkbox on left hand side and select “Sponsor selected content”

sponsor selected content

Step 8: Audience Creation

This is the most important and crucial setup as it defines your audience and targeting features. It remains commons despite of any ad type/ format or objective you may choose. The target audience sections on the right hand top side changes dynamically as your audience size grows!  The Ideal is to have 100,000 and above.

1. Matched audience & location Targeting

matched audience and location targetig

Matched audience is another great feature but optional wherein you could:

Retarget your website visitors – Basis past visitors to your website or web pages, segments could be created by URLs which then could be used to target those visitors using Linkedin Ads. The minimum threshold for same is >=300 visitors though!

Target a list of accounts or contacts – Linkedin uses few excel templates to enable so.

Download Step by step guide to Linkedin account targeting

Download Advertiser checklist to account targeting

Location Targeting –  you could target people on Linkedin by country, state, city and town etc. >= 1 location is mandatory.

2. Specific targeting Criteria

You could select by company name, industry, job title, function, seniority, skills, years of experience and so on as given in this screenshot

Quick pro tip: Exclude your company by name to avoid serving impressions to your own employees. 2 to 3 parameters work best in an ad campaign. For example, mix job seniority with job function and years of experience, or, use company size and job titles.

specific targeting criteria

3. Linkedin audience network and Audience expansion

Linkedin Audience network – is the network of Linkedin partner websites and apps which moves your ad out of targeted Linkedin feeds in the steps mentioned above. I recommend this for brand awareness campaigns but not for targeted B2B advertising.

Know more about Linkedin Audience Network

Additionally, you could also exclude certain categories of mobile apps and sites from Linkedin audience network.

exclude categories from linkedin audience network

Audience Expansion – This is a very tricky feature, in my experience, if campaigns are not getting you leads, this works in uplifting the performance. It can also, however, get you unnecessary leads from the audience totally out of the targeting parameters you may have defined.  Linkedin, however, says that it broadens the reach of your campaign by showing it to audiences with similar attributes to your target audience.

Once you are satisfied with all targeting parameters in this step click on Next (right hand bottom side)

Step 9: Bids, budgets and Schedule

Select goal of the campaign from the dropdown, awareness, website visits or conversions (needs conversion tracking setup on your webpage)

Define daily budgets, your actual spends, usually are 20% higher though! In this step, Linkedin will show you minimum bid to reach your audience.

Bid Types: Choose from Automated (utilizes machine learning to maximize budget efficiency) or maximum CPC bid (manually bidding for cost per click you are willing to spend)

Know more about LinkedIn’s Advertising Cost & Bid Types 

Setup start, end date, total budget and click on launch the campaign on right hand bottom side to get started with your campaign.

bids budgets and schedule


Linkedin ads bring in significant value to B2B advertisers and marketers today, it is very focused and helps in driving demand and brand awareness in different stages of buyer’s journey. No other advertising platform or tool can target users by their professional job profiles, thus, LinkedIn also enjoys complete monopoly in this market. Advertising on LinkedIn is not cheap as well! I have experienced CPCs ranging from anywhere between $7 to 21$ or more in a few cases and CPMs going anywhere from $21 to $67 or more in few cases. Automated bidding works best for initial few days (70 to 10 days), once you observe the trends and performance from your campaign it’s better to move into manual CPC bids which are more controlled at your end than relying on machine learning capabilities of Linkedin ads (where we don’t have a visibility into being an advertiser)

The narrower you get the price for your ads, increases, having said that, being too broaden in targeting is not good as well. I would recommend trying Linkedin ads for at least 45 days before deciding to continue or discontinue them further.

Related read – Types of Linkedin ads & When to use them

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Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

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