Step by Step Guide To Setup LinkedIn Ads [2021 Update with Video]

Nov 17 2018


Social Media Marketing


Last Updated: May 19, 2021

Author Neeraj

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

Step 1: Access to LinkedIn Campaign Manager

Before you start advertising on LinkedIn, the first step is to have access to LinkedIn Campaign Manager. The simplest way to do so is to click on “Work” followed by “Advertise” located on the top right-hand side as shown 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 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 – Most widely 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 that was launched in late 2018
  • Text Ads – Traditional desktop only ads
  • Sponsored InMail – Direct messages or InMails going from company to company or person to person, very hot in job markets today!

Linkedin Ad Products

Step 3: Create Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is the most widely 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 the various devices they may be using. It appears a bit differently on the desktop, laptop and mobile devices based on the difference in screens and resolutions for instance. Click on “Select”.

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 the drop down 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 solution in your company. Once all the details are entered, 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 the first option if you prefer using the landing page for promoting your website, People will click on your ads and then visit your landing page or the specific web page you specify here. You can choose 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 can promote multiple types of ad formats to end users without needing 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 can choose from 1 to 12 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 can 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

Based on the business objectives you selected above for LinkedIn Ads (a, b or c) the choice of ad formats will vary.

For option a) sending people to your website or content and b) Leads using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms you can promote an article, image or link; carousel ads are 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 – it’s straightforward, as you can only create videos.


create video ads
Step 7: Build Ads

Before you create ads, it’s important that you have full administration over your company/showcase page or that your company page admin on LinkedIn has granted you access as “Campaign Manager” for publishing ads on your company’s behalf.

build linkedin ads

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

Name your sponsored content. Select image and type in your ad copy. For image ads, it is best 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 the left hand side and select “Sponsor Selected Content”

sponsor selected content

Step 8: Audience Creation

This is the most important and crucial step in launching a great campaign as it defines your audience and targeting features. It remains common despite any ad type/ format or objective you may choose. The target audience section on the top right hand side changes dynamically as your audience size grows!  The ideal is to have 100,000 and above, smaller works good for niche audience as well.

1. Matched audience & location Targeting

matched audience and location targetig


Matched audience is another great but optional feature in which you can:

Retarget your website visitors – Based on past visitors to your website or web pages, segments can be created by URLs which can then be used to target those visitors using LinkedIn ads. The minimum threshold is >=300 visitors though!

Target a list of accounts or contacts – LinkedIn uses a few excel templates to enable this.

Download Step by step guide to Linkedin account targeting

Download Advertiser checklist to account targeting

Location Targeting –  You can target people on LinkedIn by country, state, city and town etc. >= 1 location is mandatory.

2. Specific targeting Criteria

You can select by company name, industry, job title, function, seniority, skills, years of experience and so on as shown 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 that moves your ad out of targeted LinkedIn feeds in the steps mentioned above. we recommend this for brand awareness campaigns but not for targeted B2B advertising which require targets or quick wins to justify ROI.

Find out more about Linkedin Audience Network

Additionally, you can also exclude certain categories of mobile apps and sites from the LinkedIn audience network as below.

exclude categories from linkedin audience network


Audience Expansion – This gets little tricky, if campaigns are not getting you leads, this works in uplifting the performance. It can also, however, get you unnecessary leads from the audience that are 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” (bottom right hand 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 spending is usually 20% higher though! In this step, LinkedIn will show you the 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 the cost per click that you are willing to spend)

Find out more about LinkedIn’s Advertising Cost & Bid Types 

Setup start, and end dates, total budget, and click on “Launch the Campaign” on  bottom right-hand side to get started with your campaign.

bids budgets and schedule


LinkedIn ads bring in significant value to B2B advertisers and marketers today. They are very focused and help in driving demand and brand awareness in different stages of the buyer’s journey. No other advertising platform or tool can target users through their professional job profiles, thus, LinkedIn also enjoys complete monopoly over this market. Advertising on LinkedIn is not cheap either! We 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 the initial few days; (7 to 10 days kind of timeframe), once you observe the trend and performance from your campaign, it’s better to move into manual CPC bids which are more controlled at your end rather than relying on the machine learning capabilities of LinkedIn ads (where we don’t have visibility as an advertiser)

The narrower you get, the higher the price for your ads.  Having said that, being too broad in targeting is not great either. we would recommend trying LinkedIn ads for at least 45 days before deciding to continue or discontinue them further.

Related read on LinkedIn Ads:

  1. Types of LinkedIn Ads & When to Use Them
  2. Tips & Best practices for LinkedIn Ads
  3. Common issues and problems with LinkedIn Advertising

Over to You

We hope this blog and video above helps in launching a successful campaign with “LinkedIn Campaign Manager”

Let us know how, you became successful with advertising on LinkedIn and please don’t forget to share this post.

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