• Tony Grant

LinkedIn Advertising for B2B

LinkedIn is by far the most expensive channel available to advertisers, and most likely produces the low performance in terms of vanity metrics such as CTR (Click through rate) and CPM (Impressions). However, there is a huge potential to generate huge ROI from LinkedIn.

You can achieve huge ROI by utilising LinkedIn targeting, create compelling offers and fine-tune your sales funnel.

Whilst I'll be sharing some top tips I picked up on the course, CXL Institute goes into depth in LinkedIn advertising which allows you to:

  • Craft an offer that stands out on the platform

  • Create and manage ad audiences

  • Scale your audience, avoiding competition & customers

Don't bother if your B2C.

Simply, if there is anything to take away from this course is ONE clear rule. LinkedIn is made for B2B and only if you have a high lifetime value as a service/product £10K+.

B2B can be tricky for a digital marketer

B2B is a little harder than B2C because:

  • There are a lot of offline conversion events MQL > SQL so it's hard to track because prospects don't have a pixel.

  • Delayed sales cycles could be anywhere between 6 -24 month

How does LinkedIn compare to other channels:

Pros of using LinkedIn Ads

  • People on LinkedIn constantly update their information.

  • Robust targeting related to businesses and not personal. Individuals on the platform have their professional hat on.

  • LinkedIn Ads tend to bring in the biggest deals.


  • High cost from anywhere between $6-9 for a click

  • No dayparting (which seems ridiculous)

  • No device-level bidding

  • Not exposed relevancy

Five Ad formats on LinkedIn

Like most advertising platforms, LinkedIn offers five different formats each with varying degrees of objectives and benefits.

1. Right Rail

  • 50x50 px means images of peoples faces work best. Company logos do occur but see poorer results

  • 0.03% CTR is considered good. So this is not a lead generation tool. However, excellent for branding as people rarely click, your company may be in a person's view for a while.

  • 25 character headlines

  • 75 character ad line

  • Desktop only

2. Ads sponsored content

  • Takes up a lot of real estate 1200x627

  • Appears in the newsfeed

  • 128 char intro

  • 38 char

  • 70% mobile users

  • 0.4 CTR is considered average

This format seems great for exposure of blogs, webinars.

3. InMail sponsored

Yep, I shudder when I see and InMail, but do they work?

  • Cost per send model (30-80p) not cost per click

  • Very expensive

  • 50% open

  • 8% may become a lead so that's like $24 cost per lead

  • Not recommended

  • When you have something special to offer someone it can work as it makes them feel exclusive.

4. Ad Unit Lead gen

  • The LinkedIn version of Facebooks leads gen unit. Works, in the same way, the form is held on the LinkedIn platform.

  • Pros - high conversion 10-30% conversion rate

  • Cons - Difficult to track, pay the same for traffic but never hit landing page, so no retargeting.

  • Integrates with Salesforce, Eloqua, enterprise tools, if you are a smaller business you can use Zapier

  • Questionable lead quality, because they are so frictionless, people don't remember filling them out.

5. Video Ads

  • Charged 3 second view starting 0.06-0.014p

  • They play muted, therefore you will want to hardcode subtitles

B2B Audience Targeting

Here is where LinkedIn is on another level vs Facebook & Google Ads.

You can target and individual by:

  • Professional title

  • Function

  • Level of seniority

  • Skills

  • Demographics

  • Eduction

Equally, you can target companies by

  • Name

  • Size

  • Industry

Target strategy

How to Target the individual

  • Title

  • Groups

  • Job function + seniority

  • Skills + seniority

A job title can be really specific to the company, so LinkedIn may not understand it. LinkedIn recognises about 40%.

When targeting skills or groups

  • Exclude sales/bizdev/ marketing job functions to keep out folks who are trying to sell into these audiences. This keeps out competitors

When targeting SMBs

  • Rather than include only 1-50, use excludes the larger companies so includes undeclared companies

Use seniority instead of age or years experience

  • Seniority is based on title/industry, not age or experience. People don’t list all previous or irrelevant jobs

TOP TIP: Avoid audience expansion - just don’t do it

Its automatically enabled, so be sure to enable. It says to LinkedIn, target these people and anyone else you think. Well, LinkedIn wants you to spend and it won't find you the best match.

Bidding for performance

This is a test and learn process. A J Wilcox recommends starting low and work up. This way you'll learn when you get a decent amount of clicks and conversions vs cost.


  • If your budget expired before the end of the day, you paid too much for you clicks

  • Don’t use LinkedIn advice (ever)


  • If your CTR is < 0.35% try testing your ad copy and image

  • If your CTR is Between 0.35% and <1% Bid down to get the lowest CPCs, or bid higher for more traffic

  • If CTR>1% change bid type to CPM and bid aggressively for big discounts from LinkedIn. This means we are getting 3x network avg.

Naming UTMs

Name campaign after audience & Ad type

  • Bad - 2018 webinar or whitepaper - doesn’t give you anything

  • Good - Name the audience - ‘Sponsored content SC - title - company size - geography. Keeps account organised

Advanced retargeting

LinkedIn is not on the same scale as Google Ads and Facebook custom audiences.

  • Target net new customers

  • 2 step funnel - create a retargeting campaign of landing page visitors

  • Exclude this audience from campaigns

Some audiences to get you started

  • Sales dream account - talk to the sales team and asked them who they’d love to do business with them

  • Exclude Competitors - upload a list of competitors, you want to exclude these guys

  • Exclude Customer - they are already paying so no need to target them

  • Product updates to current customers

  • Funnel Acceleration

Why use LinkedIn

LinkedIn won't be the first channel you try, and to be honest nor should it. However, do explore if you are:

  • Using search and maxed out search volume

  • Using Facebook ads for B2B but hit the limits of scales and the sales team complains about lead quality

  • This is where LinkedIn is the place

The course does have a practical session in LinkedIn and is well worth it if you are not familiar with the platform.

Get hands-on with LinkedIn Advertising


© Smarter Web Conversions 2020