LinkedIn Ads Guide: Ad Formats

LinkedIn’s advertising platform provides in-depth targeting and access to over 700 million professionals around the world. 4 out of every 5 LinkedIn members have an influence on business decisions and the LinkedIn audience has 2X the buying power compared to the average web audience. It’s an attractive group to get your brand in front of and the best way to do that is through LinkedIn Ads. We have been using LinkedIn Ads at The Unit for some time now, both for ourselves and our clients, and we have seen first-hand how successful they can be.

The LinkedIn Campaign Manager gives you a number of ad objectives and ad formats to choose from. This article will take a look at the different ad formats available and which is best for your business objectives.

LinkedIn Ad Formats

There are up to 10 ad formats to choose from depending on your ad objective. Objectives can range from brand awareness and engagement to lead generation and website conversions. LinkedIn also offers great targeting options as well as a multitude of ad formats and objectives.

Single Image Ad

Single image ads promote brand messages or offers directly in the LinkedIn feed of your target audience. They feature a short piece of introductory text, a headline and an image. They are most commonly used for lead generation or website visit ads like this example from our recent campaign around the Enterprise Ireland Online Retail Scheme.

Follower Ad

These feature to the side of users’ LinkedIn feeds and usually feature their profile picture alongside your company logo. The ads are personalised with the LinkedIn members name and a Call-to-Action. These are used for both brand awareness and engagement campaigns to encourage members to follow your LinkedIn page.

Spotlight Ad

Similar to Follower Ads, this ad format appears on the right side of the LinkedIn feed when viewing on a desktop device. You can use these ads at all levels of the sales funnel including brand awareness and website conversions. Again, personalisation is available with the Spotlight ad format. One Call-to-Action available for these ad types is the Follower button. However, for existing followers of your page, you can customise the CTA with examples relating to job opportunities, newsletter sign-ups and industry updates.

Video Ad

Video ads are a great way for businesses to connect and engage potential clients and customers on LinkedIn. This ad format can be used across almost all ad objectives. This includes brand awareness, lead generation and website conversions. Video ads are supplemented by a headline and introductory text. The recommended length of a LinkedIn video is between 3 and 30 seconds. However, longer videos can be used to go in-depth on a specific topic or product you want to promote. Long-form videos are often a great way to tell your brand story too.

The content of the video will be key to the success of your campaign. It must be compelling and concise. Video ads are used to showcase customer success stories, to demo new products or to give a sneak peek of an upcoming webinar your company might be hosting.

Text Ad

LinkedIn text ads are the most straightforward ads to set-up on LinkedIn. You will see these appear at the top of your LinkedIn feed and in the right-hand column when viewing on a desktop device. These ads feature your company logo, a short headline and description as I have shown below. Ad spend here is based on clicks or impressions (depending on your objective) so they are an efficient and cost-effective way of getting your brand message out there.

LinkedIn Text Ad Example

Carousel Ad

Carousel ads allow you to promote your message across a group of images, giving you more space to get your point across and creating an immersive and engaging experience for the user. It’s a strong ad format used for the purpose of engaging clients at any stage of the sales cycle. You can also customise your carousel ads depending on the different objectives you want to achieve. Each image card can have a unique URL attached as well as a short headline.

Event Ad

As the name suggests, this ad format applies to LinkedIn Events only. LinkedIn Events allow users to create events to support their business campaigns. The Campaign Manager then allows you to promote this event to LinkedIn users who may be interested. This might include potential clients, industry professionals or existing connections in your network.

Conversation Ad

LinkedIn conversation ads are one of two ad formats that uses the LinkedIn message inbox to engage with users. This ad format allows you to create a conversation path with multiple CTA buttons which can lead users to different touchpoints including your website or to download a whitepaper or marketing report.  You can easily collect all the information needed from your leads by linking the conversation ads to a LinkedIn lead gen form. You can also include qualifying questions to increase the lead quality.

Message Ad

Similar to conversation ads, the message ad format allows businesses to engage with users directly in their inbox. You can communicate your message clearly with your target audience. Recent stats show that more than 1 in 2 prospects open a message ad and engagement levels are much higher than traditional cold call emails. The LinkedIn Campaign Manager provides great insight into ad performance too with information on demographics and open rates. Similarly, detailed click reporting for the message ad format will give you an insight into user drop-off points.

Jobs Ad

Recruiters use jobs ads to attract talent to their organisation. Similar to some of the other ad formats, the jobs ads are dynamic meaning each ad is populated by the LinkedIn members’ details. These ads appear in two locations on LinkedIn. You will see them on the right-hand column on your desktop as well as the People Search results page on desktop or mobile. In brief, LinkedIn jobs ads are to the point and highly targeted towards potential candidates.

Conclusion: LinkedIn Ads

We have found LinkedIn Ads to be a great asset for our business and our clients. Advertising on LinkedIn helps businesses of any size achieve their goals. The platforms allows for highly specific targeting and a variety of ad formats and objectives to help you get the results you want. They also provide a number of budgeting and bid types meaning you have great control of your marketing spend. The platform’s reporting tool gives marketers access to insightful real-time data too. There’s a professional audience of key decisionmakers which you cannot get on any other platform. They are continuously adding new ad formats to the platform too.

Overall, the LinkedIn Ads platform is great to use if you want to get in front of a B2B audience. It must be remembered though that LinkedIn has a considerably smaller ad inventory available compared to other platforms like Facebook or Instagram. It’s therefore important to get both your strategy and offers correct to succeed with LinkedIn Ads.