Have you heard of LinkedIn messaging ads? Have you even tried LinkedIn advertising? If your company is B2B or you rely heavily on networking, LinkedIn is a great platform for you. 

However, you might have started a LinkedIn profile and been unsure where to start. Maybe you tried adding some people or sending out messages only to get no response. 

There’s an easier way. LinkedIn, like Facebook, has an advertising platform. However, it has some unique features you may not have tried before. 

In particular, the LinkedIn messaging ads are a game changer for B2B. It allows you to send out messages automatically to a certain audience that you pick. One of the best parts of this is that LinkedIn only sends those messages when that person logs into their account. That way you can be sure that someone is an active LinkedIn user and that they’ll see your message right away. 

The one potential downfall, is that LinkedIn messaging ads have to come from a personal profile. It can’t come from your business page. Think of it like a networking event, you are the individual meeting another individual but you’re both representing your business. Likewise, you can’t send your messages to a business profile. It has to go to a person.

Here some steps to help you get started. 

Get to the LinkedIn Advertising Platform

When you log into LinkedIn, at the top bar you’ll see something that says “Work” on the right

That will show you some options including “Advertise” which is where you’ll want to go. 


Once you click that, you’ll be in the LinkedIn Campaign Manager. You can also get there directly from this link.

You’ll either need to create an account or click on an existing one that you want to use. It will be associated with your business page but keep in mind that the messaging ads will come from a personal profile. If you’re having someone else set this up for your team, when they get to the ad builder, they can request access to send the message from your profile. You just need to approve that for the ad to move forward. 

Create a Campaign or Use an Existing One

If you’re familiar with Facebook’s advertising tool, this will feel similar. You’ll start by creating a campaign group. It can be one you already have of a brand new one. You can set the overall campaign budget, or leave the blank, and include a potential start and end date. As a note, the start date is required. 

Within that campaign group, you’ll also add in a campaign. It will ask you about what your goal is for that campaign. If you want to do a message ad, there are only certain goals that are compatible with that. Here’s the list of options that are compatible:

  • Website Visits
  • Lead Generation
  • Website Conversions

For the purpose of this article, we’ll use a lead generation goal.

Determine Your Audience 

Like Facebook, LinkedIn has a lot of information that you can target for your audience. However, the information gathered is going to be quite different. You might not put your job title on Facebook, but you certainly will on LinkedIn. 

Here’s a look at the audience section tool. 

First, you’ll want to look through the LinkedIn audience drop down at the top. LinkedIn has some predetermined audiences that might be just what you’re looking for. This is helpful if you’re not sure exactly what interests or job titles to target. 

For instance, here’s a look at LinkedIn’s audience for Marketing Professionals.

That’s a lot of job titles! Instead of you searching through all of these, it’s a lot easier to have LinkedIn populate the most common ones.

You can also select locations and exclude particular locations if needed. You can pick the profile language as well. 

Then, you’ll start building your audience. LinkedIn lets you look through some audience attributes that include Company, Demographics, Education, Job Experience, and Interests and Traits. If you’re wondering what Interests and Traits means, this is based on if they’re part of any LinkedIn Groups, list any interests, are active posters, or are currently looking for a job. 

You can also upload a list if you have an email list that you’re working from or target people who visited your website. Like the Facebook Pixel, you just need to add the LinkedIn Insight Tag to your website. Here’s a good tutorial on LinkedIn retargeting ads

Ad Format and Budget

The next couple of parts are pretty self explanatory. You’ll pick the ad format, in this case Message ad. Then you can set the budget. There’s also an option to add conversion tracking. Say for instance, you are trying to drive people to a site to purchase your online course, you can set up the ad so that you know when people make that final purchase instead of just getting data on who visited your site. There’s more information about conversion tracking here

Create the LinkedIn Messaging Ad

Now, you’ll create the ad itself. As mentioned before, this is also where you can add a different person’s LinkedIn profile if you want them to be the sender of the message. 

LinkedIn lets you create a subject line, a message, a call-to-action, a landing page URL, and a creative banner for the ad. 

When you’re on this screen, you’ll also see some notes about how you can customize the ad. For instance, you can pull in certain fields like the person’s first and last name, their industry, or company. 

For a lead generation campaign, you can also create a custom form that people can put their information into. It will automatically populate with their email address and name. You can ask other questions on the form, but be brief. You don’t want any barriers to people filling it out. 

LinkedIn also allows you to add in hidden fields. This is helpful if you want to tag people from certain campaigns so that they can easily be entered into your CRM. LinkedIn partners with quite a few different CRM platforms to help your leads easily sync. 

Launch and Evaluate

Like all ads, the next step is to launch it and see how things go. Give it a while before you make adjustments to make sure you have decent data to learn from. With ads, a lot of times it’s just a matter of “if first you don’t succeed, try again.”

LinkedIn Conversation Ads (Beta)

Now, we’ve been talking about LinkedIn messaging ads. However, you might also see something else called LinkedIn conversation ads. This is brand new and still in the beta testing. 

As you can see above, the conversation ads do actually come from your business profile. These are more like ads in the traditional sense. In fact, it’s fairly similar to Facebook messaging bots. People click what they’re interested in hearing more about and it gives them more information automatically. 

The downfall is that it isn’t as personal. This isn’t the same as building a connection with someone. You’re no longer at a networking event, you’re again just a business. That might work well for some companies where the individual employee’s relationship with others isn’t as important as the company’s relationship. It will be up to you to decide if this is right for you. 

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