LinkedIn Ads for B2B Advertisers

Table of Contents

Why Advertise on LinkedIn?

For any B2B marketer, LinkedIn is the place to be. Why? It’s the platform where you can target your audience based on job title, industry, experience, and even company. That’s incredibly powerful, when you’re looking to engage with other businesses. For example, see the screenshot below. You can target based on a variety of options, including matched audiences. Matched audiences are emails you upload, to then target these individuals on LinkedIn, so long as their email address is associated with their LinkedIn account.

LinkedIn Ad Targeting

The Challenge of Advertising on LinkedIn

LinkedIn ads sound amazing, right? You can be hyper focused, but there is a challenge. The challenge is many users don’t click the standard banner ads on LinkedIn. Additionally, the cost per click is extremely high, upwards of $10 – $15 per click. Very high.

That’s where the challenge comes into play. LinkedIn sounds great, but how can you make it work.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Ads

Thankfully, LinkedIn has a solution which is an ad product that drives efficient performance to a targeted audience. It’s called, LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Ads. Let me explain.

With Sponsored InMail Ads, advertisers can send messages directly to a users LinkedIn InMail. The benefit is the open rate on these messages are extremely high. Email open rates are typically in the single digitals, InMail open rates is anywhere from 25 – 45%. I’m currently working with a client who has an open rate of 60%. Extremely high! These metrics help insure that your messages are not only delivered, but the majority are actually being reviewed. Also, these ads are super efficient. It’s not uncommon to see each message delivered around $.25.

See an example of what a sponsored message looks like.

LinkedIn Sponsored Messages

Now, regular Sponsored InMail campaigns are great, where you can have a customized message delivered to your target audience, driving traffic to your site. However, to really drive solid performance, continue reading to learn of their lead generation forms.

LinkedIn Ads – Lead Generation Forms

In my experience, the best LinkedIn campaigns use message ads with lead generation forms. LinkedIn offers lead generation forms where users can submit their pre-populated contact information to the advertiser.

LinkedIn Ads Lead Generation Form

What makes this work so well, is LinkedIn already has users contact information, which they can simply hit the “submit” button, to pass their information. The only catch is you need to provide something of value to your audience, in order to get their contact information. Great examples are whitepapers, webinars, discount codes, free trials, etc.

Putting it all Together:
Sponsored InMail Messages + Lead Generation Forms

The true power of LinkedIn comes when you have a targeted Sponsored InMail Message with a Lead Generation form tied to this. For example, say you’re a promotional print shop. You send a sponsored message to local businesses in the area, offering 20% off their first order. To redeem the coupon code, they need to fill out the Lead Generation form, to then access the code. Once they enter their information, you can download their data from LinkedIn and follow up with them directly.

For Sponsored InMail Messages to work, I recommend the following:

  • Keep your Sponsored InMail message concise and highlight the “why” the audience should care about what you’re offering. You want to make it compelling. Talk less of your business, and more of how you can help the business your messaging.
  • Upload an optional 300×250 banner, which will accompany your message. This is free branding and is clickable.
  • Use the LinkedIn lead generation form with your Sponsored InMail message, but make sure that you’re offering value to capture the leads (i.e. coupon, whitepaper, etc.).
  • Limit the entries that users pass through the lead form. For example, capture name, company and email – but try not to go beyond this. If you ask for too much (or too personal of information, i.e. phone number), users may not be willing to pass their information.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Ads Case Study

For one B2B advertising client we wanted to test LinkedIn, as through LinkedIn we can target users based on job title and industry. We tested traditional banner ads on LinkedIn. These are clickable 300 x 250 banner ads, going to the advertisers’ website. However, we just didn’t see a strong click through rate. It was actually extremely low, which caused our cost per click very higher (in the $15 range, per click). Additionally, once they clicked to our website, they weren’t engaging as we would like them too.

From this experience, we knew we wanted to figure out LinkedIn, based in it’s targeting capabilities, but we knew it couldn’t be from traditional 300X250 banners.

As a next test, we tested InMail ads, with the lead form included, and we saw pretty dramatic results. Nearly every week we would get really strong open rates, and most importantly, we drove very efficient leads. The performance was very consistent and the leads we drove were pretty qualified. If we were getting leads from specific companies that weren’t qualified, we would simply remove those companies from our target audience.

LinkedIn Ads – Next Steps

For any of you where are contemplating LinkedIn Ads, I would recommend that you just jump right into sponsored inmail messages. Take the learnings that we went through and I feel this will put you in the best chance of success.

Ben Lund

Ben Lund

Ben Lund is a 14+ year digital advertising vet who founded Rise Marketing Group. Outside of managing his agency, he offers advertising courses on SkillShare and routinely shares his best practices on

Ben Lund

Ben Lund

Ben Lund is a 14+ year digital advertising vet who founded Rise Marketing Group. Outside of managing his agency, he offers advertising courses on SkillShare and routinely shares his best practices on

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Need More Advertising Help?

While I am sharing a good amount of free information through DIY Digital Strategy, if you need more help, feel free to drop me a line on my contact page, as my agency Rise Marketing Group helps clients of all sizes.
Even if you’re not interested in full service advertising management, I would love to hear from you! Ping me a line at and I’ll be sure to follow-up to see how I can help.