Linkedin Ads – Complete guide to landing more deals with high-level executives

Truth be told, I used to hate Linkedin, just as much as everyone else and I was pretty vocal about my dislike towards the platform.

I found the platform to be clunky and I hated the interface with passion — and the people over there try to talk the way they don’t normally do.

So, it’s safe to say I never bothered with the platform much until a year ago. I saw press release after press release that the team behind Linkedin are working harder than ever to improve Linkedin UX. As an early adopter of things and an ad (not ass) guy, I jumped in it.

The experience kind of surprised me because it turned out that the ad platform was pretty decent and I could land a lot of great deals through their ad platform. Pretty neat.

I even wrote a couple of Linkedin ad case studies in these links:

  • How we pulled 3,601 leads from top executives in 2 weeks (soon)
  • This company landed deals worth over $1.2 million — see how we did it (soon)

I am convinced that the platform has a huge potential and I believe that the chance to advertise on Linkedin is now while your competitors are still hammering on Facebook ads and Adwords.

Things you will learn from these awesome guide

  • If Linkedin is a good choice for your business
  • Types of ads Linkedin offers to advertisers
  • Step-by-step guide to setting up your ad account
  • How to create an effective ad (+ tips & tricks)
  • How to choose your ad targeting
  • Tips on how to rock your ad

so without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Why Linkedin ads?

As I’ve mentioned, I wasn’t a big fan either but then I changed my mind so before you can get the most out of this guide, you’d have to be somewhat convinced that Linkedin ads would be an answer to helping you get more clients.

Currently, I am running another company called “zozav marketing” where we manage FB and Adwords ads for small businesses in Thailand and I can tell you that most of our big deals online came from Linkedin and other smaller contracts came from Google.

After banking $20,000+ worth of contracts I got from the leads Linkedin sent me, that was precisely when I was pumped to pursue Linkedin ads.

Linkedin isn’t just a portfolio website anymore — I’ve noticed that people are taking it more seriously now than ever — trying to publish quality content day in and day out there.

The question is “if it doesn’t work, why would they keep doing it?”, because it freaking works, that’s why.

Linkedin has also introduced many awesome usability upgrades and once a ghost town, now more than 40% of users keep coming back to the website.

Some of the UX upgrades are:

  • better mobile app
  • less clunky desktop interface
  • easier-to-use content creation tools
  • better spam catcher management
  • focus on video marketing

I can definitely see that Linkedin is going to become a serious social networking site for professionals to interact rather than a recruiter’s paradise.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of clients who are recruiting companies, I just like diversity in audiences.

8 Types of ads that Linkedin Offer to advertisers

Linkedin ad engine might not be as robust as Facebook’s or AdWords but it’s definitely getting there.

The platform is quite easy to use as it is a self-serve network and I believe most of you are familiar with it already.

Linkedin offers 8 types of ads for you to target your target audience and I’ve found them to be useful so far.

Linkedin’s sponsored content is the same as Facebook post boosting where you post something on your company page and then promote it using Linkedin ad and your ad will appear in your target audience’s news feed.

Check out how it looks like.

This is perfect to use for when you have news or press release that you want your target audience to know about.

I like to use it to promote news about events, seminars or even my own free webinars — it has worked great for me (so far).

Linkedin Text Ads:

This only works with desktop users for now because the design of the text ad wouldn’t fit in the app window. However, I don’t think you are missing anything because it usually shows up on the right hand side bar where most ads are and it’s ineffective as far as my experience serves me.

It looks like this.



One thing that I like about this type of ad is because it looks similar to Google AdWords ads AND it allows a picture.

Other than that, I am not a fan of this type of ads because Linkedin makes it too obvious that they are ads, the good ones need to blend in and catch the target audience attention before they know it’s an ad.

With this type of ad, your ad will be sent directly to the inbox of your target audience, just like when you cold-email/message them.



The good thing is that Linkedin only sends sponsored Inmail ads to active users, rather than everyone to increase your chance of reaching the right people, not abandoned accounts.

Video Ads

In 2017, Linkedin has announced that they were testing video ads and they’d be ready to launch in 2018. Sounds like good news to me.

As it has not been out yet, I can only tell you my opinion about video ads in general. I think that it’s about time that Linkedin has to catch up with video content because Facebook has already put a lot of efforts into making video contents work on their platform.

Linkedin Dynamic Ads 

This type of ads is very popular among Linkedin advertisers because it’s very flexible and highly personalized. Basically what it does is when Linkedin sees that you are searching for a job on their website, they’d show ads about the job in the same industry to you.

Like this:



I like this type of ads because it’s super targeted and personalized — it’s great for relationship building and it can easily catch an attention of a job seeker (recruiters take notice!)

Now that we understand how many types of content Linkedin offers, let’s have a look at how you can go about setting up Linkedin ads so you can start making lots of money.

How to set up Linkedin ad account (step-by-step)

It’s rather easy getting started with Linkedin ads — I am pretty sure most of you can do it yourself so I won’t go in-depth on how to set it up.

First, head over to Linkedin’s campaign manager and then set up a quick account with them.

Note that you have to add a credit card to verify yourself before they let you use the platform. So get your card ready.



Just fill in the name of your company and account name. You can’t change the name after this so be careful, don’t be too “edgy” on the names.

Now Linkedin is going to ask you which type of ads you’d want to use, it doesn’t really matter because you can change it after this so go with whatever you want for now.




You’ll be asked what the purpose of your ads. Typical survey questions so just answer whatever you want, it doesn’t really matter now.




Voila! Now your account is set up and ready to start creating ads that hopefully make you millions (fingers crossed, guys!).

How to create ass-kicking Linkedin ads!

Now we are going to see how you can start creating ads with Linkedin, the platform isn’t that robust yet so you have to set a nice cup of coffee so you won’t get as frustrated.


Under your nice-looking profile picture, you’ll see a button that says “create” — hover over that and you will see a drop down menu with 2 options;

  • Campaign group
  • Campaign

For this guide, go with “campaign”.


Now again, you will be asked which ad type you would like to use. For this guide, I am going to go with a simple “sponsored content” ad.



Now you will need to name the campaign and you can choose between sending all the traffic to your landing page or use Linkedin Generation Forms which I find really cool.

This is how the Linkedin lead form looks like.




Basically what it does is to serve as a landing page where you can collect information of your leads right on Linkedin without sending them out of the platform.

Now back to our ad setup thing. After you’ve put in the name of your campaign and everything, click “next”



You will see this page where there is a list of posts that you can promote then just click “ create Sponsored Content” to make your own ad.



Now you’ll be on this page, just go ahead and create the ads — when you are done, hit “save” and you will be good to go.


Now after you’ve saved your ad and click “next” — we will be talking about ad targeting and it’s something that will make or break your entire campaign.

How to choose ad targeting for Linkedin ads

Now we are at the juicy part of Linkedin advertising because we get to choose “targeting” for our ads.

Let’s get started.

Once you hit “next” after the last page, this is what you are going to see. On this page, we will be focusing on 2 types of targeting.

  • Location targeting
  • Profession targeting


I think for location targeting, everything is quite straight forward when you already know where your target audience lives.

Now about profession targeting, with this ad targeting feature, Linkedin lets you target people by a bunch of things, but I’ll be focusing on getting leads from high-level executives.

So here’s what I am going to do.

  • Target them by company
  • Target them by their position (CEO)

So just for the sake of making this guide simple, I chose “CEO” of a company that has “1–10 employees”.



Now Linkedin is going to ask you if you want to also advertise in their partner networks, I usually tick “off” because I don’t know exactly who they are and I don’t trust them.

If you want to be safe like me, tick them off too.



Next step, on this page there’ll be things you can tinker with such as daily budget, bids, bid type, schedule and etc. but what I am going to focus on is just your “campaign objective”.

You have to let Linkedin know exactly what your objective is — so their engine can help you optimize for the right kind of audience.



After you are done with this, hit “launch campaign” and that’s it — just wait for your campaign to go live.

4 things to keep in mind when advertising on Linkedin platform

Linkedin platform surely isn’t like others that’s why I need you to know 4 things before you start advertising on Linkedin.

1.) Write ads that blend in with the platform

As you can tell from my writing style, I am not a formal type of guy but on Linkedin, I am forced to write in a more formal tone because that’s what the people on the platform expect to see.

Check out the best working ads for Linkedin platform



One thing about advertising after having run 10,000+ ads is that the best working ad is the one that blends in or what we call “native ads” because consumers are so averse to ads nowadays that’s why “adblockers” are on the rise.

Just in 2017, the usage of Adblocker is up another 30% and this doesn’t seem to stop.

Here’s a graph of how many devices Adblocker is used.

source ( PageFair)


So back to our point about blending in with the platform.

You have to understand how your target audience talks and interacts with other, most likely they’d be more formal on Linkedin, after all, it’s a professional social networking site.

Then figure out a way to blend in. Do not make your ads too obvious because that’s how you get ignored.

2.) Avoid using stock photos 

On Linkedin, you are supposed to sound and look professional and I can’t think of another way than trashing that by using stock photos.

Don’t get me wrong, stock photos can work but if you use them on Linkedin ads, they make you look incredibly cheap provided your target audience have seen them before because they feel “inauthentic”.

Look at this for a second;


I used Tineye to do a reverse image search on this stock photo and it found 3,434 results that this exact photo has been used. It’s not possible that this lady has worked for 3,434 companies before that’s why it would make your company look cheap.

When showing ads, your target audience will only read headlines and look at your ad image.

Marketing Experiment did an experiment to see if stock photo or real people photos would work better.

Here are the 2 landing pages that they used.

Landing page #1: with a smiling stock photo lady. 


Landing page #2: A real person from their company. 

The result is 35% of the people signed up when seeing a real people photo instead of a stock photo.



So avoid using stock photos on your ads at all cost, you can whip up a quick photo of your people and it would still be better than using stock photos.

3.) Use external tools to measure results 

I see that Linkedin has been working on improving their tracking tool but I don’t trust them for 100% yet that’s why I always use external tools.

Actually, there are a bunch of tools that will help you do just that — you can do a quick Google search and you’ll find them.

So I’ll just be talking about the tools that I normally use.

There are 3 tools that I use to measure my campaign results.

  • Google analytics
  • Kissmetrics
  • Mixpanel

I use these 3 tools to get an idea of who land on my website and learn about their behavior on the website.

I still like Linkedin built-in tracking tool but I just don’t find them as reliable yet.

Summary of the guide

Even though Linkedin ad platform needs a bit of improvements here and there but I’ve found a lot of success from it so far for myself and clients.

You just have to learn to understand the platform and adapt to it — you can’t use the same mindset you have with AdWords or Facebook ads because Linkedin users expect to see a different kind of content on the platform. So learn to blend in with the cotent and do not make your ads way too obvious.

The key is to let your target audience see the ad and realize that it’s an ad after already consuming it.

Your turn to make ass-kicking ads on Linkedin 

Now it’s your turn to make ads for your company so you can start targeting high-level executives like I have been doing.

It’s a great time now because there’s not as much competition on the platform like others once people start flooding into the ad platform that’s when ad prices go up and it’s going to become a pain in the butt.

So get in now and see how it works out for you.

Don’t worry about the money because Linkedin will give you $50 ad credits that you can use to try out their ad platform.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment section below and I’ll make sure I get to every one of them.

Good luck!