You may think of (and use) LinkedIn as a digital business card, but in 2020, it’s way more than a way to network and apply for jobs. These days, LinkedIn’s robust ad platform can complement all of your company’s marketing strategies, especially for B2B lead generation. Here’s your guide to LinkedIn ad types (and the best way to use them).

How do LinkedIn ads work?

An estimated 10% of LinkedIn’s 630 million users are in decision-making positions in their companies. LinkedIn’s ads are up to 277% more effective than Facebook at lead generation, which is why 65% of B2B companies use LinkedIn ads.

So how do LinkedIn ads work?

Depending on the types of LinkedIn ads you select, these ads are sent to the targeted audience or posted on the LinkedIn feed. The best campaigns appear as personalized messages or look just like a regular LinkedIn post.

In fact, you should consider a LinkedIn ad campaign as another form of content that brings your business to people. Consider the following examples.

Scenario #1: Get sustainable

Your business wants to highlight the sustainability of both your organization and your products.

Your LinkedIn sponsored content might utilize articles from your website to highlight your efforts. You might describe your sustainable design process, tell the story of your supply chain changes, or highlight company-wide volunteer efforts to increase brand recognition with potential customers.

Scenario #2: Medical practice offers a new service

Your medical clinic wants to let people know about their new virtual medical service.

Because you know that nearly 80% of consumers would take advantage of virtual health services, you decide to place sponsored content LinkedIn ads that include videos of different scenarios where a virtual doctor’s visit would be helpful. You then place these ads to potential customers or referring professionals in your area.

The different LinkedIn ad types in 2020

Different LinkedIn ad types are most effective when you use them strategically and tailor them to your marketing goals. There are five different LinkedIn ad types, each with distinct features and uses:

  1. Sponsored content
  2. Direct sponsored content
  3. Sponsored InMail
  4. Text ads
  5. Dynamic ads

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

Sponsored content

LinkedIn sponsored content is probably the ad type that most people recognize. These ads appear in a user’s LinkedIn feed, right along with their other content. In most cases, these are nearly indistinguishable from other content.

If you are looking to boost your follower count, increase traffic to your website, raise awareness of company events, or just generally increase brand awareness, sponsored content is a good choice. Generally, this type of LinkedIn ad not only brings more people to your website, but also increases their engagement with your LinkedIn page.

These may appear in the newsfeed or on the right-side rail of a desktop computer.

Direct sponsored content

Direct sponsored content is not published on your LinkedIn feed but sent directly to your target audience’s feed. This means that you can tailor your ad or A/B test it without muddying the waters of your regular feed.

Direct sponsored ads have the same benefits as sponsored ads but with the ability to select a more targeted audience.


InMail is great for generating B2B leads. This type of LinkedIn ad is sent directly to a highly targeted audience’s LinkedIn inbox. A benefit of InMail ads is that they only target active LinkedIn members, so there’s no chance of your ad landing in an abandoned mailbox.

Goals for this type of LinkedIn ad might be B2B lead generations, promoting webinars or other events, and engaging directly with high-value connections (or prospects) at targeted companies.

Text ads

LinkedIn text ads are simple, short ads that appear on the right-side rail of a person’s desktop or laptop computer. Use A/B testing to optimize your results or target audience.

Consider these when casting a wider net. You might consider them for more general targets, like “job seekers” in your area instead of a more specific focus (e.g., mid-career healthcare administrators).

Dynamic ads

Dynamic ads appear in the right-side rail of the newsfeed and can target a specific audience. There are four different formats for dynamic ads:

  1. Follower ads: Used to expand your reach
  2. Spotlight ads: Best place for content that positions your business as an expert
  3. Job ads: Expands the applicant pool for your job posting
  4. Content ads: Good for lead generation

The best ads include a call-to-action based on the clear message you are trying to get across.

How much do different LinkedIn ad types cost?

With tight budgets that stretch advertising dollars thin, this is an important question on the mind of every digital marketer. As with other types of pay-per-click ads, LinkedIn charges per click or per 1,000 impressions.

When you set up the ads for your business, you will set a budget for your ads. The minimum cost-per-click on LinkedIn is $2, with an average of just over $5 per click. If you choose pay-per-impression (how many times an ad appears), the average cost is just under $7 for each 1,000 impressions. There is a set minimum daily price as well.

InMail campaigns have a different pricing structure. Be ready to spend at least 80 cents per send for this type of LinkedIn ad.

What are the best types of LinkedIn ads for my company?

The best LinkedIn ad types for your company depends entirely on your overall digital marketing strategy and your budget.

You might use sponsored ads to build your reputation as a thought leader in your field while also sending targeted InMail to invite industry leaders to a conference you are spearheading.

Text ads can be a short, sweet way to get your name in front of thousands of people, and direct sponsored content can narrow that audience as much as needed. Dynamic ads are a great way to deliver more than one message.

At Boost, our digital marketing professionals can help you make sense of LinkedIn ads and how best to use them for your business goals (and budget!). Let us help you find and design the best LinkedIn ad for you. Get in touch today!

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