A Guide On How to Use LinkedIn Messaging Ads

How Do You Use LinkedIn Messaging Ads For Promoting A Business?

LinkedIn is the best place to advertise to businesses and professionals.

But it’s still a neglected platform by most small and medium-sized enterprises.

LinkedIn Sponsored Messaging ads can return a higher click and LinkedIn engagement rate than email.

It’s a powerful direct marketing tool. 

Let us show you how to use these LinkedIn Messaging ads to grow your business. 

We love to use LinkedIn ads for our B2B clients in particular, and we want to show you how you can capture the power of LinkedIn ads. 

These can be especially helpful for people who have tried Facebook or Twitter ads and didn’t see great success. 

In today’s post, we will be covering: 

  1. Who should use LinkedIn ads and what your options are
  2. How to set up a Campaign Manager if you don’t have one already
  3. How to create a campaign
  4. Information on targeting options on LinkedIn
  5. About Message ads
  6. How to set up Message ads step-by-step
  7. Tips and best practices on LinkedIn Messaging ads
  8. Measuring and optimizing your campaigns

Let’s get started!

Who Should Use LinkedIn Messaging Ads & What Your Options Are

LinkedIn Sponsored Message ads are a great way to market directly to your audience and cut through the noise and competition in the feed. 

You have two options for LinkedIn Messaging ads:

linkedin messaging ads
  1. Message ads – deliver a targeted message featuring a single CTA.
  2. Conversation ads – provide multiple offers and types of content in one image to create a highly engaging experience.

You can drive prospects to multiple landing pages or Lead Generation forms and see…

…how many people click on your content and each offer, and how engaged they are in the conversation.

Who Should Use LinkedIn Sponsored Message Ads? 

LinkedIn Messaging ads are for you to know who your audience is and where they are in their customer journey.

That means you have enough information to craft a targeted message that will make them act.

If you use this in your LinkedIn marketing strategy, you don’t want to waste a Sponsored Message opportunity. 

This ad type can work well for any business in any industry as long as you know your message and audience. 

Information On Targeting Options On LinkedIn

Getting your targeting right leads to higher engagement, and ultimately, higher conversion rates.

On LinkedIn, you can choose from over 20 different audience attribute categories, including:

linkedin messaging ads
  • Company size
  • Company name
  • Schools Attended
  • Skills
  • Job title

LinkedIn has a few recommendations when it comes to targeting your ads.

And since LinkedIn wants you to be successful on the app (so you keep advertising), they’re sharing their tips for targeting your ads. 

  1. Avoid hyper-targeting. You’ll limit your reach and the insights you would get with a larger audience.
  2. A/B test your ads so you can find the best creative and targeting options.
  3. Analyze and optimize your ads.

LinkedIn Messaging ads help you connect with your audience directly in their inboxes.

We like Message ads because they: 

  • Get people to act quickly because you’re right in front of them in their inbox, front and center.
  • Email messages can get more engagement and reasons than traditional email marketing.
  • Help you gain insight into who engages your audience and with what.

LinkedIn Messaging ads include:

  • Custom greeting
  • Call-to-action button
  • Body text
  • Ability to add a link in the message body
  • Custom footer to disclose legal terms, promotion rules, contact info, and more
  • If you selected Lead Generation as your campaign objective, you’d also need to attach a Lead Gen form.

Before you can set up and use LinkedIn Messaging ads or LinkedIn advertising in general, you need to have an ad account. 

How to Create an Ad Account on LinkedIn

linkedin messaging ads
  1. Sign in to your personal LinkedIn.com account.
  2. Click Advertise.
  3. Add an account name, select the billing currency, and associate a LinkedIn page on the welcome screen.
  4. Click Create Account.

Now you can create and add.

Let’s walk through creating a LinkedIn Messaging ad.

Install Your Insight Tag to Track Ad Performance

You need to install your Insight Tag (LinkedIn’s version of Facebook Pixel).

This will track your LinkedIn clickers onto your website and collect information on the actions they take there. 

How to install your Insight Tag: 

linkedin messaging ads
  1. Navigate to Account Assets > Insight Tag.
  2. Click to create a tag.
  3. Copy the entire Insight Tag code from the window in the top section (or use one of the dropdown options below).
  4. Click I’m Done.
  5. Add the JavaScript code to every page on your domain, preferably right before the end of the <body> tag in the global footer.
  6. Once LinkedIn receives a signal from the title you’ve placed on your website, your domains will appear under Insight Tag.

To verify your domain: 

You’ll need to trigger the insight tag on your website.

Then your tag will be listed as active and can be used in your ad campaigns.

It will take anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours for your domain to be verified after you trigger the tag on your website. 

After your Insight Tag is active, you can use it in ads. Let us show you how to set up your LinkedIn Messaging ads now.

How To Create A Sponsored Message Ad

The LinkedIn Messaging ads aren’t complicated, but it’s helpful to walk through them with someone the first time, so we’ll do that with you! 

  1. Sign in to Campaign Manager.
2. Click the correct account name and campaign group.
  • If you don’t have an account or want to create a new tab with new billing information, click Create account.
  • If you don’t have a campaign group, click Create campaign group.
  1. Click the Create campaign button below the Accounts tab.
  2. Add a Campaign name by clicking the Edit icons.
  3. Confirm the Selected Campaign Group.
  • Click Use a different group or Create a new group if needed.
  • Campaign groups can’t be edited from this page.
  1. Click Next.
  2. Select from the following objectives for your campaign:
  • Website visits
  • Lead generation
  • Website conversions
linkedin messaging ads
  1. Define your target audience in the Audience section.
  • Create your target audience by selecting the targeting facets.
  • To apply a previously saved targeting template, click the Saved audiences dropdown in the Audience section.
  • You may apply Matched Audiences, which allows you to upload company or contact lists or retarget based on website visits or ad engagement.
  1. Select Ad format here. We chose a message.
  2. Complete the Budget & Schedule and Bid sections.
  3. Add optional Conversion Tracking.
  4. Click Next and Save from the Confirm save popup.

Now you’ll add your creatives. Let’s walk through those together: 

  1. Choose to Create a new ad from the Ads in this campaign section.
  2. Name the ad.
  3. Select a sender or click Add sender to add an unlisted member of your network. 
  4. Click the Message section and enter the subject, message text, and optional footer.
  • Use macros to personalize your message.
linkedin messaging ads

You can manually type macros into your message or click Insert custom field to select available options.

  • You can add hyperlinks to your message by clicking the Link icon.
  1. Enter the Call-to-action, Landing page URL, and optional Upload a banner creative.
  • All URLs must have the HTTP:// or HTTPS:// prefix.
  • If you add URL parameters for third-party tracking, do not use quotation mark characters within the parameter settings.

This is to avoid technical errors with reaching your destination URL.

  • Some special characters (for example: < > # % { } [ ] and others) cause errors when they’re included in the query string at the end of the URL.
  1. Some Message ad specifications you need to know: details.
  • If you don’t include a banner, ads from other advertisers may appear in that slot. Learn more about banner images.
  • Once you’ve added a creative to a campaign, it can’t be deleted.

If you don’t want the creative attached to your campaign, delete the draft campaign and create a new one.

  1. If you chose the Lead Generation objective, you’d need to attach a form to your ad.

Click the form details section and click the Form dropdown to select an existing Lead Gen Form or create a new one.

  1. On the Ads in this campaign screen, you can also Duplicate, Edit, or Send a text message by clicking the More icon to the right of the ad.
  2. Click the status dropdown menu to change the ad’s status from Draft to Active. Once an ad has been changed to active, it can’t be edited.

The ad status will need to be changed before displaying to members in your target audience.

  1. Click Next.

Review and Launch Your Campaign

  1. Make sure all your campaign details and settings are correct.
  2. To change or make edits to any section, click the Previous button at the bottom of the page.
  3. Click the Launch Campaign button near the top right or at the bottom of the page. Your ad will start serving once it’s approved.

LinkedIn Messaging Ad Tips And Best Practices

There’s never a guarantee that a specific style or targeting, or budget will bring you success, but you can follow best practices to give you a good start. 

Define the objective for your Message ad. You can use Messaging ads to:

  • Drive brand consideration and engagement
  • Generate demand and leads
  1. Choose a credible sender, so your message doesn’t look sketchy.
  • Please make sure the sender’s profile image is a high-quality, professional image of their face. Of course, a friendly smile goes a long way.
  • Ask the sender to confirm that their profile photo is visible to LinkedIn members in member settings.

It will need to be set to either “All LinkedIn Members” or “Public” for all recipients to see it.

  • Introduce yourself. Let your audience know who you are and why you’re reaching out.
  • Personalize at scale. Use LinkedIn macros, like first name and job title, to seamlessly personalize your ad to each recipient.
  • Add a banner image.
linkedin messaging ads

The banner image is only visible to recipients viewing your ad on desktop, but this space is prime real estate for ensuring your brand is top of mind.

If you don’t upload a banner image, another brand’s image can appear in this placement.

  • Keep campaigns running all week. Sponsored Messaging ads see the highest open rates on Tuesdays and get the most clicks on weekends.

For Message Ads

  1. Be concise, personal, and relevant.
  2. Use bullets rather than dense copy.
  3. Body text under 500 characters drives a 46% higher click-through rate (CTR) on average.
  4. Add hyperlinks. Make your Message ads more interactive by adding hyperlinks, proven to lift CTR by 21%.

For Conversation Ads

a. Leverage templates

To get started, take advantage of Conversation Ad templates in Campaign Manager.

Available templates by objective include:

  • drive trials and demos,
  • offer professional services, and
  • Promote your podcast.

You can edit any of the templates to make them your own.

2. Use multiple messages and buttons.

Give your prospects the information they need in bits, not in bulk. Set up two to three messages with at least two CTAs that members can interact with.

3. Keep it conversational.

Write like you would speak if you have to use your phone’s customer service voice.

4. Make your CTAs engaging and clear.

5. Use rich media.


Have you run Sponsored Message ads on LinkedIn? How did they work for you? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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