The Campainless Blog
One of the best features of the LinkedIn ads platform is the whole library of ad types available for you to test and leverage. This includes everything from carousel ads, to video ads, dynamic ads and the OG single image ad. No matter what your objective or your audience, you can be sure there’s a well-matched ad type to meet your needs.
In this handy guide, we run through each of the ad types. We serve you the tea on what they are, their KEY specs, the objectives they’re compatible with and how you should use them. If you have any questions about any of the ad types, this all-in-one, jam-packed Guide to LinkedIn Ad Types is for you. We give you all the details you need to succeed. Time to get stuck in.
Let’s start with the basics. The classic or OG of the LinkedIn ads world is the Single Image Ad. What is it? In this case, the name is a dead giveaway. A single image ad consists of only a single image combined with your ad copy. It may be the simplest and easiest ad format to set up, but don’t be deceived: it’s often also the most effective. Like many ad types, a single image ad will appear directly in the newsfeed of your target audience.
*we recommend 1200×690
Single image ads can technically be used alongside all objectives from brand awareness to website conversions and job applications. And it can work very well for all. However, in our expert opinion, they work best when paired with the lead generation objective to promote mid-funnel content. Whether it be driving to an eBook, guide or gated webinar, if you’re promoting a new piece of thought leadership – this ad format is your ideal match.
The recipe for a successful single image ad is easy. You need a compelling, good quality image (animated or photographic), a clear, simple CTA related to your offer and a short, snappy headline. If you can call out your target persona, and their pain points, in an obvious way that is even better. Helpful hint: we’ve seen images of real people from the company advertising (rather than stock images) work particularly well for this ad format. See the example below for inspiration.
LinkedIn Video ads are exactly what they sound like: short, video-based ads that show up in your target audience’s newsfeed. Unless the viewer actively switches on the sound button, they will be viewed sound-off. This ad format has a particularly high click through and engagement rate. In fact, studies show video generates an average of 3x the engagement than other types of posts.
LinkedIn video ads again can be used to achieve multiple objectives. However, we’ve typically seen them work most effectively at the top of the funnel for brand awareness campaigns. This is largely because the cost per view is low and it’s easier to get more reach with your budget. It also helps that running video ads to your broader, top-funnel audience is the easiest and quickest way to build a warm remarketing audience.
The other place we’ve seen them work particularly well is in bottom-funnel, retargeting campaigns to prospects who are already familiar with your brand. Here, the objective would be conversions and something like a short case study video or testimonial can be particularly impactful. Helpful hint: stay away from using video to promote content e.g. eBooks, guides – we’ve yet to see success with this approach.
Now you know what they are and where to use them, you’re probably wondering, how do I create the perfect, KPI-smashing video? While the answer will change depending on a number of variables – there are a few core ingredients to success. Firstly, design your video around your objective and audience. Don’t just create a video because you think it’s a cool idea / way to show off your brand. Make sure it’s aligned with the funnel stage and your audiences’ pain points.
Secondly, try to capture the attention of your audience in 3 seconds with an effective intro. Thirdly, design for sound off as most people will watch sans sound and aim for between 15-30 seconds. These are our top tips for success. Hungry for more tips? Head to our video ads deep dive.
*Watch the Salesforce video ad by clicking on the link in image
Carousel ads are a slightly less self-explanatory ad format. Essentially, unlike the single image ad where you are limited to one image (or “slide), a carousel ad allows you to use up to 10 swipeable “slides.” Each of these “slides” contain a different visual and headline copy. Carousel ads appear on the news feed and your company LinkedIn page – across all devices and platforms, including mobile.
Carousel ads are most commonly used for brand awareness, website visits or lead gen objectives. We’ve personally seen carousel ads work best when used for brand awareness (by sharing a brand’s story or customer journeys), or for lead gen (by sharing various insights from a whitepaper, conference etc.). However, it can also be used to drive conversions (through displaying multiple products or services). When it comes to carousel ads, the world’s your oyster.
While the effectiveness of your carousel ad depends on your objectives and the nature of your business – it’s important that you make the extra ad space and highly interactive format work for you. With this in mind, try to stick between 4-8 cards and absolutely don’t go below 3. FInally, as an absolute non-negotiable, you need to include a clear call-to-action button and link on the final card. Otherwise you’re essentially throwing an opportunity down the drain.
LinkedIn event ads look similar to single image ads, but are designed for the specific purpose of getting people to RSVP to an event. With this objective in mind, event ads point toward the LinkedIn event page, instead of an external landing page and appear in your target audiences’ news feed. They pull an image from the event which is combined with the name of the event and intro text of your choosing.
This ad format works particularly well for marketer’s who have upcoming conferences, webinars and presentations that they want to create a buzz around & boost attendance for. They can even work well to build attendees for product showcases or live demos which are a bit further down the funnel. We’ve found the best objective to run event ads with is engagement.
While you can run event ads on other platforms like Facebook, by choosing LinkedIn you can get your event in front of exactly your target audience – including executives and decision makers. This makes it an excellent vehicle for B2B event promotion.
When it comes to event ads, it’s crucial you spotlight the key details straight away. This includes the event name, the time and date of the event, the intended audience and who some of the speakers are. It will be hard to drive traffic to your event if your prospects are missing these crucial pieces of information. Top takeaway: it’s also worth trying to build FOMO in your creative and/or create a sense of urgency to encourage engagement. Even exaggerating on this end can really help boost results.
The sparkly conversation ad is LinkedIn’s newest paid messaging format. They stand out from traditional ‘message ads’ as they not only allow you to directly pop into your prospects’ inbox with a targeted message, but go a step further and initiate a “chat-like experience” with them. . As Jason Widup from Metadata.io describes, they’re essentially “choose your own adventure” interactive chatbots.
You can use this sophisticated ad format in tandem with an array of different objectives including: brand awareness website conversions, lead generation and website visits. However, we’ve found it most impactful for lead generation objective. Simply create a conversation that invites prospects to an event, drive webinar sign-ups or download a piece of content. And make sure you’re making full use of the personalised nature of this format to drive leads.
We have 4 go-to tips when it comes to LinkedIn conversation ads. Firstly, use a member sender over a company sender – this builds trust and establishes a personal connection between your prospect and your brand. Second, make sure the first sentence pops so you drag in your personas from the get go. And for the final two: use a mix of different CTAs, and keep things simple, clear and conversational. With these in your back pocket, you’ll never misfire a conversation ads. For more expert hints, head to our in-depth article on conversation ads.
Formerly known as InMail ads, LinkedIn message ads are another native messaging format. They enable you to send direct messages via LinkedIn Messages to people within your target audience. The intention being to encourage them to take action with a tailored message. Like conversation ads, you are connecting with prospects directly in their inbox which makes it a highly personalised (and strategic) ad format.
LinkedIn message ads are very flexible and can be used in conjunction with a number of campaign objectives: including conversion, lead generation and website visits. We’d say it can gel well with all of them, you just need to be super clear what your goal is, what your offer is and make sure this is consistently referenced throughout the content of your email. There should be no confusion or obfuscation as to what you want your prospect to do.
Beyond keeping the contents of your message consistent, clear and concise – the key to an effective message ad is to focus on providing value (& take advantage of the personalisation features). How?
First, leverage LinkedIn custom fields such as first, last name and job title to personalize your message to each recipient, and ensure the tone, language and offer are all tailored to them. Second, make sure you’re sure you’re adding to their lives in some way. If you can answer the question: Why should the person who opens your email care about it? You’re well on your way to a successful message ad.
LinkedIn Lead Gen form ads are a favourite of many LinkedIn advertising gurus (and our personal favourite!). What are they? Lead form ads are shapeshifters: they can take the form of video, single image, carousel, message or conversation. The main differentiation is that instead of driving to a landing page or website, they are linked directly to an in-platform form. This enables marketers to instantly collect complete and accurate leads in their target audience. No need to leave the platform which means no friction.
LinkedIn lead form ads only work if you select the lead generation objective. But what you use them for is up to you. We strongly recommend using LinkedIn lead forms to drive content download, webinar sign up or limited-time only offer leads. Because all of these actions are relatively low-commitment, and lead gen forms are a seamless, frictionless alternative to landing pages, completion rates are likely to be far higher. If you don’t test these out – you’re a fool!
Some of our hot tips for creating an effective lead gen form ad include: curating compelling messaging on your form that aligns with your ad and sells your offer, choosing around 6-8 fields (all with intention), using the thank you tile to promote another offer and depending on whether quality is a focus, add a custom company email field. For more tips head to our article on How to Elevate your LinkedIn Lead Gen Ads.
Text ads are one of the least-used ad formats on LinkedIn. They are text-based, though you do have the option of adding a visual if you please. They are a simple ad type and are typically displayed on the right-hand side or top of the LinkedIn desktop feed, though placement can vary.
Where to use them
Text ads can be used to support all stages of a full-funnel marketing approach from awareness to conversion. While this ad format wouldn’t necessarily be our first choice, if you are on a limited budget you could definitely test it and see what kind of results you’re able to drive.
So now that the basics are covered, how do you create an effective text ad? We’d recommend keeping the copy short and to the point with a clear offer. Also make sure to directly call out your target audience / their specific problems to connect your audience directly with what you’re promoting. We’d recommend adding an image even though it’s optional – ideally a profile picture if this is relevant to our ad, as we’ve seen it perform better than logo or other images.
LinkedIn spotlight ads are part of the dynamic ad family. This means like their brothers and sisters, they are personalised. As such, they feature LinkedIn users own profile data – including elements like their photo, company name, job title, and more in the ad. They can be seen on desktop and typically used to share products, services, events, insights, research or valuable content.
Company Logo Size: 100 x 100 pixels
Company Logo File Type: JPG or PNG
Company Logo File Size: 2 MB
Background Image File Type (optional): JPG or PNG
Background Image Dimensions (optional): 300 x 250 pixels
Background Image File Size (optional): 2 MB
Headline: 50 characters
Description: 70 characters
Company Name: 25 characters
Call-to-Action: 18 characters
See full specs here
Spotlight ads can be used at the various different funnel stages. We’ve seen this work particularly well for content promotion, and if you add the profile picture of the content creator, you could be following in the footsteps of other companies who have seen up to a 326% lift in CTR.
The first step in creating a successful spotlight ad, is to check the box to enable your target audience’s profile photo to appear in the ad. This allows you to take full advantage of the dynamic nature of the ad and draw a clear connection between your persona and your offer. you need to have a very clear CTA. Helpful hint: try uploading a custom background image to add more visual elements to your ad. And if you’re promoting content like a gated webinar, include a picture of the speaker instead of your logo.
Follower ads are designed for the specific purpose to increase your company’s follower base. As they are also part of the dynamic ad set, they leverage personal information from their target audience to form the base of their ad and use this to build an immediate personal connection with them. You may have seen on your own LinkedIn feed, an ad that has your profile picture and your name next to a company logo with a CTA to follow the business and a link to their page. This is a follower ad.
This is an easy answer. You’d use this ad format predominantly to build brand awareness and engagement at the top of the funnel. For this reason, we’d recommend selecting the “Brand Awareness” objective.
Finally, how do you create a KPI-smashing follower ad? Make sure your audience targeting is on point, use compelling language in your headline, have a clear CTA in your copy and you honestly can’t go wrong.
That’s each and every format for you! Take the time to properly sit and digest all the new information you have absorbed. Then consider which ones you think it makes the most sense to test for your goals & audience. While all this knowledge and insight is useful, at the end of the day it is only through testing different ones yourself that you can find out which ad formats work best for you. So get out there and start experimenting!
Want a little bit more help with mastering LinkedIn ad formats? We have articles on video ads, dynamic ads, carousel ads, lead gen ads and conversation ads to take your understanding to the next level. Check them out in our blog section today. Wish there was a way to get a constant stream of expert advice and LinkedIn tips about specific campaigns you’re running – register for free early access to the world-first LinkedIn optimisation platform, Campainless.