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LinkedIn Refresher: Targeting, Building Ads, Limitations, Reporting, and Best Practices

Published: November 18, 2015

Author: Kendra Pennington

LinkedIn is a finicky place to advertise. Luckily, we’ve created a breakdown of the myriad options to help advertisers make the most out of LinkedIn advertising. (If you’d like a reminder of what’s new on the updated Campaign Manager, here you go.)

Creating a campaign: Sponsored Updates or text ads?

Let’s talk about the differences, shall we? Sponsored Updates appear in the news feed of the LinkedIn dashboard. They’re a larger ad unit with more space for ad copy. They also feature an option to select available content previously posted by the client, but we recommended that you create content from scratch to tag for 3rd-party conversion tracking.
LinkedIn also has text ads with a right rail placement and allowance for small images. Unfortunately, these average much lower CTR, which leads to lower conversions rates. We don’t typically recommend them.


For LinkedIn tarketing, we recommend an audience size no more than 300K (the larger the audience, the less qualified the audience is likely to be). Some other important things to note:

-Gender and age are ‘implied’ based on behavior and what’s included in the user’s profile (ex: graduation date).

-Be cautious when testing ‘Job Titles’ since same titles can be used across different verticals (ex: marketing professional, manager).

-For skills, groups, and job functions, you should work with your client on information they have available from existing data/research to transfer into LinkedIn targeting buckets.

Bidding and delivery

We recommend CPC bidding. Make sure to note that CPCs tend to be much more expensive than other social channels. You may need to increase bids above the recommended to ensure traffic.
For delivery, you’re only able to set a cap at the daily budget level, with an option to include total budget as a spend cap for the campaign.

Ways to track without conversion pixel option

As of now, LinkedIn does not have conversion tracking within the UI. Use custom UTM parameters for 3rd-party tracking.

Creating an ad

Currently there’s a UTM copy/paste bug: what you paste into the field will be final despite any edits made within the box. To ensure that you don’t make mistakes, build your ads out in a separate Excel file to QA prior to setting up and launching. Then copy and paste the correct URL/UTM into the box. After ad creation you can preview the full ad with the URL.
Unfortunately there’s also an inability to edit/delete once ad is created; only edits to ad names can be made after creation. You can still pause ads, of course, but deleting them is impossible.
On the plus side, there’s an option to rotate ads evenly rather than relying on an algorithm to optimize creative based on CTR. This is good if you want to give an ad more time for testing.


Want to get at targeting reports? Click the demographic section; it provides breakdown of targeting methods. Use this info to further limit current targeting selection (ex: US targeting à top cities).
For the performance and social actions section, the reports can break down:

-Performance: impressions, clicks, CPC, CPM, spend, etc.

-Social actions section: shares, likes, comments.

-Frequency: typically you should export the ad performance report on a daily breakdown.

How to think of LinkedIn differently from Facebook

Think about the nature of each platform and how users interact with each. Obviously, people use LinkedIn in a professional capacity, versus personal usage for Facebook; they may be in a more ready mindset to do business. Of course, frequency of visits per user are much lower on LinkedIn than Facebook, and because Facebook has similar targeting options such as job titles and job industries, you don’t have to use LinkedIn to get your ad in front of a professional.
That’s all for now! Have any other LinkedIn topics you’d like to see covered? Let us know in the comments.

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