July 20, 2016

Comprehensive Guide to LinkedIn Sponsored Content

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Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]


It should come as no surprise to those involved in LinkedIn marketing how LinkedIn sponsored content has become a dominant force on the social network.

In fact, 1st quarter revenue from LinkedIn sponsored content was $154.1 million. This is an increase of 29% over the previous quarter.

With the success of this platform’s ad campaign to help businesses, Shout wants to provide you with a comprehensive guide to creating LinkedIn sponsored content.

What is LinkedIn sponsored content?

Traditional display advertising is the most common advertising method marketers used in the past. The concept was simple. Send visitors to your site through an image ad.

From the traditional 728×90 header banner to the small 250×250 box ads on the sidebar, they have been a staple of advertising since the beginning of the internet.

They are also extremely ineffective in a world full of ad-blind consumers.

That is why advertisers prefer native advertising. LinkedIn sponsored updates are native ads displayed in the news feed like any other post by someone on your network in LinkedIn.

Native ads are more effective, and the reason LinkedIn abandoned display ads earlier this year.

Also, display ads do best on desktop devices, where users see the big bright ad in front of them. They do not do as well on responsive devices LinkedIn users prefer.

Currently, 58% of the 106 million active users on LinkedIn check out the social network from their mobile devices.

Why would you want to use LinkedIn sponsored content?

While the answer depends upon your ultimate aims here are a few reasons.

Raise awareness– LinkedIn promotes sponsored content as a way of building your brand to your target market.

After all, a single post on LinkedIn only reaches 20% of your connections. Sponsoring the content can help you extend that reach.

Create relationships– Unlike traditional advertising strategies, sponsored content does more to build a relationship.

Often this is done with free gated content. However, it can also be done with blog posts, case studies, videos, podcasts, and other forms of content.

Generate leads– Let’s not forget the ultimate intent is to drive targeted leads to your business. Sponsored content is great at providing inbound marketing leads.

Research helps us understand a prospect already completed 90% of the research they need to buy your product before engaging your services.

Having an inbound marketing strategy through LinkedIn allows you to become part of the pre-buying process and develop your authority when they want to speak with you.

How do we create LinkedIn Sponsored Content?

1. Create a LinkedIn Campaign Manager account

Creating sponsored content ads works similar to the traditional process for setting up LinkedIn Advertising.

You need to create an account, or sign in if you already have an account.

2. Create a campaign

Next, set up a campaign. You can choose between text and sponsored content ads.

You then name the campaign, and choose which updates you want to sponsor. If you don’t have an ad you want to sponsor, then you “Create new sponsored content” to begin the process of creating a new update to sponsor.

A few things to remember when you use LinkedIn sponsored content.

  • Know what your audience wants to hear– Use our Persona Based Content Marketing Strategy post to help you craft the right article for your niche.
  • Have a clear CTA- You are limited to 600-900 characters. However, 160-190 characters displays before the “…read more” link appears.
  • Use visuals- Like any users on the web, LinkedIn users like seeing what they are about to read. Visuals are especially helpful on mobile devices.

3. Define your target market

At this point, LinkedIn provides you with “specific targeting criteria to zero in on your ideal audience.”

You separate target candidates by company name, industry, company size, job title, job seniority, degrees, age, years of experience, and other criteria.

You can also choose the country, state, city, or towns you want to target your ad.

4. Select your budget

You can select either CPC (Cost per click) or CPM (cost per thousand views) ads. Make sure you know your suggested bid and daily budget.

Also factor in the length of your campaign when figuring out the daily budget, so you know if it is within your monthly marketing budget. That is another reason why you should set the duration of your campaign.

5. Review and Monitor

Most marketers think that once their ad is up, their work is done. However, this is when it just begins.

First, review everything to make sure your content is correct, the links to your site work, any email sign up process is seamless, your budget is correct, your targeting accurate, etc.

Then when once you are live, you want to monitor your ads for at least 15 minutes per day to make sure you are on track and make changes when something goes wrong.

Since something will almost invariably go wrong, plan on making changes after your launch. You might want to keep testing and adding more sponsored content ads to determine the best results.

Having 2-4 sponsored updates running concurrently can help you test the most effective option. The more data from your ads, the more you can improve your sponsored content ad results.

Final Thoughts

LinkedIn sponsored content has the potential to be a great tool in your arsenal. The key is to make sure you set the ads properly.

That starts with the right content to promote. Additionally, target your content to the right market. Then finally, test, test, and test some more to determine which sponsored content works best.

If you need help deciding upon the best course of action, set up a free initial consultation with our social media marketing company in Melbourne.

Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

    Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

      Shout logo in grey

      As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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