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The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ad Types & Formats

Marketing on LinkedIn isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair. Different LinkedIn ad types and formats suit different business models as marketing objectives, and sometimes it can be hard to navigate the correct paths to choose when you’re fairly new to the world of advertising on this particular platform. Once you understand the inner workings of LinkedIn for B2B advertising, you can begin to use it as the powerful tool that it is. And this article will help you get started. Considering hiring a LinkedIn ads agency can help you to setup the right formats and ads size.

1 – Six Types of LinkedIn Ads

At present, LinkedIn offers its users six different types of ad options, and they are:

1.1 – Text and Display Ads

If you’re familiar with how Google PPC (pay-per-click) ads work, you’ll be pleased to know that text and display ads on LinkedIn work in a similar fashion. The only difference is, with LinkedIn, you get the option to add an image. These ads are created to pop up everywhere for a lead, minus their LinkedIn feed.

text ads LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the ideal platform for B2B marketing because its targeting is so precise, allowing you to home in on company decision-makers who are likely to benefit (and hopefully convert) from your brand’s products or services.

1.2 – Sponsored Content Ads

Unlike text and display ads, LinkedIn sponsored ad content is designed to be viewed on a lead’s LinkedIn feed, with the goal of driving them over to your landing page via enticing imagery and persuasive text. This form of LinkedIn advertising is also ideal for brands who wish to drive a lead to a website to then be converted there.

sponsored ads LinkedIn

Or if the goal is simply to encourage more engagement or LinkedIn company page followers, sponsored ad content will help you do that.

1.3 – InMail Ads

InMail ads on LinkedIn are great because they allow you to slide into the DMs of leads with perfectly tailored content designed to get them to engage or convert. Bear in mind that, at present, LinkedIn boasts circa 500 million users worldwide, so this can be a powerful tool for advertisers.

While these ads are indeed ads, they’re actually designed to look like personally-written emails, created with the idea that the lead will be enticed to read instead of just being bombarded with typical-looking advertising in their inbox – which can be off-putting for them and ineffective for you.

inmail ads LinkedIn

While this is a great way to market – it’s not perfect. So as not to irritate its members, LinkedIn has a cap on how many inMail ads a user can use, which is one every sixty days. This means your campaign may not reach your leads very promptly if they’ve been targeted by other advertisers – which they will have been.

The plus side of this is that when it does reach them, they’re more likely to read your content because their inbox won’t be swamped with content from other advertisers. Make to use a compelling ad copy that converts.

1.4 – Dynamic Ads

Dynamic ads also work in a similar way to inMail ads in terms of going for the personal approach. The user information that LinkedIn gathers for this specific type of advertising is based on a member’s profile information. This can be information such as their company name, job title, or even profile photo, allowing for maximum personalisation in your approach.

The ad will appear on the right-hand side of a lead’s screen, and is interactive, making it easy and enticing for a lead to engage. If your advertising objective is encouraging leads to follow your page or head over to your website – this is the ad format for you.

dynamic ads LinkedIn

With dynamic ads, LinkedIn only allows two visuals per user page at any given time, so this is a great way of grabbing their attention with your content.

1.5 – Ad “Extensions” – Lead Gen Forms

While getting a busy businessperson to fill out a form can be a challenge in these times, LinkedIn lead gen forms are useful because they often appear very similar to sponsored content ads, instead of a tedious and time-consuming form that needs filling out.

Lead gen forms work well for gathering user data because they snatch that information without the user needing to take the time to manually fill out the form, which they might have to on external sites (such as your website). Instead, they can opt to allow LinkedIn to fill in the data for them and then continue with whatever they were doing.

LinkedIn lead gen form

The wonder of modern digital marketing is that all a lead will need to do with a LinkedIn lead gen form is click on your CTA (call-to-action) and the data is filled in for them. This includes contact details, and anything else you need to know. Because this is not an arduous process for the lead, it can be an effective form of advertising/lead generation.

1.6 – Follow Company Ads

For companies new to LinkedIn, this can be a great approach for garnering an organic following. If you’ve seen business Facebook campaigns popping up on your feed – follow company ads on LinkedIn work the same way.

While this is a simple type of advertising with one simple objective, it is imperative that the content created (text and imagery/video) is eye-grabbing and appealing. This will be your opportunity to catch their attention and convince them that your company is worth following.

2 – Choosing the Right Content

While LinkedIn will do its part to reach the right people, you’ll need to make sure your content holds their attention once it has. Here are a few ways of doing that and how it works per ad option:

2.1 – Sponsored Content

– Repurpose and relay the messages on your website, blog, and other social media channels.

– Create compelling content by way of video, audio, or other “rich media” options.

– Use human interest stories to reach audiences to develop an emotional connection.

– Partake in sharing industry news stories and trends, but put your own touch on it by adding appropriate commentary. This is good thought leadership strategizing.

2.2 – Sponsored Messaging

– Share blog posts, webinars, or industry trends / analysis to encourage brand consideration.

– Promote product demos, tutorials and success stories, or advertise an upcoming webinar or event during the lead generation process.

2.3 – Text Ads

– Don’t forsake the importance of imagery, despite the misleading name. Images/visuals are just as important as the words used to grab and hold attention.

– Opt for a profile image, instead of an object or logo.

2.4 – Video Ads

– Keep videos short ‘n sweet. Anything that exceeds thirty seconds will likely be off-putting to a lead.

– When creating a video, always include the sound-off / subtitles-on option.

– Include the key benefit within the first ten seconds of the video – as well as the CTA.

2.5 – Carousel Ads

– Start with three or four cards, and add more later if needed.

– Break down the content into various cards if it contains a lot of information.

– Visual storytelling helps to grab and keep attention.

– Add a CTA in every card.

2.6 – Dynamic Ads 

– Be descriptive in your key headline and main text.

– Test image layouts before your campaign goes live.

– Make your CTA clear in each ad.

2.7 – Document Ads

– Generation. Pick the right objectives as that will optimize towards the results you want. For example, if you’re looking to generate more leads and build an email list, lead generation objective is a great way to use LinkedIn document ads.

2.8 – Event Ads

– Use the right ad type in conjunction with your Linkedin ads event goals.

– Create compelling and engaging content. This includes eye-catching imagery and well-written wording. When using video, allow your viewers to be able to take in the message without sounding (via subtitles).

– Make your CTA clear and easy to use.

3- How You Can Use LinkedIn Ads to Your Advantage

As we’ve mentioned, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B professionals because it is exclusively made up of other B2B professionals (unlike other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), therefore it’s perfect for targeting and networking.

When it comes to targeting, you can home in on numerous professional areas, such as:

– Company Size

– Company Name

– Job Title

– Job Seniority

– Job Function

– Company Industry

– Fields of Study

– Groups

– Gender

– Skills

– Degrees

– Years of Experience

– Age

This can be helpful if a campaign needs to be specifically aimed at decision makers or professionals of various ranks / experience. It’s also useful for marketers aiming at niche industries.

If you have a specific marketing goal in mind, you can utilise LinkedIn’s plethora of targeting demographics to create microtargeted ads that speak directly to your leads. By doing this accurately (as in, building a relevant audience and creating compelling content), you can maximise your strategy’s success without blowing a massive budget. Only by targeting the most qualified, optimal leads will you see a favourable ROI for your efforts.


LinkedIn is a powerful tool and all B2B companies and marketers should be taking full advantage of it. As demonstrated above, you have ample options for advertising choices depending on your goals, and plenty of ways of utilising each to get the best results out of your campaign.

The key takeaways here are:

– Use the right ad type in conjunction with your goals.

– Create compelling and engaging content. This includes eye-catching imagery and well-written wording. When using video, allow your viewers to be able to take in the message without sounding (via subtitles).

– Make your CTA clear and easy to use.

– Spend time building an audience of decision makers and high-ranking professionals to maximise the chance of conversion success. A LinkedIn targeting ad campaign should have a minimum of 300 users.

If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS and Tech companies grow their MRR through LinkedIn advertising, contact us online or send us an email today at to speak with someone on our team.

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