LinkedIn Advertising 101: A Brief Introduction

As social media advertising continues to grow, more brands and advertisers are adding social as part of their overall marketing mix.

LinkedIn is one platform that many advertisers may be overlooking.  Year over year LinkedIn audience growth has been pretty substantial.  As of Q1 2014, LinkedIn now has over 277 million worldwide users.  This number continues to grow, as there are now 200,000+ users that join daily.

LinkedIn prides itself for having audience members who engages with content on their site. LinkedIn members are 6x more engaged with content (news, brand updates, info on connections etc.) than job listings/ posts.  This is interesting to note, since most people may think of LinkedIn as a job portal, or a way to showcase their virtual resume for potential employers.

But, how can you, as a marketer, leverage LinkedIn today?  This article will cover the available ad formats and how to use each format.  We’ll also cover the different audience target options available.

LinkedIn Ad Formats

There are two types of ad formats within the LinkedIn self-serve platform: LinkedIn Ads and Sponsored Updates.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn Ads are your standard auction based text ads that includes a 50X50 image to the right of the text.  LinkedIn ads can be served at a CPC or CPM pricing model.

LinkedIn also offers video options.    The video component replaces the image on the standard ad. Video ads allow you to show a video for up to 2 minutes long. Once the video is clicked on, it will then expand to cover the entire ad unit.

Video ads are charged on a cost per view (CPV) pricing model.  Meaning, you only pay when a user clicks to play the video.  Currently, the minimum CPV for LinkedIn Ads is $4.00.

Sponsored Updates

You can think of sponsored updates as a similar product to Facebook’s news feed ads.  Sponsored ads can be found in the user’s newsfeed.  Sponsored ads are also auction based ad units that can be charged on either a CPC or CPM pricing model.

Unlike standard LinkedIn ads, Sponsored Updates have the ability to show up on all devices.

Available Targeting Options

Now that you have an idea on the different ad units available in the self-serve platform, let’s talk about targeting.  LinkedIn’s targeting options is probably what differentiates the platform from other social media sites – you can drill down to a very precise audience.


Simple enough – target user by geographic location, gender or age group.




Target users based on the company name they are associated with (i.e. Elite SEM) or by company category and/or size.  (i.e. Marketing with 50+ people).

Job Title

Do you want to reach only members who are CEOs or VPs of a company?  LinkedIn allows you to target user’s based on their job title or by their job function or level. (i.e. Job Function – Accounting and Level – Entry).


Find members who have listed particular skill sets within their profile.


One of the more interesting target options (to me) – are groups.  With group targeting, you can reach members who are tied to a particular group on LinkedIn, as long as you know the group name.

And There You Have It…

…Your complete and brief guide/ 101 to LinkedIn Advertising.

Are you using LinkedIn in your marketing mix?  If so, which features/targeting options are you utilizing?

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