A Guide to LinkedIn Ads Benchmarks & Optimizations

Keeping up with the ever-changing digital marketing landscape can be time-consuming and stressful. It’s easy to search for the latest social media advertising tips, but readers often aren’t looking for general knowledge. They want to know how their campaigns are performing and how to turn things around for the better.

LinkedIn is fine-tuned for professionals and businesses. Compared to other popular social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, it can appear overly buttoned-up and corporate. That is not a fault – instead, it’s that way, so the users’ mindset turns towards their professional industry and career, putting them in a prime position to consider offers from B2B’s (and some B2C’s) looking to sell products and services.

Like other social media channels, LinkedIn continues to update its ad platform to stay innovative. This blog post covers the need-to-know points every LinkedIn marketer should reference for optimized ad performance.

Table of Content

LinkedIn Ad Types

Before we dive into optimal KPI benchmarks, it’s important to review what ad types are currently aBefore diving into optimal KPI benchmarks, it’s essential to review what ad types are currently available on LinkedIn. Each one has its pros and cons, so considering these are essential to creating solid campaigns.

1. Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content ads look like organic content in your audience’s news feed. They may contain text with a single image (Single Image Ads), text with a video (Video Ads), text with multiple photos in a set order (Carousel Ads), or information regarding an upcoming public event (Event Ads).

These ads are highly effective because of their organic appearance that fits seamlessly into a user’s news feed, helping to support a high-quality user experience while still getting your message across.

Sponsored Content ads are a great starting point for building top-of-funnel awareness. We recommend them for awareness and consideration campaigns, especially if you are new to LinkedIn Ads and are unsure of where to begin

Single Image Ad Specs

File Type: Image must be jpg or png, and less than 5 MB in size.

Image Ratios: 1.91:1 (horizontal), 1:1 (square), and 1:1.91 (vertical)

Ad name: (optional): 255 characters

Headline: 70 characters

Introductory text: 150 characters recommended (for mobile optimization; but can be longer for desktop)

Description: 70 characters (only required if you have the ad running on LinkedIn Audience Network)

Landing page URL: uses the http:// or https:// prefix.

CTA Buttons: Apply (for hiring ads), Download (for distributing white papers or other documents of interest to the audience), View Quote, Learn More, Sign Up, Subscribe (for newsletters), Register (for events), Join, Attend or Request Demo.

Video Ad Specs

File Type: MP4 file format with an AAC or MPEG4 audio format. Videos must be at least 3 seconds long and no longer than 30 minutes.

Video Ratios: 16:9 (horizontal), 1:1 (square), and 9:16 (vertical)

Video File Size: More than 75 kb but no more than 200 mb

Ad name (optional): 255 characters

Headline: 70 characters

Introductory text: 150 characters recommended (for mobile optimization; but can be longer for desktop)

CTA buttons: Apply, Download, View Quote, Learn More, Sign Up, Subscribe, Register, Join, Attend, and Request Demo.

Carousel Ad Specs

File Type: Image must be jpg or png. (Video is not currently supported by Carousel Ads)

Image ratios: 1:1 (square)

Ad name (optional): 255 characters

Card Headline: 45 characters

Introductory text: 255 characters

Landing Page URL: uses the http:// or https:// prefix

CTA buttons: Apply, Download, View Quote, Learn More, Sign Up, Subscribe, Register, Join, Attend and Request Demo.

LinkedIn carousel ads sample
Source: Adweek.com

Event Ad Specs

File Type: Image will be pulled from the organic event’s page

Image Ratio: 4:1 (will be pulled from the organic event’s page)

Ad Name (optional): 255 characters)

Introductory Text: 150 characters recommended for mobile device optimization (but can be up to 600 characters)

Event URL: Required and must be the URL to a LinkedIn Event page

CTA button: View Event

2. Conversation Ads

Using messaging in your marketing campaigns is a fantastic way to create more intimate communication about your products or services while targeting users further down the conversion funnel.

LinkedIn offers two options for Sponsored Messaging: Conversation Ads and Message Ads. Conversation Ads send messages through LinkedIn’s chat feature, offering multiple call-to-action buttons in the message so that users can access the information they want with little effort.
Message Ads are targeted messages sent through LinkedIn’s chat feature that look and feel natural without call-to-action buttons. The most significant difference between these ads and organic messaging is that Conversation Ads allow you to message contacts you are not connected with and distribute the message to these contacts on your behalf.

Conversation Ads and Message Ads Specs

Banner Image (optional): jpg or png files, smaller than 2MB

Image ratios: 300×250 pixels

Ad name 9optional): 50 characters

Message subject: 60 characters

Message text: 2,500 characters

Custom Footer: 2,500 characters

Call-to-action (customer text only): 20 character limit

Landing Page URL: uses the http:// or https:// prefix

Please note: These ads will use a designated individual’s account to appear as the sender, and not the company’s page.

3. Lead Gen Forms

When your business is looking to collect more direct leads, Lead Gen Forms are a great way to get them. It makes filling out a lead gen form easy for users by auto-filling specific fields using their LinkedIn profile information. We recommend using Lead Gen Forms on “warm” audiences – those familiar with your brand and offerings and are likely ready to convert.

Lead Gen Forms Specs

File Type: There are no images or videos used in lead gen forms

Form name: 256 characters

Offer headline: 60 characters

Offer detail: 160 characters (optional)

Privacy policy: 2,000 characters

Call-to-action: 20 characters

Confirmation message: 300 characters

Landing page URL: uses the http:// or https:// prefix.

There are a variety of form fields to select from. The fewer fields you can include, the better, making the process short and straightforward for the user.

  • At a minimum, include at least three fields.
  • The maximum number of fields you can include is 12
  • Form fields you may include: First name, Last name, Email address, LinkedIn profile URL, Phone number, City, State/Province, Country/Region, Postal/Zip code, Work email, Work phone number, Job title, Function, Seniority, Company name, Company size, Education degree, Field of study, University/School, State date, Graduation date, and Gender.
  • There are a maximum of three custom questions you can ask. These are optional. Each custom question has a 100 character limit.

4. Text and Dynamic Ads

These ads are like PPC ads, except housed on the LinkedIn platform. Text Ads are the most similar, while Dynamic Ads, otherwise known as Spotlight Ads, allow personalization. Follower Ads also fall under this category. These are text ads that call the audience to follow your company page. You can set PPC or CPM caps to control budgets and choose whether to pay for clicks or impressions.

We recommend these ads for top-funnel campaigns to build awareness of your brand, especially when trying to gain more organic followers to your company page. However, these ads are not as front-and-center on the channel as other LinkedIn ad types and are not recommended for bottom-funnel or conversion campaigns.

Text Ads Specs

File Type: Image must be a jpg or png, and less than 2MB in size.

Image ratios: no longer than 100 x100 pixels

Headline: 25 characters

Description: 75 characters

Landing page URL: uses the http:// or https:// prefix

CTA buttons: Apply, Download, View Quote, Learn More, Sign Up, Subscribe, Register, Join, Attend, and Request Demo

Spotlight Ads Specs

Logo: Image must be a jpg or png, and less than 2MB in size.

Image ratios: no larger than 100 x 100 pixels

Background Image (optional): Image must be jpg or png, and less than 2 MB in size.

Image ratios: no longer than 300 x 250 pixels

Headline: 50 characters

Description: 70 characters

Company name: 25 characters

Call to action: 18 characters

Landing page URL: uses the http:// or https:// prefix

CTA buttons: Apply, Download, View Quote, Learn More, Sign Up, Subscribe, Register, Join, Attend, and Request Demo

Follower Ads Specs

Logo: Image must be a jpg or png, and less than 2 MB in size

Image ratios: no larger than 100 x 100 pixels

Headline: 50 characters

Description: 70 characters

Company name: 25 characters

CTA buttons: Visit careers, visit company, visit jobs

These ads give you a fixed set of headlines and descriptions to choose from. This allows LinkedIn to personalize the copy to the user. Check out the available options here.

LinkedIn Ad Benchmarks

Ideally, LinkedIn would report ad benchmarks from all LinkedIn data on their platform, but they do not offer this. Therefore, other third parties have published the benchmarks from data across all the LinkedIn ad campaigns they oversee. Using a sampling of these published benchmarks, plus our historical data, we’ve developed our list for you to use as a comparison to your campaigns.

Four things are essential to keep in mind when referencing our LinkedIn ads benchmarks:

  1. These metrics may vary depending on your audience’s demographics like industry, seniority, geographic location, etc.
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed behaviours at the beginning of 2020. While it is expected that metrics will normalize throughout 2022, historical data from 2021 may be considered outliers to typical performance. We’ve tried to minimize using those numbers while creating these benchmarks.
  3. IOS 14.5 has taken away valuable advertising data, causing CPMs to rise and some ad performance to suffer. This update does not mean that social media ads don’t work or aren’t a smart investment – it simply means that you may have to pay more to reach the same audience. 
  4. It’s always good to maintain your list of benchmarks using historical data from your campaigns. What’s “normal” for one business may never fall within reach of another, but that doesn’t mean the campaign wasn’t successful. Ultimately, the most reliable success marker is seeing a return on ad spend or reaching marketing goals through your campaigns.

With that being said, let’s look at current 2022 LinkedIn ad benchmarks for three crucial metrics:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): 0.30%
  • Cost Per Thousand (CPM): $26.90
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): $8.85

5 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Ad Campaigns

Knowing about all the advertising options and a few 2022 benchmarks for LinkedIn ads, how do we ensure our campaigns perform their best? We’ve compiled a few of our most successful tips and tricks.

1. Choose the right ad type for your campaign objective: It’s easy to get excited about utilizing a specific ad type when building your campaigns but making sure all aspects of the campaign align with your overall objective is crucial. For those not familiar with campaign objectives, LinkedIn offers the following:

Awareness: This is the top of the conversion funnel. Typically, top-funnel campaigns help to create brand awareness. These campaigns include prospecting through Lookalike audiences based on previous converters or developing new core audiences targeting specific demographics and business traits. Your goal here is not to convert or gain leads right away but instead to “warm” a “cold” audience likely to be unfamiliar with your brand, products, or services.

Ad Types Optimized for Awareness Campaigns: Sponsored Content, Text & Dynamic Ads

Consideration: The middle of the funnel, where Consideration lies, is a turning point for many in your audience. This stage is where your audience decides whether to pursue more information about your business and what you offer. When running a Consideration campaign, LinkedIn gives you three objectives: Website visits, Engagement, and Video views. Here, you’d want to target audiences created from previous website visitors or those who have engaged with your top-funnel campaigns. This is not the place to teach a “cold” audience about your brand.

Ad Types Optimized for Consideration Campaigns: Sponsored Content (especially Video, Event, and Carousel Ads), Conversation Ads, Spotlight Ads

Conversions: The bottom of your funnel is for conversions and re-engagement with current and previous clients. It would help if you were serving ads to those serious about buying products or services from your company or job applicants wanting to apply. Retargeting audiences are ideal for engaging.

Ad Types Optimized for Conversions Campaigns: Lead Gen Forms, Conversation Ads

2. Keep copy short and sweet: As you can imagine, many engaged on LinkedIn are also busy. On top of that, the digital age has influenced attention spans, especially when using mobile devices. With the significant rise in CPMs since iOS 14.5 in 2021, it’s never been more critical to make it count when your ad reaches your target audience. 

Reading your ads shouldn’t be a chore. You want to convey your message and call to action swiftly while still making an impact. As a recommendation, try to limit each part of copy in your ads to 150 characters or less (unless there is a shorter character limit, obviously). Your messaging should also draw the audience in and be appropriate for accomplishing the campaign objective.

3. Don’t Discount Emojis: These tiny but powerful images share many meanings in one character. While emojis may seem too casual for ads targeted at professionals, their use has permeated almost every facet of modern communication – including the business world. Just remember to use them sparingly and don’t go overboard. More emojis continue to be added to keyboards worldwide, so it’s wise to stay on top of the latest ones available by following The Unicode Consortium and any releases they may have in the future.

4. Don’t be afraid of getting creative – with your creative: LinkedIn is a professional social media channel doesn’t mean your ads must be dry and static. You can apply many of the creative optimizations used on Facebook and Instagram can be applied here with similar results. The rule of thumb is to make sure your creative effectively communicates your brand and your message.

Some ways to optimize your creatives include:

Video: Short videos and gifs are eye-catching and grab your audience’s attention. When using these assets, include branding if you are trying to raise brand awareness. And if your video features audio dialogue, add captions so that mobile users with silent phones can still engage and those with hearing disabilities can receive the message.
Use gifs to give life to what would typically be static creative – even if it’s just adding a bit of motion or change of colour. Lastly, focus your animation on the advertised product or service to ensure your message gets across clearly.

Static Images: One picture can communicate a lot – Don’t be tempted to add a lot of text to your graphics. It muddies up the creatives and turns off the audience. LinkedIn won’t penalize ads using excessive text in the images, using excessive text still creates a poor-performing ad.

5. LinkedIn Ads Aren’t Just for B2B –

Believe it or not, some B2C brands may also benefit from LinkedIn Ads, which is especially true after the pandemic sent office workers home to carry out their jobs. Google Trends showed a significant spike in searches for “home office” in March 2020, and search volume for this crucial phrase continues to be high in 2022. Users have home office furniture and supplies in mind, and e-commerce brands selling these items would greatly benefit from ads on LinkedIn. Other products and services that may benefit include blue-light filtering glasses, benefit providers for self-employed individuals, financial advisors, productivity or organization applications, and universities offering post-graduate education.

We hope this guide will give you confidence in starting to build your own LinkedIn campaigns. In addition, feel free to bookmark this blog to reference in the future when you most need it.

Looking for more help, or a customized solution to LinkedIn Ads? AdParlor is well-equipped to create successful paid media campaigns across LinkedIn and other social media channels. Send us a note and we’ll be in touch.

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One Response

  1. After a quick search around, with so many badly formed posts around this topic – this was a breath of fresh air.

    Well thought out, presented and written. Easy to follow. Good job.

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