LinkedIn campaign set up guide for beginners

Paid Social

Before we get started, we’ve got a handy checklist to help you go through every detail needed for your LinkedIn Campaign before it goes live. Head over to our Messenger to get your free copy. 

Depending on what you do, paid LinkedIn campaigns could be very effective for your business. Whereas Facebook and Instagram lead in number of users, LinkedIn has cornered the market for business related social networking, connecting recruiters with potential new hires and businesses with businesses. It is for this reason that we often run B2B LinkedIn campaigns, harnessing the network’s business-minded audiences to deliver value to our clients.

LinkedIn’s campaign manager is a little different from Adwords and Facebook, and it can be a bit confusing when you’re first trying to set up a LinkedIn campaign. Read on for a step by step introduction to setting up a LinkedIn campaign.

*Please note that this guide assumes you’ve set up a LinkedIn Campaign Manager account already and added all your payment details. If you haven’t done this yet, grab the company credit card and head over to LinkedIn Campaign Manager.

There are 2 key components to setting up a campaign on LinkedIn: setting up the campaign and then setting up the ads. When you break it down, the whole process is 8 steps:

  1. Create campaign
  2. Choose Objective
  3. Create audiences
  4. Choose ad format
  5. Select placement
  6. Set budget and schedule
  7. Opt into or out of conversion tracking (optional)
  1. Create ads

Below we run through a detailed explanation of campaign set up. Head over to our Messenger for a more brief checklist.

Create campaign

It’s as easy as hitting the button… Top left corner and you’re on your way!

First off is to rename the campaign. If you have naming conventions now is the time to crack them out. We suggest always including the objective in the campaign, depending on how many campaigns you are running at the same time. And on objective, the next important thing for the campaign is to…

Choose Objective
  • *brand awareness, website conversions and job applicants coming soon

There are three objective from which to choose: awareness, consideration and conversions. Underneath these main areas, you can optimise towards different goals, such as brand awareness (coming soon), website visits or lead generation.

Where you want to target on the funnel will help determine which objective to choose. For example, if you are just wanting greater reach, try awareness. If you want people who are at the stage of purchasing or looking for services, lead generation or website conversions may be the campaign you want to run.

  • Brand awareness *coming soon
  • Website visits encourage people to visit a website destination site on or off LinkedIn. This drives website traffic and traffic to marketing landing pages.
  • Engagement can be chosen as an objective to seek out users who will increase social engagement on a business’ content or increase followers to a company page.
  • Video views is shown to people most likely to view videos and will enable you to share your business’ videos with more people.
  • Lead generation is a campaign for (surprise, surprise) capturing leads on LinkedIn and will be shown to people most likely to fill out a LinkedIn lead generation form. LinkedIn also offers a lead gen form pre-filled with LinkedIn profile data which makes it easier and quicker for users to submit than filling it out manually.
  • Website conversions *coming soon
  • Job applicants *coming soon
Create audiences

Audience creation (or using existing) is relatively similar to Facebook, for those familiar with Ads Manager.

First step is to choose a location to target. You are able to pinpoint and/or exclude, as well as target ‘recent or permanent’ or ‘permanent’ locations).

You can then build out the audience by searching for attributes of users that you’re wanting to reach, for example, what degree they have, interests in different industries and years of experience.

Audience attributes contain targeting criteria relating to company, demographics, education, job experience and/or interests.

Matched audiences enables you to draw on owned data (such as targeting email subscribers or other contact lists as well as retargeting website visitors).

Choose ad format

Ad format availabilities are dependent on what objective you choose. Depending on the objective, you will be able to choose from a text ad, single image ad, carousel image ad, video ad, Follower ad, Spotlight ad, Job ad or a Message ad.

Website visit has the whole shebang of ad formats to choose from:

The first four – text ad, single image ad, carousel image ad and video ad – are self-explanatory but what are the second row of ads?

Follower ads, Spotlight ads and Job ads are personalised ads that draw on profile data to promote a page throughout the desktop. A message ad, as suggested in the name, is an ad sent to a user’s LinkedIn inbox.

Each of these ads serves a different purpose, and will or will not be available depending on the objective you’re seeking.

  • Text ad

Text ads display on the right column or top of the page on LinkedIn and are its pay-per-click (PPC) platform; you only pay for clicks or impressions.

  • Single image ad

Single image ads show up in the news feed. This is a tried and tested ad format which is well-suited across all objectives.

  • Carousel image ad

Carousel image ads enable you to have two or more images and show up in the newsfeed. You can provide a variety of information across the images which can give it an edge over regular single image ads, depending on what you’re marketing.

  • Video ad

Video ads show up in the newsfeed and are good for awareness campaigns as they are focussed on the content and don’t expect users to watch a video and then engage or convert..

  • Follower ad

A Follower ad is personalised from profile data to promote a Company Page throughout the desktop. Follower ads seek to build a larger audience to which a company can promote news and other information.

  • Spotlight ad

A Spotlight ad is personalised from profile data to promote an offering across the desktop.

  • Job ad

Job ads are personalised from profile data and promote jobs throughout the desktop.  

  • Message ad

Sponsored InMail allows you to send personalised messages to people you specifically want to target. Sponsored InMails are only sent to active LinkedIn members which ensures messages don’t bounce or land in unmanaged inboxes. You can A/B test to optimise the email.


Here you can choose if you want ads to be published across LinkedIn’s Audience Network which is a selection of partner websites and apps. Adding Audience Network can increase your ad’s visibility however it is important to consider brand hygiene and where the ads should be seen, in case partner websites are not suitable. 

Budget and schedule

When setting the budget, we recommend setting both a daily budget and a campaign cap, or max budget.

Here you set the dates of the campaign and decide whether you want it to run continuously or not. Depending on the objectives of your campaign, you might want to set your ads to run only while people are at work (e.g. downloading industry whitepapers), or only while they’re not (e.g. recruitment).

You can also decide the bid type. Do you want an automated bid, or do you want to set maximum CPC; or maximum CPM bids? This, again, will depend on your objectives. Keep in mind that LinkedIn tends to be more expensive than other social platforms, so you’re likely to see higher CPMs and CPCs than you might be used to. Don’t set your initial LinkedIn bids too low – better to bid high early, and then bring the budgets down as you see what your actual average CPCs/CPMs are. You might want to leave your first campaign at automated bidding, and see how the numbers pan out, before you make manual bidding decisions based on historical data for your next LinkedIn campaigns. LinkedIn has some more information on bidding here.

Conversion tracking (optional)

In order to track conversions, you’ll need to install the LinkedIn Insight Tag. If you’re tracking pageviews, the sitewide tag installation will suffice. You can find instructions for how to install the LinkedIn Insight Tag here. If you need to track a click, such as for PDF downloads, or submission forms that don’t have a thank you page, you will need to install the LinkedIn Event Specific Image Pixel. The instructions for this are available here.

When you’re setting up your campaign, you’ll need to select a pre existing conversion. If you haven’t created a conversion yet, you can do it at this stage. Just click “Create new conversion” and then fill in the pop up form. Make sure you give the conversion a clear name so you can find it again when you’re adding it to more campaigns.

If you’re using the sitewide Insight Tag, you can track any traffic that lands on a particular page – e.g. “/thank-you”. If you’re using the LinkedIn Event Specific Image Pixel, LinkedIn will now create the pixel and you can copy the code on this screen and install it in the right place on your website.

Once you’ve created your conversion, just select it for this campaign.

Create an ad

Now to the important part – creating the ad. You can either browse existing content and use ads you have previously run or you can create a new ad. This will be dependent on your campaign.

The first prompt is to name the ad. Like the campaign name, we like to use a set of naming conventions to name ads so you can easily compare between different variations of ads, whether it’s a different piece of creative or different copy. A simple naming convention could be [Image name] – [Copy name]. This means that if you have three variations of copy and two creative, you can easily differentiate between them when it comes to reporting, e.g. Happy boardroom – Motivation text; Presentation – Group work text; Happy boardroom – Group work text etc. We recommend keeping a Google Sheet of all your images and text, along with what you named them in your campaign, so you can always keep track of what the content of each copy and image variation is without having to open each ad individually.

Next, paste in your ad copy into the “Introductory text” box. This is where your body of text comes in.

After this, paste in the website URL of your business, or the page that your ad is driving traffic to. Here you should post your website URL so anyone who sees the ad can click through to your website. LinkedIn will automatically pull an image from that page but we always suggest you add your own image.

Now it’s time to add the image. Make sure your image matches LinkedIn standards, so the creative is not cropped in a strange way or pixelated.

Write in a headline that draws attention to the larger body of text. This is the stand out piece of text that catches the viewer’s eye.

Finally, write in a description (if it hasn’t pulled from the website) that provides more context on the business or webpage that you’re linking to.

Click “Create”, then “Save and Previous”. This is your final opportunity to check the campaign before you set it live (although some changes can, of course, be made while the campaign is live).

Once you’ve checked the campaign and been assured that everything is in order, click “Launch Campaign” at the top right of the ads section and the campaign is set to go!

We hope this blog helped set up your amazing LinkedIn campaign. Don’t forget to head over to our Messenger to get the free Campaign Set Up Checklist. 

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