How to Make Top-Performing LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads can be a fantastic tool for the right business. If you need to reach other business-level customers (B2B) or have a need to target people based on their job/industry/role/seniority, this is the tool for you. However, before you get too excited, bear in mind that LinkedIn ad clicks tend to be very expensive, with CPCs being around $7.50 to $15 as standard. Bearing this in mind, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re only targeting the most relevant audiences and that your landing pages are fully optimised and tested to ensure high conversion rates.

Target Relevant Audiences

Sure, this seems obvious, but people miss it. LinkedIn allows you to target your audience based on location, job title, company, company industry, company name, age, gender, degree, job function, seniority and title, years of experience and interests. This is extremely specific targeting. That’s why we’re paying so much for LinkedIn’s CPCs. Don’t squander this level of specificity. If there are multiple industries that your product is useful for, build separate campaigns and separate ads to appeal to those audiences. If your product is only going to be bought by senior company members, exclude people with junior roles. When you’re paying $10 a click, you need to make sure that those people that are seeing the ads are going to engage with them and then convert.

Best Images for LinkedIn Ads

The reason for this article though, is about the ads. Because LInkedIn Ads are often used to generate leads to feed into an email nurturing strategy, choosing images can be tricky. Often, there’s not a physical product to show people to encourage them to click, so what do you show them instead?

Theoretical Product Images

Images of Ebooks and Whitepapers can be tricky, since they don’t exist. Don’t let this hold you back though, just make sure your images are eye-catching. Why is there a guy dresses as a green banana? No idea. Does it make an image of text on a black rectangle more interesting? Sure. Perhaps something more relevant would be better, but it’s eye-catching, I can see what the eBook is about, and there’s some logos of design products I recognise. Contrasting colours also make it easy to read what this product is. On the downside, having an imaginary CTA button that is then repeated by LinkedIn’s CTA button below feels odd. If you want to have a CTA button on your ad, remove LinkedIn’s CTA button below.

This ad uses an imaginary book image for their eBook ad. It’s not super eye-catching, as “Catalyst” doesn’t mean anything to the audience, and the sub-headline of the book is too small to read. I don’t love the image, but at the same time, it’s instantly recognisable that it’s an eBook, the ad’s headline makes it clear what it’s about and the description gives us more detail.

The CTA in the headline is slightly unusual, but I don’t hate it. All in all, it’s a decent ad, but not as eye-catching as the ad above. At the same time, if your brand operates within a very corporate world, you do often have to keep your imagery aligned with your brand voice. Perhaps a more eye-catching contrasting reason to pay attention to the ad in the image could boost engagement further.

Images of Happy Customers

Most of the time, images of unknown happy customers (I assume that’s what this is supposed to be) are pretty uninspiring. Remember, the image you choose doesn’t have to represent anything real, it has to be eye-catching enough to stop your audience scrolling past. The images of the platform in this ad are so small that it’s impossible to see what they’re supposed to be, so why include them? The same goes for text that’s too small to read. If I can’t read text, what is the point in it existing? Keep imagery simple, uncluttered and easy to understand. On the plus side, there’s only one CTA button, and the copy on the image is different to the copy in the headline and description.

If you do want to use a happy customer image, make it more eye-catching! We’ve got some images of random passions that people might have, and while this is still clearly a stock-type image, it’s less cheesy. The image has a logo and one headline, with contrasting colours so it’s easy to read. The image is interesting overall and draws the eye. The image copy aligns with the ad copy without being repetitive. Remember, less is more when it comes to ad copy. Give the audience enough information to draw the click. Anything more can be confusing and turn your audience off.

Random Eye-Catching Images

As a marketer, this image is pretty eye-catching. You’re able to target people by role on LinkedIn and show them relevant ads as a result. So do it! The text on the image doesn’t quite make sense to me, but that actually leads me to read the headline and description to try to figure out what’s going on. It’s a clever way to draw in the audience. It’s also rare to see bread on LInkedIn, so again, it makes me wonder what’s going on. I don’t love the duplication of CTAs, and the fact that they don’t quite align. I’d recommend removing LI’s CTA.

OK, so it’s not random, as this ad only targets people working in the police. But as with the image above, it aligns with the audience. This ad is generating a really strong CTR and a good conversion rate, showing that if you can serve your audience an image that they recognise or see themselves in, they immediately pay your ad more attention. Remember that when it comes to online ads, relevance is the biggest driver of performance and engagement. There’s no text at all on this image, and it performs well. LinkedIn gives you a headline and a description for a reason. You don’t always need to add any more text to your image.

Use the Right Image Aspect ratio

Did you notice how the ads above that use a square image appear bigger than those that use a landscape image? That’s because the LInkedIn feed is a set width, meaning that a square image will take up more room by having the extra height. When it comes to ads bigger is almost always best, so use square images!

Don’t Duplicate Call-to-Actions

LinkedIn ads can include a CTA button from LinkedIn, but you don’t have to use one. If you’d rather use a more contrasting CTA button that you write yourself and add it to your image, do it! But don’t also use LInkedIn’s one as well. Having two CTAs next to each other is jarring to the user, and can turn people off from clicking on your ads.

Use Distinct Ad Text and Image Text

If you want to use text on your image, keep it to a minimum, and make sure it’s actually readable when displayed in an ad. Less is more when it comes to text on images. You already have a headline and a description as part of a LinkedIn ad, so the text on the image is just to catch the audience’s attention. More detail can be provided in the description.

Keep Images Easy to Understand

It can be tempting to treat your LinkedIn ad images a bit like posters or billboards. You want to let your audience know everything about your product/service. But just remember that your image is mainly there to be eye-catching. More details can be included in the ad’s headline and description. That’s what they’re there for! But your image should be predominantly a visual asset. A key headline or message that will draw your audience’s attention is fine. Something that resonates with them and stops them scrolling is what we’re looking for.

Nobody likes working for bosses. Everyone wants to work with leaders! This is an easy to understand message of why I should pay attention. The subtle shift in working for someone vs. working with someone also gives the reader an understanding of the kind of environment they’re going to be working in. Collaborative vs. Transactional. I don’t love the visuals. but… I’m not someone that wants to work in a corporate environment. If you do, this is probably a lot more inviting.

Put Yourself in Your Audience’s Shoes

You know your ow business front to back and you know what all of your internal tools and products are. But remember that these are only well-known to you, not your audience. Almost by definition, you are trying to reach new customers (ignoring remarketing of course). Speak to them as if they know nothing about your business or products. They don’t know your lingo, your brand or anything about you. Give them a good reason to find out more.

What am I planning here? What is strategic planning in education? There’s three CTAs in this ad, which is unnecessary. Maybe I’m just the wrong audience, but this isn’t grabbing my attention.

I’m not a non-profit, and I have a vague notion of Azure, but not enough to make this ad relevant. As soon as your headline doesn’t make sense to your audience, they will ignore it. You can literally target ads to people who have Azure in their list of skills. It would be relevant to them. But why show it to anyone that doesn’t?

Offer people a million-dollar product. Sure, I’ll take that with a huge pinch of salt, but it’s a eye-catching headline. It gives me a reason to be interested, there are bright contrasting colours, and it’s easy to understand what’s on offer.

Get Making High-Performing LinkedIn Ads

So there you are! A bunch of tips to help you make the best LinkedIn ads possible. Lots of examples for you, and lots of insights into what I like and don’t like. But if you disagree or have any questions, comment on here or send me a message on LinkedIn!

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