How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works + Five Advertising Best Practices for 2023

LinkedIn boasts access to one of the largest professional networks online. In this post, we’ll discuss how the LinkedIn algorithm works, how businesses can profit from marketing on LinkedIn, how to build successful LinkedIn campaigns, and five LinkedIn advertising best practices.

What is the LinkedIn algorithm ?

The LinkedIn algorithm uses engagement to determine and rank content recommended to users. The topics and people users follow and the posts users engage with help the LinkedIn algorithm determine what content to suggest to those users next.

How the LinkedIn algorithm works

LinkedIn greatly prioritizes personal connections and relevant content over other post attributes like recency. As your engagement increases, your content has a higher chance of being shared outside your network, regardless of how many followers you have. LinkedIn’s propensity to share your post with a broad audience will depend on three main factors: How closely users are connected to you, how interested they are in the topic, and how likely they are to engage with your content.

The benefits of using LinkedIn advertising for businesses

LinkedIn is the most preferred B2B advertising platform for both paid and organic marketing content.

image5 1When it comes to B2B display advertising, LinkedIn totaled $3.01 billion dollars this year in display advertising spending. It’s also predicted that display advertising spending on LinkedIn will grow to $4.56 billion by 2024. This will mean that LinkedIn is predicted to capture one in four B2B digital advertising dollars that are spent in the US by 2024.

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This shows how LinkedIn is a very popular advertising platform that is able to drive results for marketers and can be extremely beneficial for B2B advertising. As of now LinkedIn has around 69.1 million users. This number will continue to increase YoY giving marketers more advertising opportunities when deciding to invest in LinkedIn advertising.

LinkedIn also has an exclusive lead generation form within their advertising platform, which boasts a 5x conversion lift over campaigns driving directly to landing pages.

Lastly, Linkedin allows you to track and manage your campaigns within the LinkedIn Campaign Manager.

How to Advertise on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager allows you to set the budget for your ads, select marketing goals, and control your campaign’s whole process. Next, we will go over the four basic steps you will need to take to create a successful advertising campaign for your business on LinkedIn.

1. Choose your marketing and ad objective

LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager allows you to set the budget for your ads, select marketing goals, and control your campaign’s whole process. Next, we will go over the four basic steps you will need to take to create a successful advertising campaign for your business on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn ad objectives include creating awareness, consideration, or conversions.
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Goal – Awareness: Awareness campaigns target people who have never seen or interacted with your brand or business. These campaigns give you the opportunity to describe and introduce your brand to new audiences. 

  • Objective: Brand awareness: This objective is good for building brand recognition. Tracking for this objective will primarily focus on reach and impressions.

Goal – Consideration: Consideration represents how you want your audience to take action after they have demonstrated awareness of your brand. 

  • Objective: Website visits : This objective is helpful if you want people to click your ad and go to your website’s landing page. This objective best when paired with a conversion LinkedIn ad campaign. 
  • Objective: Engagement: This objective is focused on ad interactions such as likes, shares, comments, and follows.
  • Objective: Video Views: Use this objective if you want users to view your video ads, and get the option  to set the bid strategies  for your videos based on automated and manual bidding options. 

Goal – Conversions: Conversion campaigns are designed to optimize users toward completing an event such as a call, purchase, or form fill. When your audience completes one of these actions, it’s registered as a conversion and used in future campaign optimization. 

  • Lead Generation: This objective gives you the opportunity to target leads via form-fills on the LinkedIn app and is a great way to generate new opportunities by collecting user-level contact data.
  • Website Conversions: This objective is centered around conversion tracking. Completed forms on your own website also count as website conversion tracking. 
  • Job Applicants: This objective is helpful for placing job ads. These ads are shown to users who have demonstrated a high likelihood of viewing and clicking your ad and ultimately completing an application.
  • Talent Leads: This objective uses landing pages to generate the leads of candidates interested in your business and is only available to businesses with an active LinkedIn recruiter contract.

2. Determine your target audience

After deciding your campaign marketing goal, the next step is to determine who you want to reach.

To ensure the right audiences notice your ads, avoid targeting audiences that are too broad or too niche. While targeting as many users as possible might seem like the best idea, it’s better to target audiences based on the attributes (e.g., age, industry, job titles, skills, interests, etc.) that relate most to your business.

Balancing audience relevance with audience size allows you to target people who will be a good fit for your ads without overextending to audiences who may not fit your target customer profile.

You can also leverage matched audiences. These combine your own first-party data with LinkedIn’s data to retarget users or specify company and contact targeting.

3. Determine the appropriate ad type based on goals

LinkedIn lets you select different ad types based on your desired outcome. Ad types include 

  • Sponsored content ads:  These show directly in user feeds and can be image ads, video ads, carousel ads, and document ads.
  • Message ads: These send direct messages to your targeted audiences and pair well with a strong CTA to encourage immediate action from the targeted user.
  • Dynamic ads: This ad format automatically creates personalized ads for each targeted audience member, who will receive dynamic ads personalized based on their profile data.
  • Text ads: Text Ads are the most basic of the four ad types, but they’re prominently featured on a user’s sidebar in the LinkedIn user experience.

4. Set your campaign bid strategy

LinkedIn uses a second-price auction system that runs continually as various advertisers compete to serve ads within placement and audience combinations. The bid you choose  is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for placements within the ad auction.

LinkedIn offers different bid types, ranging from manual to automated. Base your bid type selection on your marketing goals. 

Your bid value, the relevance of your ad, and the chance it has for receiving engagement determine your place in the LinkedIn auction and, ultimately, when and to whom your ads will appear.

LinkedIn bidding options include 

  • Maximum Delivery: This is a fully automated bidding system in which LinkedIn’s auctioning system automatically sets the bid amount for you. This bid type works best if you are seeking to leverage dynamic bidding to maximize the campaign objective. 
  • Cost Cap: This is another automated bidding type. LinkedIn’s system dynamically sets the bid but is restrained by a cost per click, cost per thousand impressions, cost per view, or cost per lead target. With this bid type, the advertiser sets their preferred cost per key result while leaving the bidding to LinkedIn.
  • Manual Bidding: For this bidding type, advertisers control their bids by entering  the exact amount they want to use for the auction. We recommend that you frequently monitor your campaigns if you use this bid type. 

Five best practices for LinkedIn advertising

Now that you understand how to create a LinkedIn ad campaign and the value LinkedIn ads provide, here are five best practices for LinkedIn advertising. Remember to always measure and optimize your campaigns for best results.

One best practice for advertising on LinkedIn is selecting the ad type based on the customer journey. Ad types include single image ads, carousel ads, video ads, and message ads.
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1. Select ad types based on the customer journey

With many ad types to choose from on LinkedIn, it can be difficult to understand which will be best for your goals. You’ll want to select the right ad type to reach your audience.

For example, don’t use message ads to reach users who have never heard of your brand or business. Imagine yourself in your prospect’s shoes: It can be very confusing and intrusive to get a direct message ad from a stranger or business they don’t know anything about. Consider what stage of the customer journey your audience falls into, and then pick the appropriate ad type to reach them.

2. Load your LinkedIn posts with strategic content

Create content that will interest your target audience and drive them to engage with your ads. Instead of creating ads that directly sell your business, LinkedIn users find it more engaging to receive content showcasing a story-telling aspect. Well-written content for your ads also allows viewers to get to know your business and service offerings without feeling like they’re being sold.

3. Personalize your ads

Creating personalized ads can appeal to your audience’s stage in the customer journey and match their interests, wants, and needs. Personalized ads help potential customers feel connected to your brand by meeting them where they are, and they’re a great way to boost engagement and assist with specific audience targeting.

4. Utilize matched audiences

Matched audiences provide 

  • Retargeting: Remarket to people who visited your website, clicked on your LinkedIn ad, or participated in your LinkedIn event. You can also retarget people if they have opened or submitted a lead form for your business on LinkedIn.
  • Contact targeting: Market to specific contacts while they’re active on LinkedIn.
  • Account targeting: Create an account-based marketing campaign by matching to members of target companies on LinkedIn.Lookalike targeting: Find audiences similar to your current contact list. 

5. Utilize video ads

LinkedIn video ads are an engaging advertising method that can inspire action from your targeted audience. LinkedIn video ads can also grow brand awareness and loyalty with your audience.

Brand awareness video content should generally focus on telling a story about your business and incorporate brand imagery and themes. Lead generation video content typically introduces your business at the beginning of the video and identifies the main message of your ad within the first five seconds. Check out this post for more information on video ad sizes and specifications.

Is LinkedIn advertising right for your business?

Advertising on LinkedIn can be very beneficial for your business. The LinkedIn algorithm emphasizes engagement, so it’s important to keep that in mind when creating your ad campaigns and content on LinkedIn, and incorporating these best practices for advertising on LinkedIn can take your ad campaigns to another level.

Search Discovery can help you create an effective LinkedIn marketing campaign and mature your digital marketing program with paid media strategies, enterprise SEO services, and more.

For further reading on marketing best practices for social media platforms, check out the following articles:

Speak to an expert to ensure your LinkedIn ads are optimized and to holistically mature your digital marketing efforts.

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