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How To Use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

linkedin sponsored updatesDo you use LinkedIn ads to promote your business?

Have you been wondering if advertising on LinkedIn is worth trying?

It was only a matter of time until the world’s largest professional social network decided to offer a new, more appealing advertising option to businesses.

Anyone in B2B should be excited because the new LinkedIn Sponsored Updates are a new way to get in front of your target market. The sponsored updates are similar to Facebook sponsored posts and they will show up in the newsfeed of the target audience you select.  This new form of LinkedIn promoted posts is ideal for generating leads or increasing brand awareness.

If you’ve seen or used Facebook Sponsored Stories, you already know how a little boost can greatly increase engagement. LinkedIn Sponsored Updates provides you with a better way to put your content in front of key influencers and decision makers on LinkedIn.

Here are some of LinkedIn Sponsored Update highlights:

  • They are currently only available for LinkedIn Company Pages
  • They can be seen on desktop or mobile
  • They can be in the form of an article, blog post, video or presentation
  • They have options to “Like” “Comment” or “Share”
  • They are clearly displayed as Sponsored
  • Most updates in users’ feeds will still be organic

How To Set Up LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

Create LinkedIn Sponsored Updates simply by posting on your Company Page and hitting the “Sponsor” button or by using the LinkedIn Campaign Manager, to start your ad from scratch.  Creating your ads from the Campaign Manager will give you the best ability to control your targeting and bidding options. 1

Inside LinkedIn Campaign Manager

You can access the LinkedIn Campaign Manager by going to the “Advertise” option inside the “Business Solutions” menu in the top right corner of your LinkedIn homepage.2

If you have never accessed the LinkedIn Campaign Manager, you will see the image  below the first time. Simply click “Get Started” to enter the LinkedIn Campaign Manager.3

Keep in mind, to “Sponsor” a post you must have a LinkedIn Company Page. If you do not already have a Company Page, you can create your page here. After you have created a Company Page, you can begin creating your LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.

To start, select Sponsor an update, and then choose one of the recent updates from your Company Page.4

After you have selected the post you want to promote, the Campaign Manager will show you a preview of the post as it will appear to others. You can view it as it will be seen on desktops, tablets and smartphones.5

Targeting Your LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

Aside from creating and selecting great content, choosing the right target audience is crucial. LinkedIn Sponsored Updates can be extremely effective if you carefully select the audience your content is intended for.

Options you can narrow down your target audience with include:

  • Location
  • Company name
  • Company category (industry, company size)
  • Job title
  • Job category (job function, seniority)
  • Schools attended
  • LinkedIn groups6

The location targeting expands so that you can select multiple cities and states in any combination you desire. This is handy if you want to promote to a couple of select markets in the same ad, even if the areas are nowhere near each other. For example, you can select Los Angeles, Alaska and Toronto, Canada, all in the same ad.7

Selecting an industry in the Company Category or adding a Job Title can also be a helpful way of narrowing down the audience that will see your ad.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates: Setting Your Budget

When choosing a CPC budget that will work for you, be aware that clicks from LinkedIn Sponsored Updates tend to cost more than other CPC options with LinkedIn ads. It is a good idea to play around with the targeting options, to see how they affect your total cost-per-click.8

For this reason, you want to be VERY careful when selecting your audience and be absolutely certain that the content you’ve created speaks directly to them and compels them to take action.

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 9.18.22 PMAdditional LinkedIn Ads Management Capabilities:

  • Bid adjustment
  • Budgeting
  • Duration
  • Targeting
  • Add/remove posts
  • Start/stop posts

A benefit of using LinkedIn Sponsored Updates is that you only pay for clicks on things like your logo, title, company name or links in the ad. All forms of social activity, such as likes, shares and comments are free. For best results, use only one link (depending on your goal for the ad) to things such as a landing page, your Company Page or website.

Company Updates With Links See 45% Higher Engagement

An interesting fact shared by LinkedIn is that Company Page updates with links get 45% higher engagement. This is not generally the case on Facebook and to a lesser extent on Twitter. This is fantastic news because you will see better results in terms of traffic back to your website or landing page.

Ideally this should lead to an action taken that will generate leads, such as signing up for your email list or some other action that can be easily tracked back to LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.

At the price you’ll pay for advertising on LinkedIn, you need to be sure it’s worth continuing to promote each of your ads. While you can track “clicks” through the LinkedIn Campaign Manager, you need to be sure that the traffic is also converting on your end.  With LinkedIn’s detailed reporting you can monitor the performance of your Sponsored Updates adjust to make them more effective.

Metrics You Can See In The Campaign Manager:

  • Impressions

  • Clicks

  • CTR (click through rate)
  • CPC (cost per click)

  • Total Spent

  • Social actions by campaign
  • Audience demographics by campaign

5 Content Tips For LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

If you are going to utilize LinkedIn sponsored updates, you must ensure you create compelling content that your target market will be interested in. Here are five things you should consider when selecting the content for your sponsored update.

  1. Have a snappy headline. Concise intros and interesting headlines are more likely to result in higher engagement.
  2. Have a clear call to action. Updates with links can drive 2x the engagement.
  3. Ask thoughtful questions.  Start a conversation by asking a question that is relevant to your target audience.
  4. Always include an image.  Stand out with an image or some other form of rich media. Images generally result in a 98% higher engagement rate.
  5. Keep it short and valuable.  Develop content that is quick to consume and high quality that members will want to share.

What do you think? Do you think that LinkedIn Sponsored Updates was a good addition to the LinkedIn advertising platform? Leave your questions and comments below.