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Online B2B Advertising with LinkedIn DirectAds

Posted at Jun 9, 2010 12:34:21 PM by Taylor De Luca | Share

The B2B marketers in the room may want to check-out LinkedIn's ad platform DirectAds if you haven't done so already. LinkedIn DirectAds is not a new platform but is one that most in the B2B world either don't talk much about or just haven't done much with. Today, I want to do a quick overview of the ad targeting features and then talk about potential uses for businesses who are marketing to other businesses or business professionals.

A few quick facts about LinkedIn's ad network:

  • 35 million LinkedIn users worldwide
  • Ad targeting based on geography (by country and/or by major US cities only), industry, company size, gender, age, job function and seniority
  • CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per impression) pricing options
  • $10/day minimum

Setting up an ad on LinkedIn is fairly simple:

  1. Go here https://www.linkedin.com/directads/
  2. Complete your campaign info including a campaign name, ad heading, ad copy, landing page URL, optional image and 'from' person (this can be a person or business). Once your ad is complete, you can continue to the next step or create an additional ad variation:
  3. Next, you get choose your audience. You can opt to display your ad to all members or to specify specific segments. The interface for ad targeting is easy to use and allows for quite a bit of filtering. Note that, as you select additional filters, LinkedIn provides estimates for the number of users who match your demographic (pretty cool):
  4. The final step of setting up you ad on LinkedIn involved you setting a daily budget, per click or per impression budget and a date range for your campaign to run.
  5. Once your ads are approved, your campaign automatically starts and basic reporting such as costs, clicks and more become available in the via the dashboard and by download:

Quick Tips:

  • Watch your budget! There's currently no way to set a maximum spend for your campaigns.
  • Watch your targeting! Unless you're having trouble getting the volume you need, be picky when selecting your target audience. There's no reason to broadcast a message to users who aren't likely to be interested.
  • Setup tracking! This is a critical step with any online advertising campaign. If you're using Google Analytics, don't forget to tag your campaign URLS so you can track conversions later on.


  • Geotargeting kind of stinks. We'd really like to see more robust targeting of users based on state and city.
  • No keyword filtering - We'd also like to see some sort of keyword filtering applied to target users with more precision.
  • No banner advertising option - At this time, all ads are text with a small thumbnail image. We'd like to see the ability to utilize banner ads, which are only available to advertisers willing to shell out $25K+.

Uses for LinkedIn's ad Network

In general, we think that B2B marketers have the best chance of getting a positive ROI on this network. The ability to target business professionals based on their position, industry, seniority and more make it possible to reach very specific segments. LinkedIn is not for everyone so as always, we'd recommend starting with a conservative test before diving into a big investment.

Tags: Social Media, Digital Marketing, General

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