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Practical guide using LinkedIn for SMB (part 2): Budget and improving the effectiveness of ads

How to improve your CTR in order to get more leads

Creating a LinkedIn Ads campaign is not really hard, especially if you have experience with other platforms for online advertising – you can start your campaign quickly. But don’t rush – you should first consider the budget and the pricing that you will set in your campaign, so that it’ll be effective.

LinkedIn Ads budget and CTR

When you’re done with the targeting, it’s time for the budget. You have two options for paying – CPM or CPC. CPM (Cost Per Mille) means that you pay for every 1,000 impressions – i.e. for every 1,000 times that your ad is shown to users.  CPC (Cost Per Click) means that you pay for every click on your ad – i.e. when a user actually clicks on the ad, not just when they’ve viewed it. For beginners, CPC is the right option – CPM is more suitable when you find out which ad is your most effective ad. Then, you’ll get more clicks and pay less if you choose CPM. But for now, stick with CPC.

LinkedIn will set a minimum CPC for each of your ads; the lowest is about $2. LinkedIn will suggest a CPC Range for you that it’s good to stick with. Don’t offer more than the suggested amount, and don’t offer the maximum; something in the middle is great to begin with. If your ads don’t run with this bid, you can change it. There is also a minimum daily budget requirement of $10. Set your daily budget considering the CPC – if you’re paying $3.50 per click, you don’t want to limit yourself to just 3 clicks per day, right? Choose the duration of your campaign – either to be shown continuously or until a specific date. Again, when starting out it is better to run limited campaigns, although you can always pause your running campaigns.

As with many of the other online ads platforms, LinkedIn is a bid-based system. The ads with the higher bid are more likely to be shown to the specified users. But there is another factor that influences this likelihood – the overall performance of the campaign. LinkedIn advertising is not very advanced, so it considers only the bid and the CTR (Click Through Rate) – these are the only two indicators that you can use to control the success of your campaign. So if you don’t want to pay more money and raise your bid, you will need to improve your CTR to improve the overall performance of the campaign.

The LinkedIn network average CTR is 0.025% and if your ads don’t get at least this CTR, their performance will be really bad. For an ad to be served, it must maintain a CTR greater than 0.025%. So if your ads don’t have the needed CTR, optimize them. Test different variations of the ad and of the bid – until you get the best combination. Once you get it, don’t stick with it forever though. Refresh your ads at least once a month, or even better, once every two weeks. The online world changes fast, and so must your ads. And besides that, new ads get more impressions and have a chance to get a higher CTR than your previous ads.

And don’t forget to analyze the results from your campaign. Learn who clicks on your ads and when they click. Look at the conversion rate and analyze which words and pictures are most compelling for users and most effective for your business. Use this knowledge to improve your ads and make them more effective.

5 tips for improving the effectiveness of LinkedIn Ads

Basically, improving LinkedIn Ads means improving the CTR. So you must make sure that you target the people who are most likely to click on your ad and that your ad is attractive enough to make them click. The 5 basic tips for improving your campaigns are:

Tip 1: Choose the appropriate audience

If you don’t get enough clicks or you have a low CTR, maybe you didn’t choose the right audience and they’re not interested in your offer. Even if you’ve created a great ad, if the wrong audience sees it, it’s a waste of time and money. Revise your targeting again and make necessary changes and review the results. Don’t forget that people on LinkedIn are not in a purchase frame-of-mind. So tell them how your product will make their life easier.

Tip 2: Improve your ad

Improving the effectiveness of the campaign means improving the ad itself. Try to use the job title of your audience in the title of the ad. This makes them more appealing to users and may increase your CTR. Use nice clear pictures for your ads; they grab the user’s attention fast. LinkedIn recommends running just 2 ads per campaign (you have the option to create 15) – if you have 2 active ads, the LinkedIn system will easily and quickly determine which one is the best and show it more often. When you see which one is more effective, you can stop the other ad.

Tip 3: Have a nice offer

Make your offer attractive enough for users so that they want to read more about it and go to your landing page. Give something away for free, offer a discount especially for LinkedIn users, or offer something that’s in limited supply. Create a sense of urgency – the offer is for a limited time only. That will improve the CTR.

Tip 4: Strong call-to-action

Not a surprise – create a strong call-to-action, that will make you click on the ad. This will increase the likelihood that your audience will click on it.

Tip 5: Proper landing page

Create a good landing page – without it, you’re wasting your time and effort with the campaign. Your landing page should look professional and be relevant to the ad. The best way to do this is to have a special landing page for LinkedIn users, which will increase the conversion rate, because it makes the experience for the user better. The landing page must be simple and not confusing to users – they may be meeting your business for the first time, so try to look good.


The only thing certain to help improve online advertising is testing. So test everything – don’t give up if your first couple of tries are not as successful as you had hoped. With every try you’re getting closer to the most effective LinkedIn campaign for your business. If you have questions, LinkedIn has a good database with information about ads – or, ask your question here; I’ll be happy to help.  

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About Lili Petkova

Enthusiastic young online marketing professional. Fully engaged in the way how people communicate and react on different situations – both online, and offline. Living in Bulgaria - a country of contrast, where life is somewhere in the middle of Western countries and Asia. Love to travel, meet new cultures and friends. Blogging about how online tools, social networks and internet advertising can help small businesses to benefit from their online marketing.