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Online B2B Advertising with LinkedIn DirectAds

09 Jun Online B2B Advertising with LinkedIn DirectAds

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
  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.

  • Ed Gazvoda
    Posted at 16:58h, 27 July

    DirectAds by Linkedin is a scam and a ripoff. Don’t waste your time or money.

  • Rick
    Posted at 15:49h, 11 August

    You’ve not had success with using them? What’s your product / service?

  • Scottie928
    Posted at 11:10h, 31 January

    Beware! Don’t get caught out by the LinkedIn Ads promotions. – I recommend avoiding LinkedIn DirectAds.

    Just before Christmas 2010 I got a $100 promotional coupon emailed to me by LinkedIn to try DirectAds. I had to register my credit card with them for a $5 initial charge to open the account. A few weeks later I checked to see how the ad trial was going and found that over $250 had been taken from my credit card account (in four separate transactions) as the $100 coupon amount had been used in just a few days! I had received no notification from LinkedIn of any of these charges to my credit card.

    I have disputed this with LinkedIn and they say that the user agreement says they can charge the registered credit card for any amount at any time !

    LinkedIn refuse to accept that the promotion was unclear about charging and they point blank refuse to refund any of the charges. In fact they took a final $48 more after I asked for my credit card to be removed from their system. I never had any trouble like this with Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing.

    Don’t fall for the marketing hype – save your money and avoid LinkedIn Ads.