LinkedIn message ads allow advertisers to send sponsored messages directly to LinkedIn members’ inboxes. This form of advertising can be highly targeted and personalized, making it potentially very effective for lead generation and recruiting. However, message ads have limitations and need to be executed thoughtfully to provide value.
What are LinkedIn message ads?
LinkedIn message ads, also called sponsored InMail, enable advertisers to directly contact LinkedIn members via the LinkedIn messaging system. With these ads, a personalized message is sent to the member’s inbox, just like a regular InMail message would be.
The key benefits of LinkedIn message ads include:
- Highly targeted – You can target message ads using criteria like job title, company, industry, seniority level, geographic location, skills, interests, and more.
- Personalization – The message text can include the member’s first name, last name, company, job title, and other attributes to make the message more personalized.
- High inbox placement – Message ads are more likely to be opened, read, and responded to than regular InMail.
- Lead generation – Messages allow you to include a call-to-action to visit your website, request a demo, etc.
When are LinkedIn message ads worth using?
Here are the main situations where LinkedIn message ads can provide strong value:
Recruiting and hiring
Message ads enable recruiters and hiring managers to directly reach potential candidates who are passive or not actively job searching. The messages can include details about open positions and encourage the candidate to apply or schedule a call to discuss. This allows for proactive sourcing of candidates.
Message ads are useful for generating sales leads by contacting LinkedIn members who are good prospects for your product or service. The messages can provide information relevant to the prospect’s interests and include a call-to-action to visit your website, request a demo, or speak to sales.
You can use message ads to promote upcoming events like webinars, conferences, and trade shows. The messages can target relevant audiences and provide personalized details like dates, locations, and registration links.
Establishing thought leadership
Message ads allow you to directly contact your target audiences to provide valuable insights, whitepapers, research reports, and other thought leadership content. This positions your company as an authority in your space.
Staying top of mind
Sending periodic message ads to customers and prospects can help stay front of mind and strengthen relationships. The messages can provide helpful tips, personalized offers, and other updates that add value.
Key tips for effective LinkedIn message ads
To get the most out of LinkedIn message ads, keep these tips in mind:
- Personalize every message with the member’s name, company, job title/function, and other details.
- Keep the message clear, concise, and focused. Get to the point quickly.
- Test different subject lines to identify which ones drive most opens.
- Avoid overused phrases like “hope you’re doing well.” Sound natural.
- Follow up any successful message conversations via regular InMail.
- Analyze results and continuously refine targeting, messaging, and calls-to-action.
- Ensure your landing pages are optimized to convert message ad clicks.
- Comply with LinkedIn’s rules around frequency capping messages.
Limitations to consider
While LinkedIn message ads can be highly effective, there are some limitations to keep in mind:
- Low response rates – Typical response rates are around 2-3%, so message volume needs to be high.
- Frequency capping – You can only send one message ad per member per month.
- Restricted targeting options – You cannot target by seniority or number of connections.
- No subject line testing – Subject lines can’t be A/B tested on message ads.
- Higher cost – Message ads tend to cost more per send than regular InMail.
Weighing the costs
For most use cases, expect to pay $5-10+ per message sent. So costs add up quickly, especially if send volumes are high. Keep close track of your message ad costs, open rates, click rates, and conversion rates to calculate your ROI.
Compare message ad costs to other lead gen tactics like paid search and Facebook/Instagram ads in terms of cost per lead or cost per conversion. Test message ads against other options to see which channels provide the most value.
If you have a limited budget, you may need to use message ads selectively for highest-priority, high-intent prospects where the messaging is likely to convert.
Should you use LinkedIn message ads?
LinkedIn message ads can provide strong results when used strategically for targeted recruiting and lead generation. To maximize impact:
- Personalize and test messages to optimize delivery and response rates.
- Focus on high-value prospects where direct contact will be welcomed.
- Ensure your targeting, landing pages, and post-ad follow up are fully aligned.
- Track results closely and refine your approach continuously.
With the right use case, disciplined targeting, and savvy execution, message ads are a powerful way to generate leads and recruits. But also consider your budget, expected response rate, and alternatives before committing spend.