LinkedIn message ads are a form of paid advertising on LinkedIn that allow you to send personalized messages to your target audience. These ads appear in the LinkedIn messenger inbox of the recipients, making them more likely to be opened and read compared to regular LinkedIn ads.
How Do LinkedIn Message Ads Work?
With LinkedIn message ads, you can reach your target audience directly in their LinkedIn messenger inbox. When you create a message ad campaign, you choose the audience you want to target based on criteria like location, job title, company, interests, and more.
Then you craft a personalized message that will be delivered to the inboxes of your target audience. You can include text, images, gifs, videos, and CTAs in your message ad content. The message ad will display your company name, profile image, and a “Sponsored” tag so recipients know it’s an ad.
The goal is to capture their attention with relevant, valuable messaging that compels them to engage further. For example, you could send a message ad to software engineers promoting an upcoming webinar on a new coding technique. Or send a message to business owners promoting a whitepaper on digital marketing strategies.
Benefits of LinkedIn Message Ads
Here are some of the key benefits of using LinkedIn message ads for your marketing and advertising:
- Higher open and response rates: LinkedIn reports that message ads generate 2-4x higher open rates and engagement vs regular feed ads. Appearing directly in the inbox makes them more likely to be noticed and opened.
- Personalized reach: You can target your messages to specific segments and personalize the content for higher relevance.
- Lower cost per lead: Message ads have been shown to drive leads at a lower cost compared to LinkedIn’s other ad formats.
- Various call-to-action options: Include buttons to drive clicks to your website, further messaging, event registration, and more.
- Built-in analytics: Monitor message send rate, open rate, CTR, conversations, and other metrics to optimize your campaigns.
Use Cases for LinkedIn Message Ads
Here are some of the most popular use cases and tactics for LinkedIn message ads:
One of the primary uses of LinkedIn message ads is generating new leads for your sales pipeline. You can create targeted messages promoting your latest offering or content and include CTAs to drive prospects to convert into leads.
Message ads are ideal for promoting upcoming webinars, conferences, seminars, and other events. Send time-sensitive messages to your target audience to drive registrations and attendance.
Distribute and promote your latest thought leadership content like ebooks, whitepapers, and guides using message ads. Add relevant images/graphics and include links to the content.
Audience Warming Campaigns
Engage and build relationships with prospects before your sales reps reach out. Message ads allow you to start meaningful conversations.
Staying Top of Mind
Remind existing contacts and accounts about your brand and offerings via periodic message ads to stay fresh in their minds.
Re-activating Dormant Leads
Message old, cold leads who have been non-responsive to re-engage their interest in your solutions.
Promoting Service Announcements
Inform your customers and audience about the latest enhancements, new features, awards won, and other service announcements.
Best Practices for LinkedIn Message Ads
Follow these best practices when creating and optimizing your LinkedIn message ad campaigns:
- Personalize the message: Use merge fields to add the recipient’s first name, company, role, etc. to boost relevance.
- Keep it short and scannable: Get to the point quickly. Most engagement happens within the first 2 sentences.
- Test different formats: Try text-only, image-focused, gif-based messages to see what resonates best.
- Rotate creatives: Produce multiple variations of your message ad and A/B test them.
- Follow up: Send a follow up sequence to non-openers and non-clickers to re-engage them.
- Measure and optimize: Track key metrics like open rate, CTR, cost per lead and fine-tune based on results.
- Offer something of value: Provide helpful information, discounts, content etc rather than a hard-sell pitch.
Creating Effective LinkedIn Message Ads
Here are some tips for creating compelling and effective LinkedIn message ads:
- Grab attention with the subject line: Use urgency or curiosity to get them to open. Ask questions, use numbers, etc.
- Highlight benefits upfront: Summarize what’s in it for them quickly so they keep reading.
- Establish relevance: Include something familiar like their company name or current role they relate to.
- Speak to pain points: Show you understand their challenges and offer a solution.
- Drive to a CTA: Include buttons, links, special offer codes to provide an immediate next step.
- Inject personality: Use a conversational tone, emojis, gifs, etc. for a human touch.
- Share social proof: Mention big brand clients, testimonials, case studies to build credibility .
Test and refine your messaging based on open rates, clickthroughs, and conversion rates. This will reveal what content and offers resonate most with your target audience.
Targeting Options for LinkedIn Message Ads
LinkedIn gives you robust options to target your message ads to the right people. You can target by:
- Job title/function
- Seniority level
- Groups and associations
- Skills and expertise
- Interests and hobbies
- Company size
- LinkedIn engagement metrics
You can further refine your targeting by combining attributes, connections, and first party data. Test different segments and messaging to identify your best audience.
Message Ad Formats
LinkedIn gives you several options when it comes to the type and format of your message ads. Consider using:
- Text-only: For a simple, lightweight message.
- Single image/graphic: To make the message more visual and attention-grabbing.
- Carousel: Display multiple rotating images/graphics to tell a story.
- Video: For more engaging and dynamic media-rich messaging.
- GIFs: Animated GIFs can capture interest in the feed.
You can include up to 10 images/videos in carousel message ads. Video ads can be up to 10 minutes long. Test different formats, lengths, and styles of content in your message ads.
Measuring Performance of Message Ads
LinkedIn provides robust analytics and metrics to track and measure the performance of your message ad campaigns. You can view data on:
- Message send rate
- Message open rate
- CTRs by device, time-of-day, etc.
- Clicks and cost-per-click
- Leads and cost-per-lead
- Conversions and cost-per-conversion
- Audience demographics
Monitor key metrics like open rate, CTR, conversions, and cost per lead closely to optimize your targeting, messaging, and creative. Data will reveal your best performing audience segments and message types.
LinkedIn Message Ad Guidelines
When creating LinkedIn message ads, keep these guidelines from LinkedIn in mind:
- 25,000 character limit per message
- No more than 2 external links allowed
- Subject line limit of 150 characters
- 1:1 messaging only, no email or phone lists
- SMS and WhatsApp cannot be used
- CTAs and links should be relevant to the recipient
Also ensure your messaging complies with LinkedIn’s policies around being deceptive, illegal, offensive, or inappropriate. Keep the experience positive for your audience.
LinkedIn Message Ad Pricing
LinkedIn message ads are purchased through an auction-based model. You set a maximum bid for how much you’re willing to pay per message sent. The actual price depends on factors like:
- Targeting specificity
- Competition and demand
- Historical bid prices
- Interaction rates
- Relevance Score of your content
Narrower targeting typically means higher bids. Broad targeting reaches more volume at lower prices per message. Monitor your return on ad spend as you scale your campaigns.
Comparing Message Ads to Other LinkedIn Ad Options
How do LinkedIn message ads compare to LinkedIn’s other advertising options like Sponsored Content and Text Ads?
- Message ads: Sent directly to LinkedIn inbox for high visibility. Allow personalized, conversational messaging. Offer robust targeting options.
- Sponsored content: Appear in the LinkedIn feed similar to organic posts. Allow varied creative content. Cost efficient for awareness.
- Text ads: Text-based ads that appear on the right rail next to feed. Low cost per impression. Limited creative options.
Message ads have the benefit of the inbox placement and personalization capabilities over the other formats. Butsponsored content and text ads can complement message ads as part of a complete LinkedIn advertising strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of businesses should use LinkedIn message ads?
Any business targeting professionals and selling B2B products or services can benefit from message ads. They work well for lead gen, recruiting, content distribution, event promotion, and staying top of mind.
Can I reuse existing creative assets for message ads?
Existing images, videos, and gifs can be adapted for use in message ads. But the messaging itself should be tailored to the inbox environment vs the LinkedIn feed.
Should I use LinkedIn Message Ads alone or in combination with other formats?
Message ads work best when combined with a mix of sponsored content and text ads to surround your audience. Layering in different ad formats creates a full-funnel omnichannel approach.
What makes an effective message ad?
An effective message ad is personalized, grabs attention quickly, communicates relevance, focuses on audience value, and includes a solid CTA. Split test your creative to optimize based on performance.
How often should brands message their audience?
Limit messaging to 2-3 touchpoints per week at most. Vary offers and creative to keep it fresh. Monitor open and engagement rates to avoid over messaging fatigue.