Sep 17, 2021 9 min read

How to set up and write effective LinkedIn text ads

How to set up and write effective LinkedIn text ads

Love it or hate it, LinkedIn is an excellent place to find new business. With more than 700 million users (yes, 1/10 of the global population), the social media platform is the largest and most diverse network of professionals on the planet. Add to this the platform’s sophisticated advertising offerings, and you have a can’t-miss opportunity for businesses looking to get in front of interested professionals and potential customers.

LinkedIn offers several different ad types, but here we’ll focus on LinkedIn text ads: desktop-only ads that show up on the right rail of users’ newsfeeds. While these ads are simple (short headline, short description, optional image), they have a big advantage for smaller businesses on a budget: They’re cheap. With bidding prices as low as $2, they are by far the most affordable way to advertise to LinkedIn’s vast professional network.

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Source: LinkedIn

The trick to creating effective LinkedIn text ads comes down to grabbing your audience’s attention with just a few words and a small image. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to create a text ad and how to use Copy.ai’s social ad copy generator tools to make it awesome. Let’s dive in!

How to set up a LinkedIn text ad

In the next few sections, we’ll go over what you need to do to set up your LinkedIn text ad.

Step 0: Use a business account for creating LinkedIn ads

Although it’s possible to set up a LinkedIn text ad using your personal account, the LinkedIn Text Ads Playbook recommends creating a business account and launching ads from there instead. There are a few reasons for this.

First, if you are in a position where you manage campaigns for multiple clients (say, you are a social media marketer), posting from a personal account won’t allow you to show multiple ads in the same placement. That means that if you have two clients that both offer HR software and have similar audiences, you won’t be able to show these ads together. Your ads will also compete for advertising units rather than advertising impressions.

Shifting to a business account eliminates these problems with your LinkedIn text ads. Additionally, business accounts are set up for multiple users, so there’s no trading passwords back and forth with clients or fellow employees to update, access, or change campaigns.

Learn more about setting up a business account here.


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Step 1: Create your campaign

You’ve set up your business account. The next step with LinkedIn text ads is to create your campaign. Do this by navigating to the LinkedIn Campaign Manager page and selecting the account you want to use, your campaign group, and your campaign objective.

LinkedIn offers seven possible campaign objectives, each hitting on slightly different goals. These objectives are brand awareness, website visits, engagement, video views, lead generation, website conversions, and job applicants. Based on the objective you select, LinkedIn will give you a few options for metrics to track your ad’s success. For instance, the best metrics for brand awareness and consideration ads tend to be clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and average engagement.

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Source: LinkedIn

To choose the right objective for your campaign, ask yourself questions like: Do I want more people to know about my brand? Do I want more website visits? Am I aiming to acquire more qualified leads? Answering these will give you clarity about which direction to take.

Step 2: Select your audience

Next up is audience targeting. The ability to hypertarget audiences is one of the hallmark features of LinkedIn advertising, so it makes sense to spend a bit of time here drilling down into the details of who your audience is. For LinkedIn text ads, LinkedIn recommends targeting audiences that are between 60,000 and 400,000 people.

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Screenshot: LinkedIn Campaign Manager

After selecting your audience, scroll down to the “Ad format” section and select “Text ad.”

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Screenshot: LinkedIn Campaign Manager

Step 3: Set your budget, make your schedule, bid, and (maybe) set up conversion tracking

It’s time for budgeting and scheduling. Start by setting a daily budget, lifetime budget, or combination of daily and lifetime budget, and choosing whether you want to run your campaign continuously or create a start and stop date for it.

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Screenshot: LinkedIn Campaign Manager

Below budgeting and scheduling, you’ll find the bidding area. Because advertising space on the LinkedIn platform is limited, your ad will compete with other ads in a bidding auction. Your bid is the amount of money you pay for specific actions, like clicks or impressions.

LinkedIn will automatically recommend a range of bids for you based on how other advertisers with similar objectives and audiences are currently bidding. You can change the amount of your bid by clicking on the bidding box. However, the platform does not let you bid below $2 for LinkedIn text ads.

Next, set up conversion tracking for your LinkedIn text ad. While this step is optional, it’s recommended since it helps you measure the success and return on investment (ROI) of your ad campaigns, tracking whether people took the actions you were hoping they’d take.

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Screenshot: LinkedIn Campaign Manager

Once you’ve finished with this, click “Next” at the bottom of the page.

How to write a LinkedIn text ad that actually gets clicks

There’s no point in spending time and dollars on a LinkedIn ad unless it works. Now, it’s time for the fun stuff: creating your LinkedIn text ads! We’ll spend the next sections hitting on some of the components and best practices of making a LinkedIn text ad that gets traffic.

Use a relevant image

LinkedIn text ads have space for a 100 x 100-pixel image that’s 2MB or smaller. While an image is optional, LinkedIn recommends it given that they typically see “a 20% lift in CTR when ads include an image.”

What’s the best kind of image to use? LinkedIn suggests using a profile image, if relevant, rather than just a logo or a picture of an object. If a profile image isn’t relevant, then your next best bet is to grab an image that speaks to the specific message of your ad.

Let’s say you’re advertising cybersecurity software. Choosing an image of a padlock, a bank vault, or a safe will give ad viewers a better idea about your ad message and product than an image of a building, a bicycle, or a business person, say. This might seem like an obvious point—choosing an image that’s relevant to your specific ad—but if you start paying attention to the images and ads you come across on LinkedIn, you’ll be surprised how often people skip this fundamental.

Make the headline compelling

LinkedIn text ads give you 25 characters for your headline. After the image, the headline is the element viewers pay most attention to. So make each character count.

There are a few tricks for crafting headlines that draw in your audience. We hit on some of the big ones in the bullets below using the fictional HR software company, HR4U.

  • Speak directly to your audience, addressing them by their department or by their job title. For example, “Attn HR Managers,” or “Are you an HR Director?”
  • Use keywords that have to do with the product or service you’re offering and the audience you’re targeting. An ad for an HR software product might include words like “HR,” “Human Resources,” “Recruiting,” “Onboarding,” “Offboarding,” etc.
  • Ask a question, especially something that directs attention to your audience’s pain points or the challenges your product solves for. HR4U might have questions like, “Want to save time in HR?” or “Tired of bad HR tools?”
  • Say what you’re offering in the headline, and especially include words like “free,” “discount,” “free trial,” etc., as appropriate. For example, “Free HR Software Trial.”
  • Use numbers, because for a variety of reasons, numbers convert. For instance, “Save 70% on HR4U.”
  • Include a call-to-action (CTA), especially with action verbs like “get,” “try,” “click,” “visit,” “download,” and others that encourage the viewer to take immediate action. Examples could include, “Get your HR4U trial,” “Try HR4U free,” “Click for more on HR4U,” or “Download HR4U now.”

Craft a punchy description

Next up is the description. Here, you’ve got 75 characters to grab your audience and get them to click. (For reference, the sentence you read just before this one was exactly 75 characters long, so yeah ... not a lot of space to work with.)

As with the headline, there are a few tricks you can use to make your description effective. Below are some examples.

  • Use directive language—verbiage that uses commands that compel your audience to take specific actions. “Stop outsourcing HR. Bring it in-house with software that works.”
  • Create intrigue by using language that leaves your audience wanting to know more. “Find out why more HR directors are going with HR4U.”
  • List the benefits of your product or service, hitting on benefits that address specific pain points. For instance, if one of your audience’s pain points is manual processes that take too much time, highlight that your product supports automation and time savings. “Automated onboarding. Time savings. Streamlined admin.”
  • Use numbers. The reasoning for this is the same as above. “Save up to 5 FTEs with HR4U.”
  • Include a CTA. This is especially important if your headline doesn’t have a CTA. If it does, you can still double down in the description by making sure your headline CTA and description CTA are coordinated. For instance, if your headline is “Get your free HR4U trial,” your description could be, “Click now, and enjoy a free week of HR software that actually works.”

Create multiple versions of ads

LinkedIn recommends creating between three and four variations of your text and creative to help you assess the types of imagery and copy that work best for your audience. For this, consider using a tool like Copy.ai, which generates high-quality copy fast—and makes it fun.

To create copy for your LinkedIn text ad using Copy.ai, head to the “Playground” dashboard and select the LinkedIn Text Ads tool. Fill in your company name and a few sentences about your product or service, then click “Create.”

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Screenshot: Copy.ai LinkedIn Text Ads Tool

Within seconds, Copy.ai generates a list of potential copy ideas—saving you the time it would have taken to brainstorm all of these in the first place. Pick and choose what you like, edit these samples to fit your offering more precisely, or click “Make more” to generate even more possibilities.

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Screenshot: Copy.ai LinkedIn Text Ads Tool

Launch your ad

Now that you’ve created your ad, there’s just one step left: Launch it! Simply scroll to the bottom of the page underneath your advertisement, click “Launch Campaign,” and voilà: You’ve now officially created and kicked off your first LinkedIn text ad campaign.

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Screenshot: LinkedIn Campaign Manager

Keep tracking your metrics and adjusting your approach

You may be tempted to sit back and relax after launching your LinkedIn text ad, thinking the job is done. From a metrics perspective, however, it’s really just begun.

Remember Step 1, when you selected the objective of your campaign? LinkedIn gave a few options for best metrics to track based on your campaign objective, including clicks, impressions, CTR, average engagement, conversion rate, cost per conversion, leads, and cost per lead. Start tracking these metrics after your launch by visiting the LinkedIn Campaign Manager.

These metrics are key to improving your current and future campaigns. By digging into your demographic data, you can discover which parts of your audience are engaging most frequently with your ads. Armed with this information, you can build out new, more precise audience targeting for your next campaign.

A second recommendation is to look at your ads and study which ones in the campaign are doing well and which are performing poorly. What’s different about the headlines? The images? The descriptions? Let the insights you get from this inform how you create your ads in the next campaign.

Lastly, LinkedIn suggests that every one or two weeks, it’s a good idea to remove and replace the ads that are driving the least engagement. Doing this will improve your ad’s relevance score (a score based on CTR, likes, comments, and shares), which will help it do better in the bidding auctions, lowering the price you pay for running your campaign.


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When it comes time to writing new ads or refreshing old ones, Copy.ai is here to help! Use our AI-powered copywriting tools to quickly generate LinkedIn text ad copy, headlines, social copy, and so much more. Get started today for free!

Blake Emal
Blake Emal
CMO @ Copy.ai
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